on-the-move.jpgDOTD NewslettersPrint the NewsletterEmail the NewsletterEmail DOTD




In This Issue



20141124_112438.jpgBenefiting from Access Management

Each year, as traffic increases, the issue of congestion inevitably worsens, adding to the potential for delays and crashes. One way to mitigate these conditions is through the use of access management techniques.

The aim of access management is to improve the safety and efficiency of roadways by minimizing conflict points through the regulation of location, design, construction, and maintenance of street and driveway connections on the state highway system. This is achieved through the use of various access management tools, such as:

  • Increased spacing between signals and interchanges
  • Driveway location, spacing and design
  • Use of turning lanes
  • Development of median treatments, including two-way left turns
  • Use of service and frontage roads
  • Use of land policies to limit right-of-way access to highways

Under DOTD’s Access Management Policy, when a roadway is reconstructed, DOTD studies existing access connections to make alterations that conform to certain uniform criteria and design to improve that location. That said, DOTD may allow site-specific deviations from these requirements based on sound engineering principles and engineering studies for unique conditions. Access connections should also be brought into compliance with current requirements when the use of a property is modified or expanded.


The safety of our roads is always the department’s top priority. And the use of access management tools not only improves the safety and functionality of the roadway for drivers and pedestrians; but it can also spur economic development by promoting efficient movement of goods and services. Through the proper use of access management, we are able to balance the needs and rights of property owners with those of the roadway users.


For additional information, you can view this video: 10 Principles of Access Management




20141124_112438.jpgImproving Quality Through Innovation

In 2014, DOTD utilized multiple innovative techniques to improve the conditions and development of many bridges throughout the state. Also, as part of the Federal Highway Administration “Every Day Counts” initiative, special funds were allocated to support the experimentation of new techniques which will help to limit the length of road closures.

For example, on the on-going Bayou Lafourche Bridge Replacement project that connects Ouachita and Richland parishes, DOTD is currently testing new technology for accelerated bridge construction.

Advances are also being made to improve integrated bridge abutments statewide by using reinforced oil and fabric to compile abutment structures as opposed to traditional piling. This new method ultimately uses less equipment and allows smaller contractors to complete these projects.

In November 2014, DOTD began the Maree Michel and Creek Bridges project that will replace two structurally deficient bridges along a remote area of La. 91 south of Gueydan. The project is a pilot for the use of Geosynthetic Reinforced Soil-Integrated Bridge System (GRS-IBS) innovative technology.

The use of GRS-IBS technology during construction deviates from conventional bridge technology by eliminating the need for driven piles by applying compacted material as a support for the substructure, which would reduce construction costs, construction duration and minimize environmental impacts. This application of GRS-IBS technology on this project would be the first permanent bridge installation with this foundation type in Louisiana.

As DOTD continues its use of new technologies, so does our commitment to improving bridges in the statewide system. Below is a summary of current bridge projects.

Current Bridge Projects
To date, DOTD has begun work on 10 bridge replacement or rehabilitation projects in fiscal year 14-15, totaling more than $56.5 million. The projects include:

  • Bayou Lafourche Bridge Replacement
  • Bayou Parc Perdou Bridge Replacement
  • Bayou Ramos Rehabilitation
  • 4th Street Movable Bridge Rehabilitation
  • Baker Canal Replacement Creek Bridges Replacement near Boston
  • I-10/I-610 Bridge Repairs
  • Middle Pearl Bridge Repair
  • Koran Duylin Road Bridge Replacement

Looking To The Future
This fiscal year, DOTD plans to take bids on 90 bridge repair or replacement projects for an investment of approximately $287 million.




20141124_112438.jpgI Can’t Drive 55…: What Goes into Setting Speed Limits

Ever wonder about the thought process that goes into to setting a speed limit? How is it that one 3-stretch of LA-3 in Bossier City goes from 45mph to 55mph to 65mph, but on the parallel road, Airline Drive, just one mile away, it is 45mph the entire length of the road?

Just like a lot of things in life, it’s not a simple answer, according to Jim Hollier, a Traffic Engineer for the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development.


There are rules for speed limits, based on the kind of roadway. Speed limits are set based on statutory legislation. When a road is built, the speed limit is set based on the statute. For instance, a two-lane road is set at 55mph; a four-lane divided road is set at 65mph; and, an interstate is set at 70mph. Still, as anyone can tell when traveling an interstate in Louisiana where the speed limit is 50mph, and as is the case on one stretch of I-20 in Shreveport, there are exceptions.


