Construction Today - May 2017 - 77
'We have a real robust program for a
way and three interchanges with electronic tolling. "There are no
toll booths and money is collected electronically via an antenna that
reads the EZ Pass transponders," he says, adding that this is the first
electronic toll road in the state.
"There aren't that many states in the country that have full electronic toll roads, so it's fairly new technology and new for Delaware,"
he says. "It'll take some time to get used to by the travelers on the
highway, but will prove beneficial overall.
"There's definitely a safety component to it and a traffic efficiency
standpoint," he continues. "When completed, this toll road won't allow traffic to slow down, or even come to a stop and then speed back
up since there are no tollbooths. We don't really have the ability to
expand our workforce, and it would be a requirement to put a few
new employees to cover that function if we had a manned tollbooth."
McCleary notes that budget concerns at the state level have been
ongoing since the Great Recession in 2007 and 2008. "We've had
10 years of belt tightening," he explains. "In that time period we've
reduced our workforce by 100."
broken down into groups," he says. "For example, we talk with the
communities, emergency services and individuals we're impacting
while completing the project. We have these meetings on a quarterly
basis and update everyone on what they can expect, at least a week
ahead, so they can try to plan their daily activities accordingly.
"In addition to the quarterly meetings, we also have responses to
questions or concerns on a 24/7, year-round basis," Cimino continues. "A question or concern comes into DelDOT Public Relations and
a member of the project team responds to the inquiry within hours
of receiving the inquiry."
People involved with the project have kept safety at the forefront
of their minds because it impacts more than them alone, notes Area
Engineer Mark Buckalew. "We have several schools in the area, so we
have to be very cautious so as to not put children in the way of any
danger," he explains. "For example, right off of the highway, there
are a few key crossings where construction traffic is traveling. So we
have flaggers stationed at those areas to facilitate the equipment being transported for the project. We have also constructed temporary
roads to get traffic around certain areas to maintain safety."
Culture of Safety
Construction started on the U.S. 301 Mainline Project in 2015. "All the
contractors started doing preliminary work, such as clearing trees for
the new alignment of the highway," Group Engineer Jonathan Ledger
says. "The road contractors started in early 2016 doing their work."
The road is scheduled to open for revenue service in December
2018, but construction will not be completed until 2019. "There are
side roads that have to be constructed and that we need to complete,"
explains Mark Tudor, assistant director of project development -
north. "Time is money. The earlier we can complete the toll road for
revenue service, the better we can address our financial goals."
Communication and coordination will play critical roles in this
project as it has seven mainline construction contracts. "Having
consistency throughout the corridor is a challenge," Area Engineer
Susan Maldonado says. "There are a lot of people involved in this
project, including two construction districts, three area engineers,
six mainline contractors and at least eight consultant groups. If we
make a change to one contract we have to ensure the changes will
be reflected on the other contracts as well. So we have to ensure that
everyone is on the same page at all times."
According to Ledger, DelDOT Public Outreach Coordinator Ken
Cimino has been a "great help" during the project so far. "He coordinates all the contracts and everything that we need to ensure we
keep on schedule and complete this project on time," he says. "So he
has been an asset for us on this project."
Cimino notes that DelDOT is "really focused" on constructing the
project in a timely and safe manner. "As part of our outreach efforts,
we have quarterly construction information meetings that are
MAY 2017 CONSTRUCTION-TODAY.COM