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Federal Highway Administration > Publications > Public Roads > Vol. 61· No. 5 > Along the Road

March/April 1998
Vol. 61· No. 5

Along the Road

Along the Road is the place to look for information about current and upcoming activities, developments, trends, and items of general interest to the highway community. This information comes from Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) sources unless otherwise indicated. Your suggestions and input are welcome. Let's meet along the road.

Policy and Legislation

Clinton Requests $43.3 Billion for DOT President Clinton, in his budget for fiscal year (FY) 1999, proposed a record $43.3 billion for Department of Transportation (DOT) programs. The budget, the first balanced federal budget in 30 years, supports five strategic goals: safety, mobility, economic growth and trade, environmental protection, and national security. The requested investment in transportation has increased $431 million from the $42.8 million requested in FY 1998.

The budget proposes $30 billion for infrastructure investment, 42 percent more than the annual average under the previous administration; $3.1 billion for direct transportation safety funding, 11 percent above FY 1998 funding; and $1.9 billion for initiatives to ensure that transportation programs protect and enhance communities and the environment.

The temporary reauthorization of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 expires April 30, 1998.

DOT Announces Recreational Trails Program Allocations DOT has awarded $7.3 million in initial allocations to all 50 states and the District of Columbia through the National Recreational Trails Funding Program. This program provides funds to states to construct and maintain recreational trails for motorized and nonmotorized recreational trail users. The money may be used to develop urban trails, maintain existing recreational trails, restore areas damaged by use, develop trailside facilities, or provide features that facilitate access to trails by people with disabilities.

The National Recreational Trails Funding Program is administered by FHWA. To be eligible to receive funds, a state must have a recreational trail advisory board with both motorized and nonmotorized trail-user representation. Half of the funds are allocated equally among all eligible states; the remaining funds are distributed to eligible states in direct proportion to their nonhighway recreational fuel use.

FHWA, EPA Approve Georgia Projects FHWA and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have agreed to advance environmental projects in the Atlanta metropolitan area that will help the Atlanta region reduce congestion, decrease air pollution, and improve safety.

Secretary of Transportation Rodney Slater pledged to work with EPA to address Atlanta's air quality problems by improving communication between transportation and air quality oversight programs; by conducting additional research on land use, transportation, and air quality; and by dispatching national experts to help regional decision-makers develop transportation and air quality plans that will meet federal standards.

Management and Administration

Web Site Unveiled The federal government's first Internet web site that contains rulemaking and other legal documents was introduced in late November. The site (http://dms.dot.gov) is a compilation of information about proposed and final regulations issued by the department, including public comments on department decisions, Federal Register notices, legal pleadings, rulemaking decisions, and other documents produced during regulatory or adjudicatory actions.

This system will save the department up to $500,000 annually by reducing docket personnel and by streamlining operations. This new system allows users to obtain regulatory and adjudicatory information anytime, without traveling to DOT headquarters in Washington, D.C. In addition, electronic dockets can be accessed simultaneously, allowing more that one person to view the same docket. An online tutorial is available to users who are not familiar with how to use or read dockets.

FHWA To End Aggressive Driving FHWA and Maryland State Police have joined together to end aggressive driving on Washington's Capital Beltway. The project, named Project ADVANCE (Aggressive Driving Video and Non-Contact Enforcement), is designed to deter drivers from speeding, making unsafe lane changes, and following vehicles too closely. No fines will be imposed during the pilot phase of the program; however, the driver will receive a warning when caught while driving in an aggressive and unsafe manner.

FHWA awarded Maryland police a $400,000 grant to begin the testing of advanced speed detection devices and high-resolution digital cameras to detect and record aggressive driving and other traffic violations.

Technical News

FHWA Project Fights Bridge Scour FHWA demonstration project 97 (DP 97), "Scour Monitoring and Instrumentation," is providing technical assistance and equipment grants to Arizona, California, and Nevada.

DP 97 was developed by the FHWA Bridge Division and the Office of Technology Applications to promote the use of new equipment to measure and monitor scour at bridges. This DP implements the findings of the National Cooperative Highway Research Program study 21-3, "Instruments for Measuring Scour at Bridge Piers and Abutments." The scour monitoring instrumentation falls into three broad categories: fixed instruments, portable instruments, and positioning instruments.

The scour monitoring instruments are being installed at scour-critical bridges where the effects of El NiƱo may cause flooding this spring. These instruments allow states to take appropriate action to protect the traveling public when the bridge foundations become threatened by scour.

HITEC To Evaluate FRP Bridge Decks The Highway Innovative Technology Evaluation Center (HITEC), a service center of the Civil Engineering Research Foundation (CERF), has begun group evaluations of fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) replacement bridge-deck systems. So far, two vendors have sent applications: Creative Pultrusions and Martin Marietta Materials.

