Last second Christmas gift ideas for highway and bridge construction workers

Construction SantaHopefully you’re not one of those people who wait until the last second to do all of your Christmas shopping. If you are, stay safe trying to fight the crowds of shoppers as the big day approaches.

Thankfully there are several last second gifts that are sure to please the highway and bridge construction worker on your list. Below are a few cute ideas to help you leading up to the 25th. For more Christmas gift ideas check out Equipment World’s 12 Days of Construction Gifts.


Hammer Stress Relieverhammer-stress-ball-toy-stressed-construction__31970.1411403371.1280.1280

Whether on or off the job, never separate a construction worker from his hammer. For under five dollars, is selling a hammer stress reliever to help out during those difficult days. Whether you feel like taking your anger out on a computer monitor, a co-worker, or even a not-so-nice boss, this is one hammer that can’t do a whole lot of damage, but it will certainly help you relieve some stress.


Construction Ornament

2010-construction-ornamentEveryone has that person on their Christmas list who is near impossible to shop for. What do you get them, what could they use? Well, you can always play it safe by getting him/her a construction ornament for the Christmas tree.

This construction ornament is currently being offered by for $8.95.


Work Apparel 

It probably goes without mentioning, but every construction worker can appreciate quality work apparel. Whether it be new work boots, gloves, or even a durable watch that can take the abuse of the job, it would almost certainly bring a smile to his/her face.


Caterpillar Dozer for Kidsscreen-shot-2014-12-15-at-8-26-37-am

If you’re shopping for a child, or maybe even a construction dad who wants to relate to his kid, check out this Caterpillar dozer from Kid Trax. It has a working blade that the child occupant can raise and lower. It also has two motors that allow the diminutive dozer to turn in place just like the real thing.


When All You Got’s A Hammer…62526982_155x155_pad

“When all you got’s a hammer, everything looks like a nail!” Can you think of a better saying to put on a construction worker’s shirt, coffee mug and/or shot glass? We didn’t think so! The saying can be ordered on several different items at


Bridge Builder Mug

Know a bridge construction worker who takes a lot of pride in his job? If so, this “bridge builder” mug, also on, would make a great Christmas gift.




Blinking Traffic Cone4193_blinkingtoytrafficcone_1.jpg

If you know somebody who spends most of their time on highway and bridge construction sites, this traffic cone could help them feel right at home. It can be used as a paperweight, or to warn family members that they better use caution when messing around on your computer desk.


Work, Dogs, Work 51oSVncOF7L

What kind of highway construction worker doesn’t love some one-on-one reading time with their kid? In Work, Dogs, Work: A Highway Tail, a crew of dogs work to repair a road. This picture book is a potential gift that would bring joy to any highway construction parent.

Tennessee eyes weight-distance tax to boost road funding


The Chattanooga Time Free Press has reported on a panel session in the Tennessee state legislature that showed lawmakers considering a weight-distance tax like the one currently levied by its neighbor to the north as well as the states of New YorkNew Mexico and Oregon.


California to test feasibility of mileage tax

Tennesseee Senate speaker Ron Ramsey noted the proposal was made as a measure to boost state revenues for road funding by Paul Bailey, a freshman member of the state Senate and a Republican from Sparta, Tenn. Bailey also happens to own a trucking company and small farm. According to the Times Free Press report, Bailey stressed the ability for in-state-based firms to deduct the cost of their own weight-distance fees from business taxes. According to Times Free Press reporter Andy Sher, Ramsey’s prognosis for this and other highway-funding proposals was likely to reach into 2016.

You can read Sher’s full report at this link.

This article was written by Todd Dills, Senior Editor of Overdrive Online.

Illinois Tollway helping veterans with free training Dec. 18, Jan. 8

Illinois_Tollway_logoThe Illinois Tollway has an ambitious 15-year, $12 billion capital program, Move Illinois: The Illinois Tollway Driving the Future, and it’s helping veterans get involved.

The agency will host four free Veterans Goals Workshops to provide an opportunity for prime contractors, subcontractors and veteran-owned businesses to learn how to identify veteran-owned small businesses or service-disabled, veteran-owned small businesses and to prepare bids for upcoming construction contracts related to the Move Illinois program

The Tollway’s Veteran Goals Workshop for Contractors will be held at the Illinois Tollway headquarters, 2700 Ogden Avenue in Downers Grove, with sessions on Dec. 18, 2014, and Jan. 8, 2015, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. CT and from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. CT

To register for the workshop, or just for more information, click here and go to the Doing Business – Diversity Programs section of the website.

The workshops will be led by the Illinois Tollway Engineering and Diversity and the Strategic Development departments staff. During the workshops, the Tollway Authority says there will be an opportunity to ask questions and learn about documentation for the Veterans Business Program. The workshops will also cover how to find veteran-owned small businesses or service-disabled, veteran-owned small businesses.

According to the Illinois Tollway its tentative 2015 Budget includes $1.63 billion for the largest year of capital spending in agency history, including funding for the fourth year of the agency’s Move Illinois Program.

The 2015 Tentative Budget provides $1.56 billion in funding for capital infrastructure projects, including the following:

  • $839.6 million to continue rebuilding and widening the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90) as a state-of-the-art 21st century corridor,
  • $319.8 million to continue building the new, all-electronic Elgin O’Hare Western Access Project, $107.9 million to resurface the Reagan Memorial Tollway (I-88) from Illinois Route 251 to U.S. Route 30,
  • $19 million to begin design for bridge reconstruction on the Tri-State Tollway (I-94/I-294/I-80)
  • $6.1 million funding planning studies for the Illinois Route 53/120 Project and other emerging projects.
  • $241.1 million has been budgeted for 2015 for system-wide roadway, interchange and bridge repairs and other work to address the needs of the existing Tollway system.

Through the State of Illinois’ Veterans Business Program, state agencies and universities are encouraged to set goals to collectively help commit 3 percent of purchases statewide to certified veteran-owned businesses, according to the Illinois Tollway.

The agency is evaluating all agency solicitations for inclusion of veteran-owned small business or service-disabled, veteran-owned small business goals. To participate in the Veterans Business Program, firms must be 51-percent owned and controlled by a qualified veteran living in Illinois and be in compliance with the Veterans Small Business Verification Act.

'Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over' holiday crackdown begins

19281248_BG1U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Deputy Administrator David Friedman have kicked off the annual “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” holiday crackdown on drunk driving by unveiling a new mobile app to help people who have been drinking get a safe ride home.  New data revealing a decline in drunk driving deaths in 2013 has also been announced.

The new data reveals a 2.5 percent decline in drunk driving deaths in 2013. Yet, even with this decrease from the previous year, 10,076 people died in crashes involving a drunk driver in 2013, the equivalent to one death every 52 minutes. December 2013 was the month with the lowest number of drunk driving fatalities with 733 lives lost.

“We will continue to be relentless in our effort to curb drunk driving because each life is precious,” said Secretary Foxx. “Too many lives are still being cut far too short because of drunk driving. We can stop these tragedies by making the decision not to allow ourselves or our loved ones to get behind the wheel after drinking.”

NHTSA’s new SaferRide app will help keep drunk drivers off our roads by allowing users to call a taxi or a friend and by identifying their location so they can be picked up. The app is available for immediate download on Android devices on Google Play.

“We’re making progress in the fight against drunk driving by working with law enforcement and our safety partners, and by arming people with useful tools, such as our new SaferRide app,” said Deputy Administrator Friedman.  “This holiday season, don’t make the selfish and deadly choice to drink and drive.”

