Along the Road
Along the Road
Along the Road is the place to look for information about current and upcoming activities, developments, trends, and items of general interest to the highway community. This information comes from U.S. Department of Transportation sources unless otherwise indicated. Your suggestions and input are welcome. Let’s meet along the road.
Public Information and Information Exchange
Upgrades Begin on Hawaii’s Wailua River Bridge
The Wailua River Bridge on Hawaii’s fourth largest island—Kauai—is one of the most trafficked areas and under renovation.
Built in 1945, the 77-year-old bridge measures 424 feet (129 meters) long and is supported by seven concrete piers. The concrete piers are supported by piles made of wood that were driven into the riverbed when the bridge was originally constructed.
In June 2022, a groundbreaking ceremony was held to initiate the start of the $55.7 million renovation project. The most highlighted renovation is the planned replacement of the wooden piles with reinforced concrete piles. The concrete piles will better weather the heavy rains and flooding which has plagued the bridge in the past. The project also calls for a new pier between the piles to provide better support for the existing structure.
Construction on the bridge will be handled both carefully and efficiently as the Wailua River Bridge serves as a primary means by which residents and visitors of the island access essential services (e.g., a hospital and airport). The bridge will remain open for much of the renovation. The Hawaii Department of Transportation expects the repairs to continue through the end of 2024.
MARAD Announces Four New Marine Highway Projects
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration recently designated four new marine highway projects as part of the America’s Marine Highway Program (AMHP). The program has one major goal: expand the use of America’s navigable waters—that is, rivers, bays, channels, coasts, the Great Lakes, open-ocean routes, and the Saint Lawrence Seaway System. A marine highway project is a planned service, or expansion of an existing service, on a designated marine highway route.
The designations announced in June 2022 include the Riverbulk Steel Shuttle (North Carolina), Yakutat, Alaska’s Freight Expansion Service, Unalaska Express (Alaska), and the Puerto Rico Maritime Transportation Services Project.
Since its inception in 2010, the AMHP has designated 58 marine highway projects. Designations are beneficial to the public as well as to the environment. For instance, the Riverbulk Steel Shuttle supports an existing barge service, reducing the number of trucks traveling on roadways and shipping costs for cargo owners. Likewise, the Puerto Rico Maritime Transportation Services Project will grant island residents access to essential services located primarily on the main island, such as food, groceries, construction services, and equipment.
For more information on the Maritime Administration, visit https://www.maritime.dot.gov/grants/marine-highways/marine-highway.
USDOT, Cherokee Nation Sign First Ever Tribal Transportation Self-Governance Compact
The U.S. Department of Transportation and the Cherokee Nation signed the first ever Tribal Transportation Self-Governance Compact. The compact gives the Tribe the ability to plan and oversee its own road construction planning and transit projects without having to seek Federal permission.
In June 2022, Deputy Secretary of Transportation Polly Trottenberg visited the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma, meeting with Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin, Jr., to sign the compact—the first compact under USDOT’s Tribal Transportation Self-Governance Program. As part of her visit, Secretary Trottenberg surveyed road safety projects the Cherokee Nation is currently executing, including electric vehicle initiatives. The Cherokee Nation built one of the first solar canopies in Oklahoma.
Policy, Legislation, and Grants
Idaho Awarded $30.9 Million for Four Projects Statewide
Announced in August 2022, Idaho recently received nearly $31 million in funding through the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) Program to modernize its transportation system. However, modernization isn’t the grant’s only goal: safety, accessibility, affordability, and sustainability are main objectives as well.
The total amount of funding will be dispersed among four projects within the State: $12.4 million to the Idaho Transportation Department for Wood River Valley Mobility Corridor Improvements; $8.4 million to Valley Regional Transit for the State Street Premium Corridor; $5 million to the Ada County Highway District for the Access to Opportunity Planning Project; and $5 million to City of Nampa for Reconnecting Accessibility and Improving Safety and Equity.
RAISE is one of several ways communities can secure funding for projects under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s competitive grant programs. Idaho’s portion of RAISE is part of more than $2.2 billion awarded nationwide.
For more information on Idaho’s four projects, visit https://itd.idaho.gov/news/idaho-awarded-30-9m-in-federal-grants-to-modernize-transportation-statewide/ or https://www.transportation.gov/sites/dot.gov/files/2022-08/RAISE-Idaho-2022.pdf.
The last deathless day in Texas was November 7, 2000. Since then, over 75,000 people have died on Texas roadways. To discontinue the nearly 22-year streak of daily deaths on Texas roads, #EndTheStreakTX was created—a grassroots and word-of-mouth effort where Texans are being asked to utilize social media to:
- Post pictures of the #EndTheStreakTX sign, using the hashtag #EndTheStreakTX.
- Share personal stories of loved ones who have been lost in a crash, using the hashtag #EndTheStreakTX.
- Follow the Texas Department of Transportation’s (TxDOT) social media pages and share related content.
Texans, and those driving through Texas, are also asked to buckle up, follow speed limits, never drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and never drive distracted (e.g., use a cellphone while driving). TxDOT is also contributing to the effort through the way roads are engineered, the installation of median barriers to prevent head-on collisions, the use of flashing LED signs and radar sensors to prevent wrong-way collisions, and more.
For more information, visit: http://www.EndTheStreakTX.com.