Industry News

Road Gang Meeting Report

The recent Road Gang luncheon featured a conversation with Ed Mortimer, Vice President of Transportation and Infrastructure at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  

Ed talked about the Chamber’s support for a 25-cent motor-fuels tax increase and how the Chamber arrived at the point of supporting a fuel tax increase. He also spoke about the Chamber’s efforts to keep up the momentum and ensure optimism that Congress will take action this cycle.  

He also described how U.S. House T&I Committee Chairman Peter DaFazio (D-OR-04) and House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-MA-01) have engaged Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA-12) to encourage meeting with President Trump to restart conversations about an infrastructure bill.  Mortimer also says Chamber members have stated clearly their goal of pushing for an infrastructure bill. 

Ed also spoke about a new ad campaign launched last week by the Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC) and Chamber-led Americans for Transportation Mobility (ATM) coalition.  The campaign is aimed at persuading Congress and the Trump Administration to act this year in support of a permanent Highway Trust Fund (HTF) fix and a new transportation infrastructure package.

A social media campaign, which uses “Conversation Cards,” targets the messaging to the Twitter followers of dozens of key members of the House Ways & Means and Senate Finance Committees.  The effort is complemented by digital and Twitter ads aimed at members of Congress, their staffs and other D.C. policymakers.  The campaign is also supported by an opinion editorial in POLITICO.

Leif Wathne represents ACPA on the Road Gang and participated in the luncheon.  In related news, Katy Hartnett, PCA Director of Government Affairs has been accepted as a member of the Road Gang, following a nomination by Leif.

The Road Gang is an informal group of business and government executives, highway engineers and consultants, press and public relations specialists, company representatives and trade association officials from the highway transportation industry in the Washington, D.C. area. The Road Gang serves the dual purpose of promoting fellowship and providing for the interchange of ideas among “Washington’s Transportation Fraternity.”

Follow this link to see ACPA’s government affairs repository.

Will Your Road Project be a ROADS & BRIDGES Top 10?

ROADS & BRIDGES magazine is calling for nominees to its prestigious Top 10 list.  Upon receipt of your nomination(s) the ROADS & BRIDGES magazine’s editorial staff will begin its review process to determine the TOP 10 ROAD projects for 2019.

All project sizes considered. The project must be in the design, construction or completion phase over the past 18 months. Please note:  Past project winners are ineligible to submit. 

Winners will be highlighted in the October issue of ROADS & BRIDGES  magazine.  The final dead for submittals is Monday, July 22, 2019.  Click here to see winners from last year (2018).  Click here to nominate your project for the 2019 program.



Team Effort Leads to Changes in Airport Pavement Specifications

A joint effort led to the inclusion of full-depth reclamation (FDR)* in the FAA’s Standard Specifications for Construction of Airports, also referred to as FAA Advisory Circular 150/5370-10H.

It started from the FDR being promoted to airport owners, most notably by the Southeast Chapter, says Gary Mitchell, ACPA’s VP of Airports and Technology. He says the Chapter and other ACPA promoters have done an outstanding job promoting FAA projects, adding, “they’ve completed several where they’ve rehabilitated pavements with in-place cement-treated base material, but those projects often had to be completed through a modification of existing airport pavement construction standards.”

“A lot of times, promoters would discuss projects with engineers, who expressed interest, but explained they would have to do a modification of standards and often would hear there wasn’t enough time to do so,” Gary says. It’s often difficult to get engineers to push a modification of standards through the FAA because it takes a long time for them to go through the process, he adds.

The process involves the engineer submitting the modification request and reasoning to the FAA district office or ADO. “The ADO can make decisions on some modifications, but for that particular type of modification, they would have to send it up to the region for review, and if they agreed with it, they would have to send it to the engineers at FAA headquarters,” Gary says. If they approved it, he says, the response would then have to follow the same path back to the ADO and then to the engineer.

“In all, the process could take anywhere between a few weeks to as much as three months,” Mitchell says, adding, “It was really a burdensome process and it wasn’t done as often as we would have liked, so the FDR strategy wasn’t considered an alternate on a lot of projects because it was too difficult to get the modification quickly.”

All of this changed during the process when Gary, with support from contractors and other members of ACPA’s Airport Task Force were working together with the FAA on a revision of the FAA’s 150/5370-10 standard.  The  entire construction guide specifications were revised during the review and revision process, including specifications for concrete pavement construction (P-501), aggregate base course (P- 209), cement-treated base course (P-304), and other specifications. 

“We discussed with the FAA the development of the FDR spec so we could avoid going through modifications,” he says. “They were receptive to the idea, which we advocated because it would give engineers the option using a specification instead of the cumbersome modification of standards.”

Gary says during almost daily conversations with key FAA officials, notably Doug Johnson and Greg Cline, were instrumental in identifying potential challenges and working through changes efficiently. Messrs. Johnson and Cline are both Senior Civil Engineers and pavement subject matter experts (SME) for the FAA’s Office of Airports Safety and Standards, Airport Engineering Division in Washington, DC.

On a parallel path, Gary said he was also having discussions with key personnel at PCA, including Wayne Adaska, Director of Pavements & Geotechnical Markets, Dr. Paul Tennis, Director, Product Standards & Technology, and others at PCA who recommended specification language, provided technical guidance, and joined in the discussion. He also credits long-time PCA member Al Innes, who remains active with LafargeHolcim and the MIT Sustainability Hub. Together, this group provided sound engineering judgment and technical information, which led to the FDR specification.

