Tag Archive for 'bridges'

2018 National Work Zone Awareness Week

2018 National Work Zone Awareness Week:

“Expect the Unexpected” In Roadway Construction Work Zones, ARTBA Say 

April 10 Kick-Off in Chicago, April 11 “Go Orange Day” Coincide with Unofficial Start of Construction Season
 What’s happening on the nation’s roadways should always have the full attention of motorists, but it’s even more critical as drivers approach and pass through construction work zones, the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) says.

Paying attention to signs, maintaining safe following distances, signaling intentions and “expecting the unexpected,” are keys to preventing work zone crashes that kill and injure drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and workers.

Over the past five years, over 3,300 people—including an estimated 650 workers—have been killed nationally in work zone crashes, with distracted driving blamed directly for at least 500 of the deaths, according to government data. More than 35,000 people annually are injured at these work sites.

As part of the 19th annual National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW), April 9-13, ARTBA Foundation-managed National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse (www.workzonesafety.org) has produced a free brochure providing tips for safely navigating work zones.

The theme for the 2018 NWZAW is “Work Zone Safety: Everybody’s Responsibility.” An official kickoff was held April 10 at the Jane Byrne Interchange reconstruction project in Chicago. Mark Borkowski chairman of ARTBA state chapter affiliate, the Illinois Road & Transportation Builders Association, represented the ARTBA Foundation at the event.

Wednesday, April 11, is “Go Orange Day,” when transportation professionals and others across the nation are urged to wear orange to show their support for work zone safety. Help spread this important message by taking a selfie or group photo and posting it to social media using the hashtags: #Orange4Safety or #OrangeForSafety.

More information can be found on the NWZAW website.

The National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse, now in its 21st year, handles more than 200,000 requests annually. It provides users with information on accident and crash data, flagging, emerging technologies and equipment, best practices, key safety experts, laws and regulations, safety standards, research publications, training videos and programs, and successful public education campaigns. Materials are available in Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, French, Russian, and Arabic.

For more information about the Clearinghouse operations, contact ARTBA Senior Vice President of Safety & Education Brad Sant.

President Trump Is Cutting Red Tape On Infrastructure Projects

President Trump Is Cutting Red Tape On Infrastructure Projects

IMPROVING ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEWS:  President Trump’s Administration is working together to improve and streamline environmental reviews for major infrastructure projects.

  • Federal agencies are signing the One Federal Decision Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), establishing a coordinated and timely process for environmental reviews of major infrastructure projects.
  • The signatories of the MOU have agreed to an unprecedented level of collaboration in the environmental review process and include the:
    • Departments of the Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, Energy, and Homeland Security
    • Environmental Protection Agency
    • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
    • Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
    • Advisory Council on Historic Preservation
    • Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council
  • One lead Federal agency will be responsible for navigating each major infrastructure project through the entire Federal environmental review and permitting process.
    • Until now, project sponsors have had to navigate decision-making processes across multiple Federal agencies. Federal agencies will work with the lead agency for a project to develop a single Environmental Impact Statement and sign a single Record of Decision.
    • The lead agency will seek written concurrence from other agencies at important points in the process.
  • Federal agencies will follow permitting timetables established by the lead Federal agency, with a goal of completing the process within two years.
    • In the past, Federal agencies were generally not required to follow a comprehensive permitting timetable.
    • Under the MOU, Federal agencies will conduct their review processes at the same time, rather than sequentially, which has led to unnecessary delays.
  • The MOU will ensure interagency issues and disputes are elevated and resolved in a timely manner.
    • Previously, interagency disputes could remain unresolved for years.

DELIVERING STREAMLINED DECISION-MAKING: The One Federal Decision MOU follows through on the President’s policy of streamlining inefficient and lengthy environmental reviews.

  • The MOU will deliver on the President’s policy of One Federal Decision for major infrastructure projects.
  • President Trump’s Executive Order 13807 established a One Federal Decision policy for major infrastructure projects.
    • The Executive Order directed the Office of Management and Budget and the Council on Environmental Quality to develop a framework for implementing One Federal Decision.

CUTTING COSTLY DELAYS:  Inefficient environmental review processes have led to unnecessary delays, depriving our communities of needed infrastructure projects.

