DelDOT receives $4 million from the Federal Highway Administration’s Advanced Digital Construction Management Systems grant program.
That program is run by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration, and works to digitize and innovate everyday processes in transportation infrastructure.
Delaware was one of 10 states to receive funding through this initiative.
DelDOT will primarily use the money to automate data collection processes at road project worksites.
DelDOT’s C.R. McLeod says their current practices aren’t as efficient as they could be.
“Let’s say we pave a road and a couple months later we notice that the asphalt is getting really bumpy and it’s failing. Right now, we have to do a lot of forensics with the engineers to go in to see that, for example, maybe there’s something wrong with the mixture. And it’s a pretty time consuming endeavor to figure out what exactly happened and why it is happening,” he said.
With data collection automatically occurring throughout the construction process, engineers will have access to all the data they need to find out what worked or didn’t work.
“We’re going to know right away that this asphalt was made on this date at this plant, this was the makeup of the material, this is how much of it was put down, these were the weather conditions when this asphalt was put down. And then we’re able to do our analysis with a complete picture without having to do a lot of homework to get that information,” explained McLeod.
The data collection process will also help to reduce worker exposure to hazardous worksite conditions, including increasing quality control in materials and practices.
The funding will also go toward reducing the potential for traffic accidents at worksites.
“Just earlier this year there was an incident in Maryland where 6 workers were killed in one incident. We’re especially mindful of that because we’ve got a lot of construction happening around the state. So we’re looking at how do we make our worksites safer. And we want to expand our smart work zones.”
That will automatically provide GPS services such as Waze and Apple with up-to-date information about road construction to alert drivers they need to slow down.
DelDOT is currently beginning the planning process of this multi-year project, and will provide ongoing updates of its progress.
This project has the backing of Delaware’s Congressional Delegation. In August, they sent a letter of support for DelDOT’s application to the grant program to the U.S. Department of Transportation.