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Federal Highway Administration > Publications > Public Roads > Vol. 63· No. 4 > National Quality Intiative (NQI) Achievement Awards

January/February 2000
Vol. 63· No. 4

National Quality Intiative (NQI) Achievement Awards

Promoting Partnerships to Improve Highway Quality

The National Quality Initiative (NQI)is a dynamic partnership founded by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), and 10 other related associations. NQI focuses on continuous quality improvement within the highway industry.

NQI's activities are coordinated by a steering committee, which includes representatives of 13 organizations:

  • Federal Highway Administration.
  • American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.
  • American Concrete Pavement Association.
  • American Consulting Engineers Council.
  • American Public Works Association.
  • American Road and Transportation Builders Association.
  • American Traffic Safety Services Association.
  • Associated General Contractors of America.
  • Asphalt Institute.
  • National Asphalt Pavement Association.
  • National Ready Mixed Concrete Association.
  • National Stone Association.
  • Portland Cement Association.

The 1999 NQI Achievement Award is part of NQI's goal to ensure that the quality of highways remains a focus throughout the highway and transportation industry. This year's 31 submissions, and especially the seven gold level winners and the national winner, illustrate how quality improvement can be made a part of our everyday lives. These awards were based on the following criteria: the quality process and results, customer focus, teamwork, innovation and value, and long-term improvement.

All of the award recipients demonstrated excellence in highways, however, the top awards were presented to "National Winner" Texas and "Gold Level Winners" Colorado, Indiana, Maryland, Nebraska, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

Texas -- National Winner

The Texas Department of Transportation and its partners are the National Winner for the U.S. 75/North Central Expressway project in Dallas.

North Central Expressway.
The U.S. 75/North Central Expressway project in Dallas, Texas, was the National Winner.

The North Central Expressway is a vital north-south link for the Dallas region, and maintaining the traffic flow of 150,000 vehicles per day was a project priority. This five-year, $105 million project widened the expressway from four to eight lanes. Auxiliary lanes and frontage roads were also added. The roadway was lowered more than 7.5 meters below existing grade, and five bridges on crossing streets for three kilometers from Southwestern Boulevard to Monticello Avenue had to be demolished and reconstructed (in stages).

Because of the stakeholders' proactive involvement, the project was finished nine months early, and $60 million in user delay costs were avoided. The project included an extensive public information campaign and complex traffic control and sequencing. Team members were encouraged to suggest improvements, and the suggestions resulted in a savings of 4,024 project hours and $98,000 in contract costs.

This project has received several other state and national awards for its state-of-the-art design features and architectural aesthetics, including the 1998 Texas Quality Initiative Teamwork Award and the Association of General Contractors 1999 Marvin M. Black Excellence in Partnering Award.

The contractor was Granite Construction Co. The project was designed by Brown and Root.

Colorado -- Gold Level Winner

The Colorado Department of Transportation and its partners are recognized as a Gold Level Winner for the I-70/Airpark Road-East project in Adams County.

This nearly 20-kilometer reconstruction of I-70 east of Denver exemplifies the benefits of formal partnering and value engineering. The work for this $28-million project included concrete and hot bituminous paving, bridge rehabilitation, guardrails, grading, seeding, and drainage. This was the first transportation project in Colorado to use the design-build delivery method, an innovative approach for combining responsibilities for design and construction into a single contract, resulting in a reduced total project delivery time. The project also was the first in the state to use an innovative, full-scale "contractor quality control" program. The finished work exceeded all quality standards and earned nearly $600,000 in quality incentives.

The contractor was Interstate Highway Construction Inc., and the designer was Turner, Collie, & Braden Inc.

Indiana -- Gold Level Winner

A Gold Level Winner Award was presented to the Indiana Department of Transportation and its partners for "The Pride of I-69" project in DeKalb County.

In 133 calendar days, contractors rehabilitated nearly 15 kilometers of overpasses, bridges, signs, lighting, guardrail, storm drains, and grading on Interstate 69, one of Indiana's primary thoroughfares. Focusing on minimal travel delays, the Indiana Department of Transportation's cost-plus-time (A+B) contract included a five-year warranty on all Superpave hot-mix asphalt pavement. Value engineering contributed to a 42-day early completion, saving 24 percent of expected construction time and $1 million in estimated user delay costs. The National Asphalt Pavement Association awarded the project the Quality in Construction Award for consistent materials control and handling and for exceptional paving practices.

