In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, as highway and bridge construction restarted across Pennsylvania, added emphasis on replacing paper material tickets emerged, especially with electronic ticketing (e-Ticketing) being named an Every Day Counts Round 6 (EDC-6) innovation by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).
Pennsylvania has joined Alabama, Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Utah, and Virginia in applying e-Ticketing to asphalt, concrete, and/or aggregate delivery for construction contracts.
John Myler, assistant construction manager in PennDOT's District 11 based in Allegheny County, explained that the common construction practice calls for the issuance of a paper ticket detailing information regarding the materials delivered onsite. The details cover the source and manufacturer of the materials, the design and the quantity.
But the process poses some safety risks, especially when PennDOT and contractor staff have to climb up on and move around the material delivery trucks next to live traffic.
"Instead of paper tickets, we now can have electronic systems made available via web browsers or apps on smart devices that allow us to see the paper ticket electronically," he said.
e-Ticketing enhances data collection, reduces processing time for quality assurance and payment, and allows for better data archiving for future reference. That translates into improved design, construction, maintenance, and operations.
"The e-Ticketing takes our people out of the traffic footprint, and they can stand on the side of the road in a safe position and monitor the trucks as they come in," Myler said.
"Paper tickets get lost; you have to sort them; take data and add up tonnages for all the tickets; a lot of manual labor went into it," he added.
An e-Ticketing Steering Committee is working on implementation. Members include FHWA, PennDOT, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, Associated Pennsylvania Constructors (APC), the American Council of Engineering Companies of Pennsylvania (ACEC/PA), the American Concrete Pavement Association Pennsylvania Chapter (ACPA/PA), the Pennsylvania Asphalt Pavement Association (PAPA), the Pennsylvania Aggregates and Concrete Association (PACA), and the Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association (PMTA).
Kelly M. Barber, P.E., who is the process lead on the e-Ticketing EDC-6 innovation and is chief of the Systems Management Section in the Construction and Materials Division in PennDOT's Bureau of Project Delivery, said that for the 2021 construction season, there are three pilot projects planned for each of PennDOT's 11 engineering districts.
"We will reassess in the fall with full implementation targeted for 2024," Barber said.
She added that e-Ticketing will cover asphalt, aggregate and concrete on the construction side and asphalt, aggregate, concrete, liquid bitumen and salt for maintenance. The target implementation date for maintenance operations will depend on how this year's pilots go, she said.