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Public Roads - May/June 2017

May/June 2017
Issue No:
Vol. 80 No. 6
Publication Number:
Table of Contents

Innovation Corner

Sharing the Innovation Experience

by Rob Ritter

The Federal Highway Administration’s Accelerated Innovation Deployment (AID) Demonstration program is more than just a grant program. It provides an opportunity for award recipients to share their experiences applying proven innovations on highway projects in their own words.

Administered by the Center for Accelerating Innovation, the program provides up to $1 million to support the cost of deploying innovations on any phase of a project. The program allocates up to $10 million per fiscal year. Agencies that receive awards develop reports documenting the processes used and lessons learned, as well as guidance, specifications, and other tools to help others adopt these innovations as standard practices.

Read on for examples of four successful projects and insights from the agencies involved.

Kentucky Roundabout

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) used an AID Demonstration award to build a roundabout to improve safety and alleviate capacity problems at a four-way stop-controlled intersection in London, KY. The intersection had been a high-crash location for years.

After the roundabout was installed, rush hour queues at the intersection disappeared. “The roundabout has yielded significant improvements in traffic flow at the KY 363 and KY 1006 intersection,” the project team concluded in its final report. “It appears that other projects could successfully adopt a roundabout and experience the dramatic safety and operational benefits that London has enjoyed.”

One goal of the project was to help KYTC gain the experience necessary to institutionalize the use of roundabouts at safety-critical locations when appropriate. As a result of the project, the agency is revising its roundabout design guidance as part of a revamp of its Highway Design Manual.

Since 2014, FHWA has awarded AID Demonstration grants to 62 projects across the country.

Michigan Bridge Slide

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) used AID Demonstration funds to replace the U.S. 131 bridges over 3 Mile Road near Morley using slide-in bridge construction. The agency chose the method to minimize the project’s impact on a major route linking cities in southern Michigan to resort areas in the north. The project was MDOT’s first use of the technique, in which a new bridge is built on temporary supports then slid into place during a road closure.

According to the agency’s final report, “The overall project was deemed a success, and the Michigan DOT has now added this innovative technology to its toolbox.” The final report includes lessons learned from the U.S. 131 project and a second bridge slide in Lowell Township.

"The overall project was deemed a success, and the Michigan DOT has now added this innovative technology to its toolbox."
— Michigan Department of Transportation

County Pavement Recycling

In another project, MDOT partnered with the Dickinson County Road Commission and the city of Kingsford, MI, to use hot in-place recycling and warm-mix asphalt to rehabilitate a roadway section in Kingsford. Crews recycled and reused 100 percent of the existing pavement on the project.

According to the project report, “The Dickinson County Road Commission determined from the results of our data analysis and [the] sense of satisfaction from the facility users that the [hot in-place recycling] method is a valuable but little-used tool in the road preservation toolbox.”

The county now considers hot in-place recycling one of its standard operating procedures. The technology joins warm-mix asphalt as an option for contractors on paving projects.

South Dakota Safety Treatment

The South Dakota Department of Transportation used an AID Demonstration grant to improve driver safety on horizontal curves using high-friction surface treatments. The project, implemented on U.S. 14A near Deadwood and I–229 in Sioux Falls, had a goal to cut roadway departure crashes at the curves by at least 25 percent.

“The real lesson we learned was in the performance of [high-friction surface treatments] in snow- and ice-covered road conditions,” agency officials concluded in the final report. In the first winter, the agency “had an overall crash reduction rate of 78 percent.” As a result, the agency developed standard specifications and plans to adopt high-friction surface treatments as a standard procedure.

For more information, visit or contact Ewa Flom at 202–366–2169 or

Rob Ritter is managing director of FHWA’s Office of Innovative Program Delivery.