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U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced that MassDOT's I-93 Bridges project in Medford is one of just 15 projects in 13 states receiving federal grants for using innovative construction technologies that more quickly and efficiently improve safety, reduce congestion and create high-quality, long-lasting highways and bridges.

Administered through the Federal Highway Administration’s Highways for LIFE program, the money is intended to encourage use of proven technologies and practices that are not yet widely used. These 15 projects will use innovations such as prefabricated bridge elements, precast concrete pavement slabs, warm-mix asphalt, road safety audits and paving techniques on the road shoulders to reduce traffic accidents.

“These grants give states an opportunity to use technologies they might not normally consider,” said Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez. “These innovative techniques can save money, reduce construction times and deliver roads and bridges that are safer and last longer.”

The grants were grouped by those that focused on providing faster construction, those that focused on longer life and those that allowed for less traffic disruption.

MassDOT will receive the $1 million federal grant toward the summer 2011 project to replace 14 bridge superstructures on I-93 in Medford as part of the Patrick-Murray Administration's historic 8-year, $3 billion Accelerated Bridge Program

The project will replace the bridge structures with work performed only on weekends in June, July and August, except for the 4th of July. This accelerated schedule will avoid weekday rush-hour traffic to reduce the impact on travelers and communities.

MassDOT is using innovative engineering and construction techniques to reduce the construction timeline. Community and stakeholder outreach is ongoing to inform affected communities, businesses, and residents about the work.

A project website is available with a map, links and other information.  Learn more about the federal LIFE grant program by visiting http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/hfl/.

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