ASPIRE is a quarterly magazine published by PCI in cooperation with the associations of the National Concrete Bridge Council. The editorial content focuses on the latest technology and key issues in the Concrete Bridge Industry.
Issue link: http://www.aspiremagazinebyengineers.com/i/306882
by M. Myint Lwin s 54 | ASPIRE , Spring 2008 F H WA F H WA I n the Winter 2008 Edition of ASPIRE,™ we read many exciting articles about projects and the application of sustainability concepts in the planning, design, construction, operation, and preservation of highway bridges. The FHWA realizes the importance of developing and implementing sustainable solutions through working together at the federal, state, and local levels. Communities, industry, academia, and many others are in the chain of sustainable solutions for a sustainable future. In this issue of ASPIRE, we continue to read about sustainability and learn about ideas and practices in applying the concepts of "Green Highways/Bridges" to enhance the natural and built environment. Protecting and Preserving the Environment I n 2 0 0 6 , t h e FHWA published an environmental g u i d e t i t l e d "Eco-Logical: An Ecosystem Approach to D e v e l o p i n g Infrastructure Projects" to help improve the understanding of how infrastructure impacts habitat and ecosystems. This multi-agency initiative describes a vision for integrating infrastructure development and ecosystem conservation processes with economic, environmental, and social needs and objectives. An ecosystem approach is a method for sustaining or restoring ecological systems and their functions and values. It is goal driven and is based on a collaboratively developed vision of desired future conditions that integrate ecological, economic, and social factors. The FHWA is committed to protecting and preserving the environment through stewardship and timely reviews. In recent years, the FHWA and its partners have made substantial contributions to the environment and to the communities, through planning and programs that support wetland banking, habitat restoration, historic preservation, air quality improvements, bicycle and pedestrian facilities, context-sensitive solutions, wildlife crossings, public and tribal government involvement, and others. The FHWA is working closely with partners to take proactive measures in moving from simply mitigating environmental impacts to actively contributing to environmental enhancements. Technology Deployment Programs The FHWA's technology deployment programs promote initiatives with social, economical, and ecological benefits, including: • Use of high performance materials in pavement and bridge construction to increase durability, minimize maintenance, and reduce cost; • Use of prefabricated systems in pavement and bridge construction to accelerate construction, improve work-zone safety, and reduce disruption to the public. Fabrication of the systems is done in controlled environments on or off the jobsite, resulting in improved quality and less impact on the environment; • Use of self-propelled modular transporters (SPMT) in accelerated bridge construction for removal and replacement of heavy bridge components in record time; and • Use of span-by-span, balanced cantilever, and incremental launching techniques in bridge construction to protect the environment by minimizing the needs for construction equipment or work on the ground or wetlands below the bridges. Recycled Materials in Highway Construction The FHWA promotes and supports the use of recycled materials in highway construction. Through the Recycled Materials Resource Center at the University of New Hampshire, the FHWA is making changes in the extent of use of several industrial by-product materials in highway construction. The FHWA also has an active Recycling Team that works with the states, the Environmental Protection Agency, and industry to implement recycling technology. SAFETEA-LU directs the reuse of debris from bridge demolitions in shore erosion control or stabilization, ecosystem restoration, and marine habitat creation. FHWA Exemplary Ecosystem Initiatives In 2002, the FHWA identified ecosystem conservation as one of three performance objectives under the Agency's "Vital Few" goal of Environmental Streamlining and Stewardship. To demonstrate its commitment to this goal, the FHWA agreed to identify a minimum of 30 exemplary ecosystem initiatives in at least 20 states or Federal Lands Highway Divisions by September 2007. FHWA developed the following specific criteria for selecting the exemplary ecosystem initiatives: 1. An exemplary ecosystem initiative helps sustain or restore natural systems and their functions and values. 2. An exemplary ecosystem initiative is developed within a landscape context. 3. An exemplary ecosystem initiative uses partnering and collaborative approaches to advance common goals. 4. An exemplary ecosystem initiative uses the best available science in ecosystem and habitat conservation. FHWA'S "GREEN" INITIATIVES SUSTAINABILITY IS... ASPIRE_spring08.indb 54 3/24/08 1:44:26 PM