  • The MOU improves Federal agency cooperation and ensures Federal agencies establish coordinated permitting timetables for major infrastructure projects, cutting down on needless delays.
  • Too many important infrastructure projects have been held up for years by the environmental review process.
  • The median environmental review completion time for a complex highway project is more than seven years, according to a 2014 Government Accountability Office report.
  • The environmental review and permitting process for the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge Replacement Project in North Carolina took more than 20 years.
    • The environmental review process involved numerous studies and interagency disputes and was subject to extensive delays.
    • The original bridge was well past its design life and is now being replaced with a design that can better withstand the harsh coastal environment.
    • The One Federal Decision framework would have allowed for a much more timely environmental review process.
  • Loop 202, a critical freeway project which will provide an alternative route of travel around Phoenix, took well over a decade to complete the environmental review process.
    • Loop 202’s environmental review faced numerous setbacks and dragged on for years due to poor communication, no agreed upon timetable and other issues.
    • The project, which is the largest in Arizona’s history, is finally in the final stages of development.
    • Had One Federal Decision been in place, agencies could have identified and resolved conflicts throughout project development and reduced their impact on project schedules.



 Roads and bridges that are deteriorated, congested or lack some desirable safety features cost Illinois motorists a total of $16.4 billion statewide annually – as much as $2,485 per driver in some urban areas – due to higher vehicle operating costs, traffic crashes and congestion-related delays. Increased investment in transportation improvements at the local, state and federal levels could relieve traffic congestion, improve road, bridge and transit conditions, boost safety, and support long-term economic growth in Illinois, according to a new report released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation organization.

The TRIP report, Illinois Transportation by the Numbers: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe, Smooth and Efficient Mobility,” finds that throughout Illinois, more than one-third of major locally and state-maintained urban roads are in poor or mediocre condition and nine percent of locally and state-maintained bridges are structurally deficient. The report also finds that Illinois’ major urban roads are becoming increasingly congested, causing significant delays and choking commuting and commerce.

Illinois motorists lose a total of $16.4 billion per year in the form of extra vehicle operating costs (VOC) as a result of driving on roads in need of repair, lost time and fuel due to congestion-related delays, and the costs of traffic crashes in which roadway features likely were a contributing factor. The TRIP report calculates the cost to motorists of insufficient roads in the Chicago, Champaign-Urbana, Metro East, Peoria-Bloomington, Rockford and Springfield urban areas. A breakdown of the costs per motorist in each area, along with a statewide total, is below.

The TRIP report finds that 27 percent of major locally and state-maintained roads in Illinois are in poor condition and nine percent are in mediocre condition, costing the state’s motorist an additional $3.5 billion each year in extra vehicle operating costs. These costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.

“Illinois’ infrastructure is vital to propel the state forward as an economic powerhouse,” said Illinois Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Todd Maisch. “From Chicago to the Metro East, this report, which reflects similar numbers to that of Illinois state agencies, reveals the reality of Illinois’ transportation systems from congestion to safety. Knowing where our state stands in these areas is crucial to understanding our state’s needs.”

Nine percent of Illinois’ bridges are structurally deficient, with significant deterioration to the bridge deck, supports or other major components.

The Illinois Department of Transportation projects that, under current funding levels, the percentage of state-maintained roads and bridges in need of repairs will increase significantly in the next five years.

Traffic congestion in the state’s largest urban areas is worsening, causing as many as 63 annual hours of delay for the average motorist and costing each driver as much as $1,484 annually in lost time and wasted fuel.

Traffic crashes in Illinois claimed the lives of 4,947 people between 2012 and 2016. Illinois’ overall traffic fatality rate of 1.01 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel is lower than the national average of 1.18. The fatality rate on Illinois’ non-interstate rural roads is approximately three times higher than on all other roads in the state (2.28 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel vs. 0.78). The financial impact of traffic crashes cost Illinois drivers a total of $4.7 billion annually.

The efficiency and condition of Illinois’ transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy. Annually, $2.9 trillion in goods are shipped to, from and within Illinois, relying heavily on the state’s network of roads and bridges. Increasingly, companies are looking at the quality of a region’s transportation system when deciding where to re-locate or expand. Regions with congested or poorly maintained roads may see businesses relocate to areas with a smoother, more efficient and more modern transportation system. The design, construction and maintenance of transportation infrastructure in Illinois supports 154,001 full-time jobs across all sectors of the state economy.

“These conditions are only going to get worse, increasing the additional costs to motorists, if greater investment is not made available at the state and local levels of government,” said Will Wilkins, TRIP’s executive director. “Without adequate funding, Illinois’ transportation system will become increasingly deteriorated and congested, hampering economic growth, safety and quality of life.”

Illinois KEY Transportation FACTS


Driving on Illinois roads that are deteriorated, congested and that lack some desirable safety features costs Illinois drivers a total of $16.4 billion each year. TRIP has calculated the cost to the average motorist in the state’s largest urban areas in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (VOC) as a result of driving on rough roads, the cost of lost time and wasted fuel due to congestion and the financial cost of traffic crashes.



Due to inadequate state and local funding, more than one of every three miles of major urban roads and highways in Illinois are in poor or mediocre condition.  The condition of state-maintained roads and bridges in Illinois is anticipated to decline through 2023 based on current funding.



