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ARTBA 2020 Forecast: American Road & Transportation Builders Association Looks at the Year Ahead for US Infrastructure

The U.S. transportation infrastructure market is expected to grow 5 percent in 2020, according to the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) forecast model. Increased transportation investment from all levels of government – federal, state and local – will help drive this growth across all modes. 

Market activity is expected to reach $300.4 billion in 2020, up from 2019’s $286.5 billion, after adjusting for project costs and inflation. This includes: 

  • Public and private investment for highways, bridges, public transit, rail, ports and waterways, and airport runways and terminals; 
  • Private investment for roads, streets, driveways and parking lots in residential and commercial developments; 
  • And support work by state departments of transportation (DOTs) and local governments for highway and bridge planning and design work, routine maintenance, and right of way purchases. 

The transportation construction market increased 8 percent in 2019, driven largely by gains in highway, street and pavement work, which grew by $9.6 billion to $73.1 billion.

Airport construction work on runways and terminals increased by less than 1 percent in 2019 but was still at record investment levels. Strong growth in public transit work as well as private railroad investment helped support a robust year for transportation construction activity. 

An increase in federal transportation investment through the annual appropriations process will help support increased construction market activity. Congress is once again expected to provide additional money for highway, bridge, transit and airport construction through traditional programs, as well as BUILD America discretionary grants that can be used for a variety of transportation infrastructure projects. Between FY 2018 and FY 2020, Congress will have provided between $15 billion and $16 billion in additional transportation funding, above programmed levels in the 2015 FAST Act law and the Airport Improvement Program (AIP). 

This federal investment, combined with recent increases in state and local government transportation funding, are behind the significant market gains in 2019 and will help support real increases in 2020, as projects continue to get underway. 

Four states raised their state motor fuel tax in 2019, bringing the total number of states to 31 that have increased or adjusted their rates to support transportation investment. Three states approved other recurring funding measures, five provided a boost through general funds or a new bond issue and eight states approved increased alternative fuel or electric vehicle fees. 

There were 305 state or local transportation funding measures on the ballot in November 2019. Nearly 90 percent of those measures were approved, generating an additional $9.6 billion in potential revenue that will be spent on projects over the next few years. 

Wild Card 

One wild card in the forecast is the outlook for the reauthorization of the FAST Act and the ability of Congress to find additional revenues to support the Highway Trust Fund – the source on average of more than 50 percent of highway and bridge capital investments made annually by state governments. If states delay projects over concerns about whether the next federal surface transportation bill is completed in a timely manner, this could temper 2020 market growth. 

Overall, transportation construction market activity is expected to increase or be steady in half of the states. Some of the largest markets expected to remain stable or show growth include Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. Recent funding increases in Ohio and Illinois should help programs in those states as new revenues are collected. 

Other market factors include uncertainty over material prices, increased labor costs and potential labor shortages in some regional markets. 

ARTBA estimates project costs rose 1.3 percent in 2019 (compared to 1.7 percent for general inflation) and 2.4 percent in 2018. The forecast assumes that project costs in 2020 and beyond will increase 2.3 percent as energy prices stabilize, which is in line with general inflation. 

Overall, the price of various materials and other inputs for highway and bridge construction rose about 3 percent, according to ARTBA estimates of data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Energy costs for highway and bridge contractors, driven largely by diesel fuel prices, are estimated to have declined by 9 percent in 2019. Historically energy costs have been volatile, increasing or falling by as much as 20 percent or more in a given year. 

Price data shows that average annual prices in 2019 for steel products – such as guardrails, scaffolds, gratings, bridge expansion joints, steel bars and tubing – were up between 2 and 3 percent, depending on the type of product, compared to 2018. The year before the same products had increased in the range of 6-19 percent. The cost of producing construction machinery tractor shovel loaders, mixers, pavers and similar equipment was up 5 to 6 percent in 2019. It is still difficult to isolate the impact of tariffs on the price of steel-related products from other market forces, such as the cost of energy, transportation or input materials. 

