PennDOT's journey on the road to a completely digital future will reach another milestone this summer with the pilot of Digital As-Builts, a Federal Highway Administration Every Day Counts Round 6 (EDC-6) innovation Pennsylvania is pursuing.
The Digital As-Builts will be completed on select projects that contain guide rail. The projects entail contractors delivering more detailed asset information that PennDOT can then build into databases that will assist in its ongoing management of the roadway system. The pilots are planned in six of PennDOT's 11 engineering districts.
In the pilot projects, contractors will be submitting such details as the quantity of guide rail, the exact location of all the installed elements, and specifics on any different types that are used.
"We'll gather all the information, and we will be able to ingest it into our asset management system," said Allen Melley, P.E., project development engineer and digital delivery lead in PennDOT's Bureau of Project Delivery.
"With this digital transformation, we will be able to track every asset we have," Melley said.
With the Digital As-Built innovation, Melley said, "we can go through the asset management system and find where and when an item was installed and all the pertinent information we need to address any issues.
"That's the premise behind Digital As-Builts, capturing information for the life cycle of a project," he said.
PennDOT wants to take a measured approach embracing this innovation.
"It will take time to build out the databases," Melley said.
"We're trying to do an agile process where we do a crawl, then walk, then run approach," he added. "We'll dip our toes in and take small steps, get the process down, and expand as we move forward."
The Digital As-Built is just "one small piece of a gigantic pie.…A gigantic initiative that touches every aspect of our business," Melley said.
"We have a goal of 2025," he said. "By then, we aim to be able to deliver projects digitally designed as a 3D model given to the contractors….That will be the record the contractor will be building off of."
But by no means is 2025 an end to innovation.
"So many technological developments are coming out of this that we don't see an end date when we will be completely done innovating," Melley said.