Research Seminars @ Illinois

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Tailored for undergraduate researchers, this calendar is a curated list of research seminars at the University of Illinois. Explore the diverse world of research and expand your knowledge through engaging sessions designed to inspire and enlighten.

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PhD Final Defense for EJ Ignacio

Event Type
Civil and Environmental Engineering
wifi event
Feb 23, 2024   1:00 pm  
Originating Calendar
CEE Seminars and Conferences

Optimal Planning of Utility Relocations and Noise Barrier Approvals for Roadway Construction Projects

Advisor: Professor Khaled El-Rayes


Roadway projects are often delayed by several pre-construction tasks such as planning utility

relocations and noise barrier approvals. Utility relocation was reported by 42 states to cause delays

in their federal-aid highway and bridge projects. To mitigate these delays, the Federal Highway

Administration (FHWA) and several state Departments of Transportation (DOT) reported the use

of a wide range of practices to expedite utility relocations on roadway projects. Similarly, the use

of new noise barrier designs and materials need approvals to ensure compliance with state DOT

requirements including noise transmission loss, noise reduction coefficient, crash testing, and

material degradation. State DOTs have reported that the review and approval process of these

alternative designs and materials of roadway noise barriers by related bureaus can take up to three

years. Accordingly, FHWA and state DOT officials are often confronted with critical challenges

during pre-construction, including how to optimize the planning of utility relocations to minimize

roadway project duration and cost; and how to expedite the review and approval of alternative

designs and materials of roadway noise barriers to avoid costly delays.

The main goal of this research study is to develop robust methodology for optimal planning

of utility relocations and noise barrier approvals for roadway construction projects. To accomplish

this goal, the research objectives of this study are to (1) perform a survey of state DOTs and utility

companies to gather and analyze their procedures for planning roadway utility relocation projects;

(2) develop a decision support tool to enable state DOTs to evaluate and rank all feasible utility

relocation best management practices (BMPs) based on their cost-benefit and overall performance;

(3) create a novel model to optimize the selection of utility relocation BMPs to minimize roadway

project duration and cost; and (4) develop a robust procedure for approving new types of roadway

noise barrier materials.

The performance of the developed decision support tools and optimization models were

analyzed using case studies of roadway construction projects. The results of this analysis illustrate

the novelty of the developed tools and models and their unique capabilities. This is expected to

provide state DOTs and construction planners with much needed support to minimize the duration

of roadway projects and their related traffic delays and congestions; and expedite the approval

process of new noise barrier designs and materials for roadway projects.

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