Alta Planning + Design is now using a modified bicycle, termed the “Frankenbike,” to assess bike trail conditions. While vans equipped with specialized measurement devices are used extensively by transportation agencies to assess roadway pavement conditions, the condition of bike trails has not generally received the same level of attention.
The booming oil and natural gas industry is bringing jobs and economic development to states across the U.S. But along with the money and jobs come lots and lots of trucks. Many millions of additional dollars in road funding are often required to keep roads near oil and gas fields in good condition. However, road maintenance isn’t the only factor related to the energy boom that is increasing the cost of road infrastructure. High housing costs near booming oil and gas fields drive up costs for roadwork in those areas, while less competition between highway contractors in neighboring states is increasing costs there.
In late June, as the Pennsylvania legislature debated whether or not to raise the wholesale gas tax, PennDOT Secretary Barry Schoch warned that he would likely have to place weight restrictions on bridges across the state in order to extend their useful life if additional funding was not allocated. Some may have thought this was just a bargaining point, but now 1,000 bridges across the state have been posted with reduced weight limits.
The 2012 Waldo Canyon and High Park wildfires—two of the most destructive fires in Colorado history—are costing CDOT millions of dollars as fire-scarred hillsides slide down onto major highways and floods cause washouts. Problems may continues for years.
While several states successfully passed transportation revenue packages this year, in Pennsylvania and Washington the failure of such bills will have immediate effects on infrastructure. PennDOT is considering weight limits for bridges across the state, and the $3 billion-plus Columbia River Crossing project, that would have replaced the existing I-5 bridge, shut down.
With high diesel prices consuming profits and growing concern surrounding the impacts of diesel emissions, more trucking companies are experimenting with liquefied natural gas as a fuel.
More evidence that the public strongly supports system preservation comes from a survey performed for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. When asked to rank the importance of a variety of potential priorities for WisDOT, preservation came out on top by a wide margin with 47.3 percent of respondents citing it as “extremely important.” A year earlier, a survey for Washington DOT found a similar result in that state.
In December, Tennessee Department of Transportation Commissioner John Schroer announced that TDOT would stop work on the segment of Interstate 69 in western Tennessee. Citing the high cost of the next segment of the so-called “NAFTA Highway,” Schroer pointed out the need to fund safety programs and maintain existing infrastructure.
The Washington Roundtable, a group comprising many of the state’s largest businesses, is urging passage of a nine-cent increase in the fuel tax. What’s most interesting about the proposal, however, is not the revenue ask, but where the group wants the money to go: for major increases in operations and in system preservation.
A new interactive map shows the importance of key locks on the Ohio, Mississippi, and Illinois Rivers and outlines possible economic shocks all across the country should one or more of them fail. Failures in this system affect not just the states that border these rivers, but many areas that receive goods – in particular corn, soybeans, coal, and petroleum products – from those states