This year’s crackdown started on December 15 and continues until January 1, 2015. During this period, more than 10,000 participating police departments and law enforcement agencies will be out in force to protect the public and get drunk drivers off our roads. These efforts are supported by an $8 million dollar U.S. DOT national advertising campaign conveying NHTSA’s Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over message.

Construction industry growth numbers keep outlook positive

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics via Associated Builders and Contractors.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics via Associated Builders and Contractors.


The latest report from the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) highlighting construction growth last month is welcome news and a good sign that the construction industry continues to recover.

ABC’s Chief Economist Anirban Basu says that nonresidential construction added nearly 5,000 jobs in November and that the outlook remains positive.

The U.S. construction industry overall added 20,000 jobs in November, with nonresidential construction contributing 4,900 of them, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics preliminary estimate released Dec. 5, ABC reported.

Also notable is Basu’s point that the “greatest constraint on nonresidential job growth may no longer be a lack of demand for construction services, but rather a lack of supply of sufficiently skilled workers.”

Basu says that a growing demand for human capital coupled with tighter labor markets strongly suggests that industry wage pressures will expand in 2015, “perhaps to the extent that margins will be rendered too thin for many firms, even in the face of rising demand for services.”

He also points out that while the national construction unemployment rate expanded from 6.4 percent to 7.5 percent on a non-seasonally adjusted basis in November, it is primarily due to seasonal factors. “The construction unemployment rate has historically expanded during the colder months of the year, and November’s figure should not be seen as a cause for concern,” Basu says.

According to ABC, here is a snapshot of how construction employment for the November and the past year breaks down:

·Nonresidential building construction employment fell by 2,400 jobs for the month but is up by 9,500 jobs, or 1.4 percent, since November 2013.

·Residential building construction employment expanded by 3,400 jobs in November and is up by 47,300 jobs, or 7.5 percent, on an annual basis.

·Nonresidential specialty trade contractors added 7,300 jobs for the month and employment in that category is up by 47,400 jobs, or 2.2 percent, from the same time one year ago.

·Residential specialty trade contractors gained 13,300 jobs in November and have added 75,500 jobs, or 4.8 percent, since November 2013.

·The heavy and civil engineering construction segment lost 1,300 jobs in November and job totals are up by 33,200, or 3.7, percent on a year-over-year basis.

Although the market has improved, I know the construction industry has still not rebounded to previous pre-recessions levels. However, I think we are all dealing with what is “the new normal,” and I’m glad to see the positive outlook in these latest numbers.

Tappan Zee bridge construction shut down after silos collapse

One of the floating concrete batch plants being used to build the new Tappan Zee Bridge collapsed on Tuesday. | Photo: Times Herald-Record.

Construction of the new Tappan Zee bridge halted on Tuesday after silos collapse. | Photo: Times Herald-Record.


Construction of the Tappan Zee bridge was shut down on Tuesday following the collapse of silo structures on the floating concrete batch plant.

“Tappan Zee Constructors today shut down operations of both floating concrete batch plants due to a failure of one of the silo structures which caused the other two silo structures on one of the batch plants to collapse,” Tappan Zee Constructors’ spokeswoman Carla Julian said in a statement, according to the Capitol Confidential.

Thankfully no injuries were reported following the collapse.

“All workers are safe and representatives from the New York Department of Environmental Conservation and engineers from TZC and the New York State Thruway Authority are on the scene assessing the situation. Safety and environmental stewardship are our top priorities as we continue to investigate this incident.”

The incident on Tuesday is the first major construction issue to halt construction on Tappan Zee bridge since the replacement project began nearly two years ago.

Experts are currently investigating the accident. At this time the bridge is still scheduled to be completed in early 2018.

2014 Better Roads Bridge Inventory

Methodology: The Better Roads Bridge Inventory is an exclusive, award-winning annual survey that has been conducted since 1979. Bridge engineers from every state and Washington, D.C., are sent a survey with both qualitative and quantitative questions. The Federal Highway Administration, in consultation with the states, has assigned a sufficiency rating, or SR, to each bridge (20 feet or more) that is inventoried. Formula SR rating factors are as outlined in the current “Recording and Coding Guide for Structures Inventory and Appraisal SI&A of the Nation’s Bridges.” The qualitative data are gathered through a questionnaire about major issues concerning bridge conditions and maintenance. For the FHWA’s explanation of what makes a bridge structurally deficient and how a bridge becomes functionally obsolete, go to Better Roads’ editorial staff would like to thank all the state highway engineers for their continuing cooperation and special effort to provide current data. The data was collected through October 2014. FHWA, in consultation with the states, has assigned a sufficiency rating to each bridge (20 feet or more) that is inventoried.

When it comes to the state of our nation’s bridges, money has always been the major barrier to improving the state of our nation’s bridges. Funding, though critical – and severely lacking – is just part of the reason. It’s also about mindset: Not just waiting for bridges to fall into disrepair but also embrace the preventive maintenance approach. Kind of like fixing those squeaky brakes or going to the doctor with a small problem before it becomes a big one. It’s also about the people – the personnel. Sometimes you have to invest a little to make changes.

W. Kyle Stollings, director of the Maintenance Division for the West Virginia Department of Transportation, says that insufficient funding certainly will have a “tremendous impact on getting structures rehabilitated or replaced” but, we also need to “get away from the ‘worst first’ mentality and focus more on system preservation.”

Adam Matteo, P.E.., assistant state bridge engineer for the Virginia Department of Transportation, agrees. He notes that insufficient funding will restrict important working in the coming year – that “our desire to keep ahead to the upcoming influx of structures that will require replacement or major rehabilitation is greatly affected by back of funds and personnel.”

That being said, Matteo points, “[We] need to change the emphasis of replacing structures with the goal of keeping the good structures good through performing preventive and restorative maintenance.”

When asked in the 2014 Bridge Inventory survey if any aspect of his department could be changed to improve bridges, Matteo said: “[To] create a dedicated fund that would be used to repair and replace structures. It would be primarily to keep the structures in good condition good with a secondary goal of slowly bringing the structure in poor condition up to good.”

That pesky, perennial problem of funding remains the greatest challenge to lowering Virginia’s rate of structurally deficient (SD) and functionally obsolete (FO) bridges in the coming year, but regardless of this roadblock, Matteo says the state still expects to lower its number of SD/FO bridges (23 percent of total combined bridges are SD/FO in Virginia, or 4,816 of 21,061 total bridges in the state).

How the States Stack Up: A Look at the Top Five

1. District of Columbia (Washington, D.C.): Washington, D.C., came in this year with the highest percentage of combined SD/FO bridges. Again, like last year, the nation’s capital also expects to be able to lower its rate of SD/FO bridges. Don Cooney, infrastructure project management administrator for the District’s agency, told Better Roads last year in our Bridge Inventory survey, “all but one of our structurally deficient bridges is in the District’s ‘Six-Year Plan’ for rehabilitation or construction.” (For the 2013 Bridge Inventory, go to Cooney reiterated this in this year’s survey as well. “All but one of our structurally deficient bridges is in the Department’s Six-Year Plan for rehabilitation or construction,” Cooney noted in the Better Roads 2014 Bridge Inventory survey. “Several are under construction. Only lack of funding would affect the program. Insufficient funding will delay implementing design and construction of bridge projects.”