Both applicants use the pultrusion process to produce the structures. This process involves pulling reinforcements, such as fiberglass, through a thermosetting resin bath and then shaping them into a constant cross-section. The materials are then cured to hardness while being held in a specific shape. This process produces a lightweight, rigid, and strong material.

The initial evaluation panel meeting will include state DOT engineers from California, Georgia, Michigan, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Also, representatives from the University of California, San Diego; West Virginia University; FHWA; and two consulting firms, T.Y. Lin International and W. Brandt Goldsworthy, will attend. -CERF

FHWA Conducts ASR Study The Special Projects and Engineering Division of FHWA's Office of Engineering Research and Development, is conducting a study to identify an accelerated test procedure for assessing the susceptibility of aggregates and concrete mixtures to alkali-silica reactivity (ASR). ASR causes cracking in concrete structures, leading to a loss in strength, elasticity, and durability.

ASR is a significant cause of distress in concrete structures exposed to humid environments. Since ASR was first reported in the 1940s, no rapid test method has been developed that allows for the evaluation of realistic aggregate gradations while being able to distinguish slowly reactive aggregates. The experiments will focus on two mixtures, one slowly reactive and one innocuous. Each uses aggregates from sources with well-documented field performance. The reactivity of each mixture will be gauged by measuring linear expansion and by means of loss in dynamic modulus.

Public Information and Information Exchange

DOT To End Cooperative Agreement with NAHSC DOT Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office (ITS JPO) is coordinating the direction of several related programs -managed by FHWA, the National Highway Safety Administration, and the Federal Transit Administration -under the title Intelligent Vehicle Initiative (IVI). IVI was created to accelerate the development and deployment of products that will help drivers reduce vehicle crashes.

This initiative previously involved a set of independent projects but is now reorganizing to have just one IVI program. DOT will end the cooperative agreement with the National Automated Highway System Consortium (NAHSC) during FY 1998 in an effort to consolidate the program. This consolidation will help ensure a wider participation for future federal IVI funding and ensure that no potential private sector participants will benefit from a selective advantage.

The three DOT agencies released a request for information (RFI), which was published in the Federal Register on Dec. 22, 1997, to invite the private sector, academia and institutions, and other governmental organizations to provide input for the design and approach that industry and government should adopt to achieve the IVI's goals for safety, mobility, and efficiency.

H-3 Opens After nearly 37 years, H-3 -one of Hawaii's three interstate freeways -opened on Dec. 12. This 16-mile (25.7-kilometers), $1.3 billion project was the biggest construction and the largest public works project ever undertaken by the state of Hawaii. H-3 was authorized as part of the Statehood Act of 1960 and is one of three interstate and defense highways in Hawaii to be funded by FHWA.

The opening ceremony, attended by about 500 people invited by Gov. Benjamin Cayetano, began with a Hawaiian Oli ritual to bless the freeway and was followed by a variety of speakers, including FHWA Deputy Administrator Gloria Jeff. Adhering to Hawaiian tradition, ceremony participants took part in the ceremonial untying of the Maile Lei. This symbolic gesture (similar to a ribbon-cutting) officially opened the freeway and concluded the program. After the ceremony, Gov. Cayetano led the guests on the first official ride on the freeway. The facility is open to the general public.

FHWA Funds Foretell FHWA awarded Foretell, a regional initiative designed to integrate advanced weather systems and ITS, $1.3 million to assist FHWA in achieving its objectives of testing and evaluating an effective road-weather information system. Foretell brings together public and private sector partners from the fields of transportation and meteorology. It uses information from the National Weather Service, Environment Canada, and private weather services, as well as Road Weather Information System field stations to provide detailed, location-specific forecasts and real-time reports of weather and road surface conditions.

The project will build upon public-private partnerships to establish rural ITS Service Centers capable of processing weather data from a wide range of sources and to provide real-time weather predictions. The initial Foretell deployment will include various terrain such as plains, forests, lakes, and rolling terrain. The initial deployment area encompasses the major metropolitan areas of Chicago, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Minneapolis/St. Paul, and St. Louis. -ITS International

Kansas Highway Patrol to Install GPS Meters The FHWA Kansas Division has funded a pilot project with the Kansas Highway Patrol to initially install global positioning system (GPS) monitors in 50 patrol vehicles. These GPS units will transmit an interactive pulse, identifying on a spot map where the uniquely identified unit is located at all times. This will allow dispatchers to quickly locate available units.

Based on the satisfactory completion of this pilot project, the highway patrol will equip all their vehicles with the GPS monitors and become the first law enforcement agency in the nation to have this capability.

