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The 2022 Infrastructure Law: Positioning Your Shovel-Ready
Transportation Project for Success

The 2022 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law addresses long-needed funding to state and local governments for thousands of “shovel-ready” transportation infrastructure improvement projects in all 50 states, D.C., and Puerto Rico. Over a period of five years, the law provides an unprecedented investment of $350 billion in highway programs for state and local governments to tackle long-overdue improvements to infrastructure.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is the largest investment in roads and bridges since President Eisenhower’s investment in the interstate highway system. While the law offers an exceptional amount of funding, competition is fierce. Keep reading for tips on how to present your shovel-ready transportation projects and successfully apply for funding for your state or locality.

What are Shovel Ready Projects?

Today, “shovel-ready” describes a transportation project that has fully completed planning, has necessary permits, and approvals in hand, and is ready to put people to work right away once funding is in place. If you’re interested in applying for funding through the 2022 Infrastructure Bill, it’s important to pick the right project to stand out in the application process while maintaining realistic goals for your current workflow.

How to Prepare for a Shovel-Ready Project

Construction never happens on a wing and a prayer. As any infrastructure professional knows, construction projects require careful planning, preparation, testing, and permitting long before gaining clearance to break ground. Doing the prep work prior to funding helps you stay prepared to seize opportunities when they arise. 

  1. Review the Project Priority List in Your Region: Identify priority projects for your region that align with the stated goals of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal. According to the White House, the goals of the deal are to, “rebuild America’s roads, bridges and rails, expand access to clean drinking water, ensure every American has access to high-speed internet, tackle the climate crisis, advance environmental justice, and invest in communities that have too often been left behind.” 
  2. Evaluate what steps are needed to qualify for shovel-ready status: Once you’ve identified a list of potential projects, it’s important to be realistic about which are closest to being shovel-ready.  Do any of the projects already have planning and regulatory compliance completed? If none of your projects are quite at the shovel-ready stage, try to find a project that would allow you to complete all the steps to getting shovel-ready in time to apply for funding. 
  3. Identify which type of funding is right for your project. The funding included in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is broken out into different types of programs and grants. Review their list of grant programs carefully to find which grant your project best qualifies for. This will increase your chances for successful funding. 
  4. Prepare your best proposal. You’ve done the difficult work of planning. Now it’s time to write your proposal. Gather all your data, paperwork, and permits, and start building a case for your project. 

PILLAR Can Help Get Your Projects Shovel-Ready

These steps seem straightforward but can be close to impossible for DOTs and organizations that are already stretched thin when it comes to time, resources, and manpower. That’s where PILLAR can help. We’re fully equipped to help you get your project to shovel-ready status, from start to finish.  We even have full-time proposal writers who have a track record of success.  They can devote time and expertise to help you get the funding you need. 

We are a trusted advisory partner that DOTs, municipalities, and P3 stakeholders rely on for fiscally responsible operations and maintenance. PILLAR can act as an extension of your agency, providing full-time expertise without the full-time price tag. From boots on the ground to technical writing, PILLAR’s combination of expertise and integrity has got you covered. Contact us to find out how we can get your projects shovel-ready today.

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Virginia State Highway Performance Ranking Leaps to #2 Nationally

The PILLAR Team congratulates the Virginia Department of Transportation for earning the nation’s #2 best highway performance ranking. Virginia operates the third-largest DOT network in the nation and handed in an impressive 19-position improvement in the 26th Annual Highway Report from the Reason Foundation.

Virginia moved up the ranks in several areas, including improving 24 positions for capital and bridge disbursements, improving 15 positions for maintenance disbursements, and improving 17 positions for urbanized area congestion.

Cost-effective Maintenance & Operations

Virginia’s highway system is considered one of the most cost-effective highway systems in the country.

“States with high ratings typically have better-than-average system conditions (good for road users) along with relatively low per-mile expenditures (good for taxpayers),” according to the Reason Foundation annual report.

