WASHINGTON, May 14, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- 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 the Midwestern United States, six projects in five states are spotlighted.
Among some of the innovations in the Midwest are:
- The new Hastings Bridge in Minnesota, weighing in at 3,300 tons, was designed and built to last 100 years. It enhances mobility and safety for both the community and the region and has become part of the area's identity.
- A sleek new $140 million rail streetcar system under construction in Detroit is an unprecedented public-private partnership and model for regional collaboration. It is the first major public transit project led and funded by private businesses and philanthropic organizations in partnership with local, state and federal governments.
- The Illinois Tollway is in the process of rebuilding and widening a portion of I-90 in the Chicago area, which has reached a critical need for infrastructure expansion and modernization. A gantry system designed and produced exclusively for the project was used to raise concrete girders and then slide them into place on bridgework throughout the project.
- The Veteran's Glass City Skyway is a cable-stayed bridge in Toledo, Ohio, that has historically thickened with ice over the past seven winters it has been in service. Researchers from the University of Toledo developed a sensor system capable of detecting ice buildup on the bridge and signaling when chunks may break free, while a real-time ice monitoring system tracks icing conditions and allows officials to make decisions regarding closure or traffic diversion in case of danger.
- The new St. Croix Crossing across the Mighty Mississippi River respects the landscape in the Midwest. It brought together the Minnesota Department of Transportation and Wisconsin Department of Transportation on the project as it worked to maintain the aesthetics of the region.
- A complex interchange project in Wisconsin that used three "cut and cover tunnels" in its design minimized the need for multiple levels of roadway, increased overall safety, breathed new economic life into Milwaukee, all while reducing overall project costs by $10 million.
"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 some states, like Wisconsin and Ohio the percent is even higher. In Minnesota it is 64 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."
The full "Economy Driven" publication can be read on ARTBA's "Transportation Makes America Work" website, www.tmaw.com.
Established in 1902, Washington, D.C.-based ARTBA is the "consensus voice" of the U.S. transportation design and construction industry before Congress, the White House, federal agencies, news media and the general public.
SOURCE American Road & Transportation Builders Association