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U.S. Department of Transportation Honors PennDOT in Nation’s First Highway Innovation Showcase

Parul Dubey on August 8, 2016 - in Rail, Transportation

HARRISBURG, Pa. – U.S. Deputy Transportation Secretary Victor Mendez and Federal Highway Administrator Gregory Nadeau joined state and local officials today at the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Innovation Showcase, and recognized the Keystone State as a model for the nation in using state-of-the-art technologies on its highway projects.

“For many years, Pennsylvania has inspired other states with their transportation innovations,” said Deputy Secretary Mendez. “The PennDOT team is saving lives, saving time and saving money on roads throughout the state, and motivating other states to do the same.”

Many of the innovations were pioneered and promoted by FHWA’s “Every Day Counts” (EDC) initiative, a national effort created in 2009 to inspire the use of proven, market-ready innovations. When Congress passed the “Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act” last year, it included language to make Every Day Counts a permanent part of the Federal-aid highway program to ensure FHWA continues to further deploy new business practices and construction technologies while promoting a culture of innovation within the highway community.

Federal Highway Administrator Gregory Nadeau applauded PennDOT for using “Safety Edge” – a paving technique that bevels the edge of roads and highways, making vehicles less susceptible to road-departure crashes – on more than 500 miles of roads. He also highlighted the state’s use of “high-friction surface treatments” – a low-cost method of making curves and intersections at more than 200 high-risk crash locations safer. These safety innovations, among others, have helped to reduce fatal roadway departure crashes in Pennsylvania by 12 percent since 2010.

Mendez and Nadeau also praised Pennsylvania’s use of “warm mix asphalt,” a specially treated material that can be used in colder weather, which lengthens the construction season and allows more repair work to take place each year. PennDOT used warm mix asphalt on 37 percent of its paving projects in 2014 and nearly half of all paving projects last year.

“One of the most effective ways to reduce crashes is to ensure that safety features are built in to the roads,” said Administrator Nadeau. “PennDOT is proving to the nation just how effective these low-cost elements can be in protecting drivers.”

In recent years, the state’s use of accelerated bridge construction techniques is taking years off traditional bridge planning and construction times, which leads to fewer traffic delays and at less cost to the taxpayer. Pennsylvania’s State Transportation Innovation Council (STIC) is bringing these and other cutting-edge techniques and methods to more and more projects.

Through EDC, FHWA supports the use of 41 innovative technologies, materials and project delivery methods. The agency has also funded the establishment of STICs in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, on National Park Service roads and other federally-owned lands.

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