Tag Archive for 'bridges'

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U.S. Department of Transportation Urges Drivers to Stay Alert While Driving Near Nation’s Highway Work Zones

UnknownThe U.S. Department of Transportation today kicked off National Work Zone Awareness Week as construction season approaches. Deputy Federal Highway Administrator Gregory Nadeau joined state and federal officials at the Washington Boulevard Bridge over Columbia Pike in Arlington, Va., to urge drivers to stay alert when driving near highway workers. They were joined by workers and families affected by work zone crashes.

This year’s theme, “Expect the Unexpected,” emphasizes the need for drivers to constantly be prepared for changes such as reduced speed limits; narrowed, shifted or closed lanes; and people who may be working on or near the road.  In 2013, the most recent year for which data are available, there were 579 fatalities in work zones, a small decrease from 617 fatalities the previous year.

“As the temperatures climb, thousands of highway workers nationwide are heading back to work to improve America’s roads,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “To keep them safe, we owe them our full attention when driving through work zones, so please avoid distractions like cellphones and obey posted speed limits.”

National Work Zone Awareness Week, sponsored by federal, state and local transportation officials at the beginning of construction season each spring, raises awareness of safety measures taken on roads all over the country. Typically, work zone crashes occur when drivers fail to obey posted speed limits, fail to adapt to changing road conditions, or use cellphones while driving.

FHWA works with state and local transportation officials to promote improvements in work zone planning and design, increased law enforcement near work zones, enhanced worker training and heightened awareness among drivers. Since 2005, FHWA has awarded nearly $33 million in grants to promote work zone safety training and the National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse.

In 2013, speed was a factor in 23 percent of fatal work zone crashes. Two out of three victims in work zone crashes in 2013 were drivers and passengers of vehicles.

During the ceremony, Nadeau paid tribute to the 132 Virginia Department of Transportation employees who died in highway work zones since 1928.

“When driving through work zones, be respectful of highway workers and their workplace by slowing down,” said Deputy Administrator Nadeau. “Following the rules of the roadway makes it easier to expect the unexpected.”

Like the FHWA, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) works with other USDOT agencies to reduce work zone crashes through grants to states and research on driver behavior. FMCSA has made work zone safety a national priority in its commercial vehicle safety plans, and partners with the International Association of Chiefs of Police in its “Drive to Save Lives” campaign to encourage all law enforcement to stop trucks and buses when they are seen operating unsafely.

“In 2013, large trucks and buses were involved in 186 work zone crashes that resulted in fatalities,” said FMCSA Chief Counsel Scott Darling. “Tragedies like these can be avoided by paying attention, slowing down, carefully obeying signs and the direction of flagmen, maintaining a safe distance between vehicles, avoiding distractions and always keeping safety the number one priority.”

For more information on this year’s National Work Zone Awareness Week, visit http://www.ops.fhwa.dot.gov/wz/outreach/wz_awareness.htm

ARTBA Says State DOTs Continue to Pull Back on Transportation Improvements Over Continued Uncertainty Regarding the Federal Highway Trust Fund

d9cdad69-e8aa-4830-b455-58392c53ea55Four states have canceled or delayed $780 million in transportation improvement projects and another nine say over $1.8 billion are at risk because of continued uncertainty over whether Congress will take action soon to fix the ailing Highway Trust Fund (HTF).

The Washington, D.C.-based American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) reviewed news reports, public statements and testimony from state officials to compile the list featured in a March 24 report.

On average, the HTF is the source of 52 percent of all highway and bridge capital investments made annually by state governments. Funding for the federal highway and transit program expires on May 31 unless Congress acts. The HTF has suffered five revenue shortfalls between 2008 and 2014, and the next cash crisis is expected to occur in summer 2015.

So far in 2015, four states—Ark., Ga., Tenn. and Wyo.—have shelved $779.7 million in projects due to the uncertainty over federal funds.