But the uncertainty created by the steel and aluminum tariffs enacted in March 2018 will continue to have an impact on the highway construction market as contractors include that dynamic in their bids and cost structure. The larger threat of trade wars, to the extent that it would impact the overall U.S. economy, state and local revenues, could eventually also have adverse effects on transportation spending. 

Industry employment for highway, street and bridge contractors was up 4 percent for all workers and 5 percent overall for employees on the job site, marking six years of consecutive gains. The average weekly hours worked has remained steady, indicating contractors are hiring more workers, rather than using more overtime with existing employees. 

Industry wages for employees on job sites were up 3 percent in 2019, slightly above the average of 2 percent for all construction production workers. The real value of the industry earnings, when adjusting for inflation, increased 2 percent – the most substantial increase in real income for all workers in highway and bridge construction in four years. 

More detailed information on each mode is included in the full report. By infrastructure mode, forecast highlights include: 

Public and Private Highway, Street and Related Construction

ARTBA estimates that work on private highways, bridges, parking lots and driveways will increase from $69.1 billion in 2019 to $71.8 billion in 2020 and will continue to grow over the next five years as construction market activity increases in those sectors. This data is captured by the U.S. Census Bureau as part of residential and commercial construction investment. The real value of public highway, street and related construction work by state DOTs and local governments – the largest market sector – is expected to increase by 6 percent to $77.5 billion after growing 15 percent in 2019. 

  • Continued highway construction activity in major markets is expected to support national gains. State and local government highway contract awards are up in 26 states in 2019 compared to a three-year historical average, a leading indicator of highway construction activity in those states. 
  • The market impact of the $7.5 – $8.5 billion increase in federal transportation investment through the FY 2018, FY 2019, and FY 2020 appropriations process will vary, depending on the timing of state obligations and the awarding of projects through several U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) discretionary programs. But overall, this boost will contribute to market growth in 2020. 
  • The increase in state and local revenues through user fee increases, bond programs, ballot initiatives and other funding mechanisms will support additional market activity next year. The exact impact will vary by state, and how the revenue increase is structured. 

Of the 14 state markets that are $1 billion or more, representing over two-thirds of the market, contract awards were up or stable in 11 states last year compared to the previous three-year average. These states include California, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin.

Bridges and Tunnels

The pace of bridge and tunnel work stayed flat in 2019 and is expected to grow by $800 million, or 3 percent, in 2020. Bridge and tunnel market activity fell slightly from $28.8 billion in 2018 to $28.6 billion in 2019, after adjusting for project costs and inflation. Market activity is expected to grow to $29.4 billion in 2020, with the pace increasing 2-3 percent annually over the next five years. 

  • Based on recent contract awards data, work is expected to be up or stable in 15 states compared to three-year historical averages. 
  • Some states are continuing to focus on bridge work, but with a greater emphasis on repairs to the local network. 
  • Missouri recently issued a $50 million bond to support their bridge program. Kentucky recently announced a new six-year program that will repair 1,000 local bridges. Other states include Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, and West Virginia. 
  • The 2019 national market was driven by activity in six states, which account for over 40 percent of the market: California, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington.

Light Rail, Subways, and Railroads (Graph 43

Public transit and rail construction are expected to grow 5 percent from $23 billion in 2019 to $24.2 billion in 2020. 

  • Investment by private Class 1 freight railroads is expected to grow from $12.8 billion in 2019 to $13.2 billion in 2020. 
  • Subway and light rail investment are expected to reach record levels, increasing from $10.3 billion in 2019 to $11 billion in 2020. 
  • The recent federal appropriations bill and the 2015 FAST Act law provided a boost for public transportation investment. 
  • In addition to a dozen major subway and light rail projects underway, states awarding significant transit and rail contracts in the last year include: California, Illinois, Texas, Washington, Minnesota, Arizona, New York, Georgia and Massachusetts. 

