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Washington Report By Sam Quigley

Washington Report

Innovative Suspended Access Solutions Employed on Restoration of Boston’s Famous Longfellow Bridge

Longfellow Bridge Longfellow Bridge2 Longfellow Bridge3 Longfellow Bridge4 Longfellow Bridge5

ARTBA Reports: FHWA Proposal Breaks With 2012
Transportation Bill Directives

29d04b3d-4453-4557-a059-9cf73a6a6df3The American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) challenged the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) proposal to measure greenhouse gas emissions from new transportation projects.The proposal is part of larger performance measures required under the 2012 “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century” (MAP-21) surface transportation reauthorization law. In Aug. 19 comments to the agency, ARTBA charged the proposal “exceeds both the authority of the FHWA and the intent of MAP-21.”

ARTBA warned of this three years ago, when it urged the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) not to jeopardize the broad bipartisan congressional support for MAP-21 by including extraneous issues—such as climate change— in the law’s implementation. Specifically, a 2013 ARTBA task force cautioned:

“Focus on the goals enumerated in the law. The authors of MAP-21 had the opportunity to include a host of external goals such as livability, reduction of transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions, reduction of reliance on foreign oil, adaptation to the effects of climate change, public health, housing, land-use patterns and air quality in the planning and performance process….the U.S. Department of Transportation should focus on implementing the goals and standards as spelled out in MAP-21.”

In its latest comments, ARTBA noted that neither Congress nor the administration sought emission measurements in the MAP-21 performance management process, and that such proposals were not included in the “Fixing America’s Surface Transportation” (FAST) Act reauthorization law passed in December 2015.

ARTBA also raised a variety of concerns about the proposed measurement system. Specifically, it “does not define what exactly it will measure and how it will measure it,” ARTBA stated, and “[i]t is unfair to ask the regulated community to provide specific comments on such an abstract proposal.” Further, the association warned that the proposal could lead to a cumbersome regulatory process that undercuts progress from both MAP-21 and the FAST Act on expediting transportation project delivery and delay transportation improvements.

ARTBA concluded “it is hard to see this proposal as anything other than a maneuver to achieve a policy objective the administration failed to initiate during the MAP-21 and FAST Act deliberations.” The association has asked FHWA to withdraw its proposed measurement system.

Established in 1902 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., ARTBA is the “consensus voice” of the U.S. transportation design and construction industry before Congress, federal agencies, the White House, news media and the general public.

TRIP Report: DEFICIENT, CONGESTED ROADWAYS COST CALIFORNIA DRIVERS $53.6 BILLION ANNUALLY – AS MUCH AS $2,800 PER DRIVER. COSTS WILL RISE AND TRANSPORTATION WOES WILL WORSEN WITHOUT INCREASED FUNDING

