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States Innovate!

California Advances Digital As-Builts

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is advancing its use of digital as-builts (DABs) to streamline field inspection with easy to use click graphics, specifications, checklists, and forms to document quantities and qualities of pay items. This information is automated to then populate the asset management database for future use. Caltrans has mandated that all construction field staff keep contract administrative files electronically in the document management system. Caltrans is also investing in the validation and deployment of other tools such as mobile LiDAR, unmanned aerial systems, and terrestrial LiDAR. Learn more about Caltrans’ progress in implementing DABs in the March issue of the FHWA’s Innovation in Project Delivery e-newsletter.

Connecticut Employs Planning and Environmental Linkages

The Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) recently launched a planning and environmental linkages (PEL) study to identify improvements for reducing congestion and improving travel time for its Interstate 95 Eastern Connecticut project. PEL studies facilitate a collaborative and integrated approach to transportation decision-making that considers environmental, community, and economic goals early in the planning process. The information, analysis, and products developed during planning will inform the environmental review process. CTDOT created a study website that explains the PEL process to the public, including background information and timelines, and supplemented face-to-face community events along the study corridor with virtual public information meetings to increase participation.

Florida DOT Virtual Tour Site

The Florida DOT is offering the public virtual tours of the innovative interchange designs included in its I-4 Beyond the Ultimate project.

Credit: Florida Department of Transportation

Florida Adds Innovative Interchanges to Interstate 4

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) included several innovative interchange designs in its I-4 Beyond the Ultimate project. The project will rebuild more than 40 miles of Interstate 4, a heavily traveled roadway in central Florida that serves as a gateway to theme parks and resorts. Diverging diamond interchanges (DDI), restricted crossing U-turns, and roundabouts were added to improve safety by reducing the number of conflict points, or the number of ways vehicles can cross paths, which reduces the potential for serious crashes. FDOT is using a variety of methods to educate the traveling public on how to navigate the designs, including videos and virtual public involvement techniques such as hybrid meetings and virtual tours of two of the DDI locations that allow users to explore three-dimensional models of the interchanges.

Mississippi Launches LiDAR-Equipped Drones

The Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) is using unmanned aerial systems (also referred to as drones) equipped with LiDAR (light detection and ranging) technology to improve efficiency and safety for road maintenance and construction projects. The LiDAR drones allow MDOT to survey land conditions and collect roadway characteristics faster than using traditional surveying. The technology also increases safety for MDOT workers by reducing the time spent in the field near traffic. According to an MDOT news release, Mississippi is one of the first States in the southeast to employ LiDAR drone technology for transportation construction projects.

Oklahoma’s Eufaula Dam Spillway Bridge picture

Oklahoma’s Eufaula Dam Spillway Bridge replacement project used ultra-high performance concrete connections.

Credit: Sara Goodeyon/U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Oklahoma Expands Use of UHPC

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Tulsa District worked with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, University of Oklahoma, and FHWA to replace the Eufaula Dam Spillway Bridge using ultra-high performance concrete (UHPC) connections for prefabricated bridge elements. Prefabricated bridge elements are structural components of a bridge that are built offsite then brought, ready to erect, to the project location. Field-cast UHPC is a solution for connecting the prefabricated concrete components. According to a news release on the project, the bridge over the Eufaula Dam now has the highest concentration of UHPC in Oklahoma. Watch a video produced by USACE for more details on the use of UHPC on the bridge and the partnerships that helped it succeed.

Pennsylvania Highlights Innovations in Safety and Efficiency

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) posted an interactive publication called Focus on Innovations that describes recent efforts to increase efficiency and safety. The publication includes articles on innovations from a variety of areas across the agency, as well as progress on several initiatives it adopted through Every Day Counts such as e-Ticketing. According to the e-Ticketing article, PennDOT first piloted the innovation for the receipt of aggregate, asphalt, and concrete materials in 2021 and will enter the third pilot year during the 2023 construction season, with full implementation anticipated in 2024. PennDOT reports that e-Ticketing’s benefits include an increase in safety, as field inspectors can stay on the non-traffic side of delivery trucks, and an increase in productivity, as office staff no longer need to sift through paper tickets.

Notice: The U.S. Government does not endorse products or manufacturers. Trademarks or manufacturers’ names appear in this article only because they are considered essential to the objective of the document.

Recommended Citation: U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration - Washington, DC (2023) Innovator Newsletter, May/June 2023, Volume 16 (96). https://doi.org/10.21949/1521747