Airport Runways and Terminals (Graph 49)

The value of airport construction, including terminals, runways and related work, is expected to increase 6 percent from $23.2 billion to $24.5 billion. 

  • After growing 34 percent in 2018, airport terminal and related work, including structures like parking garages, hangars, air freight terminals and traffic towers, is expected to increase from $18.5 billion in 2019 to $19.6 billion. 
  • Runway work is forecasted to increase from $4.7 billion in 2019 to $4.9 billion in 2020. 
  • Some major states with increases in expected runway construction market activity include: California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, New York, and Texas. 
  • There are currently 15 major airport expansion projects over $1 billion underway or about to begin in California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah, and Virginia. 

Ports and Waterways

The value of port and waterway investment is expected to grow to $3.4 billion in 2020. Construction activity in 2019 was $3.3 billion, up from $2.5 billion in 2018. 

  • States with increased investments in recent years include: California, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Washington.
  • Congress passed, and President Trump signed, the Water Resources Development Act of 2018 in October of 2018, authorizing over $9 billion in U.S. Army Corps of Engineers projects, with actual funding for the ventures pending the annual appropriations process. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) plans to spend $1.3 billion on inland waterway construction projects in FY 2020. This work is taking place in California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Michigan, Missouri, Massachusetts, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin, and West Virginia. 
  • Following $17.4 billion in supplemental disaster recovery funds in FY 2018, Congress provided $3.3 billion as part of the 2019 Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act, of which $2.5 billion was for short-term repairs. This includes $1 billion for 103 local flood risk management projects in eight states, $908 million for emergency dredging and other priority operation and maintenance projects across 31 states and Puerto Rico, and $575 million for projects on the Mississippi River and tributaries. 

ARTBA’s forecast is based on a series of proprietary econometric models for each mode and analysis of federal, state and local data and market intelligence. The full forecast can be purchased at www.artbastore.org.

This feature appeared in the January 2020 issues of the ACP Magazines:

California Builder & Engineer, Construction, Construction Digest, Construction News, Constructioneer, Dixie Contractor, Michigan Contractor & Builder, Midwest Contractor, New England Construction, Pacific Builder & Engineer, Rocky Mountain Construction, Texas Contractor, Western Builder

TRIP Reports: Deficient Roadways Cost Montana Drivers $794 Million Annually.


Mdt Forecasts Annual Funding Shortfall Of Nearly $900 Million, Halting Or Delaying Projects Needed To Improve Conditions, Enhance Economic Development Or Improve Safety

Roads and bridges that are deteriorated, congested or lack desirable safety features cost Montana motorists a total of $794 million statewide annually – as much as $1,417 per driver in some urban areas – due to higher vehicle operating costs, traffic crashes and congestion-related delays, according to a new report released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national nonprofit transportation research organization. These high costs come at a time when the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) estimates it will face an annual funding shortfall of $874 million through 2021, causing many needed projects to be halted or delayed. Increased investment in transportation improvements at the local, state and federal levels could improve road, bridge and transit conditions, boost safety, relieve traffic congestion and support long-term economic growth in Montana.

The TRIP report, Montana Transportation by the Numbers: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe, Smooth and Efficient Mobility,” finds that throughout Montana, 34 percent of major urban roads are in poor condition and nearly one-fifth of Montana’s bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. The state’s traffic fatality rate is the third highest in the nation. Montana’s major urban roads are becoming increasingly congested, with drivers wasting significant amounts of time and fuel each year.

The MDT estimates it will face an $874 million average annual shortfall through 2021 in the investment level needed to make further progress in improving road, highway and bridge conditions; improving traffic safety; and, completing needed modernization improvements to enhance economic development opportunities. As a result of a lack of transportation funding, MDT has delayed $144.5 million in road projects that had been scheduled to begin in 2017.

Driving on deficient roads costs Montana drivers $794 million 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 Billings, Great Falls and Missoula urban areas. A breakdown of the costs per motorist in each area along with a statewide total is below.