First, what do speed limits do? According to the Louisiana Engineering Directives and Standards Manual, speed limits are:

"..established to reflect the reasonable speed of the majority of drivers on a particular roadway. Most drivers naturally select a comfortable speed, not too slow or too fast, but one that will get them where they want to go safely and without undue delay.
Speed limits are posted primarily to inform motorists of the speed considered reasonable by a majority of drivers on a particular roadway. Motorists, especially those unfamiliar with the road, can use this information to evaluate how they should drive on a particular road."

“Reasonable speed” is determined based on the “85th percentile method,” which represents the speed at, or below, which the majority of drivers will be travelling. This engineering principle has been used for setting speed limits on national highways for the past six decades.

In order to get the 85th percentile, free-flowing speed checks are made on average weekdays during off-peak hours and during favorable weather conditions. Those conducting the check must observe at least 100 vehicles, or traffic over a two-hour period.

Data collected during the observation will also show any features of the road that would reasonably affect speed limits, including curves, surface type and width, crash history, cross streets, school crossings, etc. While the speed limit is normally set nearest the 85th percentile ending in a 0 or 5, the limit could be lowered by 10mph if certain conditions exist: roadway pavement width of 20 feet or less, excessive curves and hills, hidden driveways or other developments, a large number of driveways, crash history or lack of striped or improved shoulder areas.

While the speed limits are set as law, there might be valid reasons to readdress the limit on a particular roadway, and any citizen can request a change by contacting the DOTD district office with jurisdiction over the roadway. If it’s been more than two years since the last traffic study, the district will conduct a new study. If the study warrants a recommended change, the request is then sent to Baton Rouge. Only the chief engineer can sign off on a change in speed limit, according to Louisiana law. Questions about speed limits on city streets or parish roads should be directed to the appropriate transportation department.

For those considering a request to lower a speed limit, it’s important to know that there are disadvantages to setting them too low, Hollier said.

“Traffic that moves too slowly can cause problems,” he said. “If a speed limit is set too low, drivers will tend to ignore the signs and drive the speed at which they feel most comfortable.” That disregard can then create a distrust for speed limits in general.

Safety is always the primary concern. While appeals to lower the speed limits are typically made with a genuine desire to “fix a problem,” research has shown that speed limits set below the reasonable speed of most drivers do not significantly reduce the number of crashes on a road.

As always, LADOTD reminds motorists to not only adhere to speed limits while traveling on the state’s roadways, but to take precautions when weather or roadway conditions dictate.





20141124_112438.jpgThe Intricate Process of Bringing a Project from Concept to Completion

Bringing a project from concept to completion involves a process of multiplicity. Transportation engineers employ a tiered project management process to develop projects for the state’s aviation, marine and rail infrastructures and to meet the goals of preserving, operating, improving, and expanding the state highway system. Funding is even more challenging and often involves a combination of sources.

According to state law, “In fixing priorities, the department shall consider primarily the conditions of the roads, streets, and structures making up the state highway system.” To do this, DOTD utilizes project planning, scheduling, budgeting, team building, direction, and control measures to help identify potential projects. Anyone can recommend a project – state and local elected officials, the public, metropolitan planning organizations, etc.

The purpose of transportation planning and development is to match transportation supply with travel demand. Projects are prioritized by categories, e.g., bridge, safety or capacity. Factors considered when identifying and prioritizing potential projects include growth, type/density and volume of traffic, surrounding conditions (structures and drainage), evacuation access, economic development potential, and – of course – cost of construction.

DOTD Chief Engineer Janice Williams says, “To some extent, projects are prioritized based on the amount of funding available in that particular category. Each program has a project selection team that works together to prioritize the projects.”

The project selection team is a group of participants, from both within and outside of DOTD. They are charged with gathering and analyzing data based on preliminary purpose and need, present roadway conditions, operations, safety, and congestion in order to determine feasibility, environmental impact, and whether or not the project is doable. Concurrently, depending on the extent of the project, planning occurs to determine funding, design/development, letting, construction and maintenance. The planning process, in its entirety, could take months or years as funding sources are being identified and industry design/development standards are ever changing.

Once vetted, potential projects are added to the proposed Highway Priority Program and DOTD makes its recommendations to the Legislature. Those projects are submitted to the House and Senate Transportation Committees for funding consideration. From there, the Joint Transportation Committee holds hearings, then the final decision rests with the House and Senate Transportation Committees and ultimately the full Legislature*.

