May 21, 2015
Innovation Implementation: Improving Collaboration and Quality Environmental Documentation
The Every Day Counts focus on implementing quality environmental documentation involves using best practices to simplify and expedite the development of National Environmental Policy Act documents needed for transportation construction projects.
After encouraging adoption of IQED principles in EDC-2, the Federal Highway Administration is continuing the effort in EDC-3 as part of the improving collaboration and quality environmental documentation strategy, along with promoting the eNEPA online collaboration tool.
Many states have used IQED successfully:
- The Oregon Department of Transportation worked with FHWA to develop IQED tools and principles that were highlighted in the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials’ Preparing High-Quality NEPA Documents for Transportation Projects. Read Oregon’s IQED principles in NEPA Document Do’s and Don’ts.
- The Colorado Department of Transportation developed a base document for environmental assessments that cuts document size by 75 percent. It was used on the U.S. 50 West project in Pueblo and the State Highway 9 Iron Springs project in Summit County.
- The Missouri Department of Transportation worked with FHWA to choose a project and reduce the size of its environmental assessment document. As a result, the environmental assessment for the I-55 interchange project in Scott County came in at 35 pages, compared to more than 100 or more pages for traditional environmental assessments.
D.C. Builds GRS-IBS in the Nation’s Capital
Staff from the District Department of Transportation, FHWA, National Park Service and contractors met May 7 to discuss upcoming construction of the 27th Street Bridge in Washington, D.C., the District DOT’s first geosynthetic reinforced soil-integrated bridge system. The project received a grant from FHWA’s Highways for LIFE program to use innovation. A showcase is planned this summer to demonstrate the use of GRS-IBS to others. Construction is expected to last 70 days, with completion scheduled for September 2015.
Chicago Airport Project Advances
The Chicago Department of Aviation is using the construction manager-at-risk contracting method, also called construction manager/general contractor, to build a consolidated facility for rental car operations and public parking at Chicago O’Hare International Airport. The construction manager-at-risk project, scheduled to start June 15, is the first of its kind for the city of Chicago. It’s part of an overall $782 million project, which will also extend the Airport Transit System to serve the new facility.
Indiana Continues Major Moves Projects
The Indiana Department of Transportation began building another of its Major Moves 2020 projects, this one to add a third lane on I-65 near Lafayette. The $82.8 million design-build project–from south of State Route 38 to north of State Route 25–is scheduled to open to traffic by August 2017. This section of I-65 experiences traffic volumes of more than 40,000 vehicles a day, more than 25 percent of them trucks traveling to and from Chicago.
Pennsylvania Demonstrates High-Friction Surface Treatment
Transportation professionals came to Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, May 7 to observe the application of safety-enhancing high-friction surface treatment on a curve near Mill Road on Route 241 that has experienced about 11 crashes a year since 2008. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, State Transportation Innovation Council, North Cornwall Township and FHWA hosted the demonstration. Through 2015, the Pennsylvania DOT has installed HFST at 63 locations around the state in an effort to prevent crashes and save lives. The agency has identified 121 more locations that would benefit from this innovative technique.
Arizona Reaches Out to Innovators
FHWA staff explained plans to deploy EDC-3 innovations in Arizona at a May 7 gathering of the Alliance for Construction Excellence in Phoenix. The presentation described what the EDC initiative involves, highlighted champions leading implementation efforts and invited alliance members to participate. The presentation is one of many Arizona Council for Transportation Innovation members are making throughout Arizona. As a result of these efforts to reach out, several members of the transportation community have joined EDC-3 implementation efforts.
Photo Credit: PennDOT