February 20, 2015
Innovation Implementation: Geosynthetic Reinforced Soil-Integrated Bridge System
The Every Day Counts initiative is promoting geosynthetic reinforced soil-integrated bridge system technology to help the highway community build low-cost, strong and durable structures in less time.
GRS-IBS technology has been used on a diverse array of highway projects, including grade-separated railroad crossings. An example is a bridge on State Route 7A over the Housatonic Railway in Sheffield, Massachusetts, the first GRS-IBS project built in the state.
The 2014 project demonstrated that a GRS-IBS can be built with minimal disruption to train traffic and support road traffic across a railway once completed. Using GRS-IBS on the $1.1 million project saved 49 percent of the estimated cost of the original design using conventional construction.
Due to its location, a 105-foot-wide bridge with a 30-degree skew was required to span the rail line.
The Federal Highway Administration is collaborating with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation on a project to monitor the bridge and confirm that the performance of the GRS-IBS structure is as anticipated when designed with a skew angle.
This information will be useful for the design and construction of future GRS-IBS projects.
Traffic Incident Management Training Gains Momentum
The nation’s cadre of emergency responders trained in techniques to clear roadway incidents safely and quickly continues to grow. Alaska more than tripled the number of responders knowledgeable about traffic incident management best practices through a series of six training sessions in January. The state’s more than 140 trained responders include tow operators, law enforcement personnel, firefighters and emergency medical services workers. Alaska is poised to meet its goal of training 10 percent of the state’s responders in traffic incident management techniques by May 2015.
In Nebraska, nearly 2,200 first responders have been trained in traffic incident management best practices since June 2014. In January, 500 responders were trained in 18 classes held across the state. Interest in the classes was spurred by a Highway Safety Improvement Program project to provide traffic control device packages to volunteer fire departments that participate in the training.
Lake Tahoe Team Explores Innovative Project Tools
The project delivery team for the proposed $60 million in Federal Lands Access Program projects in the Lake Tahoe Basin in California and Nevada plans to use a number of innovative tools, including GRS-IBS structures, roundabouts, precast structural elements and innovative contracting. The team also explored 5D project management in a January workshop, part of the Strategic Highway Research Program 2 Project Management Strategies for Complex Projects (R10). About 40 people from local, state and federal agencies in both states attended the two-day FHWA workshop. Using 5D engineered models on projects enables stakeholders to model costs and cash flows for each construction phase.