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Spreading Innovation Success in Engineering and Construction

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Spreading Innovation Success in Engineering and Construction

During the first part of 2021, CDOT is engaging members of TeamCDOT to implement eight tried-and-true Lean Everyday Ideas in all of the CDOT engineering and construction groups across Colorado. These terrific innovations range from improved design and engineering tools to the systematic application of knowledge management. Not only do these innovations save thousands of dollars, they also increase the efficiency and effectiveness of many tasks that our frontline engineering and construction groups perform to serve the users of Colorado's transportation system. And, we encourage anyone else who can use them to please go ahead and borrow them from TeamCDOT!  Learn more about these highlighted innovations below!!

This page will continuously be updated with even more highlighted innovations so be sure to check regularly!

Innovation Spotlight

Rockfall Mitigation

by Janet Gerak, Barbara Stocklin, Bob Group, and Mike Doyle

We were thrilled to include the Rockfall Mitigation project as the last video in this series. One of the winners of CDOT’s 2020 Environmental Award. 

This project includes a very diverse group with over twenty different employees collaborating together to bring this project to life. For this interview, we met with Janet Gerak, Barbara Stocklin, Bob Group, and Mike Doyle from the project team to talk about the rockfall mitigation efforts they have been working on. The SH 74 Rockfall Mitigation Project is located along the Bear Creek Canyon Scenic Mountain Drive, part of the larger Lariat Loop Scenic and Historic Byway. The team worked together to maintain the historic aspect of this area as well as collaborating to construct "Win-Win solutions", which included:

  • Removing the acceleration lane at Red Rocks to create a catchment dish 
  • Incorporating different aspects of scaling and pinned mesh to make the area much safer when it comes to rockfall; and
  • Maintaining the historic aspect of the area without removing any large sections of rock. 

This solution helped maintain the area's historic value, especially with the Red Rocks area being one of the most well-known locations in Colorado. In this video, we dive into how the team got this large and impactful effort done! 

You can check out the interview with the project team here on YouTube. And, if you want to learn more about this project, please feel free to contact Janet Gerak, Barbara Stocklin, or Bob Group. Thank you for watching our Sharing Success in Engineering and Construction series. The video series will be posted on the Office of Process Improvement’s website and on YouTube. Go check them out! 


We’ve enjoyed highlighting these great innovations with this series. And, we can’t wait to share another series with you soon. Until then, keep innovating and submitting your ideas to Lean Everyday Ideas!

Permanent Stabilization Checklist

By: Troy Rice • Environmental Protection Specialist

We are delighted to present the next video  in Lean Everyday Idea’s (LEI) “Sharing Innovation Success in Engineering and Construction” series. This week we will be highlighting the Permanent Stabilization Checklist created by Environmental Protection Specialist Troy Rice. This innovation helps make projects run smoother by providing a checklist to verify tasks per the contract requirements and the project’s stormwater management plan (SWMP) are completed. This innovation also helps improve communications between contractors and project engineers. In this video, we speak with innovation creator Troy Rice and Division Director Rebecca White about the uses and benefits that they have seen from this tool already. They talk about this tool's potential to be widely implemented all across CDOT. This is one innovation that you are definitely going to want to steal! View the Permanent Stabilization Checklist Video on YouTube here. You can also check out this article to learn more about this Lean Everyday Idea (LEI) and the other innovations people have created. 

Environmental Checklist

by Jessica Myklebust, Deputy Director of Program Delivery in Region 1, and her team; Janet Gerak, Debra States, and JoAnn Mattson

Is there a process in your group that you think needs improvement? See how process improvement techniques and tools can help your group save time and money by listening to the recent video in Lean Everyday Idea’s (LEI) “Sharing Innovation Success in Engineering and Construction” series. Be inspired by how Jessica Myklebust, Deputy Director of Program Delivery in Region 1, and her team; Janet Gerak, Debra States, and JoAnn Mattson reduced the time between the decision to hire consultants and their hiring date from 6 months to just two weeks. They started by creating a baseline of the current state and then mapping out the process using sticky notes and “swimlanes”. At the end of this process, they had designated a single point of contact to manage the hiring process and a clear checklist to track it. This improvement helped this team save time, money, and improve internal and external customer service. Check out this article to learn more about this process improvement and take a look at this article to see how Region 2 borrowed this idea! Also, explore the LEI Idea card here. Interested in developing a similar process improvement process for your group? Feel free to reach out to Jessica Myklebust, Janet Gerak, or Debra States.

Specification Assembly Tool

by Jack Thorpe

Learn about a tool that is simplifying the management and execution of construction projects by watching this next installment of Lean Everyday Idea’s (LEI) “Sharing Innovation Success in Engineering and Construction” interview series. The Project Specification Assembly Tool, or PSAT, is a two-part package that automates the assembly of the Project Special Provisions (PSPs) and the Index of Standard Special Provisions into a complete specification package. In this video, we speak with Jack Thorpe, who created PSAT, about his inspiration for creating the tool and what benefits it’s bringing to CDOT employees and engineers throughout Colorado. PSAT employs and promotes several lean principles like using automation to speed up repetitive tasks, reducing delays and confusion caused by errors, and standardizing work. Check out this article to learn more about this Lean Everyday Idea (LEI). You can also learn more about the upkeep and maintenance of PSAT by contacting the Standards and Specifications Unit within the Division of Project Support at CDOT. 

                                                                                                                                                    


Earthwork Tool

by Jerome Estes, Jacob Rivera, and Karen Berdoulay

Often CDOT projects require contractors to estimate earthwork costs. After receiving feedback from contractors about this being an ambiguous process, CDOT’s Jerome Estes, Jacob Rivera, and Karen Berdoulay got together to change this! Resulting in them updating CDOT’s Earthwork Tool to make it easier to use and understand. And, this team is continuing to look for ways to improve this process. What a great example of continuous improvement! To learn more about this innovative tool, click the link below to watch the video with the innovators!

Knowledge Share

by Amber Billings, Michelle Malloy, and Jerad Esquibel

When an employee decides to retire or leave, a large amount of knowledge is lost, often forever since the employee isn't able to train the new hire. Leaving new hires and others working with no reference or help from those with years of experience. How do we share this knowledge? Region 2’s Right of Way Program (ROW) created Knowledge Share: a documenting and sharing database that allows new and current employees to work as efficiently, effectively, and consistently as possible. This program can be used as a model for other units, divisions, and agencies. Check out Lean Everyday Idea’s second video in the Sharing Innovation Success in Engineering and Construction series to find out more about Knowledge Share from Amber Billings, Michelle Malloy, and Jerad Esquibel! If you want to learn more check out this and this article about Knowledge Share. Feel free to reach out to Amber Billings about implementing this model for your department.

Guardrail Calculator

By: Austin Gilbert Professional Engineer I • Region 2

Learn about the guardrail calculator, an innovation that helps engineers save time and effort, while improving the accuracy of the guardrail. In this video, we speak with Austin Gilbert, who created the guardrail calculator, about how the tool checks for errors and, as a result, improves safety for roadway users. Though Austin and his manager decided not to go with his calculator, Austin’s efforts brought awareness to existing tools available at CDOT for guardrail calculations, such as this FHWA Excel spreadsheet, showing that innovation can take many forms! Austin’s work has helped standardized the guardrail calculation process across CDOT. You can find the FHWA Excel spreadsheet here.