PILLAR has been a trusted partner of VDOT for nearly 10 years, serving as its contractor for Statewide Maintenance Consulting Services.

“The PILLAR Team is proud to support VDOT in its continuous quest for excellence through best management practices and innovative transportation management solutions,” said PILLAR President Mark Boenke.

How PILLAR partners with VDOT

PILLAR supports VDOT in several ways, providing information that will save time, money, lives, and credibility.

A Penny Saved is A Penny Earned

PILLAR utilized its mobile LiDAR and conventional and traditional survey methods to gather dimensions on overhead signage that needed replacing in VDOT District 1. By defining accurate dimensions, PILLAR determined the existing support structure could be utilized for the new sign, saving significant time and money for VDOT.

Creating Efficiency from Field to Office

PILLAR georeferenced plan sheets to locate the position of pipes along the I-95 corridor in Caroline, Spotsylvania, and Stafford counties for VODT’s Fredericksburg District Office. This enabled VDOT field personnel to easily locate pipes when performing inspections. Ultimately, saving time and money.

Environmentally Friendly Asset Management Solutions 

PILLAR helped the VDOT Staunton District save $12.9 million in mitigation projects and nitrogen-credit purchases, also earning the district the Environmental Stewardship award. The efforts allowed VDOT to reallocate money to other critical needs throughout the district.

The project used an innovative approach. It took PILLAR’s LiDAR-based mapping for mowing management and helped save the district millions annually in converting interstate rights-of-way into pollinator habitats.

What PILLAR can do for you

What sets PILLAR apart is our CAPE approach.

That’s our Collection, Assessment, Planning, and Execution (CAPE) approach that intersects technology with our expertise to tailor asset management plans for program funding, public outcry, and improved services.

We advise state agencies and provide plans that avoid potential pitfalls and save money.

“Our staff augmentation helps improve knowledge and experience to achieve a high maintenance rating program (MRP) with average scores in the low-to-mid 90s,” Boenke said.

Contact PILLAR today to get started on improving your maintenance and performance rating.

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How to Calculate & Classify Mowable Area with LiDAR

Your agency has a lot of ground to cover. Literally. Municipalities and departments of transportation have acres and acres of land that need to be managed.

PILLAR can help assess the best way to tackle ground that might have to be mowed or best left unmowed and calculate the total mowable area and frequency or necessity of that upkeep.

This practice can help save your agency valuable cash, up to millions.

Mowing Frequency

Knowing what you need to maintain frequently and where to cut back can save millions in costs. Your agency will save in labor and equipment costs and heighten the safety of workers in high-traffic areas.

Certain areas benefit from a less frequent trim. Cutting tall grass and cutting back brush can improve visibility but may only have to be maintained once a year instead of cutting every few months.

The environmental benefits differ as well. If acreage is classified as an environmental benefit, your agency can receive credit toward mitigation and pollution reduction projects, such as pollinator or stormwater run-off programs.

When you contract with PILLAR, you’ll receive a full assessment of best practices.

How PILLAR Calculates & Classifies Mowable Area

PILLAR helps you get a better sense of what is needed for the land you manage.

We use image scanning and Mobile LiDAR, which can accurately inventory acreage that should be added to the total calculated mowable area. Additional access to land plats can help us determine if you can earn environmental stipends for mowing less frequently.

Our services also include an assessment of the terrain, so we can work with you to determine the types of equipment needed and the time and frequency required to maintain that acreage. That information also helps us parse and configure mowing patterns/swaths for full mows or partial mows.

After all the data is collected, we will work with your geospatial system of choice to integrate and normalize your mowing data.

The PILLAR team has more than 100 years of combined experience working with and for municipalities and departments of transportation. We know how to help classify environmental benefits and safety requirements needed to maintain your areas and keep the public safe.

Case Study

PILLAR was able to help Staunton earn $12.8 million in credits for pollution mitigation from our assessment of mowable acreage. Their practices earned them VDOT’s Staunton District’s Environmental Stewardship Award.

