April 25, 2014
Innovation of the Month: Alternative Technical Concepts
When highway agencies ask construction contractors to provide alternative technical concepts during a competitive procurement process, the result can be lower project costs, reduced risks, increased quality and accelerated schedules.
Using ATCs also encourages innovation and flexibility, advances new technologies and construction methods, fosters early contractor involvement in projects and promotes solutions that increase the value of projects to the public.
The Federal Highway Administration's free webinar series on ATCs covers benefits and challenges of implementing this contracting method and real-world examples of ATC use. The 90-minute sessions include time for the expert presenters to answer participants' questions.
A recording of the first webinar, Introduction to Alternative Technical Concepts, is now available.
Arkansas Chooses Locations for Safety Treatments
The Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department has selected 22 locations to apply high-friction surface treatments. FHWA worked with the Arkansas agency to identify high-crash locations to use the technology as a safety countermeasure. They include horizontal curves and intersections where the increase in pavement friction from the treatments will enhance vehicle braking.
A research project will track the effectiveness of installing the treatments.
Ohio River Bridge Reopens After Lateral Slide
The new Madison-Milton Bridge connecting Madison, Ind., with Milton, Ky., via U.S. Highway 421 over the Ohio River is now open after a year of construction. The project used innovative construction methods—including accelerated bridge construction and design-build—that allowed the old bridge to remain open to traffic while the new bridge was built. The new 2,428-foot-long structure was slid laterally into position on the refurbished original piers, making it the longest bridge in North America to be slid laterally into place. Kentucky and Indiana officials talk about the project in a video.
New Hampshire Certifies Local Agencies
The New Hampshire Department of Transportation hosted a local public agency certification workshop in Concord in April, the ninth since it started its local agency certification program in 2012. Workshop attendance is mandatory for New Hampshire municipal and consultant staff members who work on locally administered Federal-Aid Projects. More than 450 people have been certified so far. Workshop topics include requirements for developing and building Federal-Aid projects outlined in the New Hampshire DOT Local Public Agency Manual.
Ohio Signs Programmatic Agreement
The Ohio Department of Transportation, National Park Service, Ohio Department of Natural Resources and FHWA executed a programmatic agreement on April 14 for Federal-Aid highway projects impacting Section 6(f) resources under the Land and Water Conservation Act. The first of its kind nationally, the agreement establishes review time frames, delegates authority to the two state agencies when permissible and streamlines environmental review processes between the two federal agencies. That will save time and money for all four agencies as projects move through the Section 6(f) process.
Oklahoma Demonstrates High-Friction Surface Treatments
The Oklahoma Department of Transportation demonstrated the application of high-friction surface treatments on two projects on State Highway 20 in Mayes County. Both locations had a history of crashes with and without fatalities. Because of the success of the demonstration projects, the Oklahoma DOT plans to move forward on implementing the technology on other projects and developing specifications for its use.
Secretary Foxx Visits Tennessee Project Site
U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx joined Tennessee officials at an April 15 media event in Nashville to discuss funding for infrastructure projects, such as a proposed I-40/I/65 project to rehabilitate bridges and resurface part of I-40 in the city's downtown area. The Tennessee Department of Transportation plans to use accelerated bridge construction and precast full-depth panels for quick demolition and reconstruction of the bridges. That would cut the impact of construction on road users from several months of road closures to a dozen weekend closures. The agency also plans to use the construction manager/general contractor delivery method to shorten the project timeline.
Tribal Project to Use CM/GC Contracting
The Gila River Indian Community Department of Transportation has awarded its first construction manager/general contractor contract. Located near Phoenix, Ariz., the project will replace the Gila River Bridge on Route 7. The Gila River Indian Community received a second Strategic Highway Research Program award to use accelerated bridge construction on the project. The CM/GC, designer and Gila River Indian Community staff will convert the traditional bridge design to ABC to cut on-site construction and road closure time and improve bridge quality. The original design called for a 6-mile detour for six months, but susing ABC methods will allow crews to replace the bridge in weeks.