During the months-long process of marking up the FAA’s 5370-10 standard, now known as FAA Advisory Circular 150/5370-10H, Gary says the PCA representatives, Al Innis, and ACPA Airport Task Force provided excellent support and expertise. He adds that  members of the ACPA Airport Task Force also participated in the reviews of the specs related to concrete pavement construction. He adds that Martin Holt of Interstate Highway Construction, Angela Folkestad of the Colorado-Wyoming Chapter-ACPA, and Harold Honey of Michael Baker International participated in a comprehensive review and mark-up of the standard.

Gary emphasizes that long-term relationships and open and forthright discussions with Doug Johnson and Greg Cline also helped the revision process go smoothly. Gary is also quick to credit other organizations** that provided input on the standard.

The net result of this team effort is a standard that now includes FDR specification language, which allows engineers to easily and quickly incorporate the FDR strategy into airport rehabilitation plans, while at the same time, streamlining the overall pavement rehabilitation process. The ultimate beneficiaries are the airports, airport owners’ representatives, and of course, the taxpaying public.

* Full-depth reclamation (FDR) is one of several cement-based rehabilitation strategies, which involves recycling an existing asphalt pavement and its underlying layer(s) into a new base layer, according to the National Concrete Pavement Technology Center (CP Tech Center).  FDR with cement increase the structural capacity of the new roadway by providing a stronger, more consistent base, the CP Tech Center says.

** Other organizations included: Airports Consultant Council, American Society of Civil Engineers, Asphalt Institute, Geosynthetic Materials Association, and National Stone Sand Gravel Association.

Photo courtesy of Greg Dean, Carolinas Concrete Paving Association.


We’re Gearing Up for the ACPA Annual Meeting

Within days after the ACPA Mid-Year Meeting ended, association staff was charging ahead on preparations for the the Association’s 56th Annual Meeting (AM56). 

ACPA staff is already reviewing a draft agenda and is continuing to coordinate details for the meeting.  With record attendance at the Mid-Year Meeting, and an all-time high number of ACPA contractor members (210 in all), we anticipate exceptional attendance, a robust peer-exchange and technical program, and plenty of networking and fun for the annual event.

The meeting will be held December 3 through 5 at the New Orleans Marriott, located in the heart of the ‘Big Easy.’ At this writing, the event site is set up as a ‘save the dates’ reminder only, although it also allows visitors to get an advance look at the full website, not to mention a glimpse of the vibrant area where the meeting will be held.

ACPA expects to have more details about the meeting online in the next few weeks.  Until then, please save the dates and plan to join us in New Orleans. For a quick preview of our website, please visit:

Defending Against Claims that Your Work is Improper

by Anna G. Richie, Esq. of Olson Construction Law

Editor’s Note: ACPA TODAY is pleased to present this special article, written by Attorney Anna G. Richie. Be sure to read Olson Law’s regular column in CONCRETE PAVEMENT PROGRESS, the official magazine of the American Concrete Pavement Association. Not getting your copy? Send an email to Bill Davenport at or call 847.423.8703.

If you are like most contractors, at some point your company has been accused of performing improper work. Whether the issue involves soil settlement, concrete cracking, or something else, there are several things you can do to defend against a claim of improper work.

Proving you performed your work as designed — Under the Spearin Doctrine, contractors who build in accordance with owner-provided design documents are generally not responsible for any defects that occur. As a result, there are a few steps you can take to ensure you’re not blamed for the engineer’s improper design.

First, make sure you are documenting your job progress throughout construction to prove that you have done everything specified. This includes taking photos to verify your job progress, saving any relevant test results (including any re-tests), and keeping good daily records. Second, depending on the potential cost of the issue, consider retaining a consultant or expert early on to help prove that the issue was the result of a defect with the project design, rather than your work. While this involves added cost, an outside expert may help convince the owner of your position before you are entangled in a prolonged dispute. Moreover, if you are unable to resolve the dispute cooperatively, you can rely on the expert’s work to help prove your claim at trial or arbitration.

Fault of subcontractor — If you believe the issue was caused by your subcontractor, make sure you give the subcontractor prompt written notice of the issue and send any and all related correspondence from the owner/engineer. We further recommend sending the subcontractor a letter advising them that you consider the subcontractor at fault, and you will forward any claims or letters the subcontractor wants to pass-through to the owner, but you are not responsible for any decisions made by the owner/engineer.

Perform any repair work under protest — Finally, if you are unable to reach an agreement with the owner/engineer regarding the allegedly defective work, you should still perform any repair work demanded by the owner. While you may be adamant that you did not cause the underlying issue, the owner will likely charge you for the cost to perform any repairs to your work. As a result, by self-performing any necessary repair work (after preserving your rights under the contract), you can control the underlying costs and then bring a claim to recover your extra costs.

Note: If the owner fails to give you the opportunity to cure the allegedly defective work, this can result in the owner waiving its claim against you or a reduction in any alleged damages incurred by the owner.

In summary, contractors can reduce their exposure against claims of improper work with careful construction and good management practices. In fact, with more and more projects being under-designed, contractors must be aware of the defenses they can use to defeat an unfounded claim of improper work.

Note: This discussion is generalized in nature and should not be considered a substitute for professional advice.  For more information, contact Olson Law at 651.298.9884  or on the web at

Industry News Archive

Member Login

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!