Learn how we can help you. Contact us today.

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Work Smarter by Aggregating and Normalizing Your Asset Data

Technology has made creating a geospatial inventory of transportation assets far more accessible than it used to be. However, this asset data may be accumulated from many different sources and may have been collected using disparate techniques and technology, resulting in data that is formatted differently.

The inability of different systems to talk to each other often means that municipalities and departments of transportation frequently resort to recollecting data they already have because of a siloed department structure. This is costly and limiting.

But PILLAR can solve this problem. We can aggregate and normalize data from many different sources (from paper to pdf to complex databases) and departments, giving your organization far greater flexibility and eliminating the need for costly recollection of data you already have.

Getting started

PILLAR will gather all the data files you have already collected, identify what technology generated the data, then audit it and identify a storage solution for optimal visualization for the end-user. We determine goals and help create visualization tools that provide decision-makers with accessible information at their fingertips.

We will get your data into a format that will allow your organization to analyze your data and compare it to other information sources layering artificial intelligence over top of “Big Data.” The resulting enhanced database will allow you to make more informed decisions based on more complete and interconnected information.

In addition, a point cloud analysis powered by PILLAR AFES (automated feature extraction system) will let you provide asset data across your organization, integrating databases and streamlining processes to cut time and share costs.

We’ll help you create a truly useful geospatial inventory of transportation assets that can help determine your priorities, focusing on getting the best return on investment.

Contact PILLAR today so we can get started aggregating your data.

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Your Technology Guide for Geospatial Asset Collection

Geospatial technologies increasingly allow engineers and experts to evaluate assets quickly and accurately. Since the Department of Labor introduced geospatial guidelines for professionals in 2010, new methods and approaches have emerged with promising results.

Explore these technologies and their diverse applications below. Learn how advanced firms like PILLAR can help you evaluate assets, collect data, and improve infrastructure with these various geospatial tools.

Static LiDAR

Collecting assets inside buildings, through intersections, on bridges, and on the ground—Static LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) measures and records asset data at a precise, granular level. The efficiency and methodology of Static LiDAR provide increased clarity for more complete and valuable data.

Since the information stored details your assets accurately, Static LiDAR applies best for transportation and construction applications, improving asset insights and decision-making for operations and maintenance planning.

Mobile LiDAR

Mobile LiDAR scans roadways and other infrastructure assets with extreme accuracy and cost-efficiency. With a vehicle traversing highways, roads, and bridges, Mobile LiDAR provides detailed data on elevation, pavement conditions, guardrails, road signs and more:

  • Street and highway conditions
  • Landscape and transit elevation
  • On-the-ground data
  • Bridges, tunnels, slopes, and fences

Transportation and construction managers find great utility in this powerful mapping method, covering up to 50 miles of right-of-way every day.

Aerial Collection

Using planes and helicopters, aerial collection captures exansive plots of land by scanning and storing data without street-level detail.

Helpfully, anyone can access aerial collection data in their state since each makes this information public. While it is less detailed than LiDAR data (which most states do not publish), this format is used across industries:

  • Mining
  • Gas and Oil
  • Agriculture and Forestry
  • Infrastructure and Utilities
  • Emergency and Disaster
  • Construction Sites
  • Corridor Mapping

When you use this broad data in combination with sharp LiDAR collection methods, you’ll benefit from a global and granular assessment of your assets.

Drone Collection

Data on some assets can by difficult to collect. In some cases, data collection would block accessibility to the asset itself, present a safety issue or is simply inaccessible.. Drone collection offers a way for companies to still collect miles of asset data and related functions in the following industries:

  • Mining
  • Gas and Oil
  • Agriculture and Forestry
  • Infrastructure and Utilities
  • Emergency and Disaster

Speed through Asset Collection with PILLAR (and Save)

Committed to client safety and satisfaction, PILLAR provides quick, quality data to infrastructure professionals, by tailoring the data collection solutions and recommendations for public project improvements. Our meticulous approach promises accuracy and efficiency, and our extensive expertise means clients save time and money through our proven asset management process.