The TRIP report finds that 34 percent of major urban roads in Montana are in poor condition, while 40 percent are rated in mediocre or fair condition and the remaining 26 percent are in good condition. Driving on deteriorated roads costs Montana drivers an additional $296 million each year in extra vehicle operating costs, including accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.

We’ve been talking about our failing infrastructure and lack of funding for a long time now and have very little to show for all that hand-wringing,” said Darryl James, executive director of the Montana Infrastructure Coalition. “It’s time for a little less talk and a lot more action.”

A total of 18 percent of Montana’s bridges show significant deterioration or do not meet modern design standards. Eight percent of Montana’s bridges are structurally deficient, with significant deterioration to the bridge deck, supports or other major components. An additional ten 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.

“The Montana Infrastructure Coalition is bringing a balanced package of bills supported by a broad spectrum of Montanans,” said Webb Brown, president and CEO of the Montana Chamber of Commerce.  “We expect some tough discussions but believe Montana’s lawmakers are ready to step to the plate and work on real solutions to these very real problems. We’re anxious to share our research and data to play a central role in that discussion.”

Traffic crashes in Montana claimed the lives of 1,024 people between 2010 and 2014. Montana’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.58 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel is significantly higher than the national average of 1.08 and is the third highest in the nation. The fatality rate on Montana’s rural non-Interstate roads was 2.41 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2014, approximately three times higher than the 0.79 fatality rate on all other roads and highways in the state.

“Our transportation system is truly the network that binds our communities together in Montana,” said Steve Arveschoug, executive director of the Big Sky Economic Development Authority. “Our economic security depends on smart investment in infrastructure and it begins with clean water and roads and bridges that are safe and efficient.”

Traffic congestion in Montana is worsening, costing the state’s drivers $170 million annually in lost time and wasted fuel.

The efficiency and condition of Montana’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy. Annually, $101 billion in goods are shipped to and from sites in Montana, mostly by truck. Sixty-seven percent of the goods shipped annually to and from sites in Montana are carried by trucks and another 12 percent are carried by courier services or multiple mode deliveries, which include trucking.

“Conditions will worsen and additional projects will be delayed if greater funding is not made available at the state and local levels,” said Will Wilkins, TRIP’s executive director. “Without adequate investment, Montana’s roads and bridges will become increasingly deteriorated, inefficient and unsafe, hampering economic growth and quality of life.”

Executive Summary

Ten Key Transportation Numbers in Montana




$874 million

The Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) estimates it will face an $874 million average annual shortfall through 2021 in the investment level needed to make further progress in improving road, highway and bridge conditions; improving traffic safety; and, completing needed modernization improvements to enhance economic development opportunities.


This report includes information on 50 road, highway and bridge projects that currently cannot proceed due to lack of funding. These projects are needed to improve safety, support economic development opportunities and improve conditions in Montana.
$144.5 million The MDT has delayed $144.5 million in road projects that had been scheduled to begin in 2017 because of a lack of adequate funding.

32 percent


25 percent

Vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in Montana increased by 32 percent from 2000 to 2015 –from 9.9 billion VMT in 2000 to 13 billion VMT in 2015. This was the fifth largest increase in VMT in the nation during that time. VMT in Montana is anticipated to increase by another 25 percent by 2030.

$794 million

Driving on deficient roads costs Montana motorists a total of $794 million annually in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (VOC), congestion-related delays and traffic crashes.
$1,113 – Billings

$1,417– Great Falls

$1,152 – Missoula


TRIP has calculated the cost to the average motorist in the form of additional VOC, congestion-related delays and traffic crashes. Driving on deficient roads costs the average Billings urban area driver $1,113 annually, while the average driver in the Great Falls area loses $1,417 and the average driver in the Missoula area loses $1,152.


