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766 Evaluate, Update, and Rewrite SCDOT Seismic Design Policy and Procedures
Dr. Juan Caicedo, University of South Carolina, August 15, 2023 – August 14, 2027
Objective: The project aims to improve the seismic design process for the SCDOT bridges and other structures with the goal of preventing loss of life and economic impacts. The specific objectives of this project are: Objective #1: To evaluate and identify potential hazards of typical bridges in South Carolina by performing bridge risk assessment as a function of selected design parameters and updated levels of seismic loading. The outcomes of the risk assessment include the evaluation and possible modification of bridge performance criteria, the assessment of vulnerability of damage or collapse of existing bridges and new bridges, and new design parameters that influence the performance of the bridges. Objective #2: To improve the SDS for highway bridges by rewriting and updating the SDS as a Seismic Design Manual for bridges and other structures. Based on the outcomes of Objective #1, the design philosophy will be updated to reflect the appropriate performance criteria, earthquake levels, and design parameters. New sections will be established in the SDM for other structures such as retaining walls, and other special structures. The new SDM will be consistent with other SCDOT’s design manuals such as Geotechnical Design Manual (GDM).
765 Investigation of Scour at Piers Located with the Influence of Abutment Scour and Development of Secondary Piers Sour Envelope Curves for South Carolina
Bradley Huffman, U.S. Geologic Survey, November 1, 2023 – October 31, 2027
Objective: The objective of this research is to develop an improved method for estimating scour for piers influenced by abutment scour. Develop a family of secondary clear-water and live-bed pier scour envelope curves. Establish guidance for applying the new methodology from objectives 1 and 2, and update the scour template Excel spreadsheet for the SC Envelope Curves, created by Benedict and others (2016), as a web-based application.
763 Does Design‐Build Always Expedite Project Delivery: Insights from SCDOT’s Historical Data from the Past Decade
Dr. Baabak Ashuri, Georgia Institute of Technology, February 23, 2022 – August 22, 2024
Objective: The purpose of this research is to improve the Department’s current understanding of cost and schedule growth on both design-build delivery and design-bid-build delivery methods for highway transportation projects. The project objectives are to: (1) systematically analyze SCDOT’s cost and schedule data, cost and schedule change order data, along with other historic data using statistical methods to extract insightful comparisons regarding cost and schedule growth, and project intensity; (2) articulate the critical causes and predictors of cost and schedule growth; (3) articulate the effect that critical causes have on cost and schedule growth for both design-build and design-bid-build projects; and (4) develop mitigation strategies for same.
762 Ultra-High-Performance Concrete (UHPC) Used as a High Friction Surface Treatment (HFST) on Pavements and Bridges
Dr. Prasad Rangaraju, Clemson University, January 1, 2022 – December 31, 2024
Objective: The objective of this research is to review current High Friction Surface Treatment (HFST) usage practices for pavements and bridges by DOTs around the country and explore the use of Ultra-High-Performance Concrete (UHPC) produced using local materials as a potential HFST that is economical and durable. The research will investigate the laboratory and field performance of local aggregates, the UHPC produced with the local aggregates, and then compare against the performance requirements of existing specifications for traditional HFST that require the imported calcined bauxite.
761 Streamlining Permitting and Mitigation Processes to Improve SCDOT Project Delivery (Phase 2)
Dr. Nathan Huynh, University of South Carolina, January 3, 2022 – January 2, 2025
Objective: In SPR 741, “Improving SCDOT Project Delivery Through Identifying Potentially Suitable Locations for Mitigation and Standardizing Section 401/404 Permit Application Process,” the project team developed web apps and forms to help streamline the mitigation and permitting processes to expedite project delivery. In this follow-up project (Phase 2), the research seeks to enhance the tools created in Phase 1 and develop new web apps and forms to support additional processes.
760 Reducing Crash Risk at Work Zones in South Carolina
Dr. Nathan Huynh, University of South Carolina, January 7, 2022 – June 30, 2024
Objective: To help provide a safer work environment for its workers and contractors, SCDOT is interested in understanding the factors that contribute to crashes at and within the influence area of work zones, and exploring the appropriate countermeasures to reduce the frequency and severity of crashes at or influenced by work zones. The objectives of this project are to: (1) review work zone related crash reports to verify the reported information; (2) identify factors that contribute to work zone related crashes in SC; (3) identify countermeasures based on factors identified in objective (2); (4) understand the impact of the presence of law enforcement at work zones; and (5) develop a predictive work zone risk assessment tool to proactively assess the risk at the beginning/during the lifespan of a project.