On self-ranking scale of 1 to 5 (with 1 being the poorest), Cooney gives D.C. a 3.5. Why? “Several rehabilitation projects have been completed and 18 new bridges have been added to the inventory.” Washington, D.C., has 209 total bridges, 120 (57 percent) of which are total combined SD/FO.

2. Rhode Island: This East Coast state came in as the second highest in percentage of total combined SD/FO at 51 percent. Rhode Island reports having 757 total bridges, and 387 (that 51 percent) are total combined SD/FO. Fifty-one percent (310 out of 612) of its total number of interstate and state bridges are also considered as combined SD/FO. Fifty-three percent of its total combined city/county/township bridges (77 out of 145) meet the SD/FO classification. David Fish, P.E., managing engineer of bridge design for the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (DOT), says he doesn’t expect to lower the states of SD/FO in the coming year. That rate has held steady, though. Last year, Rhode Island also ranked at 51 percent of its total bridges being considered SD/FO. In a self-rating for how well a state’s bridges rank, on a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being the poorest, Fish gave Rhode Island a 2 “[because] Rhode Island currently has the second-lowest bridge ranking in the United States.”

How is Rhode Island able to work toward improving its bridges? “Funding” is the biggest challenge in lowering the SD/FO rate, Fish says. Insufficient funding in the coming year “would prevent us from implementing more of the preservation contracts that are needed to help reduce the rate of SD bridges in the state.” Producing a list of preservation action that would qualify for federal funding would help the system of planning and maintaining bridges in this country, Fish says. In fact, Fish says if he could change any aspect of his department to improve bridges in the state, he says he would “implement more bridge preservation programs and implement programmatic agreements with regulatory agencies to expedite the design process.”

3.Pennsylvania: Coming in as the third state in the nation with the highest percentage of total combined SD/FO bridges, 38 percent (8,613) of Pennsylvania’s 22,623 bridges are considered SD/FO. Last year, 39 percent (8,752) of all Pennsylvania’s bridges (22,593) were considered SD/FO. The state has 16, 125 total combined interstate and state bridges, 34 percent (5,433) of which are considered SD/FO. Last year, 34 percent (5,530) of the state’s total 16,135 total interstate and state bridges were considered SD/FO.


At a more local level, 49 percent (3,180) of Pennsylvania’s 6,498 total city/county/township bridges are classified as SD/FO this year. In 2013, 50 percent (3,222) of the state’s 6,458 total city/county/township bridges were considered SD/FO.

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is taking advantage of the public-private partnership (P3) tool that Republican Gov. Tom Corbett Jr. (governor at the time this article was written, which was before the Nov. 4 election) signed into law in 2012 to start an initiative to help improve the state’s bridges. With the P3 approach, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) says it will able to replace hundreds of these bridges more quickly, save money, as well as minimize the impact on the traveling public.(For more specifics, go to

For a list of the Final Rapid Bridge Replacement Project Bridge List, current as of Sept. 22, 2014, go to

As of Oct. 24, 2014, a team had been selected to replace 558 bridges through the P3 project. The team, which included 11 Pennsylvania-based subcontractors in its proposal, must begin construction in summer 2015 and complete the replacements within 36 months, according to a written statement from PennDOT. The state retains ownership of the bridges, but the team is responsible for maintaining each bridge for 25 years after its replacement. (For the official press release, go to

PennDOT Secretary Barry J. Schoch said in the press release that this initiative reflects Gov. Tom Corbett Jr.’s “strong commitment to taking innovative steps to bring improvements to the state’s roads and bridges more quickly and at reasonable cost.” He also notes that the agreement helps Pennsylvania “take a big step to cutting further into its backlog of structurally deficient bridges.”

Pennsylvania didn’t return the comments section of the 2014 Bridge Inventory survey, but from these initiatives it’s clear that it is working aggressively toward improving bridges in the state.

To preserve bridge safety, PennDOT says that it along with local bridge owners, are in the process of adding new weight restrictions or lowering existing weight restrictions on nearly 1,000 bridges throughout the state. For the full list of bridges that will receive new restrictions or have their current weight limits lowered, go to

CausesOfMostDamageToBridges20144. Hawaii: The Aloha State is No. 4 in terms of the highest percentage of overall total combined SD/FO bridges in the nation. Hawaii has 1,163 bridges in the state, and 428 of them (37 percent) are classified as combined SD/FO. Breaking it down, 771 of its 290 (38 percent) of its total combined interstate/state bridges are considered SD/FO. In terms of its total city/county/township bridges, 138 of 392 (35 percent) these bridges are a total combined SD/FO.

Paul Santo, bridge design engineer for the Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT), says he expects that Hawaii will be able to lower its rates of SD/FO bridges in the coming year. “A couple of bridges are rehabilitated, so the total number of SD/FO bridges should be less,” Santo says.

In a self-rating scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being the poorest, of how Hawaii should be rated in terms of the health of the state’s bridges, Santo gives it a 3. “We have a high percentage of bridges that are deficient with insufficient funding to be effective,”’ he notes. If he could change any aspect of his department to improve his state’s bridges, Santo says it would be to “allocate more funds to improve the bridges.”

When asked to what extent insufficient funding will restrict important working in the coming year, Santo noted that it was the “same as the previous year.”

Although Hawaii ranks as fourth in the nation for highest percentage of SD/FO bridges, HDOT received a Preservation Commendation in late May for its Hawaii State Historic Bridge Inventory & Evaluation from the Historic Hawaii Foundation’s 2014 Preservation Honor Award. The effort evaluated all state and county bridges statewide built before 1968 and assessed their preservation values, according to HDOT. The agency notes that this information will be used to assist and provide guidance in HDOT’s future project development. A total of 708 bridges were identified and evaluated for eligibility into the Hawaii State Register of Historic Places or the National Register of Historic Places. (For more about this award and evaluation, go to

5 (TIE)Connecticut: This New England state is tied with Massachusetts and New York for the state with the fifth highest percentage of total combined SD/FO bridges in the nation at 36 percent. The state has 4,202 bridges and 1,501 are considered SD/FO. In terms of combined total interstate and state bridges, 37 percent (1,093) of the 2,951 bridges are considered SD/FO. Thirty-three percent (408) of the total combined city/county/township bridges are considered SD/FO.

Connecticut has an action plan to help improve these numbers. For the Transportation Infrastructure Capital Plan 2014-2018, go to

5 (TIE).Massachusetts: Out of this state’s total 5,162 bridges, 36 percent (1,837) are considered combined SD/FO. The interstate and state total combined bridges come in at 36 percent (1,297) of these 3,585 bridges are classified as SD/FO. At a more local level, 34 percent (540) of the total 1,577 city/county/township bridges were found to be total combined SD/FO.

Through April 1, 2014, the latest data available, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) Accelerated Bridge Program has advertised 191 construction contracts with a combined construction budget valued at $2.26 billion. (For an active project list, go to Of the 191 advertised construction contracts, at press time, 52 have already, or will, repair/replace over 270 bridges throughout Massachusetts. Thirty-nine are maintenance/preservation projects which perform work to improve the safety of many additional bridges throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. MassDOT has declared 155 of them complete with two additional contracts terminated and the remaining scope transferred to other contracts.

MassDOT says the historic $3 billion Patrick-Murray Accelerated Bridge Program represents a “monumental investment in Massachusetts bridges.” The agency notes that this program will “greatly reduce the number of structurally deficient bridges in the state system, while creating thousands of construction jobs on bridge projects.”

