Transportation design and construction professionals and public officials from around the country were on hand Nov. 16-18 at the 3M Innovation Center in St. Paul, Minn., to learn from, and collaborate with, industry leaders about rapidly changing technologies and transportation developments during the 5th annual Dr. J. Don Brock TransOvation Workshop.
The event, hosted by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association’s Transportation Development Foundation (ARTBA-TDF), encourages participants to “think outside the box” and gives attendees the ability to learn how to bring new concepts back to the workplace to help their companies adapt to new markets.
This year’s theme, “Breaking Down Barriers: Accelerating Innovation in Transportation Construction,” was led by thought leaders and industry experts from 3M, Microsoft, HC Bridge Co., HNTB Corporation, EMSEAL, and others. 3M leaders spotlighted the key megatrends to look for and provided a sneak peek into the company’s innovative culture. There was also a panel discussion that included leaders from the Maine, California and Virginia departments of transportation. Federal Highway Administrator Greg Nadeau kicked off the final day’s events with an overview of the agency’s “Every Day Counts” initiative and the status of the highway/transit reauthorization bill.
During the workshop, attendees were asked to identify barriers to innovation and how to best overcome them. In addition, they had to consider the relevance of the federal “Proprietary Products” rule (Title 23 C.F.R. 635.411) and how that may hinder innovation.
The TransOvation Awards were also presented during the event. They honor “innovative transportation infrastructure-related products, services, technologies and techniques introduced over the past five years that can be documented to provide a high return-on-investment by: improving transportation safety; saving transportation users and taxpayers time and/or money; or making our transportation infrastructure more environmentally sustainable.”
This year’s winner was a collaborative effort between Bohannan Huston Inc., the New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) and Kiewit New Mexico Co. Utilizing the Geosynthetic Reinforced Soil-Integrated Bridge System (GRS–IBS) on the $93 million Interstate 25/ Paseo del Norte Reconstruction project, the team completed – on time and on budget – the rehabilitation of two bridges and construction of five more in the Albuquerque metropolitan area. By utilizing accelerated bridge construction (ABC) techniques, the project team prevented common problems with settlement on bridge approaches.
TransOvation plays off the meanings of three words – “transportation,” “innovation” and “ovation.” An interactive learning event, it is named after the legendary founder of Astec Industries, which is headquartered in Chattanooga, Tenn.