Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration - Momentum Newsletter
September 2017

Administrator's Message – Delivering the Power of Change to Maryland Families – One Project at a Time

Greg Slater

Greg Slater

On Tuesday, August 15, the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) opened an overpass at the US 301 and MD 304 Interchange in Queen Anne's County. It might seem like a small project, but to so many families in the Town of Centreville, it was much more than that.

The interchange opened eight months ahead of schedule and was built as a safety-driven endeavor with the cooperation of the local community because of hazardous conditions at the busy intersection in the past. This interchange will now provide safer travel for residents and students traveling to Centreville schools.

Darby DeStefano lost one of her high school classmates as a result of a tragic vehicle crash at the old intersection several years ago, and she was standing side-by-side with MDOT SHA district and project engineers as the interchange opened. These were her words - "Younger generations are now going to be able to arrive to school safely."

Those words are the very foundation of what MDOT SHA does. We are in the business of bringing the power of change to our customers so children can arrive at school everyone can get to their vacation destinations, get to work, and most importantly, get home.

Our charter – our responsibility – is to provide and deliver safe, sustainable, intelligent and exceptional transportation solutions in order to connect our customers to life's opportunities. But isn't it much more? Our customers trust us to deliver the kind of change we built in Centreville. Each road and construction effort means SOMETHING to SOMEONE in this state. And, thus, it is going to mean a lot to the men and women working tirelessly at MDOT SHA every day. Our customers trust us to provide the service, to provide the change.

Project construction is an inherently tough business, but we are coordinating better and maximizing efficiencies to deliver faster, like we did in Centreville. MDOT SHA has a record level of construction underway across Maryland, with 470 projects valued at a little more than $3.5 billion. We have another 82 advertised projects which will start later this year valued at $642 million.

Which project is the most important? For Darby DeStefano, the 301/304 interchange was the most important. And it was important to us that she and so many other residents saw it as a project that makes their community safer. That dynamic is more than customer service. It is the "CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE." One of our missions at MDOT SHA is to deliver change, deliver these roads, these improvements and these construction projects to create a positive and transformational EXPERIENCE for everyone on the roads. And we will not stop working to accomplish our mission.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Piloted in MD 404 Project

Innovation - Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Piloted in MD 404 Project

Aerial Views of MD 404 Captured by UAV

In a first for MDOT SHA, the Office of Environmental Design piloted Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV – also known as a drone) for environmental compliance purposes for MD 404, an accelerated, high-visibility project. A key regulatory requirement for MD 404 was the limit of 20 acres of Earth disturbance. With three contractors working simultaneously in three different sections, there was tremendous ground to cover within a very short amount of time. We needed to keep pace with fast-moving construction activities while ensuring environmental resources are protected and requirements met during construction.

Efficient use of resources and inspections within a short time were key to making this project successful. Using a UAV provided MDOT SHA the ability to quickly identify areas of concern instead of walking or reviewing the entire project on foot. It also led to a time and resource savings while giving MDOT SHA a better overall product. This same overhead perspective allowed the inspector to observe the limits of the work or measure areas of disturbance quickly and more accurately than with visual observation from the ground. We also utilized the UAV to review and measure final vegetation establishment, something that has proved difficult in the past due to the large areas involved. MDOT SHA continually employs innovative technologies to do more – more efficiently.

2017 Standard Specifications Go Digital

2017 Standard Specifications Go Digital

Online Media Wiki

The Office of Highway Development placed the 2017 Standard Specifications for Construction & Materials exclusively online, saving 900 trees in the process. The online version is available in Media Wiki format, allowing users to link directly – instead of flipping through pages in a physical book - to sections dealing with maintenance, contractors and contract requirements.

There is also an online video that demonstrates how it can be effective in a real world scenario. In it, a crew is working on a live construction site. The voiceover asks about asphalt pavement and the camera pans to that Media Wiki section of the guide.

The document is still available for print, with 909 pages available for download. This modern, paperless format for 2017 allows for annual republication, free availability and links to supporting documents.

Making a Difference Every Day

Customer Service Experience - Making a Difference Every Day

CHART Patrols Assist Customers

One of our main missions at MDOT SHA is to continually improve the "Customer Experience" - our customers' perception of how we treat them and how we serve them. According to a Walker study, by the year 2020 customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. You might not see these messages, but they come to us every day from people around the State, people we help get to where they need to go. Where can MDOT SHA take you? The hard-working and selfless men and women of our CHART patrols risk their lives along busy highways to help people. making a difference.

I was on the 495 Beltway when my timing belt broke...It was a dangerous location and I appreciated his calm and professional manner of escorting me to safety...He was very personable. I expressed my gratitude and thanked him for his help. He is a good person to have on board for Emergency Patrol. He [Shane Wallace] did a great job!

— According to Esteban Kolsky, if the customers are not satisfied, 13 percent of them will tell to 15 more people that they are unhappy. On the other hand, 72 percent of customers will share a positive experience with 6 or more people.

He saved my life...Really appreciate that!

I had a major blowout on I-270...then I realized I had left my phone at home. Although I had a spare tire, I have a leg injury and was totally unable to change my own tire...I only waited five minutes before [an emergency patrol] truck arrived. I asked him if I could use his phone to call AAA, but he offered to change the tire for me. It took him about three minutes. His timing was perfect, and he couldn't have been nicer or more helpful. Thanks, Mr. [Dave] Pettis!

— Gartner predicts that by 2018, more than 50 percent of organizations will redirect their investments to customer experience innovations.

I ran out of gas on route 70. The assist patrol employee [Damon Bishop] pulled over, put gas in my tank, assisted me to my drivers side door as there were cars going 70 MPH past me to make sure I was safe, and was so so helpful and kind in the process! I really appreciate all of the help.

The feedback for our CHART patrols is emblematic of what we continue to see across the entire organization and with every project we manage – a positive MOMENTUM and a soaring upward trajectory in our performance and customer satisfaction. We are delivering positive change to the people of Maryland – one project and one CHART assist at a time. These examples are from our CHART operations but each and every one of us has an impact on the MDOT SHA customer experience every day. I challenge all of you to think about this in all that we do!

Walker Research helps companies measure customer satisfaction (
Gartner delivers technology research for informed decision making (
Customer service facts from
Visit to learn more about providing the best customer experience.

Photo of the Month

Photo of the Month

On Thursday, September 21, Governor Hogan announced a $9 billion Traffic Relief Plan for easing congestion on I-270, I-495 and MD 295.

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