Shops Island Bureau of Transportation

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Shops Island Bureau of Transportation
Government Bureau overview
Formed July 28, 2011
Jurisdiction ShopsIslandFlag2013.png Shops Island
Headquarters Shops City
Employees 59,000 (2018)
Annual budget 6.5 billion WB$ annually
Minister responsible Michael Smart, Secretary of Transportation
Parent Government Bureau Government of Shops Island
Does not govern in the Dominion of Notron.

The Shops Island Bureau of Transportation, often abbreviated as BOT, is the government agency responsible for overseeing all roads, highways, highway infrastructure and motor vehicles in Shops Island. The BOT deals specifically with matters related to roads and road traffic; all other types of physical infrastructure are the responsibility of the Shops Island Bureau of Infrastructure (BOI).

Throughout Shops Island and its territories, the Bureau of Transportation is responsible for regulating and maintaining:

  • 35 million registered motor vehicles
  • 2.1 million puffle cars
  • 27.5 million licensed motorists and commercial drivers
  • 5,600 bridges, culverts and tunnels
  • 16,790 km of highways
  • 55 driver education and licensing centers

The BOT is known across Shops Island and Antarctica for its impeccably high design standards and volume of contracted work done, as well as the vast amount of roadway maintained and regulated throughout the Shopper realm. Its innovative designs have become par for the course across Antarctica, and other countries often use the BOT as a standard to model their transportation design around.


Before the BOT was commissioned, all bridges and highways in Shops Island were constructed upon the directive of local governments or by private initiative. This led to a wide variety of highway and structural design being used throughout the country, some of which was good, but most of which was poor in design and construction.

On July 6, 2011, a major bridge just outside of Shops City collapsed during rush hour, killing over fifty drivers. Investigations found that the failure was due to improperly sized truss members which ended up buckling under high compressive stress. A quick series of investigations was then undertaken across the country, which found that many other fatal design flaws were present in many other roads and structures due to a lack of clear and consistent regulation.

In response to the bridge collapse, and fearing more disasters of the like in the future, president Ben 100022 commissioned the Shops Island Bureau of Transportation to assume jurisdiction over all roads and highways across Shops Island and to bring them up to spec.

After a two-year construction and rehabilitation spree, the BOT had managed to rebuild or rehabilitate most of Shops Island's roadway infrastructure to a satisfactory level, at which there was no longer a risk of collapse. Since then, the BOT has focused on rehabilitation and replacement of other infrastructure that was not covered during this blitz, or in building new highway connections altogether across the country and its territories.

Regulation and Standard Practice[edit]

The Bureau of Transportation is known across Shops Island and throughout Antarctica for its vast array of stringent regulations and specifications covering every area of roadway construction, maintenance and rehabilitation.

Regulations, which are legally binding and are considered Shopper law, are tabled and voted upon by the Common Legislature are often drafted with significant input from the BOT as to the scope and specific details which would not be obvious to lawmakers. These regulations include speed limits and other driving-related rules, as well as many laws regarding construction in the field.

Specifications, on the other hand, are internal documents drafted by the BOT which relate to specific procedures and policies which BOT employees, consultants, and contractors must follow when working on BOT projects. These specifications have a large scope, and fall under multiple categories:

  • The General Conditions of Contract (GCC) is a document published by the BOT which covers all matters related to the administration and handling of construction contracts issued by the BOT. This document is listed as a condition in all BOT contracts and is the framework by which contractors, consultants and the BOT work together.
  • Bureau Standard Specifications (BSS) are individual documents which cover the rules regarding specific tasks that are undertaken in BOT contracts. BSS' provide a strict guideline of what is to be expected from contractors when working on a certain task, and the quality to which these items must be built. BSS' also provide insight as to how quality control measures must be taken, as well as how each tender item is measured and paid for. There are hundreds of BSS' published by the BOT, ranging from grading, to quality of asphalt pavement, to different types of aggregate, to how strong concrete in structural components must be.
  • Bureau Standard Drawings (BSD) are drawings issued by the BOT which show how common, repetitive tasks undertaken by contractors should be performed. These BSD's include proper roadway cross-section dimensions, or jersey barrier dimensions, or how guard rail should be installed.

Contract Administration[edit]

Instead of overseeing construction projects directly, the Bureau of Transportation often hires engineering firms to oversee the project. In many cases, these engineering firms are also hired to design the project before construction, and as such they are seen as more suitable to oversee the project than the BOT, which has had little role in design. The use of contract administrators (consultants) has often been seen as a way to remove responsibility from the BOT if something were to go wrong, so that the bureau could instead blame faulty design and quality control as the culprit in the event of an infrastructure disaster.

Contractor Prequalification[edit]

The Bureau of Transportation conducts rigorous reviews of all companies who wish to work on their projects, to ensure that all projects are completed with impeccable quality. This qualification process consists of checking contractors' financial records, work portfolios, resumes, fleet size, and many other important documents to ensure that all companies which bid on BOT projects have the capacity to complete the work if they are awarded the contract.