Nine states—Colo., Conn., Miss., Mont., Neb., Nev., Pa., Vt., and W.Va.—have expressed concern over the feasibility of future transportation infrastructure projects totaling more than $1.8 billion if Congress does not act before May 31. ARTBA expects more states will make similar announcements as the deadline draws nearer.

Last year, before a last-ditch effort by members of Congress led to an extension of MAP-21, DOT officials in 35 states publicly stated that they would be impacted by the precarious HTF situation.

“It’s déjà vu all over again as Yogi Berra would say,” according to ARTBA President & CEO Pete Ruane. “This is one of the most easily avoidable crises because Congress has known the May deadline was coming for about eight months. Yet, here we are again flirting with another economic meltdown in the peak of the construction season,” he added.

“The continued uncertainty with the Highway Trust Fund has real world, negative impacts as state governments begin cutting back on their construction plans because they don’t know if the funding will be there to pay the bills a few months from now,” Ruane said. “This, in turn, prevents private sector companies from hiring workers and making major capital investments such as purchasing equipment, both of which are key to bolstering economic activity.”

“The clock is on the field.  There are 34 legislative calendar days left in the Senate and just 22 days in the House,” Ruane said. “It’s time for Congress and the President to show they can govern and provide a permanent funding solution for America’s highway and transit program.”

The ARTBA report can be found in “current issues” of ARTBA’s government section of www.artba.org

TRIP Reports: More Than One-Third Of New York Roads Are In Poor Condition, More Than A Third Of The State’s Bridges Are Deficient Or Do Not Meet Modern Design Standards. Conditions And Safety Will Worsen Without Increased Funding

TRIPMore than one-third of New York’s major roads are in poor condition, while more than one-third of the state’s bridges are deficient or do not meet modern design standards, according to a new report released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation organization. Increased investment in transportation improvements at the local, state and federal levels could improve road and bridge conditions, enhance safety, relieve traffic congestion and support long-term economic growth in New York.

The TRIP report, Conditions and Safety of New York’s Roads and Bridges,” examines road and bridge conditions, traffic safety, economic development and transportation funding in New York State. In addition to statewide information, the report also provides regional pavement and bridge condition and highway safety data for Albany, Buffalo, New York City, Rochester and Syracuse.

NY_VOC_TRIP_Infographic_March_2015According to the TRIP report, throughout the state 37 percent of major locally and state-maintained urban roads and highways are in poor condition. An additional 43 percent of the state’s major urban roads have pavements in mediocre or fair condition, and the remaining 20 percent are in good condition. Driving on rough roads costs all New York State motorists a total of $6.3 billion annually in extra vehicle operating costs (VOC). Costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.

More than one-third – 39 percent — of locally and state-maintained bridges (20 feet or longer) in New York show significant deterioration or do not meet current design standards often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment. Twelve percent of New York’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. Twenty-seven percent of the state’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.

New York State’s overall traffic fatality rate of 0.92 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel is lower than the national average of 1.09. Traffic crashes in New York claimed the lives of 5,892 people between 2009 and 2013, an average of 1,178 fatalities each year. Where appropriate, roadway 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.

The efficiency and condition of New York’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy. Annually, $550 billion in goods are shipped from sites in New York and another $597 billion in goods are shipped to sites in the state, mostly by truck.

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.

“These conditions are only going to get worse if greater funding is not made available at the local, state and federal levels,” said Will Wilkins, TRIP’s executive director. “Without additional transportation funds, the state’s pavement and bridge conditions will continue to decline, needed safety improvements will not be made, congestion will worsen and the state will lose out on opportunities for economic growth.”

CONDITIONS AND SAFETY OF NEW YORK’S ROADS AND BRIDGES

Executive Summary

New York’s extensive system of roads, bridges and highways provides the state’s residents, visitors and businesses with a high level of mobility, while acting as the backbone that supports the state’s economy. New York’s transportation system enables the state’s residents and visitors to travel safely to work and school, visit family and friends, and frequent tourist and recreation attractions while providing businesses with reliable access to customers, materials, suppliers and employees.