With funding secured, a budget is established to itemize and monitor construction activity costs such as labor and materials. Schedules are made to detail and track project activities, deadlines and milestones. Following the bid letting stage, construction begins. Team members specializing in functional areas of technical expertise are tasked individually and collectively through the duration of the project to help direct each activity in a timely manner. The project manager constantly monitors control measures and performs ongoing evaluations to ensure the project is correctly scoped, on time, within budget, and at the desired level of quality, and is responsible for corrective actions to put the project back on track when there is deviation from the schedules and budget.

Funding is, by and large, the most important piece of the project puzzle. While recognizing the challenges of funding, particularly for predevelopment costs, i.e., studies, analyses and assessments.

Funding-Infographic.jpgThe bulk of DOTD’s funding comes from the Federal Transportation Trust Fund, wherein 18.4 cents gas tax, which hasn’t changed since 1983, goes to the federal government and then comes back to the state. DOTD also gets matching funds from a 16-cent state gas tax and from truck registrations fees and permit fees. It uses these funds to match federal funding and to operate the department. A 4-cent gas tax was passed in 1989 and provided funding for the $5.2 billion TIMED program. The Legislature, at their discretion, can also allocate funding for specific projects through the state’s construction budget each year via state capital outlay bonds.

Most DOTD construction projects are a combination of federal and state funds to finance construction and, usually, at an 80/20 match. The match means that the federal funding is 80 percent and the state’s portion is 20 percent. For projects involving interstate only, the match can be 90/10; for safety projects and rural road preservation, the federal government typically pays 100 percent of the costs. Additionally, DOTD often partners with local municipalities and metropolitan planning organizations, such as the New Orleans Regional Planning Commission, on small-scale urban projects that further economic development by improving and enhancing vital travel routes.

Thinking outside the box has also helped to maximize funding. Working with the Louisiana Transportation Research Center, the research, technology transfer and education and training division of DOTD, provides a direct link to the latest in roadway and construction technology and also helps to maximize funding. LTRC reports and publishes research findings covering a wide spectrum of technical and policy areas from infrastructure to planning to congestion to safety. In the past three years, LTRC has developed improvements in rural road safety, materials quality assurance and roadway performance optimization.

“We seek to provide solutions to improve the transportation systems in Louisiana. These problems are selected for funding on the basis of need to the problem and the likelihood that the solutions will be implemented,” says LTRC Director Harold “Skip” Paul. “We estimate that we provide solutions for about 80-percent of all projects funded.”






Your source to deciphering "engineer" speak.

Chip Seal: A surface treatment in which the pavement is sprayed with asphalt (generally emulsified liquid) and then immediately covered with aggregate (stone) and rolled.

Structurally Deficient: Refers to a bridge classification term due to age. Every bridge goes through a natural aging process. If a bridge requires significant maintenance and repair to remain in service and rehabilitation or replacement work is needed to address deficiencies, it is said to be structurally deficient. The fact that a bridge is classified under the federal definition as “structurally deficient" does not imply that it is unsafe.









(Only includes bid results for projects over $1 million between January and February)

Acadiana Region: Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Mary and Vermilion 

  • La. 91: North of Florence to La. 14 - This project in Vermillion Parish will resurface more than 4 miles of La. 91. Winning Contractor/Bid: Glenn Lege Construction, Inc./$1,921,167.
  • La. 367: La. 365 to La. 370 – This project in Acadia Parish will resurface 4.5 miles of La. 367 from La. 365 to La. 370. Winning Contractor/Bid: W.E. McDonald & Son LLC/$2,868,462.
  • La. 1172: La. 376 to La. 13 - This project in Evangeline Parish will resurface more than 4.5 miles of La. 1172 from La. 376 to La. 13. Winning Contractor/Bid: W. E. McDonald & Son, LLC./$3,035,125.
  • I-10 Access Road in Crowley - This project will construct 1.12 miles of new access road along I-10 from North Cherokee Drive to Tower Road in Acadia Parish. Winning Contractor/Bid: W. E. McDonald & Son, LLC./$3,499,158.
  • La. 367: La. 1113 to La. 365 – This project in Acadia Parish will resurface more than 6 miles of La. 367 from La. 1113 to La. 365. Winning Contractor/Bid: W. E. McDonald & Son, LLC./$3,963,778.
  • La. 182: Iberia Parish Line to La. 670 – This project in St. Mary Parish will resurface approximately 4.75 miles of La. 182 from Iberia Parish line and La. 670. Bids will be taken for the work in February 2015. Cost: $1M-$2.5M.