The contractors were Brooks Construction Co., Primco Inc., and Joint Venture. MTA Inc. was the designer.

The I-695 widening and reconstruction project.
The I-695 widening and reconstruction project in Baltimore County, Md., was a Gold Level Winner.

Maryland -- Gold Level Winner

The Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) and its partners won a Gold Level Award for a project to widen and reconstruct a portion of I-695 (the Baltimore Beltway) between state Route 140 and I-83 in Baltimore County.

This project helped strengthen the link between neighborhoods and employment centers/business areas. The project on this part of Baltimore's "Main Street" added travel lanes and future high-occupancy-vehicle lanes, replaced bridges and sound barriers, and made other associated improvements. The project included a community relations campaign, a response to the community's need for sound barriers, and a model treatment for accommodating future intelligent transportation technologies. At the time of construction, it was the largest tonnage of Superpave in a Maryland project. Using cost-plus-time bidding, the project won several awards, including the National Asphalt Pavement Association's 1998 Quality in Construction Award.

Dick Corp. was the contractor, and the designers were SHA Highway Design, URS Greiner Woodward Clyde, SHA Bridge Design, and JMT.

Nebraska -- Gold Level Winner

  I-80 project in Lincoln, Nebraska.
  The I-80 project in Lincoln, Neb., which improved the primary access to Memorial Stadium, home of the Nebraska Cornhuskers, was a Gold Level Winner.

The Nebraska Department of Roads and its partners are a Gold Level Winner for the I-180 project in Lincoln.

I-180 is the lifeline to downtown Lincoln and the University of Nebraska, and this $15-million reconstruction project improved the primary access to Memorial Stadium, home field of the Nebraska Cornhuskers football team. Eight bridges were constructed and pavement was replaced on northbound and southbound lanes, using portland cement concrete pavement designed to last 35 years or more.

To benefit football fans, local businesses, and citizens, the project implemented a plan that would minimize the disruption of traffic during football season. Using a two-phase construction plan, which was implemented between football seasons, and the first cost-plus-time (A+B) contract bidding in Nebraska, the project also used formal project partnering and an extensive information campaign, all of which helped the contractor earn incentive payments of $2.5 million.

The contractor was Hawkins Construction Co., and the designers were HWS Consulting Group Inc. and Harrington & Cortelyou Inc.

New Mexico -- Gold Level Winner

The U.S. 219/Meyersdale Bypass.
The U.S. 219/Meyersdale Bypass in Somerset County, Pa., was a Gold Level Winner, and the project also received two Pennsylvania Quality Initiative Awards.

The New Mexico State Highway and Transportation Department and its partners are another Gold Level Winner for the I-40 upgrade project in Albuquerque.

This project was the first in a series for reconstructing I-40 through central Albuquerque, New Mexico's primary metropolitan center. I-40 is the primary route for commercial trucks traveling between California and points east. Contractors widened I-40 from six to 10 lanes, with auxiliary lanes between interchanges, and they redesigned and widened six major structures over 7th Street. This was the largest project let in New Mexico and the largest portland cement concrete pavement project in the state in 25 years. The I-40 upgrade used smoothness incentives and cost-plus-time contracting, with contractors bidding their completion dates along with their prices. During construction, the contractor kept three lanes open to traffic. The public information campaign featured "Interstate Ernie," a roadrunner character in the role of a construction worker; Ernie was developed from entries in a school contest.

A.S. Horner Inc. was the contractor, and Bohannan-Huston Inc. was the designer.

Pennsylvania -- Gold Level Winner

East-West Freeway/I-94 westbound rehabilitation project.
The East-West Freeway/I-94 westbound rehabilitation project in Waukesha County, Wis., was a Gold Level Winner. Because half the state's residents and major industries depend on the freeway, no permanent two-lane closures were allowed, and much of the work was done at night.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and its partners won a Gold Level Winner Award for the U.S. 219/Meyersdale Bypass project in Somerset County.

Pennsylvania's $53 million construction of the U.S. 219/Meyersdale Bypass involved extensive studies of archaeology. Native American village sites and the oldest house foundation ever found in Pennsylvania -- 5,000 years old -- were discovered. It also involved thorough attention to wetlands, endangered species, wildlife habitats, trout streams, and Amish farmlands. During the bypass's design and construction phase, local school students built a foot-bridge, trail, and an outdoor classroom to be used for years to come to study plants and animals at the wetland replacement site.

