Among the innovative technologies that PRHTA selected during the summit was the implementation of geosynthetic reinforced soil integrated bridge systems (GRS-IBS), which use alternating layers of compacted granular fill material and geosynthetic reinforcement.
At that time PRHTA was extremely successful, but the technology was not implemented again.
PRHTA chose to implement the technology for all these reasons.
PRHTA identified adjacent twin bridges that presented an excellent opportunity to implement the GRSIBS technology.
In fact, prior to the replacement project, PRHTA temporarily supported the bridge by installing a steel frame at one of the piers.
Now that the project has proven successful, PRHTA is ready to implement the technology in a broader manner and in bridges of greater spans.
To obtain funding for the project, PRHTA submitted a request for consideration under FHWA's Innovative Bridge Research and Deployment Program, which awarded the agency a $370,000 grant.
As part of the implementation of GRS-IBS technology, PRHTA coordinated a workshop with FHWA to introduce the technology to the Puerto Rican staff, consultants, contractors, and suppliers.
PRHTA's goal to increase throughput of existing roadways while also increasing motorist convenience by removing choke points, improving air quality by reducing carbon emissions from backed up idling cars, and eliminating costly cash leakage associated with cash collection systems would not be possible unless PRHTA could convert all patrons to electronic payment.
To make it simple and convenient for drivers to participate in AutoExpreso, the PRHTA introduced a "first of a kind" in-lane replenishment (ILR) lane in each toll plaza.
Approximately 42 percent of Puerto Ricans do not have bank accounts, so TransCore's system was chosen in part because it includes an innovative reverse-debit transaction concept -- the AutoExpreso account replenishment cash card -- which enables motorists who prefer to pay by cash to use wireless payment," said Jack Allison, PRHTA executive director.
The system is already improving throughput at these sites, and it is designed for expansion of up to 200 lanes in the PRHTA toll road system.