Capitol Region: Ascension, Assumption, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberville, Pointe Coupee, St. James, West Baton Rouge and West Feliciana

  • La. 643 and La. 403 - This project in Assumption, St. James, and St. John Baptist parishes will resurface approximately 9 miles of La. 643 and La. 403. Winning Contractor/Bid: Barber Bros. Contracting Co. LLC/$2,389,889.
  • La. 952: La. 10 to La. 68 - This project in East Feliciana Parish will resurface more than 10 miles of La. 952 from La. 10 to La.68. Bids will be taken for the work in February 2015. Winning Contractor/Bid: Barber Bros. Contracting Co., LLC/$4,834,443.
  • U.S. 61 from the East Feliciana Parish Line to the Mississippi State Line – This project will resurface portions of 22 miles of U.S. 61 between the East Feliciana Parish line and the Mississippi state line. Winning Contractor/Bid: Gilchrist Construction Co. LLC/$9,027,670.
  • La. 413 and La. 411 Resurfacing – This project will resurface approximately 9 miles of La. 413 and approximately 5.4 miles of La. 411 in Pointe Coupee and West Baton Rouge parishes. In West Baton Rouge Parish, the project will resurface 6.8 miles of La. 413 from La. 76 to La. 3091. The project will help to restore the ride quality of the existing roadway. Winning Contractor/Bid: Coastal Bridge Co. LLC/$10,188,339. 


Central Region: Sabine, Vernon, Winn, Grant, Natchitoches, Avoyelles and Rapides

  • La. 493: La. 1 to La. 119 - This project in Natchitoches Parish will resurface 2.41 miles of La. 493 from La. 1 to La. 107. Winning Contractor/Bid: Diamond B Construction Co. LLC/$1,735,254.
  • U.S. 167: Southbound Left Turn Lane from La. 28 - The project will include the installation of a left turn lane on southbound La. 28 to U.S. 167. Winning Contractor/Bid: Gilchrist Construction Co., LLC/$1,577,188.
  • La. 1146: U.S. 171 to Beauregard Parish Line - This project in Vernon Parish will resurface more than 5 miles of La. 1146 from 0.6 miles E. U.S. 171 to Beauregard Parish line. Winning Contractor/Bid: Diamond B Construction Co. LLC/$2,387,050.
  • U.S. 167: La. 472 to Winn Northbound - This project in Grant Parish will resurface approximately 9 miles of U.S. 167 from La. 472 to Winn Parish line. Winning Contractor/Bid: Gilchrist Construction Co., LLC/$3,725,228.
  • La. 1: Turn Lanes (North Hancock to La. 494) - This project will widen one-half mile of the roadway to include left turn lane improvements. Winning Contractor/Bid: T.L. Construction, LLC/$3,868,450.
  • La. 454: Avoyelles Parish Line to La. 107 – This project in Rapides Parish will resurface approximately 7 miles of La. 454 from Avoyelles parish line to La. 107. Winning Contractor/Bid: Diamond B Construction Co. LLC/$4,095,725.


Greater New Orleans Region: Jefferson, Lafourche, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles and Terrebonne

  • I-10 Westbound and Eastbound bridge repair over Chef Menteur – This project will involve removal and replacement of two steel girders and associated deck work on I-10 westbound and eastbound over Chef Menteur. Winning Contractor/Bid: Boh Bros. Construction Co. LLC/$1,076,797.
  • U.S. 61/90 (Tulane): Claiborne to Carrollton - This project will involve safety and traffic operational improvements to U.S. 61 (Tulane Ave.) between Claiborne Ave. and Carrollton Ave. Work will include elimination of the inside lanes in each direction to provide a median with left turn lanes, and provision of better handicap access. Winning contractor/bid: Barber Bros. Contracting Co., LLC/$4,835,302.
  • West Larose Vertical Lift Bridge RehabilitationThis project will replace mechanical and electrical systems, build a new, heavier fender system, structural repairs, and clean and repaint existing painted surfaces on the West Larose Bridge at La. 1. Winning contractor/bid: C.E.C., Inc/$24,147,108.


Northeast Region: East Carroll, Jackson, Lincoln, Madison, Morehouse, Ouachita, Richland, Union and West Carroll

  • La. 590: U.S. 425 to close to Elvin Road - This project in Morehouse Parish will resurface over more than 3 miles of La. 590 from U.S. 425 to a point near Elvin Road. Winning Contractor/Bid: Diamond B Construction Co. LLC/$1,455,820.