MassDOT and Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) will rely on the use of innovative and accelerated project development and construction techniques to complete this program. As a result, MassDOT says the projects will be completed on-time, on-budget and with minimum disruption to people and to commerce. (For a photo slideshow of Massachusetts that are part of this program, go to

5 (TIE). New York: Also coming in at 36 percent in terms of total percentage of overall SD/FO bridges, 6,223 of the state’s 17,397 bridges are SD/FO. The state’s has 8,339 total combined interstate and state bridges, 38 percent (3,208) of which are classified as SD/FO. The state’s 9,058 total combined city/county/township bridges have 33 percent (3,015) considered as SD/FO. However, New York doesn’t expect to lower its rate or SD or FO bridges in the coming year, according to the New York State Department of Transportation’s (NYSDOT) responses on the 2014 Bridge Inventory survey. That being said, NYSDOT self-rates itself as a 3 on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being the poorest, in terms of condition of its state’s bridges. Why? NYSDOT says that 67 percent of its bridges are in good conditions – not SD or FO.

Funding availability will remain as the biggest challenge in lowering the states rate of SD/FO bridges, but other restrictions such as specs, contracts or time restrictions won’t affect how well the agency is able to replace or repair deficient bridges.

NYSDOT tells Better Roads in the 2014 Bridge Inventory survey that insufficient funding will “significantly” restrict important work in the coming year “since our aging bridge population requires continual investment in repair and maintenance.”

There have been 70 bridges closed in the last five years, and this year, 18 have been closed in the state because of deficiency, structural failure or collapse – but some of these bridges are slated for repair.

For the full state-by-state listing (and Washington, D.C.) of how the nation’s bridges fare, see the table on page 24.

For continual coverage on the data from the 2014 Bridge Inventory, look for coverage on (or sign up for the free daily newsletter during the work week to get the information delivered to your inbox) and in upcoming issues of Better Roads. We’ll be posting tables sorted by percentages, by numbers, DOT wish lists and the great challenges to lowering the state rate of SD/FO bridges. BR


ACPA names 25th annual 'Excellence in Concrete Pavements' awards

ACPAThe American Concrete Pavement Association (ACPA) has named recipients of its 25th Annual “Excellence in Concrete Pavements” awards, which recognize quality concrete pavements constructed in the United States and Canada.

The awards program encourages high-quality workmanship in concrete pavement projects, and serves as way to share information about challenging and highly successful projects.

Judges representing various stakeholder groups throughout the transportation-construction community evaluate projects.  The program recognizes contractors, engineers, and project owners who completed outstanding projects.  The program requires projects to be completed in the calendar year prior to judging (2013).  The recipients of the 2014 ACAPA Excellence Awards are:

Reliever & General Aviation Airports

Silver Award Recipient

Project:  Newton City/County Airport Runway 17-35 Reconstruction

Newton, Kansas

Contractor: Pavers, Inc.

Owner: City of Newton, Kansas

Engineer: HNTB Corporation

The World War II-era pavement on Runway 17-35 at the Newton City-County Airport in Newton, Kans.,  was experiencing numerous pavement distresses, including, swells, block cracking, and joint reflection cracking.

Engineers recommended a full depth reconstruction of the runway to address these existing pavement deficiencies.  During the design process, engineers ran a life cycle cost analysis on concrete and asphalt pavement alternatives. The result of the life cycle cost analysis showed the estimated cost of each alternative was relatively close, so the airport sponsor decided to bid both alternatives and let competitive bids determine which alternate would be chosen.  It was apparent the concrete was the more economical pavement section, as no bids were received for the asphalt alternate.

A three-phase approach was used to construct the runway.  This involved dividing the 7,000 ft runway into three sections, allowing the runway to be open at a reduced length during two of the three construction phases.

The project called for 80 contract calendar days for the north and south thirds of the runway, while the center portion was expedited to 65 days to mitigate impacts to the airport’s tenants and transient air traffic. Construction was completed five calendar days ahead of schedule and $72,000 under budget.

Gold Award Recipient

Project: Reconstruction of Gwinner Municipal Airport/Roger Melroe Field

Gwinner, N.D.

Contractor: Northern Improvement Company

Owner: Gwinner Municipal Airport Authority, Gwinner, N.D.

Engineer: Interstate Engineering, Inc.

Gwinner Municipal Airport is one of North Dakota’s largest general aviation airports. Before the reconstruction, the runway and apron asphalt pavement were in poor condition; the lights were old; the north runway end had approach surface penetrations; and only one fuel type was offered for sale to the public aviators.

The complete reconstruction of Gwinner Municipal Airport/Roger Melroe Field with concrete involved a 75 ft wide x 5000 ft long runway, taxiway, and two aprons. The project, which involved a public/private partnership (including federal, state, and local funds), consisted of 6 in. of concrete

pavement supported with 8 in. of aggregate subbase.  New runway edge lighting, storm sewer, underdrains, edge-drains, and navigational aids also were installed .

The runway was shifted approximately 220 feet to the southeast to eliminate the glideslope surface penetrations. With local aggregate shortages engineers designed the pavement using existing asphalt pavement blended with virgin aggregate for use as the subbase material. Alternate bids using a life cycle cost factor was used in order to increase competition, and a life cycle cost factor of 15% was allowed for the concrete pavement option.

Commercial & Military Airports

Silver Award Recipient

Project: Terminal Apron Expansion at Charleston International Airport

Charleston, S.C.

Contractor: McCarthy Improvement Company

Owner: Charleston County Aviation Authority

Engineer: ADC Engineering, Inc.

In late October of 2012, the Charleston Aviation Authority presented McCarthy Improvement Company a notice to proceed on a $15.5 million terminal apron expansion project for the Charleston International Airport.

The challenge to this project was to construct 60,000 SY of concrete pavement after completing 150,000 CY of earthwork, all without affecting the daily operations of the airport. Precise management, coordination, scheduling, and production of the project were crucial.

Other circumstances also added to the project complexity.  For example, at the time the project began, the Boeing Company was in the test flight phase of its new 767 Dreamliner. They were under critical deadlines to complete the test flights for this new state-of-the-art aircraft, and in turn, to deliver the aircraft to customers around the world. The Boeing Company was using taxiway “Charlie” to bring
materials to their assembly plant day and night.

McCarthy was using taxiway “Charlie” as a haul road to place pavement directly adjacent to the taxiway in Phase 2 of the project, and did so without affecting Boeing’s ongoing operations. Within 30 minutes’ notice of a Boeing flight arriving or departing, McCarthy had to clean all debris and clear all materials, equipment, and personnel from within 120 ft of the taxiway.

McCarthy worked 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for 150 days to complete three of the five phases for the project. The project was completed on schedule, all without a single recordable safety incident, and with only minimal impact to airport operations.

Gold Award Recipient

Project: P454 Beaufort  U.S. Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Hangar Apron Addition

Beaufort, S.C.

Contractor: McCarthy Improvement Company

Owner: Naval Facilities Engineering Command – U.S. Navy (Southeast)

Engineer: URS Group, Inc.

In June of 2010, McCarthy Improvement Company was solicited to perform the concrete paving work involved with the P454 Hangar Apron Addition at Beaufort Marine Corps Air Station in Beaufort, S.C.

On the surface, the project appeared to be a straightforward aircraft apron project, but it turned out to be considerably more complex.

The concrete paving portion of the project was scheduled to start in the spring 2013, and was the contractor was given a four month schedule for completion. What appeared to be a simple job quickly turned into a challenging project when the owner issued a stop work order on the project for redesign of underground utilities within the concrete apron footprint.

