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Biden-Harris Administration Announces $8.8M in Grants to Accelerate Innovation in Highway Projects as Part of President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda

WASHINGTON, DC — The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) announces $8.8 million in grants for 10 projects in eight states and the District of Columbia to encourage the use of tools that can improve safety on bridges and in work zones. The grants, which can also be used for other innovative transportation technologies such as ultra-high-performance concrete to digital mapping programs, are provided by FHWA’s Accelerated Innovation Deployment (AID) Demonstration program and complement President Biden’s Investing in America agenda that is rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure and creating a manufacturing and innovation boom.

“Innovation is essential for the future of transportation infrastructure, and these grants will help our state, local, and tribal partners to improve safety, increase the resilience of our transportation infrastructure, and combat the climate crisis,” said FHWA Administrator Shailen Bhatt. “The grants, along with additional funding from the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, will bring more innovations to America’s road, highway, and bridge projects.”

The AID Demonstration Program, with funding provided under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, provides incentive grants and other resources to offset the risk of implementing a transportation innovation. The incentive funding, distributed through a competitive discretionary grant process, allows tribal governments, state Departments of Transportation (DOTs), federal land management agencies, and local governments to accelerate the implementation and adoption of innovation in highway transportation and demonstrate state-of-the-art technologies. Metropolitan planning organizations and local governments can also apply in partnership with state DOTs.

The program is housed within FHWA’s Technology and Innovation Deployment Program, and it supports the dissemination and deployment of proven transportation innovations through any phase of a highway transportation project including project planning and delivery and system operations. The AID grants build on FHWA’s efforts to collaborate with state, local, and tribal governments, as well as federal land management agencies, to accelerate the use of innovations and reduce project delivery time.

Since the AID program was launched in February 2014, FHWA has awarded more than $95.7 million for 127 grants to help agencies speed up their use of innovative practices, tools, and technologies, including those supported under FHWA’s Every Day Counts (EDC) program. EDC is a state-based program model that identifies and rapidly deploys proven yet underutilized innovations that will more quickly make the U.S. transportation system adaptable, sustainable, equitable, and safer.

The following grants were solicited on a rolling basis through a multi-year Notice of Funding Opportunity that closed on September 28, 2021.

Accelerated Innovation Deployment Demonstration Program Grants
Arizona Department of Transportation/Maricopa County Department of Transportation, $970,000
The Arizona Department of Transportation, in conjunction with Maricopa County, will use its grant for the “Next Generation Freeway and Arterial Work Zones” project that will deploy smart work zone technologies in order to share real-time data from active construction areas that can improve agency monitoring processes, enhance safety for workers, and improve traveler information tools.
District of Columbia Department of Transportation, $1 Million
The District of Columbia Department of Transportation will use Ultra-High Performance Concrete (UHPC), an Every Day Counts innovation supported by FHWA, to prolong the life of a bridge and reduce the environmental and social impacts of future major repairs or reconstruction. The project location, Bridge 0070-Southern Avenue over Suitland Parkway in Anacostia, was selected from the district’s inventory of 210 bridges as a demonstration site to study the impact of using UHPC.
Iowa Department of Transportation/Buena Vista County, $1 Million
The Iowa Department of Transportation (Iowa DOT) and Buena Vista County will use Validated Intelligent Compaction and Geospatial Data Collaboration technologies to map and identify Iowa’s gravel road network and create an asset management tool. The data will be accessible to county engineers across the state of Iowa and used to calculate performance indicators and remaining service life on those roads.
Iowa Department of Transportation, $1 Million
Iowa DOT will use E-ticketing, Digital As-Builts, and other technologies as part of an asset management pilot project designed to schedule timely and critical repairs. The project will also feature a Digital Delivery Workflow to transition Iowa’s project delivery from a two-dimensional, plan-centric model to a three-dimensional environment encompassing a digital twin of the infrastructure.
Maine Department of Transportation, $800,000
The Maine Department of Transportation’s (Maine DOT) pilot project will be used to improve the agency’s ability to manage data through the use of sensors, social media platforms, third-party data providers, and specially developed mobile apps. Maine DOT also expects the project to provide insights on how to recognize, respond to, and analyze incidents statewide.
Montana Department of Transportation, $1 Million
The Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) will use its grant to start an asset management program for retaining walls along the 12,923 miles of MDT routes that are currently undocumented. The project will establish a comprehensive database for tracking, inspecting, and rating the walls. It will also develop a planning tool to guide MDT decision-making, improve infrastructure resilience in response to climate change, and minimize adverse effects on low-income and minority populations caused by detours and road closures in the future.
North Dakota Department of Transportation, $532,500
Vehicles often strike bridges in North Dakota due to incorrect routing based on the vehicle’s size, inaccurate measurements, or incorrect permitting. The North Dakota Department of Transportation will address this issue by deploying oversize vehicle measuring system technology. This pilot will deploy the technology in Minot and near Mooreton.
Oklahoma Department of Transportation, $839,807
The Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) will use UHPC to repair and replace 18 expansion joints and 18 fixed joints of the Northbound and Southbound I-35 Cimarron Overflow bridges. If the pilot project, which is designed to minimize environmental impacts by reducing construction time and making more durable repair, is successful, ODOT will consider using this type of concrete for future projects.
Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, $700,000
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation will deploy Targeted Overlay Pavement Solutions, an EDC innovation supported by FHWA, that feature Stone Matrix Asphalt and Highly Modified Asphalt in projects in five of its Engineering Districts. The pavement solutions enhance overlay performance for both asphalt and concrete pavements, reduce maintenance, maximize previous investments through extended service life of pavement structures, reduce congestion through the need for less work zones, increase skid resistance, improve resiliency in flood-prone areas, and reduce noise.
Texas Department of Transportation, $1 Million
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) will deploy Traffic Speed Deflection Device technology in select TxDOT districts to collect data on the structural condition of pavements using a non-contact doppler laser without the need for traffic control. Data collected as part of the project is expected to improve TxDOT’s annual treatment planning program.
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