However, the state’s locally and state-maintained roads, highways and bridges face a significant challenge in the need to improve conditions and traffic safety. As New York works to retain its quality of life, maintain its level of economic competitiveness and achieve further economic growth, the state will need to preserve, maintain and modernize its roads, highways and bridges by improving the physical condition and safety of its transportation network, thus enhancing the system’s ability to provide efficient and reliable mobility for motorists and businesses. Making needed improvements to New York’s roads, highways and bridges could also provide a significant boost to the state’s economy by creating jobs in the short term and stimulating long term economic growth as a result of reduced vehicle operating costs, improved safety and enhanced mobility.

Meeting New York’s need to modernize and maintain its system of roads, highways and bridges will require significant local, state and federal funding.

New York’s major roads have significant deterioration which provides motorists a rough ride and increases the cost of operating a vehicle. Repairing roads and highways while they are in good or fair condition greatly reduces long-term preservation costs because of the high cost of repairing roads in poor condition.

  • More than a third – 37 percent – of New York’s major locally and state-maintained urban roads and highways have pavements in poor condition. An additional 43 percent of the state’s major urban roads have pavements in mediocre or fair condition, and the remaining 20 percent are in good condition.
  • The following chart details the percentage of major locally-and state-maintained roads and highways in poor, mediocre, fair and good condition in each of the state’s largest urban areas.

NY 1

  • Roads in good condition can be maintained by preventive maintenance, which costs approximately $85,000 per lane mile; roads in mediocre or fair condition require resurfacing, which costs approximately $575,000 per lane mile; and roads in poor condition require reconstruction to repair the surface and the base under the road, which costs approximately $1,625,000 per mile – 19 times greater than the cost of preventive maintenance.
  • Roads rated in poor condition may show signs of deterioration, including rutting, cracks and potholes. In some cases, poor roads can be resurfaced, but often are too deteriorated and must be reconstructed.
  • Driving on rough roads costs all New York motorists a total of $6.3 billion annually in extra vehicle operating costs (VOC). Costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.
  • The following chart details the annual extra vehicle operating costs per motorists as a result of driving on rough roads in each of the following urban areas.

NY 2

More than one-third – 39 percent — of locally and state-maintained bridges (20 feet or longer) in New York show significant deterioration or do not meet current design standards often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment.

  • Twelve percent of New York’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.
  • Twenty-seven percent of New York’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 following chart details the percentage of bridges in each of the following urban areas that are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.

NY 3

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

  • Between 2009 and 2013 a total of 5,892 people were killed in traffic crashes in New York, an average of 1,178 fatalities per year.
  • New York’s overall traffic fatality rate of 0.92 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2013 is lower than the national traffic fatality rate of 1.09.
  • The fatality rate on New York’s rural non-Interstate roads was 2.15 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2013, more than three-and-a-half times higher than the 0.61 fatality rate on all other roads and highways in the state.
  • The following chart indicates the average number of people killed annually from 2011 to 2013 in the following urban areas.

NY 4Roadway 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.

The efficiency of New York’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy. Increased deterioration of New York’s roads and bridges and the lack of needed transportation improvements to serve economic development threaten the state’s economic vitality.

  • New York’s population reached approximately 19.6 million in 2013, a nine percent increase since 1990. New York had 11,248,617 licensed drivers in 2012.
  • Vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in New York increased by 21 percent from 1990 to 2013 – from 107 billion VMT in 1990 to 130 billion VMT in 2013. By 2030, vehicle travel in New York is projected to increase by another 10 percent.
  • From 1990 to 2013, New York’s gross domestic product, a measure of the state’s economic output, increased by 46 percent, when adjusted for inflation.
  • Annually, $550 billion in goods are shipped from sites in New York and another $597 billion in goods are shipped to sites in New York, mostly by truck. Seventy-two percent of the goods shipped annually from sites in New York are carried by trucks and another 22 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 2013 survey of corporate executives by Area Development Magazine.

