Iowa, Minnesota and South Carolina will tackle new ways of constructing roads—from prefabrication to public information—using the first set of $1-million grants from the Federal Highway Administration's Highways for Life program, awarded Oct. 31.

The $75-million program, part of last year's $283-billion SAFETEA-LU measure, disseminates information about innovative project methods and materials on its Website, The rules for grant applications to fund state projects were issued this spring (ENR 3/13 p. 24). Winners were chosen from nine applicants.

The South Carolina Dept. of Transportation will use its grant to help deploy a two-year, $15-million project to replace or rehabilitate three bridges and the intersection of U.S. 521 and S.C. 377. "We will incorporate a 'no excuse' incentive provision" into the bidding, says Bener Amado, SCDOT bridge project engineer.

The project, to be let next summer, also includes new performance-based standards for hot- mix asphalt pavement rideability. "We will set performance goals for full payment and reductions in pay for not meeting those goals," says Amado. Moreover, SCDOT will use self-compacting concrete in bridge beams for the first time, though it has successfully used SCC in drill shafts before, he adds.

The grant also will help SCDOT pay for "high-visibility enforcement" by police officers in the construction zone and create a customer survey to gauge public satisfaction with construction.

Iowa will use its grant to fund reconstruction of an Interstate 80 interchange in Council Bluffs using prefabricated bridge deck panels, high-performance concrete and high-performance steel welded plate girders, says Sandra Larson, state Dept. of Transportation research and technology bureau director. The method may shave a year from the two-year project schedule. IDOT also will use A+B bidding for the first time.

Minnesota will rebuild part of Highway 36 in Minneapolis/St. Paul by closing the road completely for five months. The deadline for the next round of applications, to be submitted to the FHWA Website, is Jan. 30.