Much of the Bureau of Transportation's budget goes to the maintenance of Shopper roads and bridges, as there is little new construction going on at any given time. Maintenance done by and for the BOT falls under two categories: Routine maintenance, and Repair work.

Routine Maintenance[edit]

Routine maintenance is undertaken by contractors over long time-span, and often involves typical light duties such as minor asphalt repairs, grading gravel roads, or clearing snow from roads. Maintenance contracts are issued on a state-by-state basis; contractors can bid to do all area maintenance for a period of five years if they win the maintenance contracts. These are by far the BOT's largest contracts, with many five-year maintenance jobs costing over 100 million WB$ each. Due to the scope and cost associated with routine maintenance, these contracts are tendered very rarely and are highly sought after by contractors.

Repairs and Rehabilitation[edit]

Contracts pertaining to structural repairs and roadway rehabilitation are much more common than maintenance contracts, as these jobs are much smaller in scope and normally only last a matter of months instead of five years. These projects are categorized by the BOT as follows:

  • General Road contracts relate to basic road and highway work. General Road projects often consist of grading, embankment rehabilitation, drainage, Hot-Mix Asphalt paving, granular base replacement, among many other smaller tasks. Most General Road jobs are simple repaving and re-grading of roads, although some larger jobs also consist of highway realignment, hazard rock removal, or twinning. General Road contracts are, on average, the most expensive BOT repair projects.
  • Structural contracts encompass any work done on bridges, culverts or tunnels under BOT jurisdiction. These projects themselves fall into two other categories:
    • A structure can be replaced if the BOT determines that repairs are insufficient or too costly to ensure continued safe use of a structure. In this case, the existing structure is to be demolished and a new one is to be built in its place. This is the preferred method of structural work in most cases.
    • A structure could also be rehabilitated; rehab projects consist of selective work on an existing structure to address deficiencies that are not severe enough to warrant demolition.
  • Electrical contracts consist of any jobs which involve electricity or hooking up the the electrical grid. These jobs are few and far between, and usually consist of illuminating highways near larger cities.
  • Miscellaneous contracts relate to any work which does not fall into the above categories. These are the smallest contracts that the BOT tenders, and as such are only popular with small, local or specialty construction companies. Miscellaneous contracts consist of minor work such as installing rumble strips, repainting lines, or installing overhead signs.


The inspection of roads and structures is considered to be a very serious task by the BOT, and as such, engineers employed directly by the bureau are responsible for inspections, and are such are the ones who determine when and where work should be done. These inspectors have a detailed list of which structures and roads are in most need of repair, and these lists are submitted to the BOT's main office monthly so that HQ can put bids out to tender to conduct repairs as soon as possible.


The Bureau of Transportation is renowned across Antarctica for its innovative and streamlined designs, many of which are improvements upon other countries' creations. BOT designs are widely adopted in other countries such as the United Provinces and the Seal Islands due to their simple, ubiquitous nature.


Although the BOT is responsible for both single and multilane highway construction, the general principles behind highway design are consistent throughout Shops Island.

Highway Alignment[edit]

The design of highway alignment consists of two components:

  • Horizontal Alignment is the design of horizontal curves and lateral alignment of a road; the BOT ensures that roads are easily navigable, and tries to ensure that sharp turns are avoided at all costs. In most situations, the BOT prefers to build straight highways for simple construction and driving applications, although some curves are always implemented into the design to prevent motorists from falling asleep on the road.
  • Vertical Alignment is the process of aligning a road to roll smoothly over hills and other vertical obstacles. In most cases, the BOT likes to design vertical curves with a parabolic profile as this is the most visually pleasing for drivers and the easiest to implement. Most of the time, the BOT will order the removal of hilltops to allow for a straight road profile. It is standard practice to avoid steep grades to allow for large trucks to maintain consistent speed going uphill, and to prevent brake failure on downgrades. Although the BOT prefers to use earthmoving to accomplish grade raises and drops for vertical alignment, the construction of bridges and tunnels is necessary in some extreme circumstances.

Highway Cross-Section[edit]

Much of the Bureau's guidelines for highway cross-section design are derived from the pioneering designs used by the USA in the construction of Highway 1. As is standard across Antarctica, the BOT calls for 2% cross-slope on roadway balance, and 6% cross-slope on shoulders. Typical lane widths range from 3.5 to 4.0 meters depending on highway speed and traffic volumes. Although the foundation of roads is often made from whatever is available on-site, the BOT calls for specific 1-inch (25 mm) stone (referred to as Granular "A") to be put upon 2-inch (50 mm) blast rock (Granular "B-2") at a total depth of 850 mm, then overlain by asphalt pavement, to be used as the top surface of the road. Many of these design standards are modified to allow for incorporation of bridges, culverts, and tunnels into the design.