Contact PILLAR at or (276) 223-0500 to leverage our advanced technologies and optimize your operations and maintenance plans.

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Why You Need a Geospatial Asset Inventory

Knowing the location, material, condition, and context of all your geospatial assets requires full-scale understanding. Without this global and granular view of your assets and infrastructure, it’s difficult to support decisions intended to improve assets, manage maintenance, and more.

Learn some of the most important reasons you need a geospatial asset inventory including emergency management, compliance, and development.

1. Asset locations alone are too limited in detail.

While identifying the location of an asset is essential, it’s not enough for proper evaluation and maintenance planning when material, condition, and context are left out. Geospatial technology such as Mobile LiDAR, delivers massive amounts of asset data quickly and accurately. This data is critical for optimizing asset lifecycles, pinpointing infrastructure needs, and budgeting public improvements.

2. Geospatial information integrates into existing systems.

The need to share data with many collaborators and managers has exploded as companies merge databases, share information, and combine research. Easily accessible geospatial asset data helps various departments, organizations, and stakeholders access the data they need to leverage asset insights and optimize its operations and maintenance programs.

3. Asset inventories serve many needs, functions, and organizations.

Data is a renewable resource. Once collected, your asset information can be used and extracted for new, increasingly useful applications. With the source data and extracted assets, various partners, agencies, and departments can benefit:

Moreover, to gain access, these participating organizations can share costs, furthering your budget’s reach.

4. Advanced technologies offer value and savings.

LiDAR technology and aerial collection capture large amounts of data while saving time and money on staffing crews to survey the land. Mobile and compact, these collection methods can extract asset data in mere hours and days rather than the weeks or months it might take less experienced, equipped teams on the ground.

5. Observe conditions and assets remotely.

With the data PILLAR captures for clients using Mobile LiDAR and imagery, engineers and crews can see and explore the field without stepping foot out of the office. Without the need to deploy a professional to report conditions, decision-makers can simply determine the best courses of action to save time, resources, and energy.

Automate and Streamline Asset Inventory Collection

Though some organizations and professionals struggle to coordinate such an inventory, others have found success with automated extraction methods, time-efficient technologies, and data integration abilities.

PILLAR, for example, uses automated collection and extraction processes that save time while informing maintenance and operations. Even after collecting your assets with next-generation technology (AFES, or Automatic Feature Extraction Systems), we can integrate your data within your existing GIS software.

Give your organization the complete picture of your assets and share your budgetary costs with other departments to save money and do the public good.

Contact us at or (276) 223-0500 to discuss your assets with an expert in geospatial technology.

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Plan, Inform, and Budget with Condition Rating Criteria for Transportation Infrastructure

Effective infrastructure asset management starts with an accurate assessment of inventory conditions. Using condition rating criteria enables managers to identify the appropriate treatments and the optimal time to maintain or correct issues. The result extends the life of infrastructure assets while controlling costs.

Drainage Ditch Damaged and Full of Trash

How Condition Rating Criteria Helps Transportation Asset Management

In essence, condition rating criteria takes the guesswork out of the management of assets by helping to inform, plan, and budget for cost-sensitive improvements. So, what do these criteria look like?

What is Condition Rating Criteria

Simply put, a condition rating criteria is a scale, or series of numbers, used to describe the condition or state of a particular asset. It can be based on a numeric scale or letter grade to maintain an objective standard. The objective standard allows municipalities and transportation managers to manage and meet desired conditions or network goals.

Why Some Departments Struggle with Condition Assessments

Most municipalities and departments of transportation lack specialized staff or staff are already stretched too thin. Rather than lean on them with further needs, PILLAR has specialized and well-trained assessors who skillfully review your assets with speed and timeliness. In-house teams often take time to actually locate and assess assets. With a partner, infrastructure municipalities can save time and money, and be sure that assets are being assessed properly and uniformly.

