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Federal Highway Administration / Publications / Focus / March 2001

Accelerating Infrastructure Innovations

Publication Number: FHWA-RD-01-062
Date: March 2001

Work Zone Innovations: Get the Facts

A new series of fact sheets available from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) describes how State highway agencies are using a lot more than flaggers and traffic cones to improve their work zones. Oregon's Quick Fax Service (Publication No. FHWA-OP-00-022), for example, details how the Oregon Department of Transportation (DOT) relies on a broadcast fax system to relay up-to-the-minute information on road closures and traffic delays to commercial truckers. Approximately 154 trucking companies and 30 truck stops, including those as far away as Virginia, Nebraska, and Wyoming, are on the notification list. The broadcast fax system can deliver 50 faxes at once, which has cut notification time from 3 hours to 20 minutes. For more information, contact Dave Davis at Oregon DOT, 503-986-5845 (fax: 503-986-5847; email: david.u.davis@odot.state.or.us).

The Delaware DOT took an equally innovative approach to planning a major reconstruction project on a busy section of Interstate 95, which is described in Delaware's Survival Plan for the I-95 Shutdown (Publication No. FHWA-OP-00-025). To keep disruptions to a minimum, a citizens advisory board reviewed several alternatives for performing the construction work and decided that closing all lanes on the side being rebuilt would be the fastest and least expensive way of completing the work. The DOT also mounted a year-long information campaign to let the public know of alternative travel routes. The campaign included newspaper ads and radio spots, as well as a survival guide that explained what was happening on I-95, when it would happen, and what the public should do to plan ahead. For more information, contact Darren O'Neill at Delaware DOT, 302-760-2274 (email: doneill@mail.dot.state.de.us).

fact sheets.

Also described in the series is Illinois DOT's use of new strategies for a recent reconstruction project on Interstate 57 (Customer Driven Construction in Illinois, Publication No. FHWA-OP-00-023). Illinois Interstate projects are usually limited to 8 km (5 mi) of construction per project. However, with 29 km (18 mi) of I-57 needing rehabilitation and safety upgrades, the Illinois DOT decided to combine these multiple projects into one continuous work zone segment. This strategy limited the construction-related delays to one summer, instead of an estimated three to four construction seasons. Other innovations included providing real-time information to motorists through the use of portable message boards, using fast-setting patch mixes, and moving lane closures more often to reduce the length of the closures. For more information, contact Travis Emery at Illinois DOT, 618-549-2171 (email: emeryjt@nt.dot.state.il.us).

A fourth fact sheet, Work Zone Safety Awareness Week (Publication No. FHWA-OP-00-024), describes how some States observed the 2000 event (see related story, page 1). For more information or to obtain copies of the fact sheets, contact Phillip Ditzler at FHWA, 202-366-0855 (fax: 202-366-3225; email: phillip.ditzler@fhwa.dot.gov). The fact sheets are also available on the Web at ops.fhwa.dot.gov/wz/workzone.htm.

How is your State or local highway agency improving its work zone operations? Have innovative practices saved you time and money, improved safety, or reduced delays? FHWA wants to hear from you! The information received will be used to update FHWA's recently released Work Zone Best Practices Guidebook (Publication No. FHWA-OP-00-010) and will be highlighted in future fact sheets. To share your best practices or to obtain a CD-ROM copy of the current guidebook, contact Phillip Ditzler at FHWA, 202-366-0855 (fax: 202-366-3225; email: phillip.ditzler@fhwa.dot.gov). The guidebook is also available on the Web at ops.fhwa.dot.gov/wz/workzone.htm.

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Updated: 06/27/2017
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