Over the last few weeks, several states have announced funding or plans for acquiring funding for transportation infrastructure projects, including California, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nebraska and Oklahoma. These states join Maryland, Texas, New York and Georgia, whose departments of transportation have announced or launched large transportation infrastructure projects over the last few months. We will cover those states and others in upcoming posts.
The projects address highway and railway infrastructure primarily, with a handful of aviation projects as well. All are intended to address safety and respond to population growth in the states where they are located; many are intended to update aging and outdated systems.
Several are included in the 70 projects across 35 states and D.C. that will receive a portion of the federal government’s recent $1.4 billion rail infrastructure allocation from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act.
While not exhaustive, here is an overview of some of the projects announced since the beginning of September and how they will impact their states.
In California, a state renowned for its diverse landscapes and robust economy, transportation infrastructure projects take center stage, encompassing not only highway improvements but also significant advancements in rail transportation. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has allocated a substantial budget of approximately $9 billion to address the state’s transportation needs.
Beyond the state’s extensive road network, California is making remarkable strides in upgrading its rail infrastructure. These rail projects are pivotal in enhancing both intercity and intracity transit options while reducing congestion and greenhouse gas emissions.
One of the standout projects is the California High-Speed Rail, often referred to as the “bullet train.” This visionary endeavor aims to connect major cities in California with a state-of-the-art high-speed rail system. Once completed, it will provide commuters with a fast, efficient and eco-friendly mode of transportation. The high-speed rail system is expected to revolutionize travel between cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego, reducing travel times and making intercity commuting more accessible.
Additionally, California’s investment in commuter rail systems is transforming regional transportation. Projects such as the Los Angeles Metro Rail Expansion and the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) extensions are expanding coverage and enhancing the connectivity of urban areas. These investments are not only reducing traffic congestion but also providing residents with efficient alternatives to driving, aligning with the state’s ambitious climate goals.
Moreover, California is at the forefront of adopting sustainable transportation solutions. Many of these rail projects incorporate eco-friendly features, including electric trains and enhanced public transit systems. These initiatives are vital steps toward reducing the state’s carbon footprint and promoting greener modes of transportation.
California’s transportation infrastructure projects encompass a multifaceted approach, addressing the needs of a growing population and the demands of a thriving economy. With significant investments in highways, bridges and rail systems, the state is positioning itself as a leader in sustainable and efficient transportation. As California evolves, these infrastructure projects play a pivotal role in shaping its mobility, reducing congestion and contributing to a more environmentally responsible future.
In Florida, a state where the population has increased every year since 2010, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has allocated a staggering $4 billion to fortify the state’s highway system, a critical backbone that not only accommodates the ever-expanding number of Florida residents but also manages the ceaseless flow of tourists.In some regions of the state, population growth rates are approaching an astonishing 20%. With nearly 600 people moving into Florida daily –– a trend expected to persist for the next three decades –– the need for robust infrastructure is undeniable. The tourism sector, a lifeline of the Sunshine State’s economy, continues to flourish. Visit Florida reported a historic high in tourist numbers in 2022, with over 137 million visitors. 2023 has proven to be equally busy, witnessing a record-breaking 38 million visitors in the first quarter alone. These numbers underscore the critical role Florida plays in the national and international tourism landscape.As a response to these surging numbers, the Moving Florida Forward Infrastructure Initiative was born. The initiative earmarked substantial funding to expedite projects that not only address the immediate heavy demand on Florida’s roadways but also incorporate flexibility to plan for the future. This forward-thinking approach is designed to ensure that Florida’s infrastructure remains resilient in the face of natural disasters, such as hurricanes that can significantly impact the state’s highway system.
The bulk of these ambitious projects are strategically planned for areas that felt the brunt of Hurricane Ian, Florida’s costliest storm on record, which made landfall last year. Four significant projects are slated for the state’s well-traveled Interstate 75, with an additional project in Tampa along I-275. Highways I-95 and I-10 will also undergo substantial improvements, as will numerous smaller roads in rapidly growing rural towns and smaller cities like Pensacola. One of Florida’s essential arteries, Interstate 4, which spans the peninsula from Tampa through Lakeland and Orlando to Daytona Beach, is also in line for enhancements at three key junctures.
