Work Zone Mobility and Safety Program
Photo collage: temporary lane closure, road marking installation, cone with mounted warning light, and drum separated work zones.
Office of Operations 21st Century Operations Using 21st Century Technologies

Best Practice

BEST PRACTICE:

G1−3: Reinforcing Shoulders

DESCRIPTION:

Prior to beginning major projects, the mainline shoulders should be of sufficient structural integrity to withstand all anticipated construction operations. This may require reinforcing the shoulders prior to beginning regular construction operations. This practice is especially vital if the shoulder is expected to be used as a travel lane during construction operations.

REASON(S) FOR ADOPTING:

There was approximately $225,000 spent on mainline shoulder repairs on the Illinois Department of Transportation I−57 project. This came to around $200,000 over plan quantity. There appeared to be two main sources of the cost overrun: First, whenever the flagger stood next to the paving machine and consequently pushed traffic over onto the shoulder, there was a shoulder repair to complete at that location. A second cause was damage that occurred during full−depth patching operations due to work being performed on the roadway centerline. The contractor was informed that traffic was to be unhindered; however, the contractor's flagman continually directed traffic onto the shoulder.

PRIMARY BENEFIT(S):

Having the shoulder available to carry shifted traffic provides an additional travel lane. The additional lane may enable more efficient construction operations and allow the DOT to maintain additional travel lanes, helping minimize work zone congestion. When shoulders are reinforced in anticipation of construction operations, they can also be used in the future to reduce the effects of incidents.

MOST APPLICABLE LOCATION(S)/PROJECT(S):

2−lane major principal arterials, 4−lane highways, Interstates, and expressways.

RELATED BEST PRACTICES:
Additional Shoulder Thickness (Practice A5−5)
Reinforcing Shoulders (Practice G1−3)

STATE(S) WHERE USED:

Illinois

SOURCE/CONTACT(S):

Tim Kell, Bureau of Construction, Illinois DOT
Phone: (217) 782−6667
E−mail: tim.kell@illinois.gov

Office of Operations