Montana’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.58 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2014 was the third highest in the U.S. and much higher than the national average of 1.08.
34% – Montana

30% – Billings

52% – Great Falls

26% – Missoula

Thirty-four percent of Montana’s major urban roads are in poor condition. In the Billings, Great Falls and Missoula urban areas, 30 percent, 52 percent and 26 percent of major roads are in poor condition, respectively.
$101 Billion Annually, $101 billion in goods are shipped to and from sites in Montana, mostly by truck.


A total of 18 percent of Montana bridges show significant deterioration or do not meet current design standards. Eight percent of the state’s bridges are structurally deficient and ten percent are functionally obsolete.

Nine years after the nation suffered a significant economic downturn, Montana’s economy continues to rebound. The rate of economic growth in Montana, which is greatly impacted by the reliability and condition of the state’s transportation system, has a significant impact on quality of life in the Treasure 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 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 natural resource extraction, agriculture, manufacturing and tourism, the quality of Montana’s transportation system plays a vital role in the state’s economic growth and quality of life.

In the TRIP report, TRIP looks at the top transportation numbers in Montana as the state addresses modernizing and maintaining its system of roads, highways, bridges and transit.

Sources of information for this report include the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT), 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).

To review the complete report visit:  www.tripnet.org

Action Needed to Reduce Traffic Congestion’s Impact on Drivers, Businesses and Local Economies

America’s traffic congestion recession is over. Just as the U.S. economy has regained nearly all of the 9 million jobs lost during the downturn, a new report

produced by INRIX and the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) shows that traffic congestion has returned to pre-recession levels.

According to the 2015 Urban Mobility Scorecard, travel delays due to traffic congestion caused drivers to waste more than 3 billion gallons of fuel and kept travelers stuck in their cars for nearly 7 billion extra hours – 42 hours per rush-hour commuter. The total nationwide price tag: $160 billion, or $960 per commuter.

Washington, D.C. tops the list of gridlock-plagued cities, with 82 hours of delay per commuter, followed by Los Angeles (80 hours), San Francisco (78 hours), New York (74 hours), and San Jose (67 hours).

The problem has become so bad in major urban areas that drivers have to plan more than twice as much travel time as they would need to arrive on time in light traffic just to account for the effects of irregular delays such as bad weather, collisions, and construction zones. For example, drivers on America’s Top 10 worst roads waste on average 84 hours or 3.5 days a year on average in gridlock – twice the national average. Of these roads, six are in Los Angeles, two are in New York and the remaining two are in Chicago. Nine other cities have roads ranked among the 50 worst.

Scorecard findings also illustrate how traffic congestion isn’t just a big-city issue. Cities of all sizes are experiencing the challenges seen before the start of the recession – increased traffic congestion resulting from growing urban populations and lower fuel prices are outpacing the nation’s ability to build infrastructure. Of America’s Top 10 Worst Traffic cities, 7 of them experienced population growth outpacing the national average of 0.7 percent last year, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, Houston and Riverside, CA. Additionally, some of the worst traffic cities also experienced some of the largest decreases in fuel prices (-4.1 percent nationally) including Riverside, Houston, Los Angeles, San Jose, Boston and Chicago. The result, the average travel delay per commuter nationwide is more than twice what it was in 1982. For cities of less than 500,000 people, the problem is four times worse than in 1982.

“Our growing traffic problem is too massive for any one entity to handle – state and local agencies can’t do it alone,” says Tim Lomax, a report co-author and Regents Fellow at TTI. “Businesses can give their employees more flexibility in where, when and how they work, individual workers can adjust their commuting patterns, and we can have better thinking when it comes to long-term land use planning. This problem calls for a classic ‘all-hands-on-deck’ approach.”

Recent data from the U.S. Department of Transportation shows that Americans have driven more than 3 trillion miles in the last 12 months. That’s a new record, surpassing the 2007 peak just before the global financial crisis. Report authors say the U.S. needs more roadway and transit investment to meet the demands of population growth and economic expansion, but added capacity alone can’t solve congestion problems. Solutions must involve a mix of strategies, combining new construction, better operations, and more transportation options as well as flexible work schedules.