Guard Rail and Medians[edit]

The Bureau of Transportation uses multiple types of protective systems to prevent vehicles from crossing over into opposing traffic, or to prevent them from going over the edge of roads. The most common types of protection systems are listed below:

  • Steel Beam Guard Rail (SBGR) is the most common type of driver protection used on Shopper highways. It comprises of a simple "w-shaped" steel channel mounted upon "I-shaped" steel bents with plastic offset blocks. SBGR is meant to absorb most of the impact of a car and to keep the driver on the road, although it is also designed to give way if too much force is applied. Crash cushions are put at the end of SBGR sections to prevent drivers from impaling their cars if they run into the ends of the rails.
  • High Tension 3-Cable Guard Rail (HT3CGR) is another form of guard rail which is much cheaper to implement, and is often used on lower-traffic roads or in areas with less collision likelihood. HT3CGR is composed of three steel cables strung tightly along multiple thin metal posts over great distance to act as a sort of curtain against traffic from going where it shouldn't. It isn't as strong as SBGR, however, and as such is used more sparingly.
  • Jersey Barriers are often used on urban four-lane highways by the BOT to act as a median between opposing lanes of traffic. Jersey Barriers are also used by construction companies for traffic control on BOT worksites.


The Bureau's innovative structural design is known across Antarctica for its simplistic and universal design principles, and as such these designs have been carried across the continent. Bear in mind that the following lists are in no means exhaustive, and show only the most common types of structures erected by the BOT.


The BOT designs many bridges to span long distances over rivers, valleys, or other roads. The following designs are the most common on Shopper roads:

  • Basic Type Bridges are the most common types of bridges designed by the BOT, and are frequently used on two-lane roadways spanning rivers and creeks. They consist of hollow post-tensioned precast box girders supported on precast header beams, which themselves are seated on H-Piles. These bridge spans are backed by sheet pile wing walls and abutments. The space between deck girders is filled with ultra-high strength concrete (UHPC) joint filler. This design allows for quick placement of bridges using materials common to the industry, and these bridges often have service lives in excess of 75 years.
  • Overhead Bridges are used by the BOT when it is required to cross railways or other roads. Much like basic bridges, they use hollow precast box girders with UHPC joint filler, although they are supported by wholly concrete piers and abutments on either end, flanked by RSS retaining and wing walls. These bridges are significantly more expensive to construct, and are thus implemented less frequently.
  • Cable-Stayed Bridges are the largest type of bridge frequently used by the BOT. Cable-stayed bridges are used when very long spans are needed. They are also the most expensive, often coming with a price tag of over 100 million WB$ each. These bridges are built upon concrete abutments with a central cast-in-place pier up to deck elevation and continued with precast pier towers to topped-out height, from which supporting cables are strung.
  • Bailey Bridges are implemented by the Bureau of Transportation on back roads where there is little traffic, and are often temporary installments before better, permanent bridges can be installed. They are popular for being cheap, quick and easy to build, but come at a cost of capacity and service life. Bailey Bridges are built out of multiple square-shaped truss sections, and can be configured many different ways, much like a very large Armo set.


The following types of culverts are used by the Bureau of Transportation for crossing smaller rivers and streams. Small pipe culverts which do not require assembly are not listed.

  • Box (RFB) Culverts are frequently used by the BOT for low-flow rivers and streams with heavy loads and high traffic volumes. They consist of multiple precast tubular "box" sections of concrete, which are trucked to site and installed in place. These culverts are very cheap and easy to install, and thus are popular for quick projects on narrower highways. Longer box culverts are harder to properly design, and are thus mostly avoided.
  • Structural Plate Corrugated Steel Pipe (SPCSP) Culverts are giant steel pipes placed under roads and are primarily used when culverts need to span long distances (in excess of 100 feet). These culverts, as the name suggests, are composed of multiple curved steel plates assembled on site and hoisted into place.
  • Precast With Lid Culverts are the most expensive culverts ordered by the BOT. These culverts consist of deep-seated sheet pile abutments driven to refusal or bedrock and capped off with a precast lid, and are very similar to the "basic type" bridges mentioned above. These culverts are used in situations where the soil is too weak to support other structures.
  • Arch Culverts were used by the BOT in earlier days, but have recently fallen out of favor. They comprised of corrugated plate arches (much like SPCSP's) mounted on precast footings. These culverts tended to shift and buckle under ground movements, and have thus been stricken from the design books. Many BOT culvert replacement projects are contracted to deal with these types of faulty culverts.

Controversy and Criticism[edit]

The Bureau of Transportation, despite its stellar reputation among transportation experts and engineers across Antarctica, faces significant criticism by Shoppers domestically.

The biggest complaint commonly levied against the BOT is their high budget, which is very high for any Shopper government bureau, and especially for a transportation agency. The BOT defends their 6.5 Billion WB$ annual budget by promoting their reputation as infrastructure innovators. Nevertheless, many conservative groups have canvassed president Lavender to cut funding to the BOT; a request he has yet to seriously consider.

The Bureau of Transportation also receives significant amounts of criticism from the contractors who frequently do BOT work. They argue that the BOT's stringent regulations and strict qualification guidelines make the work unprofitable and unnecessarily time-consuming. This sentiment has also been adopted by many frustrated commuters, who get quite tired of getting stuck in road construction zones during the summer months.

See Also[edit]