The unprecedented increase in traffic volume and increased funding levels, coupled with an aging infrastructure, has caused highway construction activities to intensify in recent years in an attempt to accommodate the ever increasing traffic demands. Historically, highway construction time has been extensive and construction operations have further compounded traffic congestion particularly in our nation's larger cities. The negative feedback from our customers is indicative of their displeasure with both highway construction time and related traffic congestion. Although highway construction is unavoidable, excessive construction time must be avoided because it is costly and exposes highway workers to traffic and the motorist to substandard conditions longer than necessary.
In recent years we have heard a lot about the term "Get in, Stay in (and get it done right), Get out, and Stay out". The Accelerated Construction program focuses on achieving this objective. Using national transportation leaders to identify strategic planning goals, innovative techniques, and newer technologies, the Accelerated Construction Technology Transfer (ACTT) process has proven to be a viable approach to addressing the construction time and traffic congestion concerns of today's large, complex multi-phase projects. Recognizing the value of and fully supporting the ACTT program, the FHWA and the AASHTO's Transportation Implementation Group (TIG) joined forces to advocate and promote the accelerated construction approach.
Based on a recommendation by Transportation Research Board (TRB) Special Report 249, published in 1996, calling for the creation of a strategic forum to accelerate innovation in the highway industry, TRB Task Force A5T60 (now AFH35T) was formed in 1999 with the following objectives:
- Facilitate removal of barriers to innovation;
- Advocate continuous quality improvement and positive change;
- Encourage the development strategies that generate beneficial change; and
- Create a framework for informed consideration of innovation.
Since the initial pilot projects in 2002 (IN and PA) the ACTT management team has coordinated over 34 workshops. Projects have ranged in size from $1 million to $3.5 billion dollars. The program has also recruited and incorporated experts from the local, state, federal and private industries. Implementation-oriented reports such as the ACTT: A "How To" Guide for State Highway Agencies aim to assist states in developing their own programs. In August 2008, an ACTT Workshop Toolkit CD has been made available to aid highway agencies in the planning, execution and documentation of a successful ACTT workshop. ACTT reference materials along with State ACTT workshop reports are available on our website at: https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/construction/accelerated/
The Office of Asset Management and the Resource Center, in cooperation with the AASHTO TIG, are now working with Divisions to deploy the ACTT workshops as an effective step in the project delivery process. The ACTT management team is working jointly to continue serving as the central point for coordination of skill set experts and facilitation needs. In addition to the 34 workshops completed during the past five years, the FHWA is currently working with Virginia, Wisconsin, Washington State and the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, Canada, who have expressed an interest in the Program.