Nine percent of Illinois’ bridges are structurally deficient, meaning there is significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components. The condition of state-maintained bridges in Illinois is anticipated to decline through 2023 based on current funding.


Congested roads choke commuting and commerce and cost Illinois drivers $8.2 billion each year in the form of lost time and wasted fuel. Drivers in the state’s largest urban areas lose thousands of dollars and as much as two-and-a-half days each year in congestion.



Nearly 5,000 people were killed in traffic crashes in Illinois in the last five years. Traffic crashes in which roadway features were likely a contributing factor imposed $4.7 billion in economic costs in 2016.


The health and future growth of Illinois’ economy is riding on its transportation system. Each year, $2.9 trillion in goods are shipped to, from and within Illinois, mostly by truck. Projected increases in passenger and freight movement will place further burdens on the state’s already deteriorated and congested network of roads and bridges. By 2045, total freight tonnage being shipped in, out and within Illinois is projected to grow by 40 percent, with 70 percent of the added tonnage moved by truck.

The design, construction and maintenance of transportation infrastructure in Illinois supports 154,001 full-time jobs across all sectors of the state economy. These workers earn $6.5 billion annually. Approximately 2.6 million full-time jobs in Illinois in key industries like tourism, manufacturing, retail sales, agriculture are completely dependent on the state’s transportation infrastructure network.

Each dollar spent on road, highway and bridge improvements results in an average benefit of $5.20 in the form of reduced vehicle maintenance costs, reduced delays, reduced fuel consumption, improved safety, reduced road and bridge maintenance costs and reduced emissions as a result of improved traffic flow.

For the full report visit:

Illinois Transportation by the Numbers: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe, Smooth and Efficient Mobility

U.S. Department of Transportation Announces Half A Billion Dollars in Infrastructure Investments to 41 Projects in 43 States

Recently (March 9, 2018) the U.S. Department of Transportation awarded nearly $500 million in discretionary grant funding through the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program to 41 recipients in 43 states. TIGER grants are targeted investments for communities that will increase safety, create jobs and modernize our country’s rail and transit infrastructure. Among the projects receiving the fiscal year 2017 TIGER funding:

  • The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) for the Summerhill Bus Rapid Transit Project.
  • The City of Eau Claire, Wisconsin for the Chippewa Valley Regional Transit Transfer Center Revitalization Project.
  • The Delaware Department of Transportation for the Georgetown East Gateway in Georgetown, Delaware.
  • The Collier County, Florida Board of County Commissioners for the Immokalee Complete Streets Project.
  • Mississippi State University for the Hightower Road Corridor Project in Starkville, Mississippi.

Tom Ewing’s Environmental Update

*  Peer review?  Federal Highway is proposing to formally add a value engineering (VE) requirement to big-ticket projects in which the feds are
significant contributors.  VE is a systematic review and analysis during a project’s concept and design phases by a multi-discipline team of persons not involved in the project.  Project managers would undertake VE to get recommendations and ideas that assure project functions – safety, reliability, efficiency – are delivered at the lowest overall cost.  VE would be required for National Highway System projects receiving Federal assistance with an estimated cost north of $50 million.  For bridge projects, that cost is $40 million.  FHWA started this process last week, requesting the Office of Management and Budget to approve this “new information collection.”  Public comments are due April 30.

*  GM and Toyota asked EPA to approve off-cycle carbon dioxide (CO2) credits allowed under EPA’s light-duty vehicle greenhouse gas emissions
standards.  ‘‘Off-cycle’’ emission reductions can be achieved by “employing technologies that result in real-world benefits, but where that benefit is not adequately captured on the test procedures used by manufacturers to demonstrate compliance with emission standards.”  EPA’s light-duty vehicle greenhouse gas program may recognize these benefits and automakers have several options for generating “off-cycle” CO2 credits.  First, however, the companies have to provide EPA with a methodology that documents the benefits, which EPA must approve.

*  Gordon van Welie, president and CEO of ISO New England, spoke to the press last week during the ISO’s annual press briefing.  Van Welie said
New England’s power grid “continues to operate reliably and competitive markets are working, but significant challenges are on the horizon.”  This is a complex (maybe ‘perfect storm’) set of issues.  As more oil, coal and nuclear plants retire in the coming years, keeping the lights on becomes more tenuous. To avoid greater reliability risks, van Welie said: “we soon may need to make sure replacement energy from new resources will be online before non-gas resources can be allowed to retire.”  That’s going to be difficult.  This is not just “drop-in fuels.”  Reliability is more than just substituting electrons.  And if you take a look at the project approval queue there aren’t many renewable generation projects, at scale, ready to go.  Critically, of the projects that are proposed, the ISO reports that “historically, about 68% of the megawatts proposed are never built.”

Tom Ewing
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