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FHWA Home / OIPD / Accelerating Innovation / Every Day Counts / EDC News: November 14, 2014

EDC News

November 14, 2014

Innovation Implementation: Accelerated Bridge Construction

Implementation of the accelerated bridge construction technology known as the geosynthetic reinforced soil integrated bridge system has advanced at a good pace during the second round of Every Day Counts. GRS-IBS is also part of EDC-3 because the need to expand its use continues.

GRS-IBS uses alternating layers of compacted granular fill and sheets of geotextile reinforcement to provide bridge support. Quick and easy to build, GRS-IBS is more cost-effective than conventional construction.

Fourteen states have completed GRS-IBS demonstration projects, and five have institutionalized the process. Eighteen states are working on demonstration projects.

GRS-IBS Project
  • In Oklahoma, the Kaw Nation and Kay County used GRS-IBS on four of seven bridges they replaced over Dry Creek in Blackwell. Each 50-foot-long GRS-IBS structure was built several weeks faster and for $40,000 less than typical $100,000 sheet pile abutment structures.
  • In South Dakota, Custer County used GRS-IBS on the 8th Street Bridge. Benefits included the elimination of pilings, which made it easier to build the project during winter weather.

Idaho Hosts 3-D Peer Exchange

An Idaho workshop and peer exchange on 3-D engineered models for construction drew more than 60 participants from public agencies and private industry. The Idaho Transportation Department and Federal Highway Administration organized the event. Topics included applications of 3-D models during design, using 3-D models for construction engineering and quality assurance, and creating implementation plans. Participants also shared successes and lessons learned.

Idaho Accelerates Bridge Project

The Idaho Transportation Department received an FHWA Highways for LIFE grant to use accelerated bridge construction techniques on a project to replace two bridges on State Highway 75 near Challis. Crews replaced the bridge over the East Fork and the bridge over the main channel of the Salmon River on Highway 75. They used precast concrete bridge elements to finish in one construction season.

Illinois Selects EDC-3 Innovations to Advance

The Illinois State Transportation Innovation Leadership Team plans to pursue six of the 11 innovations in the third round of FHWA's Every Day Counts initiative: 3-D engineered models, data-driven safety analysis, e-construction, improving collaboration and quality environmental documentation, smarter work zones and ultra-high-performance concrete connections for prefabricated bridge elements. The committee includes representatives of the Illinois Department of Transportation, FHWA Illinois Division, resource and regulatory agencies, and industry.

Indiana Awards Major Moves Contract

The Indiana Department of Transportation has awarded the first of 10 contracts for a $400 million multiyear interstate expansion program called 2020 Major Moves. The $36 million design-build contract will add a lane in each direction to about 6 miles of I-65 south of Indianapolis. The agency expects to award the rest of the design-build contracts by July 2015.

Michigan Slides Bridge Into Place Overnight

The Michigan Department of Transportation used slide-in bridge technology to minimize the impact on traffic of a project at the I-96/M-50 interchange east of Grand Rapids. Crews slid the new M-50 bridge superstructure into position overnight on October 17. They used three hydraulic jacks to laterally move the 4.5 million pound structure 75 feet. During the slide, I-96 traffic was reduced to one lane in each direction and routed around the site using the interchange ramps. The Michigan DOT used the construction manager/general contractor delivery method on the project.

Tennessee Opens Incident Management Training Facility

The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security and the Tennessee Department of Transportation celebrated the opening of the nation's first traffic incident management training facility October 30. The Nashville facility features a section of interstate-like roadway ranging from two to six lanes, guardrail, a two-way interchange and cable-and-steel barrier rail, as well as a section of two-lane highway and a four-way intersection. After the ribbon-cutting ceremony, a live incident response scenario was simulated at the facility.

Texas Offers Planning and Environmental Linkages Training

Nineteen participants from the Texas Department of Transportation, FHWA, metropolitan planning organizations and industry attended an FHWA workshop in Pharr on planning and environmental linkages. The October event included development of an action plan to promote PEL use throughout the project development and metropolitan transportation planning processes. Five workshops in Texas over the past two years have trained more than 125 people in PEL.

Federal Projects Use GRS-IBS

The U.S. Forest Service restored Layout Creek in Washington's Gifford Pinchot National Forest with a grant from FHWA's Accelerated Innovation Deployment Demonstration program. The aquatic restoration project returned the undersized culvert crossing to a more natural state by replacing the culvert with a bridge. The project used geosynthetic reinforced soil integrated bridge system design for the substructure and prefabricated prestressed concrete beams for the superstructure. GRS-IBS was also used to build the Sand Creek Bridge in Dawes County, Nebraska, which accesses the Oglala National Grasslands. The project took just 15 10-hour work days to complete.

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Jeffrey A. Zaharewicz
(202) 366-1325

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