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Project Time Management


1. Is My Project on Schedule?

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s (KYTC) Mission is to provide a safe, efficient, environmentally sound, and fiscally responsible transportation system that opens economic opportunities and enhances the quality of life in Kentucky. This mission guides the Cabinet’s efforts to serve citizens of the Commonwealth.

The Department of Highways’ role in fulfilling the Cabinet’s mission is to improve and maintain the Commonwealth’s roads and bridges. The Department has a construction program that is legislatively enacted through the Highway Plan and a maintenance program which is legislatively enacted through the biennial budget process. The Department’s performance in delivering the Highway Plan is measured programmatically by its ability to successfully deliver all the projects in the plan. A successful project is one that meets the defined scope with quality solutions and deliverables on the schedule given and within the budget specified in the Highway Plan. Improving the success rate of project delivery helps the Cabinet fulfill its mission and enriches the lives of all Kentuckians.

2. Time Management for Highway Project Development

It is imperative that KYTC project managers (PMs) use project time management tools (e.g., Gantt Charts, PDP PreCon System) to schedule and track project development. To help PMs prepare effective project schedules, critical path method (CPM) templates have been created for typical project contexts and common project phases. Descriptions of each work-breakdown unit (i.e., work activities) documented on these templates can be found throughout the 17 articles which make up this HKP Knowledge Book, Time Management for Highway Project Development.

Project roadway

3. Project Time Management

Time management is a key aspect of project management. As such, it is a core knowledge area and closely tied to project scope and cost. The main purpose of project time management is to build processes and outputs into a project that help the PM and Project Development Team (PDT) ensure timely completion. Failing to meet a project’s schedule lowers the Department’s Highway Plan delivery success rate and hampers KYTC’s ability to fulfill its mission.

At the start of the project, the the PM creates a schedule to to illustrate how project tasks will be sequenced and allocated. One tool commonly used to visualize and manage the project schedule is the CPM. To calculate project duration, the PM identifies the critical path. The critical path is the sequence of activities in the network diagram that is the longest (it controls project duration). The CPM schedule is normally created using the Microsoft Project schedule program. PMs must create a project schedule which includes required project activities and meets the legislatively prescribed schedule.

The PM and PDT should use the CPM schedule to track and manage work progress. The CPM schedule helps the PM direct resources toward needed work activities as well as report schedule status and progress to the team and KYTC management. Tracking and reporting work focuses the team on getting work done within the scheduled durations.

The PM should continually monitor the critical path. Any changes to work-activity durations on the critical path will affect a project’s finish date. The PM should also monitor activities not located on the critical path to determine if potential delays would place them on the critical path. The PM and PDT frequently review and discuss the project schedule. Conducting reviews and discussions are especially critical when preparing for District Quarterly Project Reviews and at each Project Milestone Meeting, where any variance from the baseline schedule should be identified and noted.

If a work-activity duration begins to slip and exceed the baseline, the PM (and appropriate members of the PDT) must investigate the root causes. Possible sources of delay include overscheduled resources or complexity in an activity that was not originally known. In some cases, the original duration estimates may have been inaccurate. To resolve a problem, it is imperative for the PM and PDT to understand the actual root cause(s) of a schedule delay. Once the root cause(s) of a schedule delay are identified, the PM and PDT brainstorm possible solutions. These may include acquiring additional resources, improving coordination between team members, or extending the project schedule. Any major schedule modifications that change the project milestone dates must be approved by Central Office Project Development.

4. List of Acronyms

The full definitions for terms included in this article (listed below) can be found in the HKP Glossary.

Acronym Definition
AASHTO American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials
ACM Asbestos-Containing Materials
ADD Area Development District
ADT Average Daily Traffic
APE Area of Potential Effect
ASSR Acquisition Stage Relocation
BA Biological Assessment
BMP Best Management Practices
BNR Below Notification Requirements
BO Biological Opinion
CAA Clean Air Act
CAP Communicating All Promises
CBR California Bearing Ratio
CDE Chief District Engineer
CE Categorical Exclusion
CFR Code of Federal Regulations
CHAF Continuous Highways Analysis Framework
CPM Critical Path Method
CWA Clean Water Act
DAQ Division of Air Quality (Kentucky Energy And Environmental Cabinet)
DEC District Environmental Coordinator
DES Design Executive Summary
DHV Design Hourly Volume
DLG Department For Local
DNA Data Needs Analysis
DTM Digital Terrain Model
EA Environmental Assessment
EATS Environmental Analysis Tracking System
ECA Environmental Corrective Action
EIS Environmental Impact Study
EO Environmental Overview
EPA Environmental Protection Agency
EPM Environmental Project Manager
ESA Endangered Species Act
ESA Environmental Site Assessment
ESAL Equivalent Single Axle Load
ESC Engineering Services Contract
FHWA Federal Highway Administration
FMV Fair Market Value
FONSI Finding of No Significant Impact
GNSS Global Navigation Satellite
GPR Ground Penetrating Radar
Hazmat Hazardous Materials
HMA Hot Mix Asphalt
IOJ Interlocutory Order and Judgment
IP Individual Permit
IPA Individual Project Agreement
JI Joint Inspectiont
JUM Joint Utility Information Meeting
KPDES Kentucky Pollution Discharge Elimination System
KRS Kentucky Revised Statutes


Acronym Definition
 KURTS Kentucky Utility and Rail Tracking System
 LiDAR Light Detection and Ranging
LOP Letter of Permission
LPA Local Public Agency
LRC Legislative Research Commission
LWCFA Land and Water Conservation Fund Act
MAR Minor Acquisition Review
ME Mechanistic Empirical
MOA Memorandum of Agreement
MOT Maintenance of Traffic
MOU Memorandum of Understanding
MS4 Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System
MPO Metropolitan Planning Organization
MUTCD Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices
NAAQS National Ambient Air Quality Standards
NAGPRA Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act
NEPA National Environmental Policy Act
NHPA National Historic Preservation Act
NHS National Highway System
NOA Notice of Availability
NOI Notice of Intent
NPS National Park Service
NRHP National Register of Historic Places
NTP Notice to Proceed
PCB Polychlorinated Biphenyl
PCC Portland Cement Concrete
PDM District Project Development Branch Manager
PDT Project Development Team
PIO Public Information Officers
PIP Public Involvement Plan
PL&G Preliminary Line & Grade
PM Project Manager
POCI Project of Corporate Interest
PODI Project of Divisional Interest
PS&E Plans, Specifications, & Estimates Branch
REC Recognized Environmental Condition
RFP Request For Proposals
ROD Record of Decision
ROW Right of Way
SHPO State Historic Preservation Office / Kentucky Heritage Council
SIP State Implementation Plan
SME Subject-Matter Expert
STIP Statewide Transportation Improvement Program
SUE Subsurface Utility Engineering
TIP Transportation Improvement Program
TMP Traffic Management Plan
TVA Tennessee Valley Authority
USACE U.S. Army Corps Of Engineers
USCG U.S. Coast Guard
USFS U.S. Forest Service
USFWS U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
USGS U.S. Geological Survey
UST Underground Storage Tank
WQC Water Quality Certification


5. Project Process Maps

5a. Rural Federal Bridge Replacement CE 1

5b. Urban Federal Bridge Replacement with Railroad CE 1

5c. 4 Mile Rural Road Widening (with Railroad Involvement) into Urban Intersection EA FONSI

Time Management for Highway Project Development Knowledge Book:

Access the complete Knowledge Book here:  Time Managment Knowledge Book

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