CA_Statewide_TRIP_Infographic_August_2016Roads and bridges that are deficient, congested or lack desirable safety features cost California motorists a total of $53.6 billion statewide annually – more than $2,800 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 California, according to a new report released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation organization.
The TRIP report, “California Transportation by the Numbers: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe, Smooth and Efficient Mobility,” finds that throughout California, 37 percent of major locally and state-maintained roads are in poor condition. One quarter of California’s bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. The state’s major urban roads are becoming increasingly congested, with drivers wasting significant amounts of time and fuel each year. And, more than 14,000 people were killed in crashes on California’s roads from 2010 to 2014.
CA 1
Driving on deficient roads costs California drivers 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 Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco- Oakland and San Jose urban areas. A breakdown of the costs per motorist in each area along with a statewide total is below.
The TRIP report finds 37 percent of major roads are in poor condition, while 42 percent are in mediocre or fair condition and the remaining 21 percent are in good condition. Driving on deteriorated roads costs California drivers a total of $18.3 billion each year in extra vehicle operating costs, including accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.
“The TRIP report confirms what everyone in California knows: the transportation system in this state is in bad shape,” said Will Kempton, executive director of Transportation California. “It is past time for our elected officials in Sacramento to step up and deal with this problem.”
Traffic congestion in California is worsening, delaying personal and commercial travel. California drivers lose $28 billion annually in lost time and wasted fuel as a result of traffic congestion.
A total of 25 percent of California’s bridges show significant deterioration or do not meet modern design standards. Eight percent of California’s bridges are structurally deficient, with significant deterioration to the bridge deck, supports or other major components. An additional 17 percent of the state’s bridges are functionally obsolete, which means they no longer meet modern design standards, often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment.
Traffic crashes in California claimed the lives of 14,437 people between 2010 and 2014. California’s overall traffic fatality rate of 0.92 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel is lower than the national average of 1.08. The fatality rate on California’s rural non-Interstate roads was 2.72 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2014, nearly four times higher than the 0.70 fatality rate on all other roads and highways in the state.
The efficiency and condition of California’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy. Annually, $2.8 trillion in goods are shipped to and from sites in California, mostly by truck. Sixty-eight percent of the goods shipped annually to and from sites in California are carried by trucks and another 19 percent are carried by courier services or multiple mode deliveries, which include trucking.
“These conditions are only going to get worse if greater funding is not made available at the state and local levels,” said Will Wilkins, TRIP’s executive director. “Without adequate investment, California’s transportation system will become increasingly deteriorated and congested, hampering economic growth and the quality of life of the state’s residents.”
Executive Summary
Eight years after the nation suffered a significant economic downturn, California’s economy continues to rebound. The rate of CA_TRIP_Infographics_August_2016-1economic growth in California, which will be greatly impacted by the reliability and condition of the state’s transportation system, continues to have a significant impact on quality of life in the Golden State.
An efficient, safe and well-maintained transportation system provides economic and social benefits by affording individuals access to employment, housing, healthcare, education, goods and services, recreation, entertainment, family, and social activities. It also provides businesses with access to suppliers, markets and employees, all critical to a business’ level of productivity and ability to expand. Reduced accessibility and mobility – as a result of traffic congestion, a lack of adequate capacity, or deteriorated roads, highways, bridges and transit facilities – diminishes a region’s quality of life by reducing economic productivity and limiting opportunities for economic, health or social transactions and activities.

With an economy based largely on agriculture, manufacturing, biotechnology, aerospace- defense, and tourism, the quality of California’s transportation system plays a vital role in the state’s economic growth and quality of life.

In this report, TRIP looks at the top transportation numbers in California as the state addresses its need to modernize and maintain its system of roads, highways, bridges and transit.

In December 2015 the president signed into law a long-term federal surface transportation program that includes modest funding increases and allows state and local governments to plan and finance projects with greater certainty through 2020. The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act) provides approximately $305 billion for surface transportation with highway and transit funding slated to increase by approximately 15 and 18 percent, respectively, over the five-year duration of the program. While the modest funding increase and certainty provided by the FAST Act are a step in the right direction, the funding falls far short of the level needed to improve conditions and meet the nation’s mobility needs and fails to deliver a sustainable, long-term source of revenue for the federal Highway Trust Fund.

COST TO CALIFORNIA MOTORISTS OF DEFICIENT ROADS
An inadequate transportation system costs California motorists a total of $53.6 billion every year in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (VOC), congestion-related delays and traffic crashes.

  • Driving on rough roads costs all California motorists a total of $18.3 billion annually in extra vehicle operating costs. Costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.
  • Traffic crashes in which roadway design was likely a contributing factor cost California residents a total of $7.3 billion each year in the form of lost household and workplace productivity, insurance costs and other financial costs.
  • Traffic congestion costs California residents a total of $28 billion each year in the form of lost time and wasted fuel.
  • The chart below details the average cost per driver in the state’s largest urban areas as well as statewide.

VOC

Safety

Conge stion

Total

Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana

$ 892

$ 223

$ 1,711

$ 2,826

Sacrame nto

$ 638

$ 674

$ 958

$ 2,270

San Diego

$ 722

$ 249

$ 887

$ 1,858

San Francisco-Oakland

$ 978

$ 171

$ 1,675

$ 2,824

San Jose

$ 863

$ 186

$ 1,422

$ 2,471

STATEWIDE TOTAL

$18.3 Billion

$7.3 Billion

$28 Billion

$53.6 Billion

POPULATION AND ECONOMIC GROWTH IN CALIFORNIA

The rate of population and economic growth in California have resulted in increased demands on the state’s major roads and highways, leading to increased wear and tear on the transportation system.

  • California’s population reached approximately 39.1 million residents in 2015, a 16 percent increase since 2000.
  • California had 24.8 million licensed drivers in 2014.
  • Vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in California increased by 15 percent from 2000 to 2015 –from 306.6 billion VMT in 2000 to 354.1 billion VMT in 2015.
  • By 2030, vehicle travel in California is projected to increase by another 15 percent.