Contractors constructed 13 bridges and moved nearly 4 million cubic meters of earth and rock along a 9-kilometer, four-lane highway in southwestern Pennsylvania. One of the largest construction projects in the western part of the state, it finished $600,000 under bid and received two Pennsylvania Quality Initiative Awards: one for concrete pavement and the other for value engineering/cost savings.

The contractor was New Enterprise Stone and Lime, and the designers were Gannett Fleming Inc. and Greenhorne & O'Mara Inc.

Wisconsin -- Gold Level Winner

I-95 in Wisconsin was resurfaced with Superpave asphaltic concrete pavement.
Nearly 20 kilometers of I-95 in Wisconsin was resurfaced with Superpave asphaltic concrete pavement. Some innovations in pavement-density control and new techniques in construction were used for the first time in Wisconsin on this project.

Wisconsin Department of Transportation and its partners are a Gold Level Winner for the East-West Freeway/I-94 Westbound rehabilitation project in Waukesha County.

This $10 million rehabilitation project resurfaced nearly 20 kilometers (160 lane-kilometers of roadway and 26 structures) with Superpave asphaltic concrete pavement. This was the first major use of Superpave in Wisconsin. The project overlaid eight bridge decks with waterproof membrane, widened four ramps, constructed two park-and-ride lots, and upgraded another lot. Because half of the state's residents and major industries depend on the freeway, no permanent two-lane closures were allowed. This project marked the introduction of some innovations in Wisconsin, including quality control/quality assurance (QC/QA) pavement-density control and new techniques in construction and traffic mitigation. A $260,000 public information campaign emphasized safety and construction-zone traffic reduction. The project saved $7 million in highway user costs and finished seven weeks early. The Wisconsin Bureau of Highway Development awarded the project the Excellence in Construction and Excellence in Highway Design awards.

Payne&Dolan Inc. was the contractor, and the project was designed by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation's District 2.

State Winners
Alabama -- Rubblizing concrete pavement on I-65 in Blount County.
Arizona -- Junction of U.S. 93 and SR 68 and port-of-entry in Kingman.
Arkansas -- Bobby Hopper Tunnel in Washington County.
Delaware -- Delaware Route 141 pavement rehabilitation in New Castle County.
Florida -- U.S. 41 in Ruskin.
Georgia -- Cartecay River Project in east Ellijay.
Idaho -- I-84/Cole-Overland interchange in Boise.
Illinois -- Major rehabilitation of the Scott W. Lucas Memorial Bridge in Havana.
Iowa -- U.S. 6/SR965/I-80 interchange reconstruction in Coralville.
Kansas -- State Fair Freeway in Reno County.
Kentucky -- Brent Spence Bridge (I-71/I-75) connecting Cincinnati, Ohio, and Covington, Ky.
Michigan -- The Second Blue Water Bridge Project to build a second bridge to connect Port Huron, Mich., and Port Edward, Ontario, Canada.
Missouri -- Route 60/Poplar Bluff Bypass in Butler County.
Nevada -- Replacement of the Historic Center Street Bridge in downtown Reno
New Jersey -- Garden State Parkway interchange 159 improvements in Bergen County.
North Carolina -- Beaucatcher Tunnel restoration in Asheville.
Oklahoma -- I-40/I-35 at Eastern Avenue in Oklahoma City.
Oregon -- Brush Creek Bridge in Curry County.
South Dakota -- Multiple structure replacement on I-229 in Sioux Falls.
Tennessee -- Improving and widening SR111 in Livingston.
Utah -- Bangerter Highway 12600 South to Redwood Road in Salt Lake County.
Washington -- I-5/South DuPont interchange in DuPont.
West Virginia -- U.S. 52/17th Street Bridge in Lawrence County.

Donald Tuggle is currently the special assistant to the executive director of the Federal Highway Administration. He managed the NQI program from its inception in 1992 until he was recently reassigned. Tuggle joined FHWA in 1976, and his career has included assignments in Ohio, Michigan, the former FHWA Region 5 office, and the Pavement Division at FHWA headquarters. He has a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and is a registered professional engineer in Wisconsin.

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