SALEM, ORE.—The Oregon Transportation Investment Act (OTIA III) State Bridge Delivery Program is part of an Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) 10-year, $3 billion effort to repair or replace hundreds of bridges, pave and maintain city and county roads, improve and expand interchanges, add new capacity to Oregon’s highway system, and remove freight bottlenecks statewide. The Oregon Legislature enacted OTIA III in 2003. The package includes $1.3 billion for bridges on the state highway system.

The size and scope of the program meant that ODOT had to change how it does business, shifting from an agency that designs and constructs projects to one that manages the transportation system. At the legislature’s direction, the agency hired a private company, Oregon Bridge Delivery Partners, to assist in program management.

The program has five, interrelated goals: maintain mobility and safety; stimulate Oregon’s economy; foster workforce growth and development; engage stakeholders to meet community needs and ensure environmental stewardship; and promote cost-effective decision making.

An important part of the bridge program is ensuring that communities affected by construction projects have opportunities to provide meaningful input into the design and construction of bridges. ODOT is asking communities and stakeholders to help make important project decisions and has developed a new collaborative decision-making framework called Context Sensitive and Sustainable Solutions (CS³). CS³ helps preserve Oregon’s scenic, aesthetic, historical, cultural, economic, and environmental values while building safe and enduring projects. It is community values shaping a new generation of bridges. CS³ puts communities at the heart of important project decision-making.

Additionally, as part of a public involvement campaign for the OTIA III State Bridge Delivery Program, ODOT and its consultants provided more than 125 middle school and high school students with hands-on demonstrations of the basics of bridge design, surveying, and principles of bridge construction and economics. Engineers from OBEC Consulting Engineers explained to students the basic bridge types that are being repaired and replaced in the bridge program, using nearby structures as examples. During a surveying demonstration, the engineers blended vocabulary, math, and science as they showed the students how to use a theodolite to triangulate the distance between themselves and nearby mile posts. Finally, the project team used wood and steel beams to demonstrate the differences in strength between the materials, as well as to discuss the economics of bridge building.

Source: Oregon Department of Transportation