CALIFORNIA ROAD CONDITIONS

A lack of adequate state and local funding has resulted in 37 percent of major locally and state-maintained roads and highways in California having pavement surfaces in poor condition, providing a rough ride and costing motorists in the form of additional vehicle operating costs.

  • The pavement data in this report, which is for all arterial and collector roads and highways, is provided by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), based on data submitted annually by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) on the condition of major state and locally maintained roads and highways in the state.
  • Pavement data for Interstate highways and other principal arterials is collected for all system mileage, whereas pavement data for minor arterial and all collector roads and highways is based on sampling portions of roadways as prescribed by FHWA to insure that the data collected is adequate to provide an accurate assessment of pavement conditions on these roads and highways.
  • Statewide, 37 percent of California’s major locally and state-maintained roads and highways are in poor condition, while 42 percent are in mediocre or fair condition. The remaining 21 percent are in good condition.
  • Fifty percent of California’s major urban locally and state-maintained roads are in poor condition, while 37 percent are in mediocre or fair condition. The remaining 12 percent are in good condition.
  • Twenty-two percent of California’s rural locally and state-maintained roads are in in poor condition, while 48 percent are in mediocre or fair condition. The remaining 30 percent are in good condition.
  • The chart below details the share of major roads in poor, mediocre, fair and good condition in the state’s largest urban areas.

Poor

Me diocre

Fair

Good

Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana

60%

23%

8%

9%

Sacrame nto

35%

33%

8%

25%

San Diego

46%

21%

10%

23%

San Francisco-Oakland

71%

15%

6%

8%

San Jose

59%

20%

9%

13%

• Roads rated in mediocre to poor condition may show signs of deterioration, including rutting, cracks and potholes. In some cases, these roads can be resurfaced, but often are too deteriorated and must be reconstructed.

• Driving on rough roads costs California motorists a total of $18.3 billion annually in extra vehicle operating costs. Costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.

CALIFORNIA BRIDGE CONDITIONS

One quarter of locally and state-maintained bridges in California show significant deterioration or do not meet current design standards often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment. This includes all bridges that are 20 feet or more in length.

  • Eight percent of California’s bridges are structurally deficient. A bridge is structurally deficient if there is significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components. Structurally deficient bridges are often posted for lower weight or closed to traffic, restricting or redirecting large vehicles, including commercial trucks and emergency services vehicles.
  • Seventeen percent of California’s bridges are functionally obsolete. Bridges that are functionally obsolete no longer meet current highway design standards, often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment.
  • The chart below details bridge conditions statewide and in California’s largest urban areas.

Structurally Deficient

Functionally Obsolete

Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana

8%

23%

Sacrame nto

9%

15%

San Diego

3%

13%

San Francisco-Oakland

10%

24%

San Jose

8%

17%

STATEWIDE TOTAL

8%

17%

HIGHWAY SAFETY AND FATALITY RATES IN CALIFORNIA

Improving safety features on California’s roads and highways would likely result in a decrease in the state’s traffic fatalities and serious crashes. It is estimated that roadway features are likely a contributing factor in approximately one-third of all fatal and serious traffic crashes.

• A total of 14,437 people were killed in California traffic crashes from 2010 to 2014, an average of 2,887 fatalities per year.California’s overall traffic fatality rate of 0.92 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2014 was lower than the national average of 1.08.

  • The fatality rate on California’s non-interstate rural roads in 2014 was nearly four times higher than on all other roads in the state (2.72 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel vs. 0.70).
  • Roadway features that impact safety include the number of lanes, lane widths, lighting, lane markings, rumble strips, shoulders, guard rails, other shielding devices, median barriers and intersection design. The cost of serious crashes includes lost productivity, lost earnings, medical costs and emergency services.
  • Several factors are associated with vehicle crashes that result in fatalities, including driver behavior, vehicle characteristics and roadway features. TRIP estimates that roadway features are likely a contributing factor in approximately one-third of fatal traffic crashes.
  • Where appropriate, highway improvements can reduce traffic fatalities and crashes while improving traffic flow to help relieve congestion. Such improvements include removing or shielding obstacles; adding or improving medians; improved lighting; adding rumble strips, wider lanes, wider and paved shoulders; upgrading roads from two lanes to four lanes; and better road markings and traffic signals.
  • Investments in rural traffic safety have been found to result in significant reductions in serious traffic crashes. A 2012 report by the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) found that improvements completed recently by the Texas Department of Transportation that widened lanes, improved shoulders and made other safety improvements on 1,159 miles of rural state roadways resulted in 133 fewer fatalities on these roads in the first three years after the improvements were completed (as compared to the three years prior). TTI estimates that the improvements on these roads are likely to save 880 lives over the next 20 years.CALIFORNIA TRAFFIC CONGESTION
    Increasing levels of traffic congestion cause significant delays in California, particularly in its larger urban areas, choking commuting and commerce. Traffic congestion robs commuters of time and money and imposes increased costs on businesses, shippers and manufacturers, which are often passed along to the consumer.