Meeting the real conditions and needs of public safety to prevent hazards on the road takes dedication and time. Without a partner, it can take time and be hard to locate, obtain measurements, perform assessments, and identify distresses. With rating criteria used while assessing your transportation assets, you never have to worry about how you will improve transportation conditions, prevent public outcry, or justify your operating or maintenance costs.

Rate Your Assets with PILLAR

PILLAR’s assessment process helps ensure that your assets are rated as accurately and efficiently as possible. We cultivate certainty about the condition of your assets as we help you to determine how you can meet state requirements for public safety. Get your assets evaluated for their condition and needs with any kind of rating system you need PILLAR to use. Our experts are ready to discuss your goals and systems. Email us at or call with (276) 223-0500.

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Why You Need to Invest in Pavement Preservation

Pavement Preservation is a set of cost-effective treatments that are typically applied on pavements at their early stages and are relatively in good condition. Pavement Preservation allows transportation agencies to treat more lane miles with less cost, while lengthening the pavement’s service life. Transportation agencies adopting Pavement Preservation will extend the benefit of taxpayers’ dollars, among many other benefits.

Primary Benefits of Pavement Preservation

Transportation agencies are paying more attention to Pavement Preservation as their maintenance budgets get tighter each year. This led to the wide adoption of Pavement Preservation treatments within the agency’s operations and maintenance programs. Agencies adopting Pavement Preservation treatments record major benefits that include:

  • Improves the condition of pavements and investments
  • Remains cost-effective for service life and pavement performance
  • Quick application and reduces road user costs and closure times
  • Requires fewer resources and energy than reactive maintenance
  • Stops the future deterioration of the pavement under your watch

Arguments Against Pavement Preservation Just Don’t Fly

Despite significant benefits, there are some reasons cities and towns don’t invest in pavement preservation as much as reactive maintenance tasks.

Civilians typically prefer all new pavement with new layers of either asphalt concrete or cement concrete. At the early stages of preservation treatment, pavement appears rough and messy until the treatments completely cure. To combat public outcry, engineers must continuously meet with civilians to educate them on the pavement preservation process. Engineers should demonstrate how reactive maintenance is more time-consuming and expensive, costing tax payers more money to fix damaged roads in the long run (see Figure 1).

The primary reason transportation agencies in cities and towns don’t invest in pavement preservation is due to a lack of expertise and knowledge on preservation treatments. With the variety of preservation treatments available, engineers don’t include the preservation treatments in their pavement management programs because they lack the know-how to choose the proper treatments for all road conditions.

Operations and maintenance professionals default to focusing only on damaged pavements, ignoring pavements that are in good condition. Asset management budgets get eaten up by reactive maintenance when they could invest in preserving good roads, therefore investing less in reactive maintenance over time.

Some have the misconception that preservation treatments are an unnecessary expense. In reality, the treatments are quick while costs stay at a minimum. Some agencies in rural areas fear that hiring contractors with pavement preservation expertise will be more costly than local professionals, however, including pavement preservation in pavement management programs will extend budgets and the service life of pavements.

Figure 1. (Source)

Partnering with PILLAR Pavement Management Engineers

Sometimes an organization doesn’t invest in pavement preservation due to a lack of expertise. There is a certain complexity to managing a network of roadways at different stages in their lifecycle that requires insightful data and a guiding hand.

PILLAR can play a role in assessing needs and making important maintenance decisions.

For example, PILLAR uses ratings to assess the condition of pavements, watching as the condition rating changes with time. This can be helpful to maintain a standard while getting the expertise needed for these numerous treatments.

Choosing the Right Pavement Preservation Treatments

When choosing treatments, PILLAR helps you map out roads, traffic volumes, and regions to make sure that roads are treated in line with the best treatment. There is a wide variety of possible preservation treatments that make the care and maintenance of each road extremely unique.