The comprehensive approach to transportation infrastructure in Florida reflects the state’s recognition of the dual challenges posed by population growth and tourism. By investing in resilient and forward-looking infrastructure, Florida aims not only to enhance the daily lives of residents but also to provide a world-class experience for tourists. As the state continues to attract new residents and visitors, these infrastructure investments are crucial in sustaining its growth and ensuring safe and efficient mobility for all.
In Illinois, significant investments in transportation infrastructure are underway to ensure the efficient movement of people and goods. The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) has earmarked more than $3.4 billion for various projects that are strategically designed to meet the evolving transportation needs of the state.
One of the notable initiatives in Illinois is the comprehensive modernization and expansion of its public transit systems, including the renowned Chicago Transit Authority (CTA). These ambitious projects aim to improve connectivity between urban centers, enhance commuter experiences and reduce traffic congestion on major roadways such as the Eisenhower Expressway (I-290) and the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90). The focus on improving public transit reflects Illinois’ commitment to providing residents with efficient and sustainable transportation alternatives.
Moreover, Illinois is actively addressing issues related to roadway congestion and safety through a series of highway expansion and reconstruction projects. Key arteries, including the Stevenson Expressway (I-55), the Dan Ryan Expressway (I-90/I-94) and the Kennedy Expressway (I-90/I-94), are receiving substantial upgrades to alleviate bottlenecks and improve the flow of traffic. These projects are essential for reducing commuting times and making travel within and around the Chicago metropolitan area more efficient.
Furthermore, Illinois’ commitment to sustainable transportation is evident through the integration of innovative features such as bike lanes and pedestrian-friendly designs in various projects. Investments in public transportation options and green infrastructure are also aligned with the state’s ambitious climate goals, contributing to a more eco-friendly transportation landscape.
Transportation infrastructure projects in the Land of Lincoln represent a holistic approach to addressing the needs of both urban and suburban communities. By improving public transit, expanding major highways and incorporating sustainable features, the state is enhancing mobility, reducing congestion and promoting environmental responsibility. As Illinois continues to grow, these infrastructure endeavors are pivotal in shaping its future transportation landscape, making it safer, more efficient and environmentally conscious for all its residents and visitors.
The Sunflower State has announced a variety of transportation initiatives, covering state roads, local bridges and rail improvements. Kansas is expected to execute more than $10 billion worth of transportation projects over the next 10 years in a program called the Eisenhower Legacy Transportation Program (IKE). Seven road projects across Kansas, totaling more than $350 million, were announced at the end of September as part of the IKE program. Bridge projects totaling $42.3 million over 35 local and off-system projects were announced at the end of August. Additionally, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly and Transportation Secretary Calvin Reed announced $47 million worth of rail improvement projects. Both the bridge and railway improvements will be funded under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
Like Florida, the highway improvements will alleviate traffic congestion and improve safety for Kansas’s nearly 3 million residents. Also like Florida, Kansas has seen consistent growth in its population, albeit somewhat more slowly. Since 2010, the population of the state has grown every year except 2017, 2019 and 2021, with the largest jump in population occurring between 2019 and 2020.
The expansion and reconstruction of Kansas’s roadways are expected to continue through 2028, and per Gov. Kelly, “These investments are part of a $2 billion commitment to make our roads safer, reduce congestion, create good jobs and deliver more economic opportunities.” She expects the projects to address what she described as “historic economic growth” by creating a safer and easier-to-drive-through Kansas. In one project at the I-35/Santa Fe Drive interchange, the proposed improvements are expected to reduce crashes with fatalities and injuries by 42% and accidents with property damage by 22%.
The bridge projects will also contribute to safer and more convenient road travel with an emphasis on the city and county bridges most in need of repair or replacement. Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) considers bridge condition, detour length, legal carry load constraints and project history when deciding which bridges will be included in the funding.
Two rail projects in the state are being funded through the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) program, aimed at improving track conditions, rehabilitating bridges, decreasing the number of highway-rail grade crossings, upgrading routes that carry hazardous waste and reducing emissions.
Kansas’ dedication to transportation infrastructure projects through the Eisenhower Legacy Transportation Program is poised to transform the state’s roadways and bridges. With a growing population and a commitment to economic growth, Kansas is making substantial investments in its highway system to reduce congestion and enhance safety. Moreover, bridge rehabilitation and rail improvement projects are contributing to safer and more efficient transportation across the state. As Kansas continues to evolve, these infrastructure endeavors are driving its future development and prosperity, ensuring that its roadways remain reliable for years to come.
