July 16, 2015
Innovation Implementation: Improving DOT and Railroad Coordination
As the number of highway projects near railroad rights-of-way increases, improving transportation department and railroad coordination can speed project delivery and cut costs associated with conflict-related delays.
The Every Day Counts initiative encourages highway agencies to use new strategies to enhance coordination with railroads. Among the innovations agencies are adopting are standardized agreements and memorandums of understanding that streamline processes while protecting the rights and obligations of agencies and railroads.
Several states use model agreements:
- The North Carolina Department of Transportation uses master right-of-entry agreements with CSX to streamline access to rights-of-way for routine activities.
- A memorandum of understanding and master agreement between the Colorado Department ofTransportation and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad incorporates a number of model components.
- The Texas Department of Transportation is developing a reverse master agreement with Union Pacific to expedite agreements when the railroad needs access for expansion.
For model agreements developed under the second Strategic Highway Research Program's R16 project, see Appendix C in Strategies for Improving the Project Agreement Process Between Highway Agencies and Railroads.
Highway projects that interact with railroad rights-of-way require extensive coordination between
transportation agencies and the railroads.
Floating Bridge Reaches Milestone
Crews building the new State Route 520 floating bridge on Lake Washington reached a significant milestone July 8 when they moved the bridge's last three massive pontoons into final position. The Washington State Department of Transportation is using the design-build delivery method for the project. Once completed, the bridge will carry six lanes of traffic across Lake Washington from Seattle to Medina. The bridge is scheduled to open to traffic in spring 2016.
Crews position pontoons on Washington's State Route 520 floating bridge.
Arizona Completes Street Improvements Project
A July 8 ribbon-cutting marked the completion of the San Luis Street Improvements project near the San Luis Port of Entry, Arizona's second-busiest border crossing. The construction manager/general contractor delivery method was used due to the project's complexity and to keep port traffic moving during construction. The project rerouted port traffic from U.S. 95, Main Street, to local roads and improved access to Main Street businesses. Safety enhancements include two roundabouts and a pedestrian-activated signal for children who walk through the port from Mexico to attend school in San Luis.
Officials celebrate the completion of the San Luis Street Improvements project.
Arizona Workshop Covers Intersection Geometrics
A workshop enabled Arizona Department of Transportation staff to learn about opportunities for using alternative intersection and interchange geometric designs instead of conventional intersections to improve safety and mobility. The June event in Phoenix helped participants evaluate potential applications for roundabouts, diverging diamond interchanges, U-turn intersections and displaced left-turn intersections.
Interchange Opens in Montana
A dedication ceremony on June 26 celebrated the opening of the new I-90 interchange near the entrance to Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport in Belgrade, Montana. The project, which received a U.S. Department of Transportation TIGER grant, includes three roundabouts and a railroad underpass. The project will provide greater intermodal connectivity, improved regional mobility and a grade-separated railroad crossing for increased safety.
Tennessee Symposium Features Procurement Innovation
Innovative project procurement methods such as construction manager/general contractor were on the agenda of the Tennessee Department of Transportation Statewide Operations Symposium and Maintenance Rodeo. The event in Pigeon Forge on June 22 to 25 provided training on new technologies for Tennessee DOT maintenance and construction staff. Other innovations included a snow and ice simulator for training maintenance workers and information technology advances for administering projects efficiently.
Washington Chooses CM/GC for Dock Project
Washington State Ferries, the Federal Transit Administration and FHWA are planning a project to replace aging, seismically vulnerable components of Colman Dock in Seattle, the state's largest ferry terminal. Washington State Ferries chose the construction manager/general contractor delivery method to rebuild the dock without interrupting service to travelers. The Washington State Department of Transportation received Strategic Highway Research Program implementation assistance for the project, its first using CM/GC. FHWA held a workshop in July for the project team on SHRP 2 project management strategies for complex projects (R10).
Programmatic Agreement Streamlines Project Approvals
After a two-year collaboration, the Washington State Department of Transportation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and FHWA completed a statewide programmatic formal Endangered Species Act consultation. The programmatic agreement combines and updates two agreements for the east and west halves of the state. It provides coverage for newly listed species and designated critical habitats. The agreement also includes cost- and time-saving measures, such as a fast-track approval process for projects with low impacts and long-term benefits for listed species.