759 Best Practices on Collecting Asset Information from the Construction Stage
Dr. Tuyen (Robert) Le, Clemson University, March 1, 2022 – February 29, 2024
Objective: The objectives of this project are to: (1) identify the best practices regarding the acquisition of transportation asset information from the data captured during the construction phase; and (2) provide SCDOT with guidance and a reliable tool for quickly migrating construction data into asset data repositories. Anticipated benefits include significant reduction in the duplication of data collection in the O&M stage by directly leveraging digital as-built project data and assist SCDOT’s highway maintenance staff obtain accurate and more complete data for making maintenance and rehabilitation decisions.
758 Field Trials for Cost-Effective Strengthening of SC Load Posted Bridges
Dr. Paul Ziehl, University of South Carolina, October 15, 2021 – April 14, 2026
Objective: The South Carolina Department of Transportation is currently conducting a multiyear effort to load rate its inventory of approximately 9,500 bridges. Initial findings from the effort have identified both precast flat slab panels and skinny leg channels (referred to as channels hereafter) as problematic bridge types. Many precast flat slab panels and channel bridges are understrength compared to rating vehicles and will require intervention in the form of posting, strengthening, or replacement. The proposed research project will focus on field trials of strengthening methods for understrength precast flat slab panels and channel bridges. Successful completion of the project will result in design and installation guidelines for cost-effective strengthening schemes that are applicable to thousands of South Carolina’s bridges. By developing improved approaches to better understand the strength of existing bridges and cost-effective strengthening strategies, the project has the potential to remove many postings and to minimize or forestall costly replacements. These outcomes represent significant indirect and direct cost savings for the state of South Carolina.
757 A Preliminary Cost Estimating Model for Transportation Projects
Dr. Kalyan Piratla, Clemson University, January 1, 2022 – June 30, 2023
Objective: The South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) is responsible for the systematic  planning, construction, maintenance, and operation of the fourth largest state highway system in  the U.S.  SCDOT invests hundreds of millions of dollars annually in  maintenance, rehabilitation, and new construction of its statewide transportation infrastructure.  As with any state highway agency (SHA), the construction needs exceed the budget limitations, which mandates that SCDOT prioritizes transportation project needs based on benefit/cost considerations.  An early stage cost estimate is imperative for evaluating the feasibility of large construction projects.  Early cost estimates are typically prepared during the planning phase of the project development when minimal scope and design details are available thereby making accurate cost estimates impossible as many design details are unknown.   Cost estimates are likely to change as the design is completed and the construction timeline becomes more tangible.  The time taken for many projects to mature from the planning phase through the letting phase can be multiple years, and this warrants the consideration of the risks associated with differed market conditions and price inflation.  If the project is considerably underestimated, there would be significant cost overruns in the later phases of the project development thereby delaying or limiting the investment into other prioritized projects. It is also possible that the project may lose support for further advancement at the stage of design completion due to lower benefit to cost ratio. It is therefore imperative to use a sophisticated estimating approach to systematically develop conceptual or preliminary estimates during the planning phase by rationally assigning contingency costs to account for the unknowns.  SCDOT does not currently have an established agency-wide procedure for rapidly developing preliminary cost estimates for the variety of construction projects they plan and manage. The proposed project will develop a statistical cost estimating model based on the empirical cost databases maintained by SCDOT.  These data sources offer valuable historical insights that will need to be effectively channeled to develop risk-based preliminary cost estimates for future projects. This project also aims at identifying South Carolina’s Highway Construction Cost Index, an indicator of construction price inflation in the current market.  The developed cost estimating model will predict the range of total project cost based on a broadly defined scope with limited specifics identified.  The research work will mainly entail: (a) classifying construction projects into meaningful categories; (b) collecting appropriate empirical cost data from past projects as well as national average unit costs; and (c) developing and validating a robust statistical model that will ultimately be made into a user-friendly tool for SCDOT to use.
