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Innovations Driving the ROI in U.S. Transportation Infrastructure
by Pete Ruane[/et_pb_text][et_pb_image admin_label=”Image” src=”http://www.artba.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Ruane.jpg” show_in_lightbox=”off” url_new_window=”off” animation=”off” sticky=”off”] [/et_pb_image][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”left”] [shareaholic app=”share_buttons” id=”5471715″]
It’s hard to believe that in the early 1900s, America was stuck in the mud.
Railroads were the preferred method of travel, and automobiles and airports were still in their infancy.
Fast forward to 2015. Today, America has the most complex—and sophisticated—intermodal transportation infrastructure network in the world, and the “pick and shovel” enterprise has long been replaced with a high-tech industry that is driven by some of the nation’s brightest minds.
Apple founder Steve Jobs is credited with saying: “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” This publication, Economy Driven, is chock-full of examples of innovation and leadership by the public and private sectors in delivering transportation infrastructure improvements. Among some of the noteworthy examples:
“Truss sliding”: This unique construction method moved a new 2,400-ft.-long truss along steel rails and plates and “slid” it into place atop the existing piers on a bridge connecting Kentucky and Indiana. The approach was the fastest and most cost-effective way to build the new structure with the least impact on the surrounding area.
Deployment of Low-Cost But Highly Effective Safety Enhancements: To reduce the high number of traffic fatalities at intersections, South Carolina erected oversized yellow, diamond-shaped advance warning signs on the left and right sides of roads ahead of intersections—some with solar-powered flashers mounted on top—and created new pavement markings at 2,000 intersections at a cost $6,000 per intersection. The result: a significant reduction in injuries and fatalities.
Smart Technology: Achieving proper density is critical on asphalt paving jobs. Intelligent compaction is increasingly used by equipment manufacturers. Using sensors and colorful monitors, operators see exactly what sections of the pavement need extra attention, and what sections need to be left alone. In the future, multiple rollers on a jobsite will be able to talk to each other to make sure the proper density is achieved.
Accelerated Bridge Construction: ABC is a technique that allows work to progress concurrently on site and off site. Building the bridge deck section off site and reassembling it on site reduces traffic disruptions, provides a safer environment for workers and motorists, and increases productivity.
Unprecedented Project Coordination: The five-year, $2.3 billion expansion of the New Jersey Turnpike—which doubled capacity when completed in 2014—consisted of interchange improvements and 35 miles of road widening. In addition to the 1,000 workers employed every day, there were 17 general contractors, 327 subcontractors, five construction management firms and 21 utility companies involved in construction. Such a massive project required strong management skills, unified scheduling and cooperation among the private sector and N.J. Turnpike Authority. The partnership paid off, and the project came in $200 million below the estimated budget.
Of course, the real beneficiaries of the projects highlighted in Economy Driven are the American people. Their tax dollars help finance project design and construction.
This publication, which also previews the possibilities of the future, is being shared with all members of Congress and with other key stakeholders around the country to help them better understand why expanded investment in all modes of transportation is critical to Building a Better America!
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2015 March/April Articles
- Chairman’s Message
- President’s Desk
- ARTBA’s Digital Campaign on Highway Trust Fund Hitting the Mark
- DOT Local Hiring Pilot Program Raises Serious Concerns
- AEM Corner
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Insertion Order Forms:
- Transportation Builder
- Leadership Directory & Buyers’ Guide
- Online Buyers’ Guide
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