After three months the design was complete and the amount of additional work was staggering.  However, to ensure that funding was still available to bring the F35B Joint Strike Fighter Mission to Beaufort, the concrete apron paving had to be complete by the end of 2013; otherwise it could be up to four years before funding would be available again. The entire work plan had to be redone.

McCarthy pooled its resources, along with those of its subcontractors and material suppliers to formulate a schedule to work two shifts on the project, and as a result, completed the job on schedule.

Concrete Pavement Restoration (CPR) – Airport

Gold Award Recipient

Project: 2013 Annual Airfield Pavement Rehabilitation

Denver, Colo.

Contractor: Interstate Highway Construction, Inc.

Owner/Engineer: City and County of Denver – Department of Aviation

This concrete pavement restoration (CPR) project at Denver International Airport  involved more than 14,000 SY of selective airfield concrete pavement removal and replacement on several aprons, taxiways, and aircraft gate areas at one of the country’s busiest airports.

These annual airfield pavement rehabilitation projects are aimed at extending the service life of the apron and taxiway areas, while maximizing the life of the overall pavement at a much lower cost than full apron or taxiway removal and replacement.

In addition to the concrete replacement, the project required demolition and installation of airfield lighting; selective spall and joint sealant repair; asphalt removal and replacement; and aggregate base embankment construction.

Because of the close proximity to active aircraft traffic, a high degree of planning and communication was required. The project was designed in 11 specified-duration phases that combined into 6 separate milestones, all with associated liquidated damages for late completion.

The critical path was driven by six phases along taxiway A-A, scheduled to be constructed sequentially with no overlap. The phases on taxiway A-A were reconfigured to shortening the impact to the airport and the overall construction schedule. The duration of work on the taxiway was cut from the original 112 to 59 calendar days, but the scope increased by 30%.  Even so, the project was completed 25 days ahead of the contract duration.

Concrete Pavement Restoration (CPR) – Roadway

Gold Award Recipient

Project: F-I15-8(385)140, I-15; SR-30 to Idaho State Line

Box Elder County, Utah

Contractor: Multiple Concrete Enterprises, Inc.

Owner/Engineer: Utah Department of Transportation – Region 1

This project was the largest dowel bar retrofit (DBR) project to be advertised and completed in the United States for 2013.

It was also the largest ever for the State of Utah. Utah uses an A plus B bidding concept, which not only requires a contractor  to be the low bidder on contract items, but to also design a project schedule that results in the shortest amount of construction time.

The Utah DOT’s time allowance on this project was 180 calendar days.  Multiple Concrete Enterprises’ aggressive completion time bid was 118 calendar days, but they actually completed the project seven days early.

Pre-construction training conducted by the Utah Chapter ACPA and subsequent round table discussions were implemented for all personnel involved it the project to provide a clear vision of the road ahead.  Because of the restriction of reducing the 65 mph speed limit through the work zones, Multiple Concrete Enterprises was faced with additional safety issues while working continuous shifts  to meet the limited calendar day schedule.

The panel replacements exceeded the plan quantity by 165%. The smoothness specification for grinding was a 5 in. mile, and Multiple Concrete Enterprises achieved an average 1.3 in. mile.   As a result of the team effort, this project not only will increase the longevity and function of the retrofit as well as provide a superior ride for motorist.

Industrial Paving

Silver Award Recipient

Project: Cimarron Turnpike

Noble/Payne Counties, Okla.

Contractor: Duit Construction Co., Inc.

Owner: Oklahoma Turnpike Authority

Engineer: Triad Design Group

Crossover head-on accidents are one of the most horrific accident types on America’s highways. Back in the early 1960’s when the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority built many miles of turnpike system, the design used a 15-foot-wide median with a dirt hump in the middle. This hump was approximately 2 ft tall and was shaped as a rounded mound. Unfortunately, this design can become a launching ramp for vehicles traveling at 75 miles per hour.

A concrete barrier wall that could prevent these accidents was cost prohibitive, but with the advent of today’s cable barrier design, the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority decided to reduce the risk of crossover accidents by removing the existing dirt hump, filling the median with concrete pavement, and installing a 4-cable cable barrier system.

To install the barrier Duit Construction Co. pre-drilled all of the post holes before the concrete paving;  located the holes during the paving operation; and installed the cable posts in the plastic concrete from the back of the slipform paver.

The first day’s run yielded only a 300 ft x 15 ft paving day, but after refining  the process and with practice, the contractor was able to improve the process, and in a single day actually exceed 4,000 feet!.   This innovative process saved the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority an estimate $3 million dollars.

Gold Award Recipient

Project: 3rd Infantry Division (3ID) Tank Trail & Tactical Equipment Maintenance

Facility, Ft. Benning, Ga.

Contractor: McCarthy Improvement Company

Owner/Engineer: (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) Savannah Corps of Engineers

The Ft. Benning Tank Trail and Tactical Equipment Maintenance Facility project required a great deal of coordination. McCarthy Improvement Company had to coordinate efforts with the owner, general contractor, and more than 20 different subcontractors and military base personnel. They had to schedule work around military equipment movements and numerous ongoing training operations during construction.

The three primary missions on this project were to open all areas as soon as possible; to minimize construction impact on the base’s operations; and to complete the project on or before deadline.

The project schedule was tight and included important key dates for opening and closing different areas of the base. The initial start date was delayed one week due to heavy deployment of military equipment. The paving was being performed in the middle of the Brigade Training Facility and had to be scheduled with the officer in command of the Brigade to avoid disrupting the training maneuvers.

The schedule of this work was limited to just a few days and had to be completed in phases to allow soldiers of the Brigade access to the facility. The new concrete tank trail was the main entrance for all of the other subcontractors and military workers who needed access to the maintenance facility. This area was paved in two days, and within a week, was open to traffic. The tank trail was paved in10 paving days, and the hardstand was completed in 24 paving days.

Overlays (Highways)

Silver Award Recipient

Project: Overlay of Okarche Bypass

Kingfisher County, Okla.

Contractor: Duit Construction Co., Inc.

Owner: Oklahoma Department of Transportation

Engineers: Tetra Tech, Inc. and Russell Engineering, Inc.

Driving through the countryside of Kingfisher County in Oklahoma, the view of scenic farmland and fields was often interrupted by potholes, ruts, and cracks that were part of the rough, old asphalt roadway.

Thanks to the concrete overlay placed on the Okarche Bypass, these problems are a thing of the past. Prior to paving, the drainage boxes were extended and shoulders were widened in preparation for the new 24 ft. wide concrete pavement.

Alternate routes during construction were provided to the traveling public in Kingfisher County, allowing the Okarche Bypass to be closed during construction. This allowed paving to be conducted on the roadway in one 24 ft-wide pass.

The result was a smooth, 4-mile long roadway that was constructed efficiently in only three months.  The project had to be built in variable sections,  because of the local farmers and traffic.

Duit Construction only closed sections of the road during the paving operations to avoid disruptions to homeowners and others in the area.

With the old, rough roadway problem solved, the only problem the county has had since this pavement has been placed is that it is so smooth, the County now has to patrol the road to slow traffic down.

