It is no secret that the highway construction market continues to face significant pressure because of the erosion of buying power and a loss of confidence in Congress and the Administration (attributable to more than five years of federal-aid funding delays and extensions).
Regardless of whether the outlook changes in the short-term, ACPA is urging agencies/owners to extend their purchasing power by instilling competition.
“This is not about concrete being better than asphalt, it is about stewardship and better decision-making,” said ACPA President/CEO Gerald F. Voigt, P.E. He emphasized that because different blocking points exist in different states, different strategies must be used. “Because of this, concrete pavement advocates and promoters need to be insightful and adaptable to discern the best strategies and messaging to use in their areas.
“The industry must look in the mirror and address product improvement, cost reduction, and new technologies such as performance-engineered mixtures, recycling concrete more proactively, and advancing concrete overlays” Voigt said, adding, “We also need to look outward at highway agency policies and focus on improving pavement-type selection policies and processes, as well as the decisions themselves.”
Voigt says different strategies are needed to accomplish this, and adds that one of the most effective has been the implementation of current technologies, including concrete pavement overlays. Working together with PCA and the CP Tech Center, ACPA is pursuing a plan to further increase the use of concrete overlays. The CP Tech Center reports that concrete overlays have been successfully constructed in 45 different states, and ACPA’s annual square yard market analysis shows over the past few years concrete overlays are 10-15% of the overall market for concrete pavement in the U.S. The Association estimates with a concerted effort to advance overlays even further, the square yard market for concrete paving could double, dramatically increasing paving opportunities for ACPA members.
He added ACPA will continue to build awareness, lead outreach efforts, and foster the necessary training and tech transfer by the industry and CP Tech Center needed to support the use of overlays, as well as other concrete pavement technologies.
Voigt delivered the ACPA vision recently at three different events, including a meeting of national and regional teams at ACPA member CEMEX’ headquarters in Houston; a meeting of international sales and marketing personnel for ACPA member Holcim; and in keynote remarks at the 12th International Symposium on Concrete Roads, held in Prague last week.
The symposium was supported by ACPA members CEMEX and Wirtgen, and co-sponsored by the European Concrete Paving Association EUPAVE and the World Road Association and local companies. ACPA members, GOMACO, Guntert & Zimmerman, and Lafarge also participated.
In related news, Leif Wathne, P.E., ACPA’s Vice President of Highways and Federal Affairs, delivered a strong paper and presentation on the benefits of competition in the pavement selection process, at the symposium last week. The paper earned the distinction of being awarded the best promotional paper at the international conference. Click here to download a PDF of the paper.
For additional information about the benefits of competition, please read ACPA’s latest updated Q&D publication, “Two Pavement System” (QD033), which describes how competition between industries can lower unit costs, allowing highway agencies to do more with their budgets.