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Making history with bridges
May 25, 2011 IPD Channel


Contributed by the Utah Department of Transportation

The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) put itself in the history books when it completed a $138 million Interstate 80 project in record time.

Utilizing Primavera P6 Enterprise Project Portfolio Management 7.0 to significantly improve resource coordination and streamline communication among the project stakeholders, UDOT zipped through construction on the 2-mile, 15-bridge Salt Lake City project in two years. In fact, the agency replaced a dozen bridges in less than two months during the summer of 2008 — believed to be the world’s fastest replacement ever of 12 bridges — and the entire “Innovate 80” project is the largest bridge reconstruction of its kind in the United States to date.

Initially, UDOT used Primavera P6 to review the time impact of various construction options. The agency created schedules that represented its standard construction method compared with a new, innovative technique of using multiple prefabricated bridge components. UDOT ultimately determined that the prefab bridges could be built more quickly and with less traffic interference, and opted to construct seven of the 15 bridges off site.

“Primavera P6 gives us the power to quickly assess the impact of different construction techniques and methodologies on our projects,” said Larry Myers, state project controls engineer, Construction Division, UDOT. “This enables us to choose the construction approach that minimizes the impact of our projects on the community.”

All in a weekend’s work
The community definitely took notice of UDOT’s new approach — and liked what they saw. In 2007, thousands watched, in person and on CNN, as the first bridge was lifted out and a new five-lane, 3 million-pound, 172-foot-long prefabricated bridge was installed in its place, carried in by specialized heavy-lift transport equipment similar to that used by NASA to move the space shuttle. It all took just one weekend. Utah taxpayers also cheered for the Innovate 80 project’s savings in time and money. Leveraging Primavera P6, which it uses on a majority of the state’s projects, UDOT reduced the project’s overall construction time from three to two years, improved traffic flow through the project, reduced impact costs to drivers by more than $10 million, and cut CO2 emissions from contractors and traffic congestion.

Looking to the future
With responsibility for 6,000 miles of highways and bridges in Utah, UDOT is always looking for faster, less costly construction methodologies. And it will continue to rely on robust project portfolio management solutions to achieve its goals, Myers said.

“To provide the best highway system for the state, we look beyond just asphalt and concrete, and partner with local communities, transit agencies, environment advocates, and others to ensure that we provide the best overall product,” Myers added. “One of our principal goals is to improve system performance while minimizing impact on the environment. We use Oracle Primavera P6 Enterprise Project Portfolio Management as the cornerstone of our construction management program to facilitate the introduction of innovative practices that accelerate the building process and limit traffic congestion.”

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