Northwest Region: Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, Claiborne, Desoto, Red River and Webster

  • La. 3049: N I-220 to La. 173 - This project in Caddo Parish will resurface more than 5 miles of La. 3049 from north of I-220 to south of La. 173. Winning Contractor/Bid: Benton & Brown LLC/$2,173,091.
  • U.S. 157: West La. 160 to east La. 2 – This project in Bossier Parish will resurface more than 8 miles of U.S. 157 from West of La. 160 to east of La. 2. Winning Contractor/Bid: Benton & Brown LLC/$3,273,597.
  • La. 515: La. 514 to U.S. 71 - This project in Bossier and Red River parishes will resurface more than 5.5 miles of La. 515 from La. 514 to U.S. 71. Winning Contractor/Bid: Diamond B Construction Co., LLC/$3,473,472.
  • La. 146: East of U.S. 79 to Junction of La. 518 - This project in Claiborne Parish will resurface more than 9 miles of La. 146 from east of U.S. 79 to La. 518. Winning Contractor/Bid: Maden Contracting Co., LLC/$4,545,559.


Northshore Region: Livingston, St. Helena, St. John, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa and Washington

  • La. 450 from La. 25 to La. 16This project will overlay approximately 7 miles of La. 450 from La. 25 to La. 16 in St. Tammany and Washington parishes. Winning Contractor/Bid: Barriere Construction Co. LLC/$3,593,426.
  • La. 440: S. Junction of La. 1054 to La. 1057 - This project in Tangipahoa Parish will resurface more than 10 miles of La. 44 from the south junction of La. 1054 to La. 1057. Winning Contractor/Bid: Barriere Construction Co. LLC/$4,968,259.
  • I-10 repairs from French Branch Bridge to the West Pearl River Bridge – This project includes replacing the pavement on approximately 4.5 miles of I-10 from the French Branch Bridge to the West Pearl River Bridge in Slidell and rehabilitating ramps within the I-10/I-12/I-59 interchange. Winning Contractor/Bid: Barriere Construction Co. LLC/$39,888,687.


Southwest Region: Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron and Jefferson Davis

  • La. 380: Warehouse Road to La. 14 - This project in Jefferson Davis Parish will resurface more than 7 miles of La. 380 from Warehouse Road to La. 14. Winning Contractor/Bid: R.E. Heidt Construction Co. LLC/$1,310,614.
  • La. 390: La. 27 to Maggie Hebert Road - This project in Cameron Parish will resurface over 2.5 miles of La. 390 from La. 27 to Maggie Hebert Road. Winning Contractor/Bid: R.E. Heidt Construction Co. LLC/$1,347,577.
  • U.S. 171: Calcasieu Parish Line to La. 110 – This project in Beauregard Parish will resurface more than 14 miles of U.S. 171 from the Calcasieu Parish line to La. 110. Winning Contractor/Bid: Prairie Contractors Inc./$3,062,139.
  • U.S. 171: Conoco Street to Beauregard Parish Line - This project in Calcasieu Parish will resurface more than 10.5 miles of U.S. 171 from the Conoco Street to Calcasieu Parish line. Winning Contractor/Bid: Prairie Contractors Inc./$4,196,056.


Mid-northeast Region: Caldwell, Catahoula, Concordia, Franklin, LaSalle, and Tensas

  • La. 127 and La. 776 - This project in LaSalle Parish will resurface approximately 6 miles of La. 127 and La. 776. Winning Contractor/Bid: Diamond B Construction Co. LLC/$1,375,649.
  • La. 569 and La. 555 - This project in Concordia, Franklin and Tensas Parishes will resurface more than 15 miles of La. 569 and La. 555. Winning Contractor/Bid: W.E. Blain & Sons Inc./$2,388,863.
  • La. 921 and La. 567 Overlays - This project in Catahoula Parish will resurface more than 8 miles of La. 921 and La. 567. Winning Contractor/Bid: D&J Construction Co., LLC/$2,489,002.
  • La. 888: La. 4 to La. 1079 - This project in Tensas Parish will resurface more than 11 miles of La. 888 from La. 4 to La. 1079. Winning Contractor/Bid: D&J Construction Co., LLC/$2,967,644. 





facebook_logo_detail.gif Don't forget to join the conversation on Facebook: #TransportationTuesday, #ThrowbackThursday and #Factoid Friday.