BTS Releases Journal DOT's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) released the Journal on Transportation and Statistics. The journal showcases the latest developments in transportation information, theory, and methods of analysis relevant to transportation systems in relation to society, the economy, and the environment.

The journal will include methodological and empirical studies, which analyze trends and measure the performance of transportation systems. It will initially be published twice a year; however, if the quality and volume of submitted research papers are sufficient, it may be published quarterly. Participation from government, academia, and industry is encouraged.

For information on submitting a research paper or to receive journal guidelines for paper submission, write to Managing Editor, JTS Bureau of Transportation Statistics, U.S. DOT, Room 3430, 400 Seventh Street, SW, Washington, DC 20590, or send an e-mail to journal@bts.gov.

One-year complimentary subscriptions can be obtained by faxing requests to (202) 366-3640. The journal is also available by visiting the BTS web site at www.bts.gov.

Caltrans Awards Outstanding Projects The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) presented its 1997 Excellence in Transportation Awards at a ceremony on Nov. 10, in Santa Ana, Calif. Seventy-six projects were submitted statewide; three from Orange County were selected as the award winners.

The three winners are the city of Santa Ana's Public Works Branch and Trans Core Engineering for its Advanced Traffic Management System; Robert Bein, William Frost & Associates, the Orange County Transportation Authority, and Caltrans District 12 for the I-5/I-405 Confluence and Bake Parkway Interchange; and Caltrans District 12 for its San Juan Canyon Bridge Seismic Retrofit Project, a historic preservation project.

This annual event acknowledges outstanding work in transportation design, construction, innovative technology, maintenance, and system operations throughout California.

New Web Site Announced FHWA Office of Environment and Planning has launched a new web site: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment. This new site highlights information of national importance such as environmental research objectives, wetlands, water quality initiatives, and the Congestion Mitigation Air Quality Improvement Program. It also outlines products, program information, and regulations.

Nebraska Begins Women's Training Program FHWA has allocated funds to support a program entitled "Women in Highway Construction Trades." The program, originally started in 1994, follows two successful experimental truck driver training programs and will begin again this March. The focus of the March sessions is welding and truck driving. The program encourages women to take part in highway projects, a field in which they are typically under-represented.

The state of Nebraska and FHWA paid for the programs partially with on-the-job training supportive services funds.

National Building Museum Hosts Exhibit The Federal Lands Highway Office, FHWA, and the National Park Service, in cooperation with the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., sponsored an exhibition entitled "Lying Lightly on the Land, Building America's National Park Roads and Parkways."

The exhibition, originally scheduled through Jan. 11, was extended to March 1. It showcases the development of roads and parkways in America's national parks. It demonstrates how engineers and architects designed and built park roads to frame the landscape and to shape visitor experience while keeping the environmental impact to a minimum.

Portions of the exhibit can be viewed on the National Building Museum's web site: http://www.nbm.org.

Personnel

Wykle Assigns Executive Leadership Positions FHWA Administrator Kenneth R. Wykle announced the selection of Dr. Moges Ayele and Ms. Cynthia J. Burbank to two senior executive service positions.

Dr. Ayele was appointed to the position of director, National Highway Institute, Office of the Associate Administrator for Safety and Systems Applications, effective Dec. 21, 1997. He was director of Special Strategic NHI Initiatives prior to this assignment. Dr. Ayele held several positions with Morgan State University, including professor and director of the Center for Transportation Studies.

Ms. Burbank has been appointed to the position of director, Office of Real Estate Service, Office of the Associate Administrator for Program Development, effective Jan. 4, 1998. Ms. Burbank currently serves as chief, Legislation and Strategic Planning Division, Office of Policy Development, Office of the Associate Administrator for Policy.

Levinson Wins Crum Award Herbert S. Levinson, a transportation consultant in New Haven, Conn., won the 1997 Roy W. Crum Award for his outstanding contributions to transportation planning and traffic engineering. The award was presented at the Chairman's Luncheon of the 77th Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 14, 1998.

Levinson has authored more than 150 technical books, articles, and research reports; worked as a researcher, teacher, and practitioner; and has been active in TRB for more than 35 years. He earned a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology and a certificate in highway traffic from Yale University. From 1952 to 1980, he worked for Wilbur Smith and Associates, moving from associate to senior vice president. Now a consultant, he works on a variety of assignments involving public agencies in the United States and abroad.

The Crum award recognizes outstanding achievement in the field of transportation research and was named for TRB's former executive director who served from 1928 until his death in 1951. -TRB

Lee Reassigned to South Carolina Division Robert L. Lee was selected for the position of administrator of FHWA's South Carolina Division. Lee had served as the division administrator in Iowa. Previously, he was special assistant to the FHWA executive director, and he served as district engineer, Region 4 in Atlanta. He earned his bachelor's degree in civil engineering.

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