Connecticut DOT Seeks to ‘Quiet’ Interstate Pavement

The morning and afternoon commutes along Interstate 95 in southwest Connecticut will still be a little congested, but maybe a little quieter, thanks to “quiet pavement” the Connecticut Department of Transportation plans to install as part of a road resurfacing project.

[Above photo by Connecticut DOT]

The three-lane (each way) 6.7-mile stretch of I-95 from the New York state line to Stamford carries about 135,000 vehicles a day, much of which is commuter traffic to and from New York City. A Connecticut DOT project to repave the interstate will include a specialty asphalt mix designed to absorb more noise than concrete and last longer than traditional asphalt.

The impetus behind using this “quiet pavement” derived from feedback from people who live and work in the area; they asked the agency to do something about the interstate noise. Some residents had even created a group, Neighborhood Citizens Against I-95 Noise, to push Connecticut DOT to undertake some noise abatement measures.

The department got the message, explained Garrett Eucalitto, Connecticut DOT’s commissioner.

“We seek out resident, business, and stakeholder input when any project is undertaken,” explained Eucalitto, who also serves as the 2023-2024 vice president for the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. “These groups know the needs of the area, and their insights are valued and appreciated.”

While quiet pavement is not an official Federal Highway Administration noise mitigation method, Eucalitto said the asphalt mix is “expected to reduce highway noise by two to three decibels.”

Andi Karica, resident engineer on this Connecticut DOT paving project, said crews will begin removing existing pavement this spring and replace it with a one-inch Binder Rich Intermediate Course topped with two inches of Stone Matrix Asphalt.

“It’s a completely different mix design that takes different ratios of binder and stone aggregate,” Karica said. “It’s a sticky mix, a little harder to work with, but it should be more durable and translate to less noise.”

The Stone Matrix Asphalt is new to Connecticut DOT, but different forms of it have been around for many years. Most of the states that have used it – Arizona, California, Texas, Georgia, and Florida – have warmer climates, and many results show a two decibel reduction in noise.

“This type of asphalt has never been used before in Connecticut, so the Stamford and Greenwich Project will be a pilot program to ensure the longevity and durability of the materials,” Eucalitto said. “We look forward to seeing the results as we continue to deliver projects that improve safety and reliability for all roadway users.”

As the paving project gets started this spring, Connecticut DOT will continue managing a Planning and Environment Linkages study along I-95 that is looking at a broader range of environmental, economic, mobility, and safety issues along the corridor.

The study, which began in June 2023 and is scheduled to be completed in December 2025, will rely heavily on community input, and is designed to help the department develop specific projects.

Arizona DOT Touts Value of ‘Adopt a Highway’ Volunteers

The Arizona Department of Transportation recently noted that its “Adopt a Highway” volunteers continued to make a big difference in terms of litter cleanup along state highways in 2023.

[Above photo by Arizona DOT]

The agency said roughly 850 volunteer groups – comprised of nearly 9,000 individuals – collected over 15,000 bags of roadside litter weighing some 103 tons from state highways mainly outside of Arizona’s metropolitan areas in 2023. The dollar value of that volunteer work equates to roughly $674,000; money the Arizona DOT said can be committed to other critical needs.

“We are so grateful to the many Arizonans who help keep our state grand,” said Mary Currie, Arizona DOT’s Adopt a Highway program manager, in a statement. “Their dedication beautifies state highways that provide a first impression for many visitors and enhances Arizona’s natural beauty.”

She noted that the state’s “Adopt a Highway” groups agree to pick up litter in an adopted stretch at least once per year, though preferably three or more times a year, coordinating with Arizona DOT to arrange for safety vests, litter bags and training for pickup events and then report the results.

State departments of transportation are using a variety of tactics to combat littering on state highways.

For example, the Tennessee Department of Transportation recently expanded the “Youth Group” patch program that is part of its Nobody Trashes Tennessee litter prevention campaign to include Girl Scouts Heart of the South and Girl Scouts of Southern Appalachians. The patch program initially launched in October 2023 with the Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee.

