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Publication Number:      Date:  March/April 2003
Issue No: Vol. 66 No. 5
Date: March/April 2003


Editor's Notes

Delivering Service in the Field

John R. BaxterThe transportation industry is complex, with competing goals and constant demands on resources. At no place is this more evident than in the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) division offices that are on the "front lines" in delivering the Federal-aid program—working directly with State departments of transportation, metropolitan planning organizations, and other partners and customers.

Our division offices deliver valued products and services through the Agency's four business processes that include: program delivery, technology deployment, technical assistance, and national policy leadership. The division office role is to support FHWA's national policies and the "vital few" priorities of safety, environmental stewardship and streamlining, and congestion mitigation, in addition to working with States to support their individual priorities. By concentrating on our performance plans, we can stay focused through a complex maze of requests.

The State of Indiana has had success in each of FHWA's four business process areas. In program delivery, FHWA, the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT), and our industry partners are especially proud of projects that have received national recognition in recent years from the National Partnership for Highway Quality. We delivered the I-65 from U.S. 30 to 52nd Avenue in Lake County project to the traveling public in half the time of a traditional project, with an exceptional level of quality. (See Public Roads, March/April 2002.) Program delivery also encompasses working with divergent interests to find a complementary solution, such as the U.S. 40 project in Cumberland, IN, which balanced the community's livability issues and incorporated the capacity and growth needs of this area.

In technology deployment, FHWA works closely with INDOT, industry, and academia to be a leader in a number of areas, including both hot mix asphalt and portland cement concrete. In hot mix asphalt, INDOT implemented SUPERPAVE®, including mixture and production controls; utilized the stone mastic asphalt process from Europe; and is advancing permeable European mixes for noise control. For concrete pavements, INDOT adopted a new texturing design to reduce roadway noise significantly, and implemented the Federal Highway program for performance-related specifications.

Indiana's Division provides technical assistance in a number of ways. One example is our I-70 Six Points project, which shifts the alignment of I-70 to accommodate the future expansion of the Indianapolis Airport. On this major project, we facilitated a peer review of an important stream relocation, resulting in significant improvements to the design and resolving a number of outstanding issues with resource agencies.

We also are working closely with our partners and customers to support national policy set at the FHWA headquarters level. Indiana's emphasis areas include context-sensitive design, the public involvement process, and Intelligent Transportation System regional architectures.

Many challenges lie ahead as we deliver the program in our State. The Hyperfix I-65/70 project in downtown Indianapolis will test regional traffic coordination, and an accelerated schedule and mainline closures will enable the Interstate to undergo major reconstruction in record time. Our State wants to continue to reduce fatalities through Indiana's Safety Leadership Team approach and to build upon our success at preserving Indiana's historic bridges through the newly formed Historic Bridges Task Force and an innovative Web marketing approach.

This issue of Public Roads contains a number of articles from the field that reinforce what we've learned here in Indiana—that the successful delivery of the Federal-aid program is a function of working together and drawing upon the expertise of FHWA, State and local agencies, and our partner organizations.

I invite you to stop by any FHWA division office to discuss how we can work together to improve transportation for a strong America.

John R. Baxter, P.E.

Indiana Division Administrator




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