S. Carolina Building ’Highway for LIFE’ With Federal Grant

Tue December 19, 2006 - Southeast Edition
CEG



South Carolina will be one of the first three states to receive a $1 million grant under a Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) program to help develop new approaches that can improve safety, reduce construction time and improve the quality of highways and bridges.

The “Highways for LIFE” (longer-lasting, innovative, fast and efficient) program encourages states to build roads faster while making them longer-lasting and less costly to maintain. South Carolina, Iowa and Minnesota are the first three states to receive grants in this new program, according to the FHWA.

The South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) is in the planning phase for replacing four structurally-deficient SC-377 bridges over Black River and swamps in Williamsburg County. These bridges are located 4 mi. south of Kingstree. Contractors are expected to bid on the project in the spring or summer of 2007, with construction beginning a few months later. The date is subject to change due to other factors that may govern.

SCDOT Bridge Project Engineer Bernar Amado said construction on what is estimated will be a $14 million project should take 18 months.

The project will be the first time self-compacting concrete will be used on bridge beams in an SCDOT project. Amado said the material may be used in other parts of the job, too.

He said the fabricator of the beams will save time and labor costs, as there is no need to vibrate the material once it is in the form.

As part of this grant, SCDOT will use a no-excuse clause in its contract, which can reduce construction time, in addition to a new performance based standard specification for pavement ridability.

Amado said a series of deadlines will be set up throughout the job, which will result in bonuses or penalties for the contractor.

Performance goals will result with smoother and better pavement.

Additionally, SCDOT will include safety enhancements at the intersection of SC 377 and U.S. 521, approximately .5 mi. from the main river bridge. The safety enhancement will allow for traffic to flow much smoother with the additional widening and turning lanes.

SCDOT expects the project will result in a 20 percent reduction in fatalities and injuries as reflected in three-year average crash rates, using preconstruction rates as the baseline. This goal is in line with SCDOT/FHWA strategic plan in reducing road crash fatalities.