- Briefing Room
U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
|Accelerating Infrastructure Innovations|
Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-06-023
Date: March 2006
Is it time for you to go prefab? The use of prefabricated bridge elements and systems, ranging from superstructures or substructures to totally prefabricated bridges, offers faster and safer bridge construction and better quality. Depending on the specific project, construction costs can also be comparable to or lower than conventional construction. Prefabricated bridge systems are manufactured offsite at a prefabrication plant or adjacent to the project site by the contractor, under controlled conditions, and brought to the bridge location ready to install. Building in a controlled environment reduces weather-related delays and enhances constructibility, while also reducing traffic congestion and improving work zone safety. Now the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) new Framework for Prefabricated Bridge Elements and Systems Decision-Making gives transportation departments and contractors a quick and simple tool to use in deciding on whether to use prefabrication for a particular bridge project.
Meet the new quality measure of choice. Now available from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is a 1-day introductory workshop on Percent Within Limits (PWL). As the workshop demonstrates, PWL is not just business as usual. "Generally the highway industry does not use an accept/reject model for evaluating contractors' work," notes Jim Walls of FHWA. "Rather highway agencies accept what is produced and pay accordingly, using payment systems that have incentives and disincentives." In contrast, the PWL model encourages highway contractors to produce consistent quality work and then rewards that work by tying payment to a statistically valid measure of quality.
With work zones accounting for 10 percent of all roadway congestion and ranking second only to poor traffic flow in causing dissatisfaction among drivers, communicating with road users, the general public, area businesses, and others about road construction projects and accompanying work zones is essential to the smooth operation and completion of a project. A new guidance document available from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Work Zone Public Information and Outreach Strategies, is designed to help transportation agencies plan and implement effective public information and outreach campaigns for work zones. This document also provides support to agencies in their efforts to implement the recently updated Work Zone Safety and Mobility Rule.
National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW) 2006, April 3-9, will focus on the dangers faced by highway workers "Working at the Speed of Night," as more transportation departments perform construction and maintenance activities during evening hours. The week will kick off with a media event in Washington, DC, on April 4. NWZAW 2006 aims to raise awareness of the hazards of nighttime construction work and the need for caution when traveling through work zones. In 2004, 1,068 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes in work zones.
Now providing a high-speed alternative for evaluating highway pavements is the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) new Rolling Wheel Deflectometer (RWD). The RWD is a specially designed tractor-trailer with laser measuring devices mounted on a beam under the trailer and a computerized data collection system contained in the cab. The device can measure pavement deflections while traveling at highway speeds of up to 100 km/hr (70 mi/hr). Data can be collected on 320 to 480 km (200 to 300 mi) of roadway per day, usually without the need for traffic control vehicles.