Gold Award Recipient

Project: US-75 Concrete Resurfacing

(Project Numbers 75-7 KA 0747-01 & 75-66 KA 0748-01)

Brown and Nemaha Counties near Sabetha, Kansas

Contractor: Koss Construction Company

Owner/Engineer: Kansas Department of Transportation

The overlay of Highway 75 in Brown and Nemaha Counties near Sabetha, Kansas was a challenging project. It required a major commitment from Koss Construction Company, their subcontractors, and the owner—Kansas Department of Transportation. The task given to the Koss team was to mill and overlay pavement under two separate contracts which totaled over 5½ miles of mainline pavement. The combined projects included seven intersections, seven driveways, and two turn lanes. These jobs totaled nearly 145,000 squared yards of concrete paving and nearly 100,000 square yards of milling. Overcoming, the weather conditions were a challenge because the highway was not allowed to be shut down to one lane if was raining or if snow was accumulating. As the milling began, problems with the milled surface started to arise. With heavy traffic, and the abundance of inclement weather, the milled surface started to break apart. So the decision was made to mill another 4 inches, pulverize the remaining 7” of asphalt, mix it with cement, and use it as a base. Once the operation began, traffic was shut down to one lane. Koss provided a 24 hour flagging system using solar powered lights and a pilot truck to escort the public through the job seven days a week. Twelve feet of mainline pavement and the 10’ shoulder were paved with one pass and the project was successfully complete in spite of all the challenges.

Overlays (Streets & Roads)

Silver Award Recipient

Project: Cass County Road 275 West Concrete Overlay

Cass County, Ind.

Contractor: E&B Paving, Inc.

Owner: Cass County, Ind.

Engineer: CHA Consulting, Inc.

Built in the early 1960’s, this 1 mile stretch of old concrete roadway carries 1,100 vehicles per day with an estimated 60% truck traffic.  With the pending opening of the Hoosier Heartland Highway, county officials determined it was time to improve Cass County Road 275 West with an unbonded concrete overlay.

Bids were very competitive, with less than $300 separating the first and second bid on this $721,000 project.

After handling temporary access, drainage structure install, pavement cleaning and joint repair, placement of the 1 in. asphalt separation layer, and subbase preparation for six full-depth transition sections, E&B Paving, Inc. placed the 9.5 in. full-depth and 6.5 in. overlay sections at 24 ft wide.

Although conventional dowels were placed in the full-depth sections, plate dowels were used in the 6.5 in. overlays.   Overall this project included 10,270 SY of 6.5 in. overlay, 3,619 SY of full-depth 9.5 in. pavement, and 1,192 SY of 9.5 in. approaches, all placed in seven total paving days.

Gold Award Recipient

Project: Carroll Street Concrete Overlay Project

Macomb, Ill.

Contractor: Laverdiere Construction

Owner: City of Macomb, Ill.

Engineer: Maurer-Stutz, Inc.

This highly traveled one-way street is a common route to schools, stores, and restaurants in Macomb, Ill.

The existing street was constructed as a circular crown brick pavement with stone curbs and several asphalt pavement overlays.  To minimize costs and maximize sustainability, a bonded 4 in. concrete overlay was selected instead of removal and replacement of the existing pavement.

The existing stone curbs were removed and replaced with new curb and gutter and improved drainage structures.   The existing asphalt surface was milled to adjust the profile and fix existing cross slopes where possible.  The 4 in. concrete overlay included structural-fibers and a 4-ft square saw cut pattern.

Along with the new pavement, a majority of the sidewalks were replaced with 5-ft. wide sidewalks and ADA compliant ramps at all intersections.

Municipal Streets & Roads <30,000 SY

Silver Award Recipient

Project: North Salt Lake Center Street Reconstruction

North Salt Lake, Utah

Contractor: Acme Construction

Owner/Engineer: City of North Salt Lake

Center Street carries traffic through the center of North Salt Lake City, including destinations such as City Hall and the main city park.

As part of a long term, master-planned reconstruction of the city center, North Salt Lake decided to replace Center Street as a concrete road.  Early in the design process, the city established its criteria for a cost-efficient, aesthetically pleasing, and durable pavement.

Concrete pavement was selected as the best option to meet these criteria and the long term needs of the city.

The city worked closely with the Utah Chapter-ACPA throughout the design and construction process.

Recommendations and short term value engineering suggestions provided by the chapter greatly contributed to the success of the project.

Because of the exceptional construction quality achieved by Acme Construction, this road will serve the people of North Salt Lake for decades to come.

Gold Award Recipient

Project: 79th Street Reconstruction Design-Build Project (Between Pflumm and

Lackman) Lenexa, Kansas

Contractor: Emery Sapp & Sons, Inc.

Owner: City of Lenexa, Kansas

Engineer: GBA

This project involved 1 mile of a busy stretch of 79th Street that connects Lackman Road and Pflumm Road in Lenexa, Kans.

Although the city originally planned for an asphalt pavement on the section, the Emery Sapp & Sons  and GBA design-build team submitted an Alternative Technical Concept           for concrete pavement that was accepted, translating to savings for taxpayers.

An elementary school, a church, an array of soccer and baseball fields, and the city’s Public Works Operations Complex that supplies fuel to all city vehicles were along this critical section of 79th Street.

To further complicate matters, several significant infrastructure projects were taking place in the area, including two within the pavement limits, and the City’s noise ordinance prevented night pours.

Also, the project was further challenged because of inclement weather.  The project received the notice to proceed in late March.  Design began immediately, but because of adverse winter

weather (snow, ice, and cold temperatures), the project construction start date had to be pushed to late April.

Variable width paving and LED lighting are among the many recent innovations incorporated in the project.

Municipal Streets & Intersections (>30,000 SY)

Silver Award Recipient

Project: Rt. 169 HWY & 108th Street

Clay County, Mo.

Contractor: Ideker, Inc.

Owner: Clay County, Mo.

Engineer: Burns & McDonnell

This project  involved one of two at-grade intersections with temporary traffic signals still remaining on the federal/state freeway system in Missouri. The new free-flow interchange included roundabouts at the ramp terminals and at a new intersection.

Ideker moved over 300,000 CY of soil and completed more than 44,000 SY of concrete pavement, including three concrete roundabouts along with over 20,500 lineal ft of concrete curb— all in less than 8 months.

The timely and efficient completion of this interchange opens up over 1,000 acres of residential, commercial, industrial, and office development which, over the next 20 years, is projected to return in excess of $1.2B of public revenue.

The used of concrete pavement provides Kansas City and the Missouri DOT with reduced future maintenance costs, further extending their limited budgets.

Gold Award Recipient

Project: STH 96 / Main Street

Village of Little Chute, Wis.

Contractor: Vinton Construction Company

Owner: Village of Little Chute, Wis.

Engineer: Mead & Hunt, Inc. and McMahon Group

Main Street is an east/west urban arterial carrying over 7,800 vehicles per day—including 500 trucks per day—through a residential and commercial area.

The existing roadway was a concrete pavement constructed in 1957, a 56-year old pavement that had never been resurfaced.  Reconstruction of this corridor required an extraordinary level of planning to minimize the impacts to the 29 businesses, 110 residents, 12 intersections, and 139 driveways within the project limits.

The major items of work on the project consisted of removing 30,840 SY of concrete pavement, which was crushed on-site and recycled into the new base.   It also involved 45,129 CY of excavation; 19,587 tons of base aggregate; and 38,031 SY of 8-in. doweled concrete pavement.

Every aspect of the project from conception to completion was carefully thought out, well executed, and a huge success.

Urban Arterials & Collectors

Gold Award Recipient

Project: Flintlock Road Overpass of I-35

Liberty, Mo.

Contractor: Ideker Inc.

