Digital As-Builts

Highway construction projects produce massive amounts of valuable data. Historically, information such as materials tickets and as-built plans were communicated via paper. Today’s transportation agencies are improving on these paper processes by integrating them into electronic and digital workflows. While electronic ticketing (e-Ticketing) improves the tracking, exchange, and archiving of materials tickets, digital as-builts, and other digital information such as 3D design models and other metadata, can enhance the value of contract documents and the future usability of the as-built plans for operations, maintenance, and asset management. Both can increase project safety and quality through efficient data gathering and sharing.

What are Digital As-Builts?

Using digital data such as 3D models to build road projects is becoming an industry standard. Sharing the design model and associated digital project data allows agencies and contractors to streamline project delivery and contract administration and to collaborate on challenges “virtually” before they get to the field. The digital information is further leveraged when the model is updated, and other data incorporated, to reflect the project’s as-built condition for future maintenance, asset management, and rehabilitation activities.


Safety. Construction using digital information can lead to safer projects and shorter work zone traffic impacts.

Time Savings. Digital information provided to construction enhances planning and can streamline project delivery. Digital as-builts including utility locations and other asset information will improve post-construction decisions and shorten future project delivery.

Quality. Digital as-builts can provide enhanced historical data, enabling State DOTs to better maintain the transportation infrastructure and develop future projects.

Learn more about this EDC-6 Innovation.

Digital As-Builts in NJ

Stage of Innovation:
(December 2022)

The NJDOT EDC team added representation from in-house roadway design staff, traffic engineering, geodetic survey and the CADD Unit along with Local Aid, Construction, Project Management Office (PMO), and the consultant industry over time to develop this initiative.

Before digital as-builts could be advanced at NJDOT, the new CADD platform of Open Roads Designer (ORD) and Open Bridge Designer (OBD) must be fully in place and in full use.  NJDOT's CADD unit has been working with Bentley on a new workspace for ORD and OBD.  Several key steps required completion before the new software could be fully implemented by in-house and consultant designers including development of a new CADD Manual. The EDC team will provide assistance to the CADD unit for this and other activities.

Research. NJDOT has met with the Pennsylvania DOT to learn about their digital as-built program and delivery plan and has contacted the consultant developing FHWA guidelines for 3D As-Builts.

Pilot Development. NJDOT has identified a digital as-built pilot project that will meet various functional and business requirements. The pilot project, Route 138, GSP to Route 35 (MP 0.37 to 3.52), will be designed in-house using OpenRoads Designer (ORD) through mapping submitted in ORD following the new CADD Standards. The mobile LiDAR Survey is in process and preliminary engineering (PE) is slated to be initiated in the fall of 2022.  The team has completed the task of connecting pay items to the design elements to ready the project.

What’s Next?

Next steps will be to coordinate with Construction on the specifics of the post construction survey for the digital as-builts. The implementation team is participating in various webinars and workshops to learn more about the national trends and to hear about lessons learned.

The loss of key staff in the CADD Development Unit and the Geodetic Survey Unit, due to retirements and promotions, has disrupted the team's learning curve for the storage of 3-D As-Builts and integration into GIS.  With the pilot project not yet initiated and construction not due to start for a couple of years, the team expects to adjust staffing levels, groom new subject matter experts, and/or leverage consulting staff augmentation for support. This staff augmentation will help the team move forward once the OpenRoads Designer and OpenBridge Designer software are up and running.


FHWA Digital as Builts (DABS) Webinar Series

FHWA Digital as Builts (DABS) Webinar Series

The FHWA will present an eight-part webinar series on the EDC-6 Implementation Initiative for Digital As-Builts (DABs). The webinar series is designed to increase overall ...
Innovation Spotlight: How DOTs Are Moving Toward Digital As-Builts

Innovation Spotlight: How DOTs Are Moving Toward Digital As-Builts

This article reports on a brief Digital As-Builts Literature Scan and provides references to a select bibliography of research reports, strategic plans and other resource ...

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