A 2014 report by the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) concluded that allowing its state’s major roads, highways and bridges to deteriorate would result in significant reduction in job growth and reduced state gross domestic product (GDP) as a result of reduced economic efficiency. The report found that the cost of making needed road, highway, and bridge improvements is far less than the potential loss in state economic activity caused by a lack of adequate road, highway and bridge preservation.

  • The ODOT report used a sophisticated model that integrates transportation, land use and economic activity to compare how an economy operates when a transportation system is well-maintained versus when it is allowed to deteriorate. The report found that deteriorated pavements, which result in a rougher and slower ride for vehicles, and deteriorated bridges, which need to be closed to heavy trucks, reduce economic productivity by increasing transportation costs.
  • The report found that allowing roads and bridges to deteriorate reduces business productivity by increasing vehicle operating costs as a result of driving on rough roads, reducing travel speeds and increasing travel times because of route detours necessitated by weight-restricted bridges.
  • As road and bridge conditions deteriorate, transportation agencies are likely to shift resources from preservation projects, which extend the service life of roads and bridges, to more reactive maintenance projects, which results in higher lifecycle costs, the report found. Transportation agencies are also likely to respond to increased road and bridge deterioration by shifting funds from modernization projects, which relieve congestion and increase business productivity, to maintenance projects.
  • The ODOT report estimated that the road, highway and bridge deterioration anticipated over the next 20 years will result in Oregon creating 100,000 fewer jobs and generating $9.4 billion less in state GDP.
  • Oregon could avoid losing 100,000 jobs and $9.4 billion in GDP through 2035 by spending an additional $810 million more on road, highway and bridge repairs – nearly a 12-to-1 return on investment, according to the ODOT report.

Without additional transportation funding at the local, state and federal level, the condition and safety of New York’s roads, highways and bridges will deteriorate.

  • 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.
  • Signed into law in July 2012, MAP-21 (Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act), has improved several procedures that in the past had delayed projects, MAP-21 does not address long-term funding challenges facing the federal surface transportation program.
  • A significant boost in investment on the nation’s roads, highways, bridges and public transit systems is needed to improve their condition and to meet the nation’s transportation needs, concluded a new report from AASHTO. The 2015 AASHTO Transportation Bottom Line Report found that annual investment in the nation’s roads, highways and bridges needs to increase from $88 billion to $120 billion and from $17 billion to $43 billion in the nation’s public transit systems, to improve conditions and meet the nation’s mobility needs.

Sources of information for this report include the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), the U.S. Census Bureau, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI), and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). All data used in the report is the latest available.

Transportation Proposal Pushed by Conservative Activists Would Force States to Raise Gas Taxes An Average of 23.5 Cents-Per-Gallon

ee0d071a-4431-491a-ae5f-0d9154114faeAlaska Would Need Largest Gas Tax Hike of $1 Per Gallon, Followed By Montana at 44.5 Cents-Per-Gallon To Keep Current Funding Levels Under Plan to Gut Federal Funding For State Highway Capital Investments

Transportation legislation being pushed in Congress by Heritage Action, the Club for Growth and like-minded conservative activist groups would force states to raise their gasoline and diesel motor fuel taxes, on average, about 23.5 cents-per-gallon by 2020 if they wanted to maintain their current annual investment in highway and bridge improvements and public transportation, an analysis of federal and state data shows.  The states’ only other options, if the proposal was enacted, would be to raise other taxes, redirect an equivalent amount of revenue from other state programs, or slash their road, bridge and transit improvement program.

The analysis, released by the Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC), illustrates the reliance state governments have on the federal highway program for funding their road and bridge capital investments—52 percent, on average, from 2010 through 2012.