Owner: Missouri Department of Transportation

Engineer: HNTB Corporation

To help address the area’s growing transportation needs, the cities of Liberty and Kansas City, Mo., along with the Missouri DOT, The Liberty School District, and the City of Pleasant Valley, contracted with Ideker, Inc., to construct an extension of Flintrock Rd. over Interstate-35, providing a much-needed additional crossing of the Interstate in the area.

Despite falling behind schedule early in the project due to an unusually wet sprint, Ideker was able to make up the time with an aggressive paving schedule and the use of stringless paving technology, which was used for both trimming and paving operations.

In addition to the use of stringless technology, this 20,000 SY paving project incorporated several other innovative technologies, including the use of a ternary concrete mixture and maturity testing for early opening to traffic.   This was also one of the first quality management projects let by the Missouri DOT.

In the end, the contractor was able to deliver a quality concrete pavement project, relieving congestion and enhancing safety, all ahead of schedule.

County Roads

Silver Award Recipient

Project: SH-19 & Latta Road, The Chickasaw Nation

Ada, Okla.

Contractor: TTK Construction Co., Inc.

Owner: The Chickasaw Nation

Engineer: ATKINS

The Latta Road Project consisted of adding dedicated turn lanes in all directions of the intersection of a major artery entering the City of Ada, the headquarters location for the Chickasaw Nation.

The project was a cooperative effort between thee Oklahoma Department of Transportation, ATKINS Engineering, the City of Ada, and the Chickasaw Nation.

The project involved the removal of 17,000 SY of concrete pavement and 5,000 SY of asphalt pavement, then replacing the old pavement with   30,000 SY of 8 in. cement-stabilized subgrade, and 26,000 SY of 9.5 in. thick, dowel-jointed concrete pavement.

Rather than placing temporary detours with asphalt, TTK Construction elected to construct the detours with concrete, allowing the detours to be left in place as concrete shoulders after the project was completed.

All the work was completed accident-free, under budget, and ahead of schedule, earning the contractor a $140,000 early-completion bonus.   This project is not only a great example of a team effort, it is also an excellent  example of the contractor and agency cooperating to build an outstanding project that will be sustainable for many years to come.

Gold Award Recipient

Project: Woodbury County- D-51 Port Neal

Woodbury County, Iowa

Contractor: Cedar Valley Corp., LLC

Owner/Engineer: Woodbury County

This project called for the removal of a 4.2-mile stretch of existing 6-in. concrete pavement built in 1961, and replacing it with a new section of variable-depth concrete pavement.

Two items that make this project stand out above others are the outstanding quality of the finished project and the exceptional job Cedar Valley Corp., LLC did in maintaining access to local property owners and businesses.

Cedar Valley Corp. achieved an average smoothness of 0.58 in. per mile, using a 2/10 in. blanking band, despite significant challenges associated with narrow shoulder that did not allow construction access, as well as a bridge that was to narrow to allow the paving train to pass.

Aggressive  public engagement techniques were used to explain the construction process and discuss access issues.   In addition, maturity testing was used to enable earlier opening to traffic.  In the end, Cedar Valley Corp. earned the maximum 3 percent thickness bonus and 92.44 of the smoothness bonus, all with minimal disruption to the local property owners and businesses.

State Roads

Silver Award Recipient

Project: K-18 Reconstruction/Expansion

Projects No. 18-81 KA 0410-04/05

Riley County, Kansas

Contractor: Koss Construction Company

Owner/Engineer: Kansas Department of Transportation

This project, along a 5.5 mile strength of heavily-traveled, four lane highway in to the City of Manhattan, Kans., included three major interchanges, two large roundabouts, seven bridges, eight retaining walls, numerous drainage improvements, the relocation of two frontage road and the reconstruction of two frontage roads, and the reconstruction of three city streets.  It also included over 400,000 SY of concrete pavement in varying depths of 4 in. of granular base.

The project was phased to allow the numerous businesses adjacent to the project ot stay open and to keep the heavy flow of traffic between Manhattan and Fort Riley moving.   By working with the Kansas Department of Transportation to change the project sequence, side roads and frontage roads were paved under an accelerated schedule in order to minimize the impact on local businesses.

A total of 1.2 million CY OF earth was moved to realign this major highway.  Despite the project complexity, multiple phases and thee more than 50 traffic switches required, Koss Construction was able to achieve 50% of the total available incentive, with over 85% of sections qualifying for smoothness incentives.

Gold Award Recipient

Project: Highway 63

Black Hawk County, Iowa

Contractor: Cedar Valley Corp., LLC

Owner/Engineer: Iowa Department of Transportation

This project included 5.5 miles of highway from U.S. 20 South through the town of Hudson, Iowa.  The project included complex staging at five separate calendar-day completion sites.   The existing pavement, consisting of a 6.5 in. asphalt overlay over 10 in. of concrete pavement, was recycled and used as base material under the new pavement.

Cedar Valley Corp., LLC placed almost 112,000 SY of 7 in., 9 in., and 9.5 in. mainline paving, as well as 28,000 SY of 7 in. shoulder paving. Several value engineering proposals were submitted during the project, enhancing traffic patterns, and project staging, and reducing the time under detours by almost a month.

A significant challenge to this project included the wettest spring in 141 years of recorded weather history in Iowa.  To address the significant flooding taking their haul road out of commission, Cedar Valley Corp. implemented an innovative approach, using their Iowa Special paver, which allowed trucks to back down the grade.

Despite challenges, Cedar Valley Corp., LLC earned the maximum thickness and mix bonus, and 71.86% of the smoothness bonus.  In addition, the crew worked 25,488 man hours without a loss-time injury or vehicular accident.

Roller Compacted Concrete (Industrial)

Gold Award Recipient

Project: Norfolk Southern Charlotte Regional Intermodal Facility

Charlotte, N.C.

Contractor: A.G. Peltz Group, LLC

Owner: Norfolk Southern Railway Company

Engineers: Patrick Engineering and The Milord Company

This project at the Charlotte Regional Intermodal Facility consisted of 26,977 SY of 17 in. roller compacted concrete (RCC);  20,310 SY OF 10 in. RCC; and 232,352 SY OF 9 in. RCC pavement.

Using their in-house blending programs, A.G. Peltz Group, LLC  developed an optimized blend of three aggregates and 14.5% cement content, achieving compressive strengths exceeding 5,000 psi and 650 psi flexural strengths at 28 days.

The contractor used high density paving machines with paving widths ranging from 18 ft to 29 ft.  Paving machines were fed by natural transfer devices so that a contactless, uninterrupted material supply could be achieved, with enhanced pavement smoothness and quality.

A.G. Peltz implemented a maximum 15-ft. joint spacing plan to reduce slab lengths and improve load transfer at the joints, thereby reducing the opportunity for mid-panel cracking.

The Intermodal Facility’s yard is currently operating at near capacity with no significant RCC-related pavement issues noted to date.   The owner also has since specified the use of RCC pavement for additional container terminals.


Divided Highways (Rural)

Silver Award Recipient

Project: Interstate-40

Okmulgee/Okfuskee Counties, Okla.

Contractor: Duit Construction Co., Inc.

Owner/Engineer: Oklahoma Department of Transportation

This Duit Construction Co., Inc. and TTK Construction Co., Inc. joint venture project involved a full pavement rehabilitee of a 6.3 mile section of the old four-lane highway.  Duit Construction was able to complete $26 million project ahead of schedule to achieve an early project completion incentive, while also coming in under budget with no outstanding claims.

