What does PIIT mean?
PIIT is an acronym that stands for the Project Initiation and Innovation Team, a dynamic team of engineers and technicians dedicated to the project definition process for bridge rehabilitation and replacement projects. Having a team dedicated to this early phase of project development ensures a programmatic approach to the project definition process along with increased efficiency and consistency.
What is Project Definition?
Project definition begins with the idea of a project (i.e., when a need has been identified), and ends when a decision has been made on how to proceed, including the determination of the recommended alternative which includes addressing structural deficiencies through rehabilitation or replacement and maintenance of traffic in the form of a short term road closure, phased construction or a temporary bridge. Project definition occurs after project identification and before project design.
What takes place during the project definition phase?
The project definition phase encompasses many activities to order accurately assess and compare various alternatives to rehabilitating and replacing bridges and culverts. It is largely broken down into the following activities:
- Local and Regional Community Consideration
- Resource Identification (existing Right-of-Way, Utilities, and Environmental and Cultural Resources)
- Preliminary Hydraulic Assessment
- Preliminary Geotechnical Assessment
- Alternatives Analysis
- Collaboration Phase
- Management Approval of Scope
- Public Preferred Alternatives Presentation
- Project Defined
What is the Collaboration Phase?
The collaboration phase ensures that all key stakeholders have an opportunity to provide valuable feedback on the recommended preferred alternative. The collaboration phase includes an online shared review of the proposed scoping report followed up by a collaboration meeting where project managers, designers and resource groups, such as Environmental, Utilities and Right-of-Way Sections, engage in meaningful dialog and brainstorm the best approaches to expedite project delivery, minimize project impacts and impacts to the traveling public while delivering a quality project. Heightened coordination with these resource groups continues into the design phase to ensure that projects are delivered on time and on budget.
How can I participate in the project definition process?
There are several opportunities to participate in the project definition process. Once a bridge has been programmed for rehabilitation or replacement, a “Local Concerns” community and regional questionnaire is distributed to the corresponding town and regional planning commission to gather about existing site conditions, future plans for community development, and key considerations for various traffic maintenance strategies. This information is reviewed alongside other data such as bridge inspection reports, survey, existing right-of-way, natural and cultural resources and utilities during the alternatives analysis phase and is including in the scoping report.
A public meeting, known as a “Regional Concerns Meeting” for state and interstate projects or “Preferred Alternatives Presentation” for town highway projects, is held after preferred alternative has been accepted by management within VTrans. These meetings are generally held during regularly scheduled town selectboard meetings. Public officials, emergency services, businesses and local residents are encouraged to attend along with any other public stakeholders. Attending a “Regional Concerns Meeting” or “Preferred Alternatives Presentation” provides an opportunity to learn more about the project and discuss any comments or additional considerations before the alternative is accepted and the project is defined.
What is ACT 153?
Act 153 was established in 2012 by the Vermont Legislature to support the advancement of accelerated bridge construction throughout the state. Act 153 reduces the town share by 50% on town highway projects if the town elects to close the road rather than install a temporary bridge. As part of this agreement, towns are responsible for establishing and signing the detour route.