What better way to start the New Year than by celebrating the kind of innovation that puts people to work and generates tremendous transportation benefits for Americans?
On Interstate 15 in West Mesquite, Nevada, I had the privilege of watching workers use innovative Accelerated Bridge Construction techniques to install the new Falcon Ridge Parkway overpass. Workers used prefabricated elements to quickly assemble the bridge and slide it into place in 56 hours, allowing the Nevada DOT to complete this project without lengthy traffic restrictions on I-15. Joining me to watch this incredible event were officials from 24 different state DOTs.
The West Mesquite project is an example of two key initiatives at the Federal Highway Administration: Highways for LIFE and Every Day Counts. With Highways for LIFE, we advance Longer-lasting highway infrastructure using Innovations to accomplish the Fast construction of Efficient and safe highways and bridges. Speeding up adoption of these important innovations will give taxpayers more bang for their hard-earned dollars and travelers a safer, smoother ride to their destinations.
The Nevada experience is a terrific model for both programs. Workers were able to create precast girders and deck panels off-site. This means that site preparation and substructure work could take place at the interchange at the same time as construction of the new bridge elements. Ordinarily, these steps are taken one after the other, so this is a huge time saver for contractors and for users of the roadway who might otherwise face lengthy construction delays.
With Every Day Counts and Highways for LIFE, we want the public to see more quickly the benefits of new projects--enhanced safety, less congestion and a stronger network to support our economy. And, of course, we want to get job-creating projects moving toward construction faster so we can put people back to work.
President Obama, Secretary LaHood, and the entire Administration are focused on creating jobs for the American people. President Obama has made it clear that we can’t wait for Congress to act. The stakes are too high; America has too much work to do; and too many people are sitting on the sidelines waiting to get started.
So we’re doing everything possible to get job-creating projects underway. That’s where innovative projects supported by Highways for LIFE and Every Day Counts can make a difference. And that's exactly what we've seen at the I-15 West Mesquite Interchange.