CSS & Types of Highway Construction Projects

The transportation focus for many states and locales has shifted to projects that involve existing facilities, including reconstruction and 3R (Resurfacing, Restoration, Rehabilitation), rather than new construction. CSS also strongly ties to maintenance and operations. However, CSS is an appropriate strategy for all types of projects. The extent of activity can be adjusted for what is needed for each project type.

New construction
  As its name implies, this action involves the construction of a new highway facility where nothing of its type currently exists.
  Reconstruction typically involves a major change to an existing highway within the same general right-of-way corridor.
3R (Resurfacing, Restoration, Rehabilitation)
  3R projects focus primarily on the preservation and extension of the service life of existing facilities and on safety.
Maintenance and Operations
  The maintenance of CSS roads involves more than cleaning and repair, but includes ongoing monitoring and modifications of road operations and design. CSS principles are often carried through under maintenance and operation agreements with communities.
Excerpt IconExcerpt Types of Highway Improvement Projects
There are four basic types of physical improvement projects, some of which must comply with standards and others that do not have to comply. These types of improvement projects are discussed in the following paragraphs. more...
from  Flexibility in Highway Design
Excerpt IconExcerpt Right-of-Way, Construction and Maintenance
Maintenance post-construction, involvement of design team in the implementation phase.Once the final designs have been prepared and needed right-of-way is purchased, construction bid packages are made available, a contractor is selected, and construction is initiated. During the right-of-way acquisition and construction stages, minor adjustments in the design may be necessary; therefore, there should be continuous involvement of the design team throughout these stages. Construction may be simple or complex and may require a few months to several years. Once construction has been completed, the facility is ready to begin its normal sequence of operations and maintenance.

