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18 include agreed-on milestones, communication channels, caveat of project diversity cited above, the following discussion review processes, and escalation paths. summarizes agency processes and practices regarding the most · The publication of updated design and construction stan- typical types of projects. It also summarizes a representative dards could be more uniform and consistent across all the sample of public highway agencies' manuals, agreements, railroads. and guidance regarding highwayrailroad project agreements. · Standing process-improvement meetings could be sched- Finally, the section reviews a survey of more than 400 public uled periodically between the DOTs and railroads. The officials who are involved in the railroadhighway project analysis of "defects" and the systematic improvement of agreement process. Their responses as to the most common them is a fundamental aspect of modern quality-control problems and their opinions as to best practices are included. systems such as ISO 9002, Six Sigma, or the Baldrige Pro- gram. A systematic problem-identification-and-analysis Where Projects Originate process does not seem to have occurred between railroads and the state DOTs with which they interact. As mentioned, the U.S. highway system is managed by an · The development of master agreements and standard proj- array of state, municipal, county, and even township govern- ect agreements has occurred in many instances but not ments. In the West, federal agencies such as the Bureau universally. of Land Management commonly maintain roads on public lands. Native American tribes also are sovereign nations that plan, build, and maintain roads that can cross railways. In some cases, toll authorities, port authorities, parks, or other PART 2: Review of Highway governmental subdivisions own roads. As a result, projects Agency Processes are generated from many agencies, all of which may have The SHRP 2 R16 project, to reiterate, seeks the following their own unique means of pursuing agreements. Table 3.1 outcomes and objectives regarding highwayrailroad proj- shows FHWA's breakdown by category of ownership for ect agreements: public road miles in the United States. For ease of description, this analysis focuses on the most typ- · Identify strategies to facilitate beneficial relationships ical types of projects--those generated by state departments of between railroads and public agencies. transportation and large cities. These agencies generate most of · Investigate and develop innovative partnering techniques. the projects because they manage the majority of high-volume · Develop a draft model agreement and streamlined permit- roadways. Although state highway agencies manage only about ting processes. 19% of all road mileage, the roads they manage are the high- · Identify barriers that impact effectiveness and propose volume interstates and arterials that carry the most traffic. remedies. Roads that FHWA categorizes as "local" carry an estimated · Recommend how to implement the model agreements and 13% of total miles traveled; roads in the higher functional streamlined permit process. classes, which are generally managed by state highway agencies and the larger municipalities, carry 87%. The task is complex because of the large number of entities involved and the great differences that can exist between Types of Projects projects. Statistics vary as to the number of highwayrailroad crossings in the United States, but they are known to number Most highway projects are routine maintenance projects. A at least 150,000 across 4 million miles of public roads. These comparison of federally reported highway lane miles between crossings involve seven Class I railroads, 33 regional railroads, and 364 short-line railroads. These railroads are interacting with 50 states, an estimated 19,000 municipal governments, Type of Agency Miles of Roads Owned and more than 3,000 counties. The projects involved vary con- States 780,000 siderably as well. A "project" can be as simple as granting Counties 1,791,000 access to railroad rights-of-way for routine maintenance of adjacent highway property, to as complicated as a multistruc- Municipalities, Townships 1,252,000 ture urban highwayrailroad grade separation complex. As a Other Agencies 65,843 result of this great diversity, any description of "typical" proj- Federal Agencies 128,349 ects and processes is unavoidably generalized. Source: Highway Statistics 2006, Federal Highway Administration, Table HM-14. This second section of the chapter reviews representative public-agency processes, practices, and time frames. With the Table 3.1. Miles of Road by Agency (13)
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19 1997 and 2006 shows that public highway lane miles increased predominant pavement treatment and generally have a use- only 2.1%, or approximately two-tenths of 1% annually over ful life of 15 years or less. As a result, somewhere between that decade (14, 15). Out of an estimated $67 billion spent on 5% and 10% of a state highway system is being resurfaced highways annually by all levels of government, the large major- annually. ity of it is spent on maintaining existing infrastructure. Of the · Bridges are designed to flex, expand, and drain to accommo- estimated 4 million miles of public roads, the vast majority of date precipitation, temperature changes, loads, and wind. As the mileage is mature, which means it has been built and a result, their drainage features, their expansion joints, their repaired over the course of many decades. As a result, highway bearings, and other features require periodic maintenance to agencies are constantly maintaining the pavement surfaces, prevent premature failure. This maintenance requires both bridges, culverts, and other components of those aging high- contract and in-house highway agency forces to access the ways. Of the nation's 590,000 bridges, the average age is structures, many of which cross over or under railroad prop- 43 years, which means that highway agencies are constantly erties or are adjacent to them. repairing or maintaining components of them. In addition to · Resurfacing highwayrail crossings is a high-profile sub- bridges, there are millions of culverts or pipes that carry water set of highway maintenance projects. The inherent com- beneath the highways. Although there is not a national culvert plexity of keeping pavement at a smooth profile with the inventory, culverts or pipes number in the millions and range raised steel rails of railroads creates special maintenance in diameter from 12 inches to 5 feet. These also are subject to issues that require the cooperation of the highway agencies steady degradation and continuous repair by highway agencies. and the railroads. Maintenance Projects Safety Projects Most highway agency personnel are in maintenance. This Approximately 41,000 persons are killed annually in highway reflects the fact that the primary activity of the highway agency crashes, and another 2.5 million are injured. Crashes are esti- is to conduct the routine maintenance work necessary to keep mated to cost society $230 billion annually in medical costs, highways and their appurtenances from degrading as a result lost wages, and property damage (16). Typical safety projects of water, weather, traffic, routine crashes, and other wear and that involve railroads include the following: tear. Typical types of highway maintenance work that may involve railroad coordination include the following: · Intersection improvements are a disproportionate per- centage of all safety projects because of the inherent conflicts · Drainage structure maintenance to keep pipes, ditches, that occur at intersections between traffic that turns and drainage basins, and other drainage components free- traffic that stops. When intersections are near railroad cross- flowing and well-maintained. Highway drainage systems ings, their complexity increases significantly because of the almost always connect into the drainage systems of the frequent need to have railroad crossing signals coordinated larger drainage basins in which they are located. This inte- with traffic signals. The operation of traffic signal phases is gration requires highway agencies to work with adjacent significantly affected by the blockage of tracks when trains landowners, sewer districts, and adjacent railroads. pass nearby. · Pavement preventive and reactive maintenance consists of · Railroad crossing projects are a specific subset of safety pot-hole patching, thin overlays, sealing of cracks, or stabi- projects, which are recognized and funded through the Sec. lizing pavement edges. This preventive and reactive mainte- 130 funding programs of the Title 23 FHWA programs. nance is strongly encouraged by most highway agencies and Most states and their railroad partners have taken steps to FHWA as an essential strategy to preserve pavements and standardize these projects. These projects have been occur- prolong their use. ring for decades and are often similar. As a result, most states · Signage and pavement marking improvements are con- have developed standard approaches to simplify these proj- stant undertakings. The reflectivity of signs degrades in less ects with the railroads. than a decade, and pavement marking materials seldom perform well after three years of constant abrasion from Expansion Projects vehicular traffic. Signs and pavement markings are essen- tial safety features of highways and require continuous Projects that increase the capacity of the highway system rep- repairs. Signs frequently are knocked down in crashes and resent a small percentage of overall projects but consume a dis- require immediate replacement. proportionate amount of attention from highway officials, the · Minor resurfacings are another constant undertaking public, and agencies that interact with highway agencies. These by highway agencies. Asphalt surface treatments are the projects' disproportionate attention and analysis is caused by