DOT Secretary LaHood Announces $9.5 Million in Innovation Grants to Reduce Congestion and Create Long-Lasting Roads and Bridges

WASHINGTON–(ENEWSPF)–March 10, 2011.  U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced more than $9.5 million for 15 projects in 13 states and Puerto Rico that employ innovative construction technologies that more quickly and efficiently improve safety, reduce congestion and create high-quality, long-lasting highways and bridges. 

“President Obama has urged us to win the future by encouraging American innovation,” said Secretary LaHood. “This money will pay for technologies that will help states build smarter, better, faster, cheaper and with less impact on the traveling public.”

Administered through the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) Highways for LIFE program, the money is intended to encourage use of proven technologies and practices that are not yet widely used. These 15 projects will use innovations such as prefabricated bridge elements, precast concrete pavement slabs, warm-mix asphalt, road safety audits and paving techniques on the road shoulders to reduce traffic accidents.

“These grants give states an opportunity to use technologies they might not normally consider,” said Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez.  “These innovative techniques can save money, reduce construction times and deliver roads and bridges that are safer and last longer.”

The grants were grouped by those that focused on providing faster construction, those that focused on longer life and those that allowed for less traffic disruption.

The following projects will receive grants:

Faster Construction

  • The Iowa Department of Transportation will use $400,000 to replace a bridge on U.S. 6 with a prefabricated bridge system. The use of accelerated construction techniques will limit the impact of the project on the traveling public to 14 days versus six months using conventional construction methods.
  • The Massachusetts Department of Transportation will use $1 million to replace 14 superstructures on seven bridges on I-93 in Medford in one construction season, approximately eight months. Using the prefabricated bridge elements will result in a safer construction environment. With traditional methods, this project would have taken three years.
  • The Massachusetts Department of Transportation will also use $285,680 to replace the Fleury Bridge on Mountain Road using three precast concrete beams, cutting project construction time by two-thirds to about six months.
  • The Ohio Department of Transportation will use $1 million on performance contracting and a two-step best-value design-build procurement process when it reconstructs the I-71/I-670 interchange in Columbus. This type of contracting is expected to cut construction time in half.
  • The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development will use $1 million to add a continuous turn lane on LA 511 in Shreveport. A range of innovations will be used to enhance construction speed by 34 percent compared to conventional approaches.

Longer Life

  • The Oregon Department of Transportation will use $500,000 for accelerated construction methods when it replaces the Burnt River Bridge on U.S. 30 in Baker County. The new bridge is designed to last more than 75 years.
  • The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation will use $1 million to improve safety and the design of the roadway when they rehabilitate a section of State Route 3011 in Lackawanna County. .
  • The Rhode Island Department of Transportation will use $520,000 to replace the structure for Bridge No. 435 in East Greenwich with precast concrete elements to speed construction, enhance quality, reduce the need for future maintenance and keep construction time to about six months, two months less than using traditional methods.
  • The Utah Department of Transportation will use $1 million to replace the Manderfield Bridges on I-15 in Beaver County with low-weight hybrid composite beams that reduce construction time and will provide a service life beyond 100 years.
  • The Washington State Department of Transportation will use $1 million to replace the McDonald Creek Bridges in Olympia by using innovative sustainable bridge columns to reduce the potential for damage from strong earthquakes.

Less Traffic Disruption

  • The Indiana Department of Transportation will use $226,000 on a section of State Route 13 under the Interstate 69 overpass in Madison County that has been hit by trucks several times due to the low clearance.  Thinner precast concrete pavement will be used to allow a few more inches for clearance and will expedite construction and minimize traffic disruption.
  • The Minnesota Department of Transportation will use $150,000 to install precast concrete panels to expedite the replacement of a bridge on U.S. 53 over Paleface River in St. Louis County. The agency anticipates a three-week reduction in construction time to about two months.
  • The New York State Department of Transportation will use $780,000 to reconstruct the I-590/Winston Road interchange in Monroe County using an innovative interchange design to eliminate left turns, which reduces the crash rate by a third. The new design is about 25 percent less expensive than the traditional partial interchange design.
  • The Puerto Rico Highways and Transportation Authority will use $95,000 to replace Bridge No. 1828 on PR 140 in Barceloneta using geosynthetic reinforced soil system technology to minimize traffic disruption, cut construction time and reduce cost by 20-30 percent.
  • The Texas Department of Transportation will use $600,000 to replace the southbound bridge deck of IH-35W over 36th Street in Fort Worth with a prefabricated deck, which will greatly reduce construction time by eliminating lengthy steps required in traditional methods.

For more information on the program and the technologies being used for these projects, visit