“Girl Scout Troops are highly committed to community service projects and environmental education, and we are thrilled to have participation from all three councils representing the entire state of Tennessee participating in our Nobody Trashes Tennessee patch program,” said Brittany Morris with the Tennessee DOT’s Beautification Office, in a statement.

[Editor’s note: The agency also recently celebrated the 40th anniversary of its “Litter Grant Program.” That program – started in 1983 – provides funding to all 95 counties within the state to pay for a wide variety of litter-related efforts, such enforcement; cleanup and recycling events; and litter prevention education campaigns.]

“Within the first two months of launching the program in Middle Tennessee, we had approximately 1,000 Girl Scouts earn a Nobody Trashes Tennessee patch,” she said. “We are excited to have even more participation from Girl Scouts this year and have numerous ways for them to get involved.”

On another front, to make roadway debris removal operations faster and safer, the South Carolina Department of Transportation started installing “lane blades” on select highway incident response vehicles in 2023.

Meanwhile, the Mississippi Department of Transportation launched a new anti-litter webpage as part of a renewed statewide anti-littering campaign that kicked off in August 2023 – a “one-stop hub” that contains information about the state’s Adopt-a-Highway program, Mississippi litter statistics and resources, stormwater pollution information, anti-litter resources for school teachers, and much more.

And in April 2023, the Illinois Department of Transportation launched a new public outreach effort called “Think Before You Throw!” as part of its ongoing awareness campaign to reduce littering on state highways and roads.

That “Think Before You Throw!” initiative aims to reduce roadside litter along the state’s more than 150,000 miles of roads by raising awareness of the negative environment impact of trash, for both state residents and the nearly 100 million tourists who visit annually, the agency said.

Environmental News Highlights – February 14, 2024


Congressional Leaders Share Transportation Priorities -AASHTO Journal

Congressional Budget Office projects Biden green energy plan will cost much more than initial estimate –CNBC

Can 15-Minute Cities Work in America? –CityLab

US drivers logged more miles than ever in 2023 -Spectrum News 1

EPA finalizes stronger standards for harmful soot pollution, significantly increasing health and clean air protections for families, workers, and communities -EPA (media release)



New York’s $15 Congestion Pricing Aims for Mid-June Start Date –CityLab

Dear Colleague Letter: FTA highlights importance of adhering to NEPA Schedules –FTA



Georgia Ports working to block private port nearby citing traffic concerns -WJCL-TV

California recommends changes to leasing properties under freeways after major fire –AP

The Greening of Transportation: We’ll need new inventions and novel adaptations to decarbonize the sector -IEEE Spectrum

New indoor EV charging station in San Francisco offers a glimpse into the future –AP

Shell permanently closes all of its hydrogen refueling stations for cars in California -Hydrogen Insight

Lawsuit sparked by recent Tahoe Regional Planning Agency decisions -Tahoe Daily Journal



To Sell Congestion Pricing Plans, Don’t Mention Climate Change -Government Technology

USPS announces 2030 greenhouse gas emissions targets -Parcel and Postal Technology International



Sustaining Rosa Parks’ Struggle for Transit Equity -The Good Men Project

Want to reform housing? Take a look at parking -Route Fifty



On the Issues: Natural Gas Pause, Clean Energy Equity, and More

The growing inadequacy of an open-ended Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale in a warming world –PNAS



Los Angeles once had its very own wooden freeway for bikes. Then came the cars – SFGate



Public health and urban planning go hand in hand. Why aren’t we doing more to promote cycling? -Healthy Debate

New Infrastructure Projects Aim to Enhance Walkability in Houston -Greater Houston Partnership

What Vision Zero Has And Hasn’t Accomplished -NPR’s Consider This (podcast)



TRB’s Transportation Symposium on Environment, Energy, and Livable Economies –TRB

The Drive for Dollars: How Fiscal Politics Shaped Urban Freeways and Transformed American Cities -University of California Institute of Transportation Studies



Processing of Department of the Army Permits; Procedures for the Protection of Historic Properties -Army Corps of Engineers (Proposed rule)

Notice of Solicitation of Nominations for Membership for the U.S. Maritime Transportation System National Advisory Committee -Maritime Administration (Notice of solicitation for membership)