FHWA Design Policy Workshop Spotlights Competition
- Tuesday, 17 December 2019 15:22
The National Summary Workshop on FHWA’s Pavement Design Policy and Guidance was held recently at FHWA headquarters in Washington, DC. The purpose was to summarize the findings from an industry listening session and five regional DOT peer exchanges.
The meeting also provided an opportunity for stakeholders (including industry, state agencies, and the FHWA) to discuss FHWA’s pavement policy, pavement selection and the role of inter-industry competition, as well as potential next steps stemming from the listening session and peer exchanges among 48 states in five regions. Representing ACPA at the national workshop were Jim Mack (2019 Chairman), Jerry Voigt and Leif Wathne.
The workshop was one of the main outcomes of ACPA’s direct engagement with FHWA on competition and pavement policy, says Leif.
“ACPA members have in recent years invested significant time and resources to support efforts to engage with and inform the FHWA on the significant economic benefits of pavement competition,” he says. Although the workshop has not yet yielded specific programmatic outcomes, “we can consider this and other related activities a success if they result in State transportation departments weighing how they can better leverage the free-market dynamic between paving industries. Once decision makers and policy makers are made aware of the inequity that exists among paving industries, they usually recognize the opportunities that having a competing concrete pavement industry can provide.”
In addition to pavement policy and competition, the workshop also provided an opportunity to discuss budgeting/funding, pavement design, communications challenges, external influences, workforce issues, historical data collection and reporting.
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FHWA Receives ACPA Sustainable Practices Award
- Wednesday, 11 December 2019 12:59
ACPA presented its 2019 Sustainable Practices Award to the Federal Highway Administration.
The award was presented in recognition of leadership in creating a framework for sustainable design and construction practices that consider societal, environmental and economic factors (the triple bottom line). Accepting the award for the FHWA was Gina Ahlstrom, FHWA Pavement Materials Team Leader.
Since 2011, the FHWA-led Sustainable Pavements Technical Working Group (SPTWG) has been a positive and productive forum for the public and private sectors. The SPTWG has earned high marks for its open exchanges among stakeholders.
FHWA has fostered increased awareness of use-phase impacts, which are now considered essential elements of sustainability and life-cycle analysis. The award has been presented selectively since 2010 to organizations or teams (owner and contractor) that demonstrate leadership by implementing sustainable design and construction practices that consider societal, environmental and economic factors.
Arizona Conference Presents Future of Pavements
- Monday, 25 November 2019 12:07
The 16th Arizona Pavement and Materials Conference drew an estimated 200 professionals last week and was focused on the future of pavements and paving materials.
Eric Ferrebee and Larry Scofield participated in the event, with Eric presenting, “Concrete Industry’s One-Stop Shopping Pavement Design Program,” an overview on PavementDesigner.org. Larry moderated a general session covering a range of pavement-related topics.
The conference was sponsored by Arizona State University and held at the university’s Tempe campus. Cosponsors included Arizona DOT, FHWA, local government agencies and industry organizations.
Advancing ME Design Implementation
- Wednesday, 13 November 2019 12:13
The fourth AASHTO Pavement ME National Users Group Meeting last week provided engineers and other stakeholders the opportunity to discuss issues related to mechanistic-empirical (ME) pavement design.
Key topics include the long-standing ME Pavement Design Guide as well as the AASHTOWare Pavement M-E Design program. Eric Ferrebee participated in the meeting and had the opportunity to talk with designers and key officials about ACPA’s perspectives on highway pavement design. ACPA has long advocated for the use of AASHTOWare’s Pavement ME for highway pavement design. We have also encouraged designers to make the transition from older AASHTO design programs.
This meeting, which drew close to 90 participants representing 35 State DOTs and Canadian Provinces, is the largest gathering for state DOTs, AASHTO and FHWA to focus solely on AASHTOWare’s Pavement ME Design tool.
“The design tool is the most advanced tool for designing and analyzing pavements that exists,” Eric says. “This has led to more realistic designs for concrete pavements.” Currently, because of complexity of the tool, many agencies are still working toward implementation, he says.
“While there are quite a few agencies that have implemented it for concrete, others are still working through calibration efforts to ensure designs match with local performance,” Eric says. “For concrete pavements, we’ve seen that the lack of calibration can result in increased pavement thicknesses, sometimes between 0.5 in. to 1.0 in. Even so, this is a significant decrease over the earlier empirical versions of the AASHTO design guide (i.e., AASHTO93, AASHTO86 and even AASHTO72). Those versions could result in variations that could add 2 to 3 in. to thickness designs.”
“Moving toward Mechanistic-Empirical design is a big step for DOTs, but it can help create realistic and competitive designs for concrete,” he adds.
ARA has developed a new Calibration Assistance Tool (CAT), which many participants expressed interest and excitement about. The tool should help ease some of the issues with calibrating the tool for local use. Designers and others a chance had an opportunity to see CAT demonstrations and to discuss issues with the tool, as well as overall implementation.
Workshop Emphasizes QA/QC Roles
- Wednesday, 13 November 2019 11:23
The Southwest Concrete Pavement Association (SWCPA), an ACPA affiliate, along with the FHWA and Caltrans, presented a two-day workshop this week to provide concrete pavement QA/QC information to contractors and agency personnel.
The “Caltrans/FHWA/Industry Workshop: Quality in the Concrete Paving Process,” detailed the benefits of a good QA/QC program and the impacts on longevity of concrete for pavements and other applications. The training emphasized the individual roles among stakeholders and how contractors and agency personnel affect quality, both personally and in a “global” project sense.
The FHWA Mobile Concrete Technology Center (MCTC) tested concrete on two active paving projects in California and collected data prior to the workshop. The data sets were included in the workshop to further illustrate the role and importance of QA and QC.
Experts representing the FHWA, Caltrans and the Southwest Chapter provided technical expertise and facilitated discussions and questions & answers. Scott Mueller of ACPA also participated in the workshop in support of the SWCPA. Held in McClellan (near Sacramento), the workshop concentrated on stakeholders in Northern California.