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Guidebook 50 Communicating the Value of Transportation Research 4 Study Virginia Fiber-Reinforced Polymer Case Bridge Deck Value to Sell: The value and performance of an innovative lightweight deck on a historic bridge, as well as the value of a state and federal partnership. Context the most IBRC funding of any state over a five-year period. In the case of the Hawthorne Street bridge, The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) classifies the preservation of a historic landmark also made many U.S. bridges as "structurally deficient" or communication about this project relevant and "functionally obsolete," one of the many reasons important to the public. the nation's aging transportation infrastructure desperately needs more funding. FHWA awarded Content the Virginia Transportation Research Council (VTRC) funding from its Innovative Bridge Research and VTRC's proposal to FHWA focused on clearly Construction (IBRC) program to employ a new presenting its prior research findings and field test lightweight fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) deck in the results as a basis for using the FRP material for a bridge restoration of a deteriorating historic bridge. (FHWA's deck. VTRC wanted to show how VDOT could use FRP IBRC program evolved into the Innovative Bridge and as a lightweight bridge deck in the rehabilitation of Research Deployment program, or IBRD, with the the Hawthorne Street bridge and how it could deploy authorization of SAFETEA-LU.) VTRC is the research the material in similar future cases. The positive and division of the Virginia Department of Transportation informative external communications VTRC and VDOT (VDOT). It led VDOT's analysis and implementation provided after completing the project also helped the of the FRP technology used in the deck replacement public and policy makers understand the multifaceted during the restoration of the Hawthorne Street research and materials involved in the project. bridge in Covington, VA. Under the auspices of the Virginia Cooperative Center for Bridge Engineering, Channel and Style a partnership of VTRC and Virginia Tech, these two Throughout the planning and rehabilitation of the entities worked with the innovative materials in the Hawthorne Street bridge, VDOT and VTRC used both laboratory and on test sites for several years before computer-based and personal-contact channels of installing this deck. The result: the Hawthorne Street communication. A systematic explanation of previous bridge, built in the late 19th century, reopened after a research findings, the technology, and its benefits one-year closure with a new and innovative deck that proved effective in communicating with FHWA for the increased the structure's load capacity nearly threefold, IBRC funding. This communication style also brought from seven to 20 tons. focus to the positive research. Personal contact with the FHWA representatives paved the way for them to Strategy help guide the proposal through the IBRC evaluation Selecting a relevant project on which to install an FRP process. It also provided important feedback for bridge deck was an important first step toward gaining building stronger proposals in the future. Frequent funding for the project. VTRC and VDOT Structure and face-to-face meetings between VTRC's research team Bridge personnel identified the Hawthorne Street and VDOT's construction team helped both groups bridge as the prime candidate because use of FRP for work together and keep the project on track. VDOT's the deck would contribute to preserving the bridge's regional office gained further momentum for the overall historic iron thru-truss structure, while also project through media relations and news releases to increasing its load capacity. When selecting IBRC increase public awareness. A ribbon-cutting ceremony projects, VTRC and VDOT carefully match mature celebrating the bridge's reopening drew local officials innovative technologies with structures suitable for and Virginia legislators as well as townspeople. This application. Building on VTRC's favorable reputation exposure helped to communicate the value of federal as an independent and objective research center, this research funding for local transportation projects. attention to detail has resulted in Virginia receiving