Advanced Geotechnical Methods in Exploration (A-GaME)

Measurement While Drilling (MWD), a featured A-GaME geotechnical method, is a site exploration technique where geotechnical drilling operations are continuously monitored. Instrumentation added to a standard drill rig along with data recording provides real-time and continuous measurement of drilling parameters. Down-hole drilling performance can be used to characterize hard soils, intermediate and large-particle sized deposits and variable rock formations where more common sampling methods are not well suited.

Continuous data produces profiles of drilling parameters to reveal soil layers and other subsurface features and to estimate material properties and strength assessment of soil and rock. While MWD does not replace sampling, it can reduce the number of physical samples needed and complement other subsurface exploration activities.

Montana and Illinois DOTs added monitoring instruments to drill rigs and showed data obtained at project sites in their respective States. Montana outfitted their drill rig in May of 2020 and Illinois has been working with a research team, with members from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and the University of Florida, installing system components on a drill rig this summer. Both States are using a combination of research and program delivery projects to implement MWD and develop relationships between MWD parameters and geomaterial strength and condition.

Interest in MWD and opportunities for collaboration are growing rapidly. Several State DOTs are in the process of purchasing, deploying, training, and using MWD. Adding MWD capabilities to an existing drill rig is comparatively inexpensive, usually less than $50,000 including equipment, labor, and training.

MWD also works well with other new high-tech geotechnical data analysis practices that require robust datasets and provide a foundation for artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques.

e-Ticketing Pilot Demonstrates Success in Utah

e-Ticketing provides project stakeholders with an electronic means to produce, transmit, share, and archive materials data for a project. Using e-Ticketing enables real-time access via mobile devices and enhances the integration of the data for quality assurance, material delivery, and construction management systems. Some of the benefits of e-Ticketing include increased safety, efficiency, and quality of documentation. Because of these benefits, the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) and their contractors are independently pursuing the adoption of e-Ticketing.

In 2019, UDOT approached several contracting firms to pilot e-Ticketing on seven hot mix asphalt projects. After enlisting the help of the firms’ IT Departments, UDOT and the firms met to develop a workflow to transmit electronic data from plant to the field using each firms’ loadout system, UDOT’s ARCGIS database, the Survey 123 Application, and other software. The e-Tickets contain the same information that is on the paper ticket, but also allow the inspector to provide information in other data fields such as mix temperature, visual delivery verification, location of test sampling in the Survey 123 App, and other inspection notes. The ticket information that comes from the supplier cannot be edited by the Department.

Following the success of the 2019 paving season, UDOT and the firms continue to use e-Ticketing for all asphalt paving projects. e-Ticketing provides the firms with better visibility into haul logistics and performance along with helping ensure timely delivery of materials to the job site. e-Ticketing is also providing an opportunity to have real-time material information to better manage projects. With a few clicks, anyone on a job can see current and historical haul status and plan their field operations accordingly. UDOT and their contracting partners are working together to expand e-Ticketing to Portland Cement Concrete and other materials.

Peer Exchanges are currently available to assist your state DOT, local agency, tribe, and contractors deploy e-Ticketing. If you would like to learn more about or participate in FHWA efforts to deploy e-Ticketing, please contact Kathryn Weisner, FHWA e-Ticketing team lead.


Iowa State-Local Partnership Addresses Safety on Roadways

With about half of Iowa traffic fatalities on roadways not owned by the Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT), State and local safety stakeholders are working together to reduce crashes on all public roads. IDOT funded local road safety plans (LRSPs) for 59 counties that expressed interest. They also allocate funding to local agencies through the Highway Safety Improvement Program Secondary (HSIP-S) program, which swaps $2 million of Federal aid funds with State funds. As such, the projects are subject to applicable State and local, rather than Federal, requirements. The HSIP-S promotes installation of low-cost, systemic improvements that are proven to reduce fatal and serious injuries for lane departure and intersection crashes.

Additionally, the Iowa Local Technical Assistance Program collaborates with IDOT to provide local agencies access to crash data, roadway inventory data, and traffic volumes and provides training for data analysis – all necessary to proactively address crashes widely dispersed on the large secondary system. The State provides crash data through the Iowa Crash Analysis Tool (ICAT), an online, map-based tool. ICAT includes all crashes and related variables captured on crash reports, with the ability to filter desired attributes. County personnel use ICAT to screen their own network, diagnose safety issues, and select projects to apply for funding.

To learn more about reducing rural roadway departures in your State, please contact Cate Satterfield with the FHWA Office of Safety or Dick Albin with the FHWA Resource Center.


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