756 Impact of Utility Delays on Project Delivery
Dr. Kalyan Piratla, Clemson University, January 1, 2021 – August 31, 2023
Objective:This research project will evaluate the impacts of utility delays on construction project delivery for transportation projects and recommends best practices for minimizing those impacts and improving project delivery. Specifically, this project will:

  • Explore the inclusion of utility relocation in the prime contract with the goals of saving time and money, and expediting state, county, and municipal infrastructure improvement projects.
  • Provide recommended solutions for overcoming most common utility related delays in order to improve project delivery efficiency.
  • Review Memorandums of Agreement (MOA) between utility owners and SCDOT with the goal of offering suggestions based on research findings and best practices from other state DOTS.
  • Develop best practices on identifying utilities early in the transportation project and minimizing delays through effective management of utility relocations.
755 Investigation and Assessment of Effective Patching Materials for Concrete Bridge Decks
Dr. Prasad Rangaraju, Clemson University, September 1, 2020 – February 28, 2023
Objective: Patching of deteriorated portions of concrete bridge decks is an important repair activity that has to be conducted in a timely manner to maintain the serviceability and extend the longevity of these vital links in our transportation infrastructure. Currently, the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCOOT) specifies the use of ready-mix concrete (plant-produced) for bridge-deck patching. Alternative rapid set patching materials that are amenable to on-site batching and mixing with excellent bond characteristics and accelerated cure rates are desirable.  The objectives of the research are to: (1) develop of a curated set of alternate repair materials; (2) develop a process of rapid investigation techniques through non-destructive testing to identify the cause and extent of deterioration in the bridge deck; and (3) develop guidelines, based on the above, to appropriately select suitable repair methods and materials.
754 Optimization of Cement Modified Recycled Base (CMRB) Mixture Design
Dr. Prasad Rangaraju, Clemson University, July 1, 2020 – December 31, 2022
Objective: CMRB has been a successful reconstruction strategy for the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT), however, minimal changes have occurred to optimize the design and testing parameters or move towards performance specifications.  SCDOT leads the nation in the use of reclamation and is in a unique position to lead the industry in improving the process.  The current design practices focus on compressive strength and the current field practices focus on depth of treatment, moisture, and compaction, which may not be the most effective factors for assessment of durability and long term performance.  The objective of this research is to review the current practices used by SCDOT in reclamation treatments and determine procedures to update that will optimize the planning, sampling, design, and testing of reclamation treatments. Variables that will be studied include chemical stabilization using cement, lime-cement blends, and lime kiln dust (LKD) in both traditional and synthetic reclamation.
751 SC StreamStats Phase II: Additional Tools and Layers for Enhanced Workflow and Efficiency
Jimmy Clark, U.S. Geological Survey, July 1, 2020 – March 31, 2024
Objective: The objective of Phase II of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) StreamStats is to develop and incorporate additional tools and functionality into the current (2019) application.  Added functionality could include a storm runoff model using the South Carolina synthetic hydrograph method, hydrographs for gaging statistics, flow-regulation information, and multipoint delineation for basins.  Additional data layers can be developed for such things as rainfall distribution, hydrologic regions, and hydrologic soil groups as well as an update with the National Land Cover Database 2016 data for basin characteristics.  Furthermore, methods for automating lidar updates can be implemented to process and deliver the latest data into StreamStats in a more cost-effective manner.  Many of the functions will provide tools for the South Carolina Department of Transportation and other engineers and water-resource planners which are outside of the scope of the National StreamStats application.
745 Update to SCENARIO_PC
Dr. Ronald Andrus, Clemson University, March 1, 2019 – March 3, 2024
Objective: SCENARIO_PC (2006) is used to develop SCDOT current acceleration design response spectra and to develop time histories for use in site-specific response analysis. The objective of this research is to update this program to use Next Generation Attenuation (NGA) models which include models developed by the USGS for the Eastern United States. This research will add capabilities for users to incorporate existing databases for factual time histories and will address existing program issues.
732 Calibration of the AASHTO Pavement Design Guide to SC Conditions – Phase II
Dr. Sarah Gassman, University of South Carolina, January 6, 2017 – March 31, 2023
Objective: The overarching goal of this multi-phase research effort is to reduce design bias and increase precision of the model predictions used in MEPDG with full consideration of South Carolina local conditions. The objective of Phase II will be to build upon the studies in Phase I to obtain local calibration factors and improve distress predictions by collecting new data of high priority.