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ACTT Workshop: New York
Tappan Zee Bridge Deck Replacement

Why ACTT, Executive Summary, and Workshop Details


  • ACTT provides a fresh outlook by bringing national experts to your planning table.
  • ACTT introduces innovations that have been tested elsewhere.
  • ACTT saves time: according to FHWA's ACTT II report, published in March 2005, "most agencies have found ways to slice construction time by 30 percent or more."
  • ACTT saves money: ACTT suggestions enabled New Jersey to reduce its budget for the Route 46 bridge project from $10 million to $7.2 million.
  • ACTT works for you and your customer!

How Do I ACTT?

  • Select a corridor: ACTT is most helpful when applied during the project development phase.
  • Make a workshop proposal to ACTT team members, and submit a copy of your proposal to the FHWA Division Office. Include details on the project corridor, timeline and goals.
  • Hold a pre-workshop meeting with the ACTT management team.
  • Select a meeting site, and coordinate workshop details with the FHWA Division Office.
  • Host the workshop.
  • Draft a report for submittal to FHWA.
  • Incorporate ACTT into project operations.

Executive Summary

Ask a transportation professional about prefabricated bridges, and he or she will likely tell you that the use of prefabricated components is on the rise because of the many benefits such structures offer. These advantages are highlighted in Prefabricated Bridges Deliver Quality, Safety, and Savings, Focus: Accelerating Infrastructure Innovations, December 2004 (FHWA-HRT-05-022). In that article the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) states that "the use of prefabricated bridge elements and systems, ranging from substructures to entire bridges, is proving to be not only a best practice but good business":

Using these prefabricated systems reduces the traffic congestion and environmental impacts of bridge construction projects and improves construction zone safety for both workers and drivers. And because prefabrication can be accomplished in a controlled environment offsite, without the limitations that a job site may present, constructability is improved, quality is increased and the costs can be lower.

It is these very issues that the New York State Thruway Authority aimed to address when it contacted FHWA about hosting an Accelerated Construction Technology Transfer, or ACTT, workshop for the Tappan Zee Bridge Partial Superstructure Replacement Project.

With increasing traffic volumes and 178 of the bridge's 198 spans showing significant deterioration, the Thruway Authority knew it needed to take action. Because the bridge is part of a larger, pending corridor study, the Thruway Authority also knew it had to select a construction alternative that would not preclude the recommendations of the study. With that in mind, the Thruway Authority proposed a partial superstructure replacement utilizing prefabricated components, an alternative with a $155 million price tag and a seven-year construction timeframe. The Thruway Authority asked ACTT experts in the following skill set areas to review the proposed alternative, including the proposed budget and timeframe, and make suggestions accordingly:

  • Construction/Innovative Contracting.
  • Structures.
  • Traffic/Safety/ITS.
  • Public Relations.

Each skill set team's goal was to apply the ACTT concept to the Tappan Zee project, searching for innovative methods and measures to help the Thruway Authority achieve its project goals.

As the meeting progressed, each team summarized their thoughts and detailed a list of priority recommendations, which they presented to conference attendees the final day of the workshop. Now that the workshop is complete, the Thruway Authority is working to incorporate a host of these recommendations into the Tappan Zee Bridge Partial Superstructure Replacement Project, the details of which can be found in chapter four.

The result, says Gerrie Dottino of the Thruway Authority's structural design bureau, was a win-win situation for all involved. "The workshop exceeded our expectations and gave the Thruway the opportunity to gain insight and suggestions. The Thruway would welcome the opportunity to participate in this important workshop in the future."

Chapter 1: Workshop Details

1.1. Opening Session

The New York State Thruway Authority held its ACTT workshop June 14-16, 2005, at the Century House Hotel in Albany, New York. Participants convened for registration and the opening session on the morning of Tuesday, June 14.

Dan Sanayi, construction and systems preservation engineer for FHWA's Office of Asset Management, served as the workshop moderator. He opened with an overview of ACTT, after which New York State Thruway Authority Deputy Executive Director/Chief Engineer John Brizzel and FHWA New York Division Administrator Bob Arnold welcomed workshop attendees. Following participant introductions, Neil Hawks, director of special programs for the Transportation Research Board (TRB), discussed the importance of the ACTT process in "Why ACTT, Why Now." The group spent the afternoon touring the project corridor.

1.2 Workshop Process

The New York State Thruway Authority breakout sessions followed the traditional ACTT workshop structure: the skill sets broke out into individual groups on Wednesday morning and came back together to present their initial findings prior to lunch. The teams then spent Wednesday afternoon intermingling and developing their final recommendations, which skill set representatives presented to the group on Thursday morning.

1.3 Project and Team Goals

Prior to the workshop, the Tappan Zee Bridge Repair Project Team and the workshop sponsors established the following goals for workshop attendees:

  • Identify strategies to shorten the duration of the project.
  • Minimize construction impacts to both Rockland and Westchester counties, as well as to other neighboring areas.
  • Analyze constructability during the project development and design phases.
  • Obtain contractor innovation and involvement during the project development and design phases.
  • Maximize maintenance of traffic within the corridor during construction, and minimize impacts to local traffic.
  • Establish ways of informing the public about project progress.
  • Provide an assessment of and recommendations for the proposed project alternatives.

With these goals in mind, the team established the following objectives for the workshop:

  • Shared understanding. Ensure a common understanding of discipline-specific design challenges associated with project alternatives.
  • Collaboration. Provide an early venue for information exchange and innovation between owners, designers, contractors and project partners.
  • Brainstorming. Promote a free exchange of ideas, concepts, techniques and methods applicable to specific skill sets, multidiscipline design approaches, and innovative construction techniques and methods.
  • Integration. Establish initial relationships and foster ongoing development of concepts, ideas and strategies focused on accelerated project delivery via multidisciplinary teams.

In addition to establishing the goals and objectives for the workshop, the project team established a set of baseline assumptions or "ground rules" designed to focus participants' efforts:

  • Carry out nighttime construction to reduce user delays.
  • Provide a minimum 15-year service life that will address the existing superstructure and safety walk deficiencies; improve element-specific bridge condition ratings; and minimize the life cycle cost of maintenance and repair.
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Updated: 06/27/2017
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