Every preservation plan is unique based on the special features of the roadway and pavements that make planning your preservation techniques somewhat complicated without a competent partner. PILLAR works with you to identify the condition of the road or pavement and then develop a series of interventions to lengthen the lifecycle of the road, save time, and conserve budgets. Some noteworthy and famous pavement preservation treatments that can be used include:

  • Crack Sealant
  • Slurry Seal
  • Chip Seal
  • Cape Seal
  • Microsurfacing (Latex)

Find a Partner in Pavement Preservation and Asset Management

PILLAR is a unique firm. It’s the only asset management team devoted at its core with maximizing the lifecycle of your assets. By delivering asset data that informs operations and maintenance decisions at every step in the complex process, PILLAR strengthens your maintenance and preservation plans in ways that could really benefit your infrastructure asset management programs.

Contact PILLAR at or (276) 223-0500 to start with the only asset management firm that merges industry expertise, next-gen technology, and public safety to bring you unparalleled data, service, and expertise.

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Hiring Operations & Maintenance Advisors is a Sound Investment.

Assessing and leveraging data on all infrastructure assets within your right-of-way for long term sustainability can be a challenge. As a result, it becomes even more difficult to achieve long term infrastructure goals. Operations & Maintenance advisors can be a highly effective resource in managing your assets and securing the proper funding you need for improving your assets.

PILLAR is the only asset management firm whose core business is dedicated to maximizing the lifecycles of your assets by collecting and delivering asset data that informs operations and maintenance decisions at every step of the process. PILLAR’s focus is holistic and goes beyond the typical pavements and bridges that include assets such as ditches, signs, markings, fence, etc. Optimal asset management includes all assets to give a much wider and inclusive perspective to account for all variables.

Know the Location of Your Assets

Pillar’s collection process combines old school approaches with cutting-edge technology to bring you a cost-effective way to collect massive amounts of inventory data quickly and accurately. Create digital 3-D representations of the right-of-way with PILLAR’s Mobile LiDAR Scanning that includes our Automated Feature Extraction System, extracting features almost as quickly as data is collected. At the same time, you’ll work with boots-on-the-ground maintenance professionals to go places machines and technology can’t reach.

Identify the Condition of Your Assets

PILLAR doesn’t just collect asset data; our professionals assess the data collected to justify the costs required to improve asset conditions. Experts use Condition Indices to measure Condition Rating Criteria for various asset types beyond pavements and bridges, such as pavement markings, guardrails, signs, slopes, fence, and tunnels. Using computer vision allows us to use Street Level Imagery from video stills to detect asset deficiencies. Our geospatial technologies provide in-depth point cloud analysis to give you a global view of the location and condition of your assets. Experienced maintenance staff also perform on-site field assessments and visual inspections.

Take control of Your Operations & Maintenance Plans

Unlike other firms, PILLAR advisors go beyond delivering asset data and go to work on planning strategies for your assets and the future. Data integration is seamless between databases as PILLAR works with numerous suites of geospatial software. You’ll receive solutions within many different contexts, including contract development, daily, weekly, and yearly work plans, bottom-up budgeting and estimating, and response plans in the case of an emergency.

Execute Your Plans with Expertise and Certainty

The PILLAR team not only helps develop your plans, we make sure you execute them. We can augment your staff to meet your program’s needs and oversee staff to ensure your asset management plans reach an optimal result. To fully see your plans through, our advisors can hire Operations and Maintenance managers to manage and control your budget, schedule, quality, as well as your incident, disaster, and weather response. Integration is seamless, coordinated, scheduled, and proactive.

Transform Your Operations & Maintenance Plans with PILLAR

Across the board, PILLAR advisors are a valued part of your team, working to inform you about your assets, offer data-driven decisions to secure proper funding, with in-the-field experience to hire and organize the staff necessary to carry out your plans so you don’t have to.

Stop guessing what to do with your Operations and Maintenance plans and be certain with PILLAR. Email us at or call (276) 223-0500 to get started with the only asset management focused firm merging industry expertise, next-generation technologies, and commitment to public safety.