Per Mass.gov, the Healey-Driscoll Administration has requested or been awarded nearly $700 million for transportation infrastructure projects since early September, with projects addressing issues for drivers and for train travelers in several parts of the city.
The largest and most complex project is a nearly $2 billion replacement and realignment project to bring the Allston interchange and surrounding areas into the twenty-first century. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) has requested $500 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Reconnecting Communities and Neighborhoods (RCN) grant to go along with $300 million pledged by the City of Boston, Harvard and Boston University (BU). The $300 million pledge is the largest third-party funding ever for a state transportation project.
Nearly 140,000 vehicles pass through the Allston (I-90) interchange daily, and both BU and Harvard’s communities are heavily served by the roads and rails in the Allston Multimodal Project. Moreover, Harvard owns much of the property in question –– including the railyard –– which it purchased for the school’s future development plans.
The Allston interchange was built in the 1960s, and the planned upgrades will bring the area up to date, including a new commuter rail station, realignment of the turnpike and updating for highway design standards. The project will replace the Allston Viaduct, enhance pedestrian and bicycle connections and augment access to open space and parks along the Charles River. In addition to the new Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) West Station and the street improvements, these changes will clear significant swaths of land that can be redeveloped in the Beacon Park Yard neighborhood.
Several other highway and road projects are in the works in Massachusetts, including some design-build projects. Skanska has been awarded two design-build contracts in the state, including a $29 million demolition/reconstruction project for the Route 3/Pilgrim Highway bridge in Duxbury and a $37 million dollar award for rehabilitation of eight additional bridges, including one used by MBTA and Amtrak in Mansfield.
MassDOT also announced an additional $80 million from the Federal Highway Administration in mid-September, with 12 projects set to receive some of the funding. They include bridge replacements or preservation, highway reconstruction and improvement, traffic signal improvements and other changes designed to alleviate traffic around the city.
Additionally, Mayor Michelle Wu said a Public Works Department project to rebuild a bridge and treatment center on Long Island is now seeking project management firms. The hope is for the project to have a manager by the end of the year so work can begin on the bridge and center, with a target of opening within four years.
Rail transportation improvement projects are also slated, providing additional relief for Massachusetts travelers. In one project –– a partnership between MassDOT and Amtrak and supported by CSX –– a CRISI grant of $108 million will go toward improvements to the route between Springfield and Worcester, including track upgrades, increased train frequency, better scheduling and corridor improvements. Grants from the Industrial Rail Access Program (IRAP) totaling $1.3 million will go toward rehabilitation and improvement of rail facilities in Bourne and Lawrence.
Massachusetts’ robust investment in transportation infrastructure underscores its dedication to modernizing and improving its transportation systems. These projects are addressing the needs of commuters and travelers across the state, from the complex Allston interchange realignment to critical bridge replacements and highway improvements. Furthermore, Massachusetts’ commitment to sustainability and rail transportation enhancements aligns with its goal of providing efficient, eco-friendly transit options. As the state continues to grow and evolve, these infrastructure initiatives are pivotal in shaping the future of transportation, making it safer, more efficient and environmentally responsible for all its residents and visitors.
In Mississippi, residents can expect to not only see the real-world impact of more than $430 million in infrastructure projects but also track the projects on the new Mississippi Department of Transportation‘s (MDOT) tracking site, demonstrating a commitment to transparency and accountability in project execution.One of the notable projects involves the widening of several miles of State Route 57 in Jackson County on the state’s eastern Gulf Coast. State Route 57 serves as a crucial hurricane evacuation route, accessible from several storm-prone towns like Ocean Springs, Biloxi, Pascagoula, D’Iberville and Moss Point. The road will be widened to four lanes, starting south at Interstate 10 and ending north at Burney Road in Vancleave. Much of the work on Route 57 is already underway, including significant improvements at seven of the 13 bridges along the nine-mile stretch of road.
In addition to these improvements, Mississippi is focusing on safety enhancements for its major interstate highways. Projects on Interstate 59 and U.S. 49 aim to reduce accidents and congestion, providing a safer and smoother commuting experience for the state’s residents, tourists and travelers passing through.
Moreover, Mississippi is investing in the maintenance and rehabilitation of its critical infrastructure. A bridge replacement project in Perry County, specifically State Route 42, is set to enhance connectivity and safety in the region. Several mill and overlay projects on Interstate 59 will prolong the life of these roadways, benefiting both residents and the transportation of goods across the state.