The legislation, the “Transportation Empowerment Act,” (TEA), which was sponsored in the last Congress by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Rep. Tom Graves (R-Ga.), would force states to significantly boost their gas tax rates or enact other fundraising increases to avoid further deterioration of their transportation infrastructure.  Indeed, seven states would face the prospect of having to raise their gas tax by 30 cents or more—or find the revenue equivalent of such an increase—just to maintain their current highway and bridge investment:  Alaska ($1.00), Montana (44.5 cents), Vermont (44.2 cents), Rhode Island (41.4 cents), South Dakota (35.9 cents), West Virginia (32.5 cents), Wyoming (30.5 cents).  Review a state-by-state chart.

“The Transportation Empowerment Act and the rationale these groups offer for it show a gross misunderstanding of how the federal-state partnership to provide a core function of government—providing citizens and U.S. businesses safe and efficient mobility through transportation infrastructure—works,” Pete Ruane, TCC co-chair and president and CEO of the American Road & Transportation Builders Association, said. “It would be, at best, irresponsible for a Member of Congress to put their name on this legislation unless they first commit to leading the charge in their state to raise their gas tax, or other state taxes, or cut other specific state programs to fill the funding gap this legislation would create.”

“All this legislation would do is force drivers to pay more at the pump without delivering any improvements to the quality of safety of the roads and bridges they use,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, chief executive officer of the Associated General Contractors of America and the Co-Chair of the TCC.  “In particular, gutting the federal transportation program will force residents of large, less populous states to pay a lot more to maintain highways that benefit shippers and travelers from all over the country.”

The Heritage Action proposal would, over five years, lower the federal gas tax from 18.4 cents-per-gallon to 3.7 cents, and the federal diesel motor fuel tax from 24.3 cents-per-gallon to 5 cents.  The groups contend the lower fuels tax rates—which would generate about $6 billion per year—would be enough to rebuild and maintain the 60 year-old, 48,000-mile Interstate Highway System.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s 2013 biennial report to the Congress on the nation’s highway and bridge capital needs, however, says just maintaining current Interstate System physical conditions and performance requires almost $19 billion per year.  The annual capital investment necessary to optimize the System’s condition, performance and safety, the report says, is $35 billion.

The federal investment in state highway and bridge programs during FY 2015—which in addition to providing support for interstate highways also assists state investments in more than 120,000 miles of other major roads that connect the Interstate to the nation’s major military facilities, airports, ports, rail, truck and pipeline terminals and other strategic transport facilities—is just over $40 billion.

The analysis, prepared for the TCC by Dr. William Buechner, a former senior economist for the Congressional Joint Economic Committee and Dr. Alison Black, ARTBA’s chief economist, is based on state motor fuel tax rate data for 2014 from the Federation of Tax Administrators and Federal Highway Administration data on federal apportionments for highway program investments to the state transportation departments.

The Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC) includes 31 national associations and labor unions whose members have a direct market interest in federal transportation programs.  The TCC focuses on the federal budget and surface transportation program policy issues.

A chart showing how the Transportation Empowerment Act would impact individual states can be accessed at www.transportationconstructioncoalition.org

Infrastructure Needs From a Different Perspective — MUST WATCH

Infrastructure Needs From a Different Perspective — MUST WATCH

Recently Posted on there NUCA (National Utility Contractors of America) Discussion page

This is funny, scary & true.

Thomas Butler
Senior Estimator / Business Development at Pepper Contracting Services, Inc.
Top Contributor
http://youtu.be/Wpzvaqypav8

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Infrastructure (HBO)
America’s crumbling infrastructure: It’s not a sexy problem, but it is a scary one. Connect with Last Week Tonight online… Subscribe to the Last Week Tonight YouTube channel for more almost news as it almost happens…

GS: If you haven’t seen this you really should take the time to watch it. While it is presented a humorous venue it is deadly serious.