WASHINGTON — Innovative design and construction techniques, cutting-edge technologies, new materials, safety products and state-of-the-art heavy equipment are being deployed by the public and private sectors to deliver critical, and cost-effective, transportation improvement projects to communities across the U.S., a new publication from the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) shows.
“Economy-Driven: Innovations Driving the ROI in U.S. Transportation Infrastructure” features 25 short case studies of projects that are benefitting U.S. taxpayers. In Indiana and Kentucky, two projects are spotlighted.
Among the project innovations are:
•The Ohio River Bridges project is a joint venture designed to cure traffic congestion for more than 100,000 drivers every day between southern Indiana and Louisville, Kentucky. The project went to great lengths to seek and gauge public input to help determine many design features. A cable stayed bridge with three sets of twin towers allows for clearer views of the Louisville skyline.
•The new truss slide of the Milton-Madison Bridge is one of the longest of its kind in North America. The 2,427-ft.-long truss moved along steel rails and plates and “slid” into place atop existing piers. It is twice as wide as the original structure and carries U.S. 421, connecting the towns of Madison, Indiana, and Milton, Kentucky. The joint effort between the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and the Indiana Department of Transportation secured state and federal funding for the costs of the project, which was evenly split by both states. Construction also helped create or preserve 1,400 jobs.
“Economy Driven” has been sent to all members of Congress and more than 30,000 transportation design and construction professionals around the country to highlight the value and many benefits of transportation infrastructure investment.
ARTBA warns, however, that the ability of state transportation departments to complete similar projects in the future could be in jeopardy if Congress does not act soon to find a long-term permanent solution for the Highway Trust Fund (HTF). The latest authorization of federal highway and public transit funding expires May 31.
The HTF is the source, on average, of 52 percent of highway and bridge capital investments made by state governments annually. In Indiana it is 54 percent.
“Congress has created so much uncertainty in the marketplace with 32 short-term funding extensions that state transportation departments have little choice but to delay or cancel scheduled highway and transit improvement projects every year,” ARTBA President Pete Ruane says. “This, in turn, jeopardizes private sector jobs and makes capital investment and hiring decisions more risky.”
Ruane added: “It’s time for Congress and the President to honestly explain the federal transportation investment situation to the American people and ask for their help in solving the nation’s mobility problems.”