With these projects, Mississippi is not only addressing immediate transportation needs but also ensuring its infrastructure is resilient and prepared to handle future challenges. The commitment to transparency through the MDOT tracking site empowers residents to stay informed about the progress of these essential projects that contribute to the state’s economic growth and safety.
In the heart of the Great Plains, Nebraska’s vast landscapes and growing communities are driving substantial investments in transportation infrastructure. The Nebraska Department of Transportation (NDOT) has committed over $6 billion to tackle a wide range of projects that aim to address the state’s evolving transportation needs.
One of the standout initiatives in Nebraska is the ongoing modernization of its major highways and interstates. Projects such as the expansion of Interstate 80, a key transcontinental route, and the improvements to Interstate 680 in Omaha are vital for accommodating the increasing flow of goods and travelers across the state. These enhancements not only ease congestion but also ensure the efficient transportation of goods, supporting the state’s role in the nation’s supply chain.
Moreover, Nebraska is actively addressing the safety and condition of its bridges, including the significant Build Nebraska Act projects that focus on bridge rehabilitation and replacement. These efforts are critical for maintaining safe passage for residents and businesses, particularly in rural areas where bridges are essential links between communities.
Additionally, the state’s commitment to sustainability is evident through investments in alternative transportation modes. Nebraska is expanding its passenger rail services, connecting cities and regions while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Initiatives like the Amtrak Thruway Bus Service and plans for the expansion of the Heartland Flyer line demonstrate Nebraska’s commitment to efficient and eco-friendly transit options.
In rural areas, Nebraska’s focus on upgrading and modernizing county roads ensures communities across the state benefit from safe and reliable transportation networks. These projects are pivotal for connecting agricultural regions and supporting the movement of goods, which are essential contributors to the state’s economy.
Nebraska’s transportation infrastructure projects reflect a comprehensive approach to addressing the diverse needs of its residents and businesses. By investing in major highway expansions, bridge improvements and sustainable transit solutions, the state is fostering economic growth, reducing congestion and promoting eco-conscious transportation options. Nebraska’s infrastructure endeavors are instrumental in shaping its future mobility, enhancing safety and contributing to the resilience and prosperity of the state.
In Oklahoma, a state known for its vast landscapes and growing urban centers, significant investments are being made to improve transportation infrastructure. The Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) has allocated over $3.2 billion for various projects aimed at enhancing roadways and addressing the needs of the state’s growing population.
One of the key initiatives is the Driving Forward program, which focuses on both urban and rural areas. The program encompasses road improvements, bridge repairs and expansions to accommodate the increasing traffic demands. Notably, Oklahoma has experienced steady population growth, making these infrastructure upgrades essential for safety and efficiency.
Oklahoma’s highway system, including vital routes like Interstate 35 and Interstate 40, is set to receive much-needed attention. These improvements aim to reduce congestion, enhance safety and facilitate the transportation of goods across the state. Furthermore, investments in rural roads and bridges will support the connectivity of smaller communities, fostering economic development.
Investments in the Sooner State’s transportation infrastructure reflect its commitment to accommodating population growth and supporting its residents’ daily commutes. With a focus on urban and rural areas alike, the state is enhancing its highways, bridges and transportation corridors. These improvements are essential for reducing congestion and ensuring safety on the roads. Oklahoma’s forward-thinking approach, which includes building resilience to natural disasters, underscores its commitment to long-term transportation solutions. As the state continues to evolve, these infrastructure projects are pivotal in shaping its future development and prosperity.
As we explore the extensive landscape of transportation infrastructure projects in various states, one thing remains clear: the future of project delivery methods is as dynamic as the projects themselves. While we can’t predict with certainty which of these initiatives will ultimately adopt the design-build delivery method, one thing is certain — the sheer magnitude of funds being allocated for transportation infrastructure nationwide ensures design-build will play a pivotal role in shaping the way we build, enhance and modernize our critical infrastructure.
In the ever-evolving field of design-build, staying informed and connected is key. DBIA conferences bring together industry experts, thought leaders and innovators to delve deeper into the future of transportation infrastructure, project delivery methods and the latest trends shaping our dynamic landscape. Next month, join us for the 2023 Design-Build Conference & Expo in National Harbor, Maryland (Nov. 1–3) and mark your calendars for the Design-Build for Transportation/Aviation Conference, Apr. 17–19, 2024, in Cincinnati.