“Connectedness, big data and automation will have an immense impact over the next decade on how we travel and how governments efficiently manage the flow of people and commerce across our transportation networks,” says Jim Bak, one of the report’s authors and a director at INRIX. “This report is a great example of how data and analytics are evolving to provide transportation agencies with the insight needed to not only make our existing transportation systems work smarter but more quickly pinpoint where investment can have a lasting impact.”

The report predicts urban roadway congestion will continue to get worse without more assertive approaches on the project, program, and policy fronts. By 2020, with a continued good economy:

  • Annual delay per commuter will grow from 42 hours to 47 hours.
  • Total delay nationwide will grow from 6.9 billion hours to 8.3 billion hours.
  • The total cost of congestion will jump from $160 billion to $192 billion.

Findings in the Urban Mobility Scorecard are drawn from traffic speed data collected by INRIX on 1.3 million miles of urban streets and highways, along with highway performance data from the Federal Highway Administration. The vast amount of information, INRIX and TTI say, makes it possible to examine problems in greater detail than before, and to identify the effect of solutions at specific locations.


INRIX is one of the fastest growing big data technology companies in the world. The company leverages big data analytics to reduce the individual, economic and environmental toll of traffic congestion. Through cutting-edge data intelligence and predictive traffic technologies, INRIX helps leading automakers, fleets, governments and news organizations make it easier for drivers to navigate their world. Our vision is simple – to solve traffic, empower drivers, inform planning and enhance commerce.

Whether through an in-car or smartphone navigation application, a local newscast or our INRIX Traffic app, our up-to-the-minute traffic information and other driver services help millions of drivers save time, fuel and frustration. INRIX delivers traffic and driving-related insight, as well as sophisticated analytical tools and services across six industries covering nearly five million miles (7.9 million km) of road in 41 countries. For more information visit us at INRIX.com or download our INRIX XD Traffic App for iOS and Android.

About the Texas A&M Transportation Institute

The Texas A&M Transportation Institute is the largest university-affiliated transportation research agency in the U.S. and a member of the Texas A&M University System. Since 1950, the Institute has been dedicated to saving lives, time, and resources by addressing problems related to all modes of transportation. See more information about the study at mobility.tamu.edu.



New Haven Jacks Missing Sewer Link

M&P Pipe Jacking uses four 200-ton Rogers hydraulic jacks to push 36-inch Hanson RCP sewer on C.J. Fucci Construction’s $12-million sewer separation project in New Haven.

$12 million project completes separation of storm water from 1860s brick sewer serving downtown and Yale University

By Paul Fournier

The “Missing Link” of a combined sewer separation program spanning decades and involving four Connecticut communities is now under construction for the Greater New Haven Water Pollution Control Authority (GNHWPCA or the Authority).

C.J. Fucci Construction Inc. has a $12-million contract with the Authority to separate storm water from a 150-year-old brick combined sewer serving downtown New Haven and Yale University in conjunction with conveying previously separated storm water flows into a new 72-inch reinforced concrete pipe (RCP).

Fucci’s contract for Phase 1A of Trumbull Street Area Sewer Separation includes installing about 3,200 linear feet of 36-inch to 72-inch storm and sanitary sewers on Trumbull Street using the trenchless jacking method. This busy thoroughfare provides the main access from I-91/I-95 to downtown New Haven and Yale University.

C.J. Fucci crew employs a Volvo excavator to lower one of the precast manholes supplied by United Concrete Products.

In addition, the New Haven-based contractor is installing 2,500 linear feet of 15-inch to 24-inch RCP storm sewers by open cut excavation, setting in place precast storm and sanitary sewer manholes, catch basins and other special structures, and performing surface restoration.

