AASHTO Journal, 28 September 2012
In order to reduce traffic congestion for drivers and cut back on vehicle crashes, the Missouri Department of Transportation tackled three separate roadway projects along Interstate 270 in St. Louis, all completed under budget and ahead of schedule.
I-270 stands as the busiest highway in the state, carrying more than 180,000 vehicles per day through the St. Louis metro area. The heavy traffic proved frustrating for drivers, which typically leads to a large amount of traffic incidents. MoDOT decided to tackle three projects to alleviate these problems: two redesigned interchanges (one at Dorsett Road and another at the Page Interchange) and the rehabilitation of an interstate bridge.
Instead of tackling each project separately, MoDOT bundled all three together in one contract with a budget of $34.8 million. This single contract allowed for a major bidding advantage and also allowed MoDOT to minimize public impact (as opposed to three separate projects and construction schedules). MoDOT called together a group of engineers and support staff to focus on the details of the project, as well as building partnerships with both the contractor and the surrounding community. An advisory committee was also created, which consisted of business leaders, elected officials, emergency personnel, and school district leaders. These groups allowed MoDOT to hear what the community wanted and needed and incorporate that feedback into its plan.
Construction began on the projects in December 2009. MoDOT was able to work more quickly than previously anticipated, due to the involved planning process and participation from the entire community. MoDOT held weekly meetings with its community partners to give status updates and keep everyone informed. The line of communication stayed consistently open, allowing MoDOT to work diligently in a cooperative environment.
The three-project venture was completed September 15, 2011, roughly a month ahead of schedule. MoDOT also managed to complete the project $2.4 million under budget. Similarly, the entire project was completed with minimal interruptions to area drivers, who are also reaping the benefits of less congestion and fewer traffic accidents along this very busy highway.
The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials features a Project of the Week in each edition of the AASHTO Journal to highlight excellent state transportation department projects that are completed on time, under budget, and/or using innovative management. To nominate a completed project that meets these criteria, please e-mail editor AT aashtojournal.org. Previous Project of the Week selections are available at projectprofiles.transportation.org.