Trucks at Work

The cost and complexity of highways

This is about doing something that saves money and people time out on the highway. We're using innovative techniques to speed project delivery and get more for every dollar we spend.” –John Njord, executive director, Utah Department of Transportation

If you want a quick understanding of why building highways, roadways, and vehicular bridges in this country is so expensive -- and so complicated -- just watch the video below concerning the Utah Department of Transportation's (UDOT) I-15 CORE Project.

Even though this huge highway project is an example of how new techniques and processes are being deployed to make roadway and bridge construction faster, safer and cheaper (relatively), the price tag is still astounding: $1.725 billion for a 24 mile stretch of roadway and bridge work.

The I-15 CORE Project is Utah's largest highway construction effort to date – in no small part because it involves the movement of a fully-built 3.8 million pound bridge, a move that will set a world record.

Yet it’s also a project that will only make I-15 in Utah County ready to meet transportation demands through 2030; a date that’s only 18 years away from now. It is small wonder, then, why there’s so much wrangling over the long drawn out effort to get a six-year highway funding bill passed in Congress.

Terry Bellamy, director of the department of transportation for the District of Columbia, touched on why funding is such a huge and growing issue for metropolitan regions at the end of last year, noting that biggest challenge facing his agency is finding the funds needed to pay for vital infrastructure upgrades.

And when refurbishing and expanding a roadway bridge costs $300 million, you can definitely see why funding is such a huge challenge for any transportation department, much less the one serving the nation’s capital.

One thing is for certain – we’ve only just begun addressing the costly and complex issue of transportation infrastructure funding, despite all the debate that’s occurred around this topic in the past.

We’ve still got a long way to go.

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