Government Affairs

ACPA Congratulates Nason as FHWA Administrator

The Hon. Nicole Nason was confirmed as the 26th FHWA Administrator on Mar. 28. (Photo: US State Dept.)

ACPA extends its heartiest congratulations to the Hon. Nicole R. Nason following her confirmation as the 26th Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The U.S. Senate voted 95 to 1 in favor of the confirmation. 

“We are very pleased to hear the results of the confirmation hearing, and we look forward to working with Ms. Nason and her staff,” said ACPA President & CEO Gerald F. Voigt, P.E.  “We have enjoyed a strong and positive relationship with the FHWA over the years, and we are confident that excellent relationship will continue as the new Administrator leads the agency to seize opportunities and solve challenges now and in the future.”

Ms. Nason is the former National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator (NHTSA); previously served on the Board of Directors of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD); and has vast experience with both the Executive and Legislative branches of the Federal government.

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Associations and FHWA Discuss Research Needs

For over two decades, ACPA national staff and chapter executives have met with FHWA officials to discuss pavement-related issues and opportunities for working together to address concrete pavement-related issues.  

The most recent of these meetings was held last Friday at the Turner Fairbank Highway Research Center (TRFHRC) in McLean, VA.  The meeting was expanded to also include a broader discussion of pavement research and technology priorities for both concrete and asphalt pavements. 

The “FHWA -Pavement Industry Stakeholder Meeting” included staffs and membership representatives from both ACPA and NAPA for joint discussions and breakout sessions.  The meeting began with a welcome by Dr. Cheryl Richter, Director of the  Office of Infrastructure R&D, followed by an overview by Mark Swanlund, Research Program Manager.  

Leif Wathne presented ACPA’s VISION2040 initiative and focused on the need for current and future research, innovation, and technology deployment that will be vitally important to the Federal-aid highway system. 

Discussions revolved around various concrete pavement related topics, including concrete materials, processes, design innovations, and improved decision-making.  Industry priorities were emphasized, including performance engineered mixtures, early opening to traffic, fly ash considerations, and fundamental research around load transfer and impacts on long-term performance of pavements. 

Design and performance optimization using construction QC and QA information was also discussed. Discussions touched on decision making, including the use of remaining service life as an asset management tool, network-level pavement structural evaluation, asset management and new performance measures. Breakout sessions were used to discuss industry-specific research topics and opportunities for collaboration with FHWA, as well as stakeholder communications and interaction with the FHWA. 

The concrete pavement industry is optimistic that this meeting will be the start of an improved and more effective engagement in FHWA’s research and technology endeavors.  We are hopeful that a more formalized and regular mechanism for exchanging ideas and priorities will result in a more collaborative, cohesive national concrete pavement research and technology program.

Representing the concrete pavement industry at this meeting were: Mike Byers, Kevin McMullen, Larry Scofield, Ray Seipp, Gordon Smith, Mark Snyder, Jerry Voigt and Leif Wathne. 

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FHWA Tech Brief Updates Precast Pavement Use

The FHWA has released its, “Precast Concrete Pavement Implementation by U.S. Highway Agencies” (FHWA-HIF-19-011), a seven-page tech brief that provides an overview of precast concrete pavement (PCP) technology and other information about its use throughout the United States.  

A review of projects constructed in the U.S., as well as field testing of selected projects “indicate that sufficient advances have been made to reliably design and construct PCP systems to achieve five key attributes of successful pavements,” the tech brief says.  The five attributes are: constructability; concrete durability; load transfer at joints; panel support; and performance/efficiency.

The tech brief goes on to say, “The use of both jointed and post-tensioned PCP systems systems has advanced during the last decade due to a combination of work sponsored by the FHWA, projects constructed by highway agencies, and innovations by the construction industry.” 

The tech brief provides details about PCP projects in 29 states including: AL, CA, CO, CT, DE, DC, FL, GA, HI, IL, IN, and IA. The list also includes KS, LA, MI, MN, MO, NV, NJ, NY, OR, PA, RI, TX, UT, VT, VA, WV, and WI. 

The author of the revised tech brief is Shiraz Tayabji, Ph.D., P.E.  Tayabji and Wouter Brink, Ph.D. authored the previous version. The 2019 version supercedes the 2015 version.

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Photocaption: A precast concrete pavement panel is lowered into position.  (Credit: The Fort Miller Co., Inc., an ACPA member.)  Photo is for illustration purposes and not in indication of a project included in this report. 

Coalition Advances Safety Amendment for Next Highway Bill

An ad hoc group of transportation construction associations and labor organizations are advancing a proposed highway bill amendment that would provide funding for safety innovations in highway construction work zones.

ACPA strongly supports the proposal, which would provide funding for work zone safety, an important priority for the concrete pavement industry.

The group notes that Title 23 U.S. Code §120, (c)(3)(B) provides several examples of Innovative Project Delivery, including those that use innovative procurement and contracting procedures, and which provide for an increased federal share payable up to 100 percent for innovative projects.

The group is proposing an amendment that would add, “…contractual provisions that provide safety contingency funds to incorporate safety enhancements to work zones prior to or during roadway construction and maintenance activities.” Click here to see the proposal.

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Ad Campaign Urges Transportation Investment

A new ad campaign urges Congress and the Trump administration to develop and pass this year a robust transportation infrastructure investment package and implement a permanent fix for the Highway Trust Fund (HTF).

The campaign, “Congress: Fix Our Infrastructure Problem Now,” was developed by the Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC) and Americans for Transportation Mobility (ATM).

The campaign began Monday with an opinion piece in POLITICO asking the Nation’s leaders for a renewed commitment to “invest financially in America’s transportation infrastructure.” The piece also features digital ads that connect to the TCC’s website. To call attention to America’s transportation challenges, the opinion piece includes examples of deteriorating bridges and roadways that were forced to close recently in northern California, outside Boston and in downtown Chicago. 

The two-month campaign will culminate in a 30-second television spot (“Stuck”) that begins airing in May in Washington, D.C., in the run up to the TCC’s Washington fly-in and National Infrastructure Week.

The digital and TV ads outline the groups’ top two priorities:

  • Priority 1: Provide an expanded and sustainable way to pay for future HTF-supported investments that keep pace with our Nation’s growing infrastructure.
  • Priority 2: Expand HTF resources for projects that ease traffic congestion, improve safety and support long-term economic growth.

The opinion piece concludes: “A generational opportunity to turn blueprints and big thinking into a 21st century infrastructure network stands before us. Congress and the President need to get moving.”

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