The nation’s top highway official announced Oct. 5 that nearly $5 million will be directed to Maryland, Montana, New York, North Dakota, Utah and Virginia to reduce traffic jams near highway construction sites by speeding project completion.
The "Highways for LIFE" program is managed by the FHWA to provide grant money to help states build roads faster while making them last longer and less costly to maintain. In addition to direct funding, the program can ease state matching requirements for such projects, thereby saving millions in state transportation funds.
"These funds are critical to improving America’s infrastructure while minimizing traffic delays," said Federal Highway Administrator J. Richard Capka. "Reducing traffic congestion is key not only to our nation’s quality of life but also to keeping our economy healthy and internationally competitive."
Maryland will receive $800,000 to help replace a bridge on MD 28 in Frederick County and another on MD 725 in Prince George’s County. The projects, relying on prefabricated concrete superstructures, will shorten project completion from more than a year to 60 days.
Montana will receive $320,000 to retrofit cross-culvert liners on U.S. 12 in Powell. By lining the existing culverts with plastic or polymer compound liners rather than excavating and replacing them, the work will lengthen the useful life of the culverts while requiring one day’s closure of a single lane of the four-lane highway. Traditional culvert replacement requires the closure of half of the highway for four days. The plan reduces construction time by 70%.
New York will receive $1 million for bridge approach slabs on 15 bridges on I-88 in Delaware and Schoharie Counties. Using prefabricated concrete slabs, rather than cast-in-place concrete, crews will be able to work at night and limit interruptions to daytime traffic flow.
North Dakota will receive $1 million to help rehabilitate a section of U.S. 2 from Berwick to Rugby. The project will use “whitetopping,” an innovative process in which existing asphalt road surface is covered with a concrete overlay, which is expected to reduce construction time by 40% over traditional methods.
Utah will receive $1 million to help replace a bridge on S.R. 266 over I-215. The new superstructure will be built offsite, while new substructure will be built under the existing bridge while it remains in service. By relying on prefabrication, impact on traffic flow will be reduced by an estimated 80% while resulting in a smoother, quieter and longer-lasting bridge.
Virginia will receive $600,000 to help replace a bridge on Route 15/29 in Prince William County. The project will rely on a prefabricated bridge superstructure, and limit traffic to one lane at night during the work, reducing the impact on daytime drivers by an estimated 80%.
The funding will be distributed after enactment of the FY08 Transportation spending bill. For more information about FHWA’s “Highways For LIFE” program, visit http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/hfl/.