To better prepare for unforeseen weather issues, both heaters and chillers were incorporated into batching during weather-impacted months.   The contractors used a portable crusher to crush the existing concrete in place, and in turn, to use it as aggregate base for the new pavement.

By crushing the concrete in place, no trucking was involved to move the broken concrete.   This helped expedite the project schedule and  helped alleviate the truck traffic associated with bringing in aggregate base from an outside source.

By using phasing to their advantage and eliminating a number of cold joints around on/off ramps, Duit Construction was able to achieve 78% of the ride incentive.

Gold Award Recipient

Project: I-70 Reconstruction

(Project No. 70-91 K 0718-01Projects)

Sherman County, Kans.

Contractor: Koss Construction Company

Owner: Kansas Department of Transportation

Engineer: Burns & McDonnell

The reconstruction of this section of Interstate-70 in Sherman County (near Goodland, Kans.), involved a 12.5 mile long project totaling 650,300 SY of four-lane concrete pavement, including three interchanges and rest areas on both westbound and eastbound sides.

The project specifications called for 12 in. of fly-ash treated subgrade, 4 in. of cement-treated base, and 11.5 inches of concrete pavement.    The granular base shoulders were based with recycled concrete material.

In spite of 13 superelevations encountered with slopes as high as 8%, and 15 at-grade bridges (which generated 28 approaches, Koss Construction Co. was able to pave the 24 ft. mainline of 25 total miles in just 36 days.

Through careful attention to concrete consistency, consolidation, and thickness, Koss Construction was able to earn almost 50% of the available smoothness bonus, with more than 87%  of all sections tested eligible for incentives.

Partnering and careful management were essential to the success of this project.   All members of the team rose to the challenged and produced a high quality, smooth pavement that should provide service for many years to come.

Divided Highways (Urban)

Silver Award Recipient

Project: Rapid Reconstruction I-70 & I-65 South Split

Indianapolis, Ind.

Contractor: Milestone Contractors, L.P.

Owner: Indiana Department of Transportation, Greenfield District

Engineer: Parsons Corporation

This project involved the reconstruction of a section of the Interstate-65 and Interstate-70 split in downtown Indianapolis in order to address a low clearance issue with a bridge.

To achieve both the desired clearance and longevity, the Indiana DOT selected 11.5 in. continuously reinforced concrete. pavement (CRCP) on a 3 in. hot-mix asphalt base over 6 in. of drainable base.

This fast-track project allowed a maximum 80 days to complete the job, with incentives offered for early completion and penalties for delayed completion.

Milestone’s planning and continuous attention to detail resulted in a very  successful, rapid construction project, including the placement of 2.2 lbs of reinforcing steel ahead of paving in just 11 days.    Using stringless paving and real-time smoothness technology, Milestone earned 62% of the available smoothness incentive on mainline paving, and 24% on remaining pavement areas.

All of this work was completed in only 44 days, 36 days ahead of the maximum specified schedule, earning the contractor an additional incentive for their ability to return this critical section of Interstate highway to the traveling public well ahead of schedule.

Gold Award Recipient

Project: Western Wake Freeway – NC 540

Wake County, N.C.

Contractor: Archer Western Contractors

Owner: North Carolina Turnpike Authority

Engineer: Michael Baker

This design-build toll facility, the largest highway construction project in North Carolina history, stretches more than 13 miles through suburban Raleigh.

The project included 34 bridges, more than 6 million CY of excavation and embankment, 15 box culverts, and 894,000 SY of jointed plain concrete pavement.

The project was constructed by Raleigh-Durham Roadbuilders, a joint-venture between Archer Western Contractors and Granite Construction Co.

The Western Wake Freeway was a 100% grind project and resulted in exceptional smoothness with   average International Roughness Index readings in the 30’s.

This project also was the first project for the North Carolina DOT to incorporate stringless technology from excavation through the final paving sections.   In addition, a plan was developed to open more than half of the project a full year earlier than the originally-scheduled final completion date.   This allowed the owner to begin collecting toll revenue much sooner than the financial plan anticipated, resulting in additional revenue for the project.   This also raised the possibility for an early pavoff of the  project bonds.

Congress passes spending bill; cuts billions from federal construction accounts


Two days after the legislation was passed by a tight vote in the House, the Senate passed a $1.1 trillion spending bill Saturday night that includes both good and bad news for federal construction accounts in 2015.

The bill keeps the government funded through September, when the fiscal year ends. The Senate passed the spending package 56-40 while the House passed it 219-206. Saturday night’s passage came at the end of an odd day for legislators which you can read more about in a report from the New York Times.

According to the Associated General Contractors of America, the bill appropriates $106 billion for federal construction accounts—a $5 billion cut compared to 2014 levels. The bill cuts military construction deepest, decreasing funding in 2015 by $3 billion, or 40 percent, according to the AGC analysis.

When it comes to transportation construction, not much was changed from 2014. The bill designated $40.3 billion in federal aid for highway projects, matching 2014 and MAP-21 levels. The bill also appropriates nearly $9.5 billion in formula grants and $2.1 billion for the new starts program to the Federal Transit Administration, according to the AGC.

However, the bill cuts the TIGER competitive grants program by 17 percent to $500 million.

Airport improvement projects at the Federal Aviation Administration were funded at $3.35 billion, unchanged from 2014.

Finally, the construction account for the U.S. Army Corps Civil Works Program was funded at $1.6 billion—$514.5 million more than the president requested in his budget.

This article was written by Wayne Grayson, Online Managing Editor of Equipment World.

With no plans to raise gas tax, Alabama will rely on 2015 bond issue for road projects


Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley.

Gov. Robert Bentley says he has no plans to ask the Alabama legislature to raise the state’s 16-cent-per-gallon gas tax, responding to emailed questions submitted by The Tuscaloosa News. Instead, Alabama will look to a $508.5 million highway bond issue to finance highway projects, bonds that last week received a AAA rating from Standard & Poor’s Rating Services.

According to the paper, the governor’s office expects S&P’s highest rating to save the state $35 to 40 million in interest when repaying the bonds. Slated to be sold early next year, the bonds will pay for scheduled road projects, and be repaid from federal aid transportation grants Alabama receives, plus funds from state gas tax proceeds.

The Tuscaloosa News asked if the state gas tax would have to be increased to help pay back the bonds. Responding, Bentley’s office said ”the federal funds will be adequate to repay these bonds, but if the federal funds were to be inadequate, the state has committed to use state gas tax receipts to pay the unfunded portion of this debt service.”

The governor’s office did indicate, however, there might be a “slight increase” in the state gas tax if state gas tax receipts have to be tapped to pay back the bond issue. In addition to the 16-cent-per-gallon tax for gasoline, Alabama also has a 19-cents-per-gallon diesel tax.

Some are contending, however, that right now might be the best time for states to raise gas taxes. According to Dec. 8th report by NPR, several GOP leaders are saying such hikes would be less painful as fuel prices continue drop. For example, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, is calling for a doubling of the state’s gas tax over four years, a move that would raise more than $1 billion for road and bridge construction. And none too soon. National transportation research group TRIP issued a report last week estimating Michigan drivers are losing $3.8 billion annually in extra vehicle operating costs as the result of driving on deteriorated roads.

According to Carl Davis, a senior analyst at the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, “there’s kind of been a switch that’s been flipped” as more states consider gas tax increase, NPR reports Davis as saying. “The federal gas tax hasn’t gone up in over 21 years and the states don’t have the luxury of just sitting around and doing nothing on this issue. They have to find a way to keep their bridges from falling down and keep their roads from developing too many potholes.”


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