    • Based on Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) estimates, the value of lost time and wasted fuel in California is approximately $28 billion per year.
    • The chart below details what congestion costs the average driver in the state’s largest urban areas in the form of lost time and wasted fuel and the number of hours lost annually to congestion..

Congestion Cost

Hours Lost

Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana

$1,711

80 Hours

Sacrame nto

$958

43 Hours

San Diego

$887

42 Hours

San Francisco-Oakland

$1,675

78 Hours

San Jose

$1,422

67 Hours

  • Increasing levels of congestion add significant costs to consumers, transportation companies, manufacturers, distributors and wholesalers and can reduce the attractiveness of a location to a company when considering expansion or where to locate a new facility. Congestion costs can also increase overall operating costs for trucking and shipping companies, leading to revenue losses, lower pay for drivers and employees, and higher consumer costs.
  • The average daily commute to work for California residents is 27.6 minutes, the seventh longest among all states.TRANSPORTATION FUNDING IN CALIFORNIAInvestment in California’s roads, highways and bridges is funded by local, state and federal governments. The recently approved five-year federal surface transportation program includes modest funding increases and provides states with greater funding certainty, but falls far short of providing the level of funding needed to meet the nation’s highway and transit needs. The bill does not include a long-term and sustainable revenue source.
  • Signed into law in December 2015, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act), provides modest increases in federal highway and transit spending, allows states greater long-term funding certainty and streamlines the federal project approval process. But the FAST Act does not provide adequate funding to meet the nation’s need for highway and transit improvements and does not include a long-term and sustainable funding source.
  • The five-year, $305 billion FAST Act will provide approximately a 15 percent boost in national highway funding and an 18 percent boost in national transit funding over the duration of the program, which expires in 2020.
  • In addition to federal motor fuel tax revenues, the FAST Act will also be funded by $70 billion in U.S. general funds, which will rely on offsets from several unrelated federal programs including the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, the Federal Reserve and U.S. Customs.
  • According to the 2015 AASHTO Transportation Bottom Line Report, a significant boost in investment in the nation’s roads, highways, bridges and public transit systems is needed to improve their condition and to meet the nation’s transportation needs.

AASHTO’s report found that based on an annual one percent increase in VMT annual investment in the nation’s roads, highways and bridges needs to increase 36 percent, from $88 billion to $120 billion, to improve conditions and meet the nation’s mobility needs, based on an annual one percent rate of vehicle travel growth. Investment in the nation’s public transit system needs to increase from $17 billion to $43 billion.

  • The Bottom Line Report found that if the national rate of vehicle travel increased by 1.4 percent per year, the needed annual investment in the nation’s roads, highways and bridges would need to increase by 64 percent to $144 billion. If vehicle travel grows by 1.6 percent annually the needed annual investment in the nation’s roads, highways and bridges would need to increase by 77 percent to $156 billion.TRANSPORTATION AND ECONOMIC GROWTH IN CALIFORNIAThe efficiency of California’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy. Businesses rely on an efficient and dependable transportation system to move products and services. A key component in business efficiency and success is the level and ease of access to customers, markets, materials and workers.
    • Annually, $2.8 trillion in goods are shipped to and from sites in California, mostly by truck.
    • Sixty-eight percent of the goods shipped annually to and from sites in California are carried by trucks and another 19 percent are carried by courier services or multiple mode deliveries, which include trucking.
    • 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.
    • Highway accessibility was ranked the number two site selection factor behind only the availability of skilled labor in a 2015 survey of corporate executives by Area Development Magazine.
    • The Federal Highway Administration estimates that 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.Sources of information for this report include the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), the U.S. Census Bureau, the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

 

Five Reasons to Use A Drone for Bridge Inspections

Drones