Storms Overwhelm Sewer

Under Executive Director Sidney Holbrook, the Authority provides sewer service for some 200,000 people in New Haven, Hamden, East Haven, and Woodbridge through the operation and maintenance of 555 miles of sewer mains, 30 pump stations, and the East Shore Water Pollution Abatement Facility. Located near New Haven Harbor, the East Shore plant treats an average daily flow of 40 million gallons of raw sewage, making it the second largest wastewater treatment plant in Connecticut.

A Volvo excavator places 36-inch RCP pipe manufactured by Hanson Pipe and Precast into one of three jacking pits built for sewer separation project.

Wastewater collection for Trumbull Street is currently provided by a 60-inch brick sanitary sewer built in the 1860s. Unfortunately, the sewer also collects storm water from building roof leaders, runoff from streets and parking lots, and about 120 acres of previously separated storm water from upstream areas. And while the brick sewer is said to be in excellent condition – thanks to the craftsmanship of the original builders — it can’t accommodate today’s combined flows during heavy rain and snowfall.

“Combined flows can increase quickly from a rate of 35 million gallons per day to well over 100 million gallons during a major storm event, exceeding the capacity of the sewer and the treatment plant,” said Mario Ricozzi, P.E., Manager of Design for GNHWPCA.

Dividing The Task

Due to its complexity, the Authority divided the sewer separation work into two contracts — Phase 1A and Phase 1B.

Phase 1A consists of work on the Trumbull Street Area, the downstream section,  managed by Cardinal Engineering of Meriden,

A Grove TMS 250C hydraulic crane equipped with a vibratory hammer installs HP12x63 battered pile during construction of reaction wall framework at a jacking pit.

Conn., while Phase 1B comprises work on Prospect Street, the upstream section, managed by URS Corporation’s Rocky Hill, Conn., office.

Phase 1B, which runs right through the urban Yale campus, was commenced first and was completed in June 2011.

C.J. Fucci won both contracts in the public bidding process, and subcontracted the extensive pipe-jacking for both contracts to M & P Pipe Jacking Corporation of Newington, Conn. Luigi DiMonaco, the Authority’s Construction Administrator, is overseeing the project.

Utilities, Traffic And Trees

Design manager Ricozzi said there were many challenges to completing the missing link. For example, there are a number of municipal and Yale University construction projects under way in the sewer project area. There are numerous utilities, including underground gas lines, water mains and conduits, together with overhead wires, that all have to be relocated from the path of the new storm drain and sewer lines.

Owing to the strategic location of Trumbull Street as the main access road to downtown New Haven and Yale, an intricate traffic detour program had to be worked out by project engineers and several City of New Haven and State Department of Transportation Agencies.

Furthermore, the project team has to protect legacy trees lining the busy thoroughfare. Stately sycamores and other large old trees, some of them up to five-feet in diameter, are to be avoided by construction if at all possible. Roots can’t be cut for fear of destroying trees. To address this environmentally sensitive issue, the design team hired The Care of Trees, a division of the Davey Group, to lead a tree preservation effort. These specialists inventoried, inspected and rated each tree along the route, noted Ricozzi.

“The root systems were located using ground penetrating radar to establish the relative size, location, and depth of roots. After analyzing the data, the team decided to use pipe jacking and push the pipe below the roots to preserve the trees,” Ricozzi explained.

Tight Quarters, Shallow Cover

Basically, the current project will redirect all sewage from building sanitary sewer laterals into a new 36-inch RCP sewer. All storm water will be carried by the new 72-inch RCP storm sewer. The existing brick sewer will remain in place, but once this project is completed it will carry only sanitary sewage.

The success of this plan relies on having three parallel sewer pipes installed very close together down Trumbull Street. From curbside, left to right, they are a 36-inch RCP sanitary sewer, a 72-inch RCP storm water sewer, and the existing 60-inch brick sewer. M&P is jacking the 36-inch pipe and the 72-inch pipe side-by-side, with the smaller pipe slightly lower than the larger pipe and only 5 feet between their centerlines. The 72-inch RCP and 60-inch brick sewer are typically separated by between just one and two feet.

