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/306966
by M. Myint Lwin The roadside sign shows what "Green Highways" is all about. 48 | ASPIRE , Winter 2008 F H WA F H WA T he World Commission on Environment and Development, in their Report on Our Common Future (1987), defines sustainability as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. This implies that the development of highway projects, including pavements and bridges, must consider the rights of future generations to raw materials and ecological support systems, such as the climatic, agriculture, economic, and cultural systems. When designing, building, and maintaining a safe, durable, and efficient highway system, we need to work together to coordinate and integrate environmental pro- tection and enhancement activities in the decision making process. We need to consider recycling of old pavements and bridges, involving the communities in the selection of the best environmentally sensitive designs, protecting watersheds and natural habitats during construc- tion, and conserving resources in the operation and maintenance of the facilities. The FHWA Initiatives In 2002, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) designated environmental stewardship and streamlining as one of its three "vital few goals," along with safety and congestion mitigation. Subsequently, FHWA made substantial investments in improving the quality and efficiency of environmental decision-making through initiatives such as context sensitive solutions, the Eco-Logical approach, the Exemplary Ecosystem Initiatives program, the recently announced Human Environment Initiatives program, and efforts to link planning and the environment. Visit the FHWA website at www.fhwa.dot.gov/csd/index.cfm for more information on these and other initiatives. Context sensitive solution is a collaborative, i n t e r d i s c i p l i n a r y a p p r o a c h t h a t i n v o l v e s stakeholders in developing transportation facilities that complement their physical settings and preserve scenic, aesthetic, historic, and environmental resources while maintaining safety and mobility. Through the Exemplary Ecosystem Initiatives program, FHWA recognizes best practices in environmental stewardship demonstrated at the state level. Since 2002, FHWA has highlighted more than 20 innovative and forward-thinking i n i t i a t i v e s t h a t e m p l o y e c o s y s t e m - b a s e d approaches. FHWA has hosted more than 20 workshops across the country to promote the linkages b e t w e e n p l a n n i n g a n d t h e N a t i o n a l Environmental Policy Act. Also, a planning work group, chaired by FHWA and established as part of Executive Order 13274, Environmental Stewardship and Transportation Infrastructure Project Reviews, aims to advance integrated planning by bringing together the necessary agencies and stakeholders early on. To p r o m o t e e c o s y s t e m a p p r o a c h e s t o transportation development, FHWA championed a multiagency effort to develop a nonprescriptive approach to making infrastructure more sensitive to wildlife and ecosystems through greater agency cooperative conservation. The effort culminated in May 2006 with release of the publication Eco- Logical: An Ecosystem Approach to Developing Infrastructure Projects (FHWA-HEP-06-011). SAFETEA-LU Section 1805 Use of Debris from Demolished Bridges and Overpasses stipulates that any state that demolishes a bridge or an overpass that is eligible for federal assistance under the highway bridge replacement and rehabilitation program under Section 144 of Title 23, United States Code, is directed to first make the debris from the demolition of such bridge or overpass available for beneficial use by a federal, state, or local government, unless such use obstructs navigation. The term "beneficial use" means the application of the debris for purposes of shore erosion control or stabilization, ecosystem restoration, and marine habitat creation. Green Highways A new multidisciplinary partnership brings together the diverse initiatives and activities that contribute to the "greening" of U.S. highways. The Green Highways Partnership (Green Highways) is a voluntary, collaborative effort aimed at fostering partnerships to improve upon natural, built, social, and environmental conditions, while addressing the functional requirements of transportation infrastructure. Green Highways provides state departments of transportation (DOTs) with the opportunity to highlight the many good environmental practices already underway and encourages additional innovations. FHWA is one of many partners that include federal and state transportation and regulatory agencies, contractors, industry groups, trade associations, academic institutions, and nongovernmental organizations focused on highways and resource management issues. The partnership engages practitioners who represent an array of disciplines, including engineering, environment, law, safety, operations, maintenance, and real estate. Green Highways grew out of efforts by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Region 3, which consists of the mid-Atlantic States of Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia and the District of Columbia. "The goal is to achieve transportation and environmental objectives so that both are 'better than before,'" says Hal Kassoff, Senior Vice President at Parsons Brinckerhoff Inc., a consultant involved in the initiative. Sustainability Considerations in Bridge Design, Construction, and Maintenance WHAT IS SUSTAINABILITY? 10973_ASPIRE_win08.indb 48 12/12/07 3:33:34 PM