In its continuing outreach and advocacy efforts, the Mid-Atlantic Chapter met again last week with West Virginia DOT officials.

Representing the DOT were Jimmy Wriston, P.E., Deputy Secretary/Deputy Commissioner of Highways; Todd Rumbaugh, P.E., Deputy State Highway Engineer–Construction & Development; and Gregory Bailey, P.E., Deputy State Highway Engineer–Operations.

Representing the concrete pavement industry were Chuck Niederriter of Golden Triangle Construction* (and 2018 ACPA Chairman), Ray Seipp, ACPA Mid-Atlantic Chapter; and Leif Wathne of ACPA National. Joining the discussion virtually were Tom Madden, Atlantic Contracting & Materials Co.*; Rich McDonough, The Lane Construction Co.*; Steve Prosek, Kokosing Construction*; and Brad Allison, Hi Way Paving, Inc.*

The industry officials discussed why West Virginia would benefit from a strong, local concrete pavement industry presence to increase competition in the highway paving market.

“Our industry made it clear we were anxious to participate in the WV highway paving market now,” Ray says. “The Department’s current practice of letting a few concrete pavement projects only as alternates each year has resulted in virtually no concrete projects in the last two years. The DOT lets hundreds of asphalt-only projects per year and zero concrete-only projects.”

“We asked the department to consider letting concrete only projects consistently across the state. This would result in the development of a healthy local concrete pavement option to the asphalt dominated system currently in place,” he continues. “Wherever a competitive two pavement system is in place, the result is lower prices, more innovation, and improved pavement quality for the taxpayers.” He adds the value the concrete pavement industry could bring to WV was a reoccurring theme throughout the meeting.

The DOT officials raised the nine-year warranty projects as possible opportunities for concrete. Industry officials responded that concrete is not a nine-year product because one advantage of concrete is its longevity. The Pennsylvania pavement type selection policy was discussed, and the industry representatives agreed to provide a Pennsylvania Pavement Policy Manual to the WV DOT officials.

Concrete overlays were discussed as a cost-effective option to asphalt, particularly in recent years as the asphalt industry has reached market saturation. Industry representatives urged the DOT to consider ways to expedite concrete patching projects to avoid cost overruns.

The group also discussed the idea of eliminating material price adjustments on ADAB projects. This would be consistent with guidance issued by FHWA (FHWA TA 5040.39).  In West Virginia, the Department is assuming the risk for asphalt volatility when none exists for concrete pavement. This results in an unequal sharing of risk that compromises the integrity of the bidding process under an ADAB scheme.

The concrete paving industry underscored the importance of resolving some of the challenges with the pavement type selection process in West Virginia, so taxpayers can better extend the purchasing power of their highway dollar.

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* An ACPA member.