In one area near the intersection of Trumbull Street, Temple Street and Whitney Avenue, there was not enough space to install a single 72-inch pipe so instead twin 48-inch pipes were to be installed.

Adding to the uniqueness of this project is the fact that in some places there is only 2-1/2 feet of cover available over the 72-inch pipe. A rare occurrence, according to Gene Zwicharowski, superintendent of C.J. Fucci’s Underground Utility Division:

“The old industry standard was ‘double the diameter of the pipe’ for earth cover,” said the longtime construction veteran.

Contractor’s Decisions

Zwicharowski said many complex tasks linked to the means and methods employed in construction were left up to the contractor. The contractor’s project engineer, Neil Velleca, P.E., had the prime responsibility for these tasks, which included maintaining sewer flows to existing buildings and monitoring the extremely close, parallel 60-inch brick sewer during construction and designing non ground bearing reaction walls for pipe jacking pits.

Before pipe jacking could begin, however, it was critical that continuous sewer services be provided to the many buildings on Trumbull Street.  All sewer laterals on the south side of the street had to be cut from the path of the jacked pipe and connected to a temporary bypass system. Baker Corp. provided the diesel and electric by-pass pumps for this essential operation.

Once the pipes have been jacked in place, sanitary laterals are to be connected to the 36-inch sewer pipe, while storm laterals are to be connected to the 72-inch storm water pipe.

The Jacking Process

In situations where there is poor bearing soil or the pit is too shallow to build a typical thrust wall, crews usually build reaction walls in pits to resist the thrust of jacking cylinders against the pipes. These reaction walls transfer horizontal loads to a structural framework. For this project, Fucci workers formed and cast concrete walls in place against a framework they previously fabricated

Some sections of 72-inch RCP storm water sewer, as shown in this photo, have to be jacked with only 2-1/2 feet of cover.

of steel HP12x63 vertical and battered piles and 8×28 walers.

The general contractor excavated and erected earth support systems for three jacking pits and three receiving pits.  M&P used four, 200-ton Rogers hydraulic jacks to push pipe through the soil. The jacks actually push against a steel ring-shaped shield designed to protect pipe and distribute forces evenly around its circumference. As part of this process, M&P workers enter the pipe to hand-shovel encapsulated soil into a wheeled cart which when full is pulled by cable back out of the pipe into the pit. A backhoe or crane then raises the cart to street level for disposal of the spoil.

According to Tim Tarini, construction coordinator for C.J. Fucci, M&P is jacking about 900 feet of 36-inch RCP sanitary sewer, 1250 feet of 72-inch RCP storm sewer, and 520 feet of twin, 48-inch RCP storm sewer. All RCP pipe is manufactured by Hanson Pipe and Precast, with Dean Logee serving as Hanson’s sales representative for the project. Pipe is being supplied through VIP Supply Inc. of Clinton, Conn.

Other Team Members

Other major construction items are two large precast concrete sanitary sewer doghouses designed to fit over the existing 60-inch brick sewer, plus two special storm water structures. United Concrete Products of Yalesville, Conn., is supplying the precast structures.

In addition to M&P Pipe Jacking, major subcontractors on the Phase 1A contract include: A&J Construction (paving); Glenn Terrace Landscaping (plantings); and KTM Electric (traffic signals and electrical work).

Tarini said he expects construction for the complex, high-profile sewer separation project to be essentially completed by mid-2013.

Environmental Benefits

When the entire project is operational, it will provide many environmental benefits for the Greater New Haven area. Not only will

Tree roots were located using ground penetrating radar, with the information leading to the decision to jack pipe below roots to protect the trees.

the long-awaited missing link for separated storm drainage be in place, but combined sewer overflows to the Mill River will be greatly reduced, rainwater flows to the treatment plant will be cut, local roadway drainage will be improved, and the sanitary sewer will have greater capacity.

This article appeared in the June 2012 issue so New England