I’ve talked a lot about the need to rebuild some of America’s roads and bridges.
There’s a lot of work that needs to be done, but roadwork--however essential--can be very disruptive. If we are going to out-innovate, as President Obama challenged us in his State of the Union address, we need to find ways to get our roads into better shape with as little inconvenience as possible to truckers, travelers and commuters.
That’s why I’m excited to announce 15 new grant awards in the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) Highways for LIFE program. These 15 projects in 13 states and Puerto Rico will receive $9.5 million to use innovative construction technologies that more quickly and efficiently improve safety, reduce congestion and create high-quality, long-lasting highways and bridges.
The Highways for LIFE program seeks to get states, engineers and contractors to adopt proven innovations and technologies. These innovations can lead to:
- Improved safety during and after construction,
- Reduced congestion caused by construction, and
- Better quality of the highway infrastructure.
In the past, some states have been slow to adopt these new technologies that can speed up the construction process for them while also fixing our infrastructure problem. We think these grants will help them try new approaches.
As Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez said:
"These grants give states an opportunity to use technologies they might not normally consider. These innovative techniques can save money, reduce construction times and deliver roads and bridges that are safer and last longer."
These 15 projects will show just how effective innovations can be at reducing traffic accidents and the inconvenience of highway construction for motorists. For example, right here in Washington, DC, the Eastern Avenue Bridge was rebuilt using prefabricated bridge decks and piers.
We hope our Highways for LIFE program shows project coordinators that innovation is already available for their use. We're talking about making their jobs easier; we're talking about keeping road workers safer; and we're talking about getting drivers where they need to go more conveniently.
That's the kind of innovation that will help us win the future.