Even after the completion of construction, the character of a road can be changed by inappropriate maintenance actions. For example, the replacement of sections of guardrail damaged or destroyed in crashes commonly utilizes whatever spare guardrail sections may be available to the local highway maintenance personnel at the time. The maintenance personnel may not be aware of the use of a special guardrail design to define the "character" of the highway. When special design treatments are used, ongoing operation and maintenance procedures acknowledging these unusual needs should be developed. For example, the Oregon DOT has developed a special set of maintenance procedures for its scenic and historic highways.  more...
from  Flexibility in Highway Design
Merritt Parkway: Greenwich, Connecticut
Greenwich, CT
Much has been written and reported about the safety improvements and landscape restoration of the Merritt Parkway which started in the 1990s in Greenwich, Connecticut, a unique community that shaped the approach that was ultimately taken to improve this roadway. The community's influence started long before any formal design process was undertaken, and in fact, and was instrumental in motivating the context sensitive design approach (although not called such at the time). Overall this project can be considered an excellent example of how a road represents so much more to a community than simply a transportation conduit. The future of this roadway was community driven and while the DOT provided the leadership and expertise to accomplish the improvements, their use of other professionals, such as landscape architects and historians, improved the final result. This case study focuses on the initial context sensitive design process which preceded the first improvements to the highway and revitalization of the setting.
Route 9 Reconstruction
New York, NY
After more than 20 years of planning and design efforts, the reconstruction of what was formerly known as the West Side Highway in Manhattan finally began. A proposal originally conceived in the early 1970s for the construction of a six-to-eight lane interstate freeway facility known as Westway, which would have been partly elevated and partly depressed below grade, was withdrawn in 1985. In 1987, the city of New York and New York State established a joint West Side Task Force in an attempt to reach a consensus on what action should be taken to replace the deficient interim highway, and the alternative ultimately was a basic six-lane urban boulevard with three travel lanes provided on either side of a raised, landscaped median. This project shows how a collaborative, multidisciplinary planning and design process, incorporating a high level of continuous public involvement, can result in the creation of a world-class street design and also how detailed investigations of travel demand and traffic movement patterns can result in a dramatic change in the scale of the proposed improvement.
Washington SR 99 - International Boulevard
Seattle-Tacoma, WA
International Boulevard is a major N/S arterial that serves local and regional traffic within Seattle-Tacoma, Washington. The Incorporated City of SeaTac developed Comprehensive and Transportation Plans that established land-use goals and proposed transportation facility improvements including the expansion of this boulevard and the improvement of its pedestrian access. This project illustrated well that dealing with multiple, conflicting stakeholders within a constrained budget and schedule is possible as long as the key stakeholders understand the problem, have a clear vision of the solution, employ an open and creative process, and commit themselves to compromise.
East Main Street Reconstruction
Westminster, MD
After more than a year of planning and design, the Maryland State Highway Administration's consultants completed their drawings for Westminster, Maryland's, East Main Street's revitalization. However, the administration and public balked at the plan which called for the removal of 42 100-year-old trees. MD DOT promptly appointed a task force to develop a new plan that would save Main Street's trees, widen sidewalks and improve the efficiency of traffic flow. Through this project, the city and State learned that citizen involvement at the beginning saves time and can result in a project that preserves the heritage of the community and pleases the community members themselves.
Carson Street Reconstruction
Torrance, CA
Carson Street is a major east-west arterial street running through the middle of the city of Torrance, CA. High levels of traffic congestion on the original four-lane undivided cross sections and the absence of left-turn lanes were responsible for a high rate of accidents on this predominately residential street. After roadway improvements, curb, gutter, and sidewalks were added along both sides of the entire project to provide improved roadway drainage and to accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists. However, it's the improvement to the general aesthetics of the street, including the undergrounding of utilities, that is a major distinguishing feature of the project.
US route 6-Brooklyn, CT
Brooklyn, CT
U.S. Route 6 is the primary regional arterial carrying east-west traffic between Hartford, Connecticut, and Providence, Rhode Island, and it passes through the Town of Brooklyn about half way between the two cities. Problems to be addressed included replacement of the pavement that had deteriorated due to heavy truck traffic, improvements to the alignment to address safety problems, and improvements to the cross section to facilitate safe operations. Connecticut DOT staff used visualization techniques for one of the first times to help depict designs and discuss alternatives with the townspeople.
Shopping Street in Vordingborg, Denmark
"The main shopping street in Vordingborg, Algade, has been converted from a one-way street to partly a pedestrian street, partly a 30 km/h street with commercial traffic allowed in both directions. The conversion has embellished the street and reduced car traffic volume and speeds considerably."
Town Street in Herlev, Denmark
"In Herlev a traffic-dominated town street in an area without any special characteristic unity has been converted to a harmonious town space in which the ancient church and the village pond also have been incorporated as significant elements."
Kentucky Proposed I-66
In 1997, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) completed a study that concluded that the Southern Kentucky Corridor (I-66) was feasible. The Somerset to London segment of the I-66 corridor is home to many natural, scenic, and sensitive areas. It had two existing linkages both which experienced safety and emerging traffic operational problems typical for their age and design characteristics. While many citizens favored improving KY 192 or at least supported the concept of constructing I-66, there was considerable opposition to the KYTC identified preferred corridor based on concerns with the environmental impacts along the corridor. Based on this opposition, KYTC acknowledged the need to reexamine the criteria and process that led them to identify the initially preferred alternative. Through the new alternatives development process and active stakeholder engagement, KYTC staff ultimately determined that an overall better alignment solution was available. In some respects the project is one of the reasons Kentucky has not only embraced Thinking Beyond the Pavement and Context Sensitive Design but has become a leader.
Towson Roundabout
Towson, MD
Towson, Maryland is a suburb of Baltimore, Maryland. Near the central part of the Towson business district, four major arterials converge at a single location. The awkward, multi-leg signalized intersection caused congestion and safety problems. In addition, the business community and City of Towson sought improvements to the economic viability of the downtown and believed that economic improvements were directly related to traffic improvements. A number of alternatives were developed, and eventually, a signalized roundabout, relatively new to the U.S. at the time, emerged as the preferred solution. The roundabout and streetscape project are considered a major success and are a source of local pride in the town of Towson.
Highway through Arnage, France
"In Arnage, a suburb of Le Mans, the heavily trafficked main street has been rebuilt in order to improve both traffic safety and the quality of the urban environment."
Odense Town Center, Denmark
"In connection with Odense's 1000th years' anniversary in 1988 a number of new developments were inaugurated in the town centre: pedestrian streets, a bus street, and a bicycle route network. This has given the already lively town centre a significant lift, has stimulated the activity in the area, and has markedly improved the visual environment."
College/Chapel District - New Haven, Connecticut
New Haven, CT
"...College/Chapel District, encompasses two pleasant, people-filled blocks with a lively diversified environment. The traditional look and feel of this downtown area gives the impression that it has existed this way for many, many years. Actually, its condition today is primarily the result of the efforts of one private developer, working in cooperation with the city."
Third Street Promenade- Santa Monica, California
Santa Monica, CA
"In 1965...Santa Monica turned three blocks of its main downtown street into the Third Street Mall, and ultra-spacious auto-free zone. The problem was that this extra-wide space was too big and too daunting for the pedestrian population...and remained that way until the late 1980s, when it underwent a radical face lift, and was transformed into the Third Street Promenade."
Smiths Creek Covered Bridge - Delaware
Bridge 9 (Smiths Bridge) is a one-lane wide, three-span steel beam bridge with timber deck and railing with a superstructure dating from 1962 when it was rebuilt following a fire. The original superstructure was a single-span timber covered bridge constructed in 1839. The substructure consists of stone abutments dating back to the original 1839 bridge and stone faced concrete piers that were constructed in the1950's when steel beams were added for support. The substructure is considered to be a contributing element to the historic district in which the bridge lies. The latest condition evaluation reports that the bridge deck is in poor condition, with the superstructure and substructure in fair condition. Based on the condition of the bridge, the scope of work was determined to include replacement of the superstructure and rehabilitation of the substructure.
Danville-Riverside Bridge and Approach - Pennsylvania
Danville-Riverside, PA
The project involved replacement of an existing two-lane Parker Through Truss bridge built in 1904 spanning the Susquehanna River, with a new 1,440 foot-long bridge with weathered steel haunched girders. The approach to the old bridge from Danville was on Mill Street, the center of the town's downtown commercial area. The final alignment for the new bridge on this side of the river directs traffic under two blocks of the West Market Street Historic District one block west of Mill Street, creating a 320 foot-long cut and cover structure before transitioning onto the four-lane Continental Boulevard which links to other major traffic routes. The lessons learned in this project process have helped shape PENNDOT's evolving pro-active effort to involve stakeholders earlier and more meaningfully in project planning, design and development.

Feedback, questions, comments, or problems?

Copyright © 2005 Context Sensitive All rights reserved.
About Us | Site Map | Privacy Policy

United States Department of Transportation - logo
Privacy Policy | Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) | Accessibility | Web Policies & Notices | No Fear Act | Report Waste, Fraud and Abuse | U.S. DOT Home | |

Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000