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Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-06-024
Date: April 2006
Build the bridge of the future better, faster, and for less money using geosynthetic reinforced soil (GRS) technology for abutments. Instead of a conventional bridge supported on a pile cap abutment, GRS technology uses alternating layers of compacted fill and sheets of geotextile reinforcement to provide support for the bridge. GRS abutments can be built with readily available material using common construction equipment, without the need for highly skilled labor. They are also extremely durable. "They can even perform very well in earthquakes, if constructed properly with closely spaced reinforcement," says Mike Adams of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). "The reinforcement spacing controls the performance of the GRS mass."
The use of geotechnology to build stabilized grass roadway pulloff areas along the Gatlinburg Spur of the Foothills Parkway in Tennessee's Great Smoky Mountains National Park has increased safety along the roadway, while minimizing the impact on the surrounding environment. Owned and maintained by the National Park Service, the Gatlinburg Spur of the Foothills Parkway is a section of US 441 and US 321 that runs between Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. The roadway has grass rather than paved shoulders, following standard design for Park Service roads and parkways. However, unlike typical park roads, the Spur has a large volume of high-speed traffic generated by tourist attractions in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.
Unique construction methods, mega projects that are changing the face of transportation for their communities, and progressive new partnerships were three of the many faces of highway quality on display at the National Partnership for Highway Quality's (NPHQ) 2005 Quality Conference. NPHQ brings together State, Federal, and highway industry leaders to encourage the use of quality practices that will improve safety and service for highway users. Held December 13-14, 2005, in Orlando, Florida, the conference spotlighted groundbreaking practices across the country. "The conference provided an excellent opportunity to learn from some notable, quality-managed programs," said Bob Templeton, Executive Director of NPHQ. Conference attendees included State department of transportation (DOT) officials and design, construction, and project engineers; officials, managers, and engineers from private industry; and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) representatives.
Learn the basic elements of a statistically-based quality assurance program for highway projects with the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) National Highway Institute (NHI) course on Materials Control and Acceptance-Quality Assurance. The course features an introduction to quality management and quality assurance. Participants then learn techniques for collecting, organizing, analyzing, and interpreting materials data, as well as assessing the strengths and weaknesses of process control and acceptance plans. The course also provides an introduction to risk.
Presentations from the Sixth National Conference on Transportation Asset Management, held in November 2005 in Kansas City, Missouri, can now be found online at www.trb.org/Conferences/Preservation-Asset/Program.pdf. Featuring the theme of "Making Asset Management Work in Your organization," the conference highlighted such topics as asset management resources and tools, establishing and using performance measures, and best practices in transportation asset management. The event was sponsored by the Transportation Research Board, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), Midwest Transportation Consortium, and the National Association of County Engineers.
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