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States Innovate!

New Jersey Puts Aging Drawbridge on a Road Diet

Following a mechanical failure on the 90-year-old Shark River Drawbridge, the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) discovered significant damage to the steel structure beneath the roadway. To preserve the drawbridge machinery and keep the bridge open, NJDOT needed to find a way to redistribute the traffic load away from the damaged steel. The agency implemented a road diet on the structure, reconfiguring it to one lane in each direction. This allowed NJDOT to add an innovative bicycle-safe grid across the bridge as well as nearby intersection improvements to Route 71. NJDOT reports that the Shark River Drawbridge now has improved traffic flow, increased safety, and reduced congestion in this busy tourist area. NJDOT’s emergency repair and road diet project was named a regional winner of a 2023 America’s Transportation Award from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.

Watch a video to learn how the New Jersey DOT implemented a road diet that improved safety on an aging drawbridge.

Credit: New Jersey Department of Transportation

Flying to the Rescue: UAS Revolutionize Alaska’s Emergency Services

The Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities (DOT&PF) is expanding its use of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) to assist communities during emergencies. The agency’s Alaska Rural Remote Operations Work Plan (ARROW) Program is aimed at improving emergency response capabilities in rural areas of the State. Alaska DOT&PF will provide 10 communities with UAS and access to a shared geographic information system (GIS). The ARROW program leverages funding provided by U.S. DOT and strategic partnerships with the Federal Aviation Administration and Alaska Center for UAS Integration that will allow Alaska DOT&PF and community partners to begin using UAS beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) for critical infrastructure inspection. Enabling remote communities to conduct BVLOS missions using UAS will allow them to collect critical data for the shared statewide GIS. The data will be used to help ensure responders are dispatched quickly to natural and human-made disasters affecting critical infrastructure in historically underserved communities.

Disclaimer: The U.S. Government does not endorse products or manufacturers. Trademarks or manufacturers’ names appear in this document only because they are considered essential to the objective of the document. They are included for informational purposes only and are not intended to reflect a preference, approval, or endorsement of any one product or entity.

Except for the statutes and regulations cited, the contents of this document do not have the force and effect of law and are not meant to bind the States or the public in any way. This document is intended only to provide information regarding existing requirements under the law or agency policies.

Recommended Citation: U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration - Washington, DC (2023) Innovator Newsletter, September/October 2023, Volume 17 (98). https://doi.org/10.21949/1521759