Industry News

Blumenauer Urges Industry to Keep Momentum Going

ACPA participated in the Infrastructure Working Group (IWG) meeting last week.  Hosted by the Associated General Contractors (AGC) and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) the meeting was held Thursday in Washington, DC.

Featured speaker Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), encouraged participants to keep the momentum going in advocacy efforts aimed at highway and other infrastructure investment. 

Blumenauer recently unveiled a bill that would increase federal fuel taxes by 5 cents per gallon every year for five years. The bill also calls for indexing the tax to allow for adjustments; leveraging the proceeds; and eventually replacing it with a different funding mechanism. Congressman Blumenauer is a senior member of the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee and a champion for infrastructure modernization.

Other highlights from the meeting include an observation that “Buy America” will be an area of interest in next bill. Stakeholder groups also observed that “Infrastructure Week,” which was aimed at increasing awareness and support for infrastructure investment and safety, was very successful.

There was also good support of last week’s TCC fly-in, as well as discussions about the need for strong leadership and support from the White House in order to move meaningful infrastructure funding measures forward in Congress.

Photo source: US Rep. Earl Blumenauer’s website.

ACPA Leads Concrete Pavement Workshop

For the third consecutive year, ACPA conducted training workshops for DOT officials and contractors in Florida.

Working closely with Amy Wedel and Roger Schmitt of the Florida Chapter-ACPA, Eric Ferrebee and Mark Snyder conducted training in Davie and Orlando, FL.

Training this year concentrated on pavement design (using AASHTOWare’s Pavement ME) and construction practices. Training last year and in 2017 focused on concrete pavement jointing.
Audience groups were comprised of just Florida DOT representatives and contractors. ACPA Chairman Jim Mack (CEMEX) and ACPA member John Eisenhower (Guntert & Zimmerman) were also on hand to lend support. Chairman Mack also brought three industry professionals from Sweden.

The workshop also featured a panel discussion titled “From the Office to the Field – Lessons Learned from US 17.” The discussion centered on a project by Ajax Paving Industries, Inc., an ACPA member. Discussing the project were to Florida DOT officials, who were joined by an Ajax company official in Davie.

Pavement design topics included: a history and background of M-E pavement design, jointed plain concrete pavement design, sensitivity analyses for critical inputs and engineering solutions, hands on Pavement M-E training, and additional design considerations. Construction topics included best practices for constructing smooth, durable concrete pavements; troubleshooting field problems and constructability issues, and traffic management.
Photo caption: Participants discuss concrete pavement example problems (foreground) as Jim Mack and Eric Ferrebee respond to questions and comments (upper right).

AHUA CEO Announces New Role

Greg Cohen, President and CEO of the American Highway Users Alliance, last week announced his decision to step down from his current role and serve as a part-time Executive Consultant to a new President.  This change could be as early as July but may take longer, he says.

Chairman Tom Jensen, with the consultation of the Executive Committee, has taken on the responsibility of selecting a new President.  Greg expressed sincere thanks to Tom and the AHUA Executive Committee members who volunteer their time in service to the organization.

“I truly love working at the Highway Users and I believe totally in our mission and values.  I have a deep appreciation for the many friends I’ve made here, including our members, the wonderful community of transportation professionals in Washington, and my amazing staff (who feel like family),” he says, adding, “No other organization involved in transportation legislation has the credibility of the Highway Users.  That is due particularly to our mission as serving the tax-paying, motoring public and the diversity of interests in our membership.”

He also cited some of the many significant milestones and accomplishments AHUA has achieved under his leadership over the past 15 years. 

“I am particularly proud of the tremendous policy successes we achieved successively through each new highway bill (SAFETEA-LU, MAP-21 and the FAST Act).  We achieved success in reforming a federal program that had little direction to one that focuses on national priorities for road users like safety, highway freight corridors, and the performance of the National Highway System.  At the same time, we have steadily increased funding for roads, helped reduce waste and diversions, and made major progress in streamlining a slow and bureaucratic planning process.”

ACPA extends best wishes to Greg as he begins his new journey. ACPA has had a long-standing, positive and proactive relationship with AHUA, and we look forward to working with Greg and his successor moving forward. 

Deadline Approaches for ISCP Abstracts

The International Society for Concrete Pavements (ISCP) is asking those interested in making presentations at the 12th International Conference on Concrete Pavements (12th ICCP) to submit abstracts no later than this Friday, May 31.  

Conference organizers are looking for presentations covering a wide range of subjects related to concrete pavement design, construction, testing, and rehabilitation.  Presentations reflecting the conference theme, “Making Waves with Durable, Resilient Concrete Pavements” are welcome, but not mandatory.Click here to submit an abstract on or before the May 31 deadline.

The 12th ICCP will be held August 30 through September 3, 2020, in Minneapolis, MN.  The conference continues the tradition of a series of international conferences begun in 1977 by Purdue University and now organized by ISCP.  

Conference participants typically are federal, state/provincial, and municipal/county engineers; contractors; consulting engineers, suppliers, and members of academia. 

Click here to see more information about the 12 ICCP conference, including hotel, sponsorship, workshops, and student competitions, is available at the conference website.


Report: Rural Roads and Bridges in Dire Need of Repairs

America’s rural transportation system is in dire need of repairs and modernization to correct deficiencies and continue to support economic growth.

This is according to a new report released today by The Road Information Program (TRIP). The report, Rural Connections: Challenges and Opportunities in America’s Heartland, evaluates the safety and condition of the nation’s rural roads and bridges and finds that the nation’s rural transportation system needs immediate improvements to address deficient roads and bridges, high crash rates, and inadequate connectivity and capacity.

The report says rural, non-Interstate routes accounted for 22% of all vehicle miles traveled in the U.S. in 2017. However, crashes on those routes resulted in 41 percent of the 37,133 traffic deaths. 

The chart (inset) shows the states with the highest rate of rural pavements in poor condition, states with the highest share of rural bridges that are rated poor/structurally deficient, and states with the highest fatality rates on non-Interstate, rural roads.

The report finds that the nation’s rural roads and bridges have significant deficiencies. Fifteen percent of U.S. rural roads are rated in poor condition, while 21 percent are in mediocre condition. Seventeen percent of the nation’s rural roads are in fair condition and the remaining 47 percent are in good condition.

Nine percent of the nation’s rural bridges are rated in poor/structurally deficient condition, meaning there is significant deterioration to the major components of the bridge. Poor/structurally deficient bridges are often posted for lower weight or closed to traffic, restricting or redirecting large vehicles, including agricultural equipment, commercial trucks, school buses and emergency services vehicles. Forty-six percent of rural bridges are rated fair, a rating that indicates the bridge’s structural elements are sound but minor deterioration has occurred to the bridge’s deck, substructure or superstructure.

Significant improvements are needed, not only because of safety, but also to support the nation’s Heartland, which is a critical source of energy, food and fiber. With increases in population and growing employment, rural America is heavily reliant on the quality of its transportation system to sustain further growth, TRIP says.

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