Livable and Sustainable Transportation Rating System and Guide released

Three years in the making, the Illinois Road and Transportation Builders Association (IRTBA), the Illinois Department of Transportation, and the American Council of Engineering Companies of Illinois on Jan. 20 released the I-LAST Manual, the Illinois-Livable and Sustainable Transportation Rating System and Guide.

The I-LAST manual is modeled after the USGBC’s LEED green building certification program and establishes a scoring system for road and transportation construction projects.

Additionally, the IRTBA Green Council announced the release of its Construction Practices Addendum to the I-LAST Manual. Both parts establish criteria for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green design and construction techniques and products for transportation projects.

“This is a living document,” Mike Sturino, president and CEO of IRTBA, said in a written press statement. “As new technologies and practices are developed, we will alter our standards accordingly. This manual is designed to encourage experimentation, to spur innovation and invention, so we hope it will always be a work in progress.”

The manual divides sustainable practices into eight categories: planning, design, environmental, water quality, transportation, lighting, materials, and innovation.

In the materials category, for instance, if a contractor recycles on-site during a project, instead of hauling material off and back on again, the project is awarded points. In the design category, if a project minimizes earthwork by aligning grades as closely as possible, the project is awarded points. Several aspects of the design and construction processes and materials are considered.

Illinois is now one of only three states to provide this kind of framework for recognizing and promoting green practices across all key areas in road and transportation building.

“This manual marks the start of a new era in transportation design and construction,” said John Fortmann, of the Illinois Department of Transportation. “Sustainability will be the norm.”

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Several major road building projects have already been scored. They include the following:

•I-290 from Thorndale to I 90/94 and I-355

•I-55 at Arsenal Road in Will County

•I-57 at I-294 Interchange in south Cook County

The I-LAST Construction Practices Addendum was written by members of IRTBA’s Green Council. The Green Council, a committee of IRTBA’s members, along with agency representatives, is dedicated to being a leader in promoting sustainable, sensible and innovative environmental objectives and practices.