Bergkamp’s Variable Width Spreader Box offers flexibility in micro surfacing applications

Bergkamp.Variable Width SB

Bergkamp has released its Variable Width Spreader Box (VSB), which is designed to offer flexibility in micro surfacing work.

Avaialble in 8- to 13-foot, 9- to 14-foot and 10- to 15-foot models, the VSB eliminates construction joints with its ability to expand and contract while paving. An optional 16-foot width is also available.

The unit has four augurs: two to feed the material to the center of the box, and two to evenly distribute the mix during placement.

The VSB connects to the paver’s hydraulic system and adjusts when the operator uses the levers located on the handrails of the box. The fully expandable, hydraulically driven ribbon augers have a 12-inch pitch, while the primary and secondary strike-offs can slide within a guide tube when the box expands or contracts during paving.

The unit is designed to fit Bergkamp pavers but can be customized for other brands.

VIDEO: DOT Chief Foxx reiterates urgency to fix Highway Trust Fund during Alabama visit

Screen Shot 2014-04-17 at 5.09.28 PM

Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx says a short-term solution won’t do this go-around for transportation funding, and he’s on the road this week pushing the Obama administration’s four-year $302 billion plan and making localities and citizens aware of the Highway Trust Fund’s (HTF) nosedive.

Foxx spoke in Birmingham, Ala., Wednesday in the eighth stop of his week-long Invest in America tour that began Monday in Ohio and wraps up Friday in Dallas. With the Highway Trust Fund quickly heading toward insolvency and the expiration of MAP-21 looming, Foxx’s tour is part educational and part motivational, telling listeners at each stop about the consequences of Congressional inaction on funding and urging them to call their representatives and senators.

“Let me say this: We can come together as a country and do this. We’ve done this before,” he said. “By August or September we’re going to run out of money, and we can’t stop ourselves in our tracks. We can’t stop America from growing. That’s where the future is. So let’s figure it out and get to work.”

The plan unveiled in March by President Barack Obama is the best solution to shore up the Highway Trust Fund, Foxx said, pointing to fuel tax’s inability to adequately fund highway projects. The White House’s plan relies on business tax reform to generate $302 billion over four years.

Congress has passed 27 short-term measures in the last five years, Foxx said, and short-term patches (which he called “band-aids”) make it difficult for states and cities to plan larger highway and infrastructure projects that rely on federal funds for support. Foxx said Congress is “almost out of options,” referring to prior attempts at backfilling the HTF with general fund money and other failed attempts to shore up highway funding.

“The bottom line is we’re supporting a vision that is a four-year vision, not a three-month vision and not a six-month vision,” he said. “Our plan is built off what’s remaining in the gas tax coupled with business tax reform…giving communities four years of complete certainty over how transportation is going to go.”

Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), chair of the House’s Ways and Means Committee, announced an alternate highway funding plan the same day the president did. Camp’s proposal would implement changes to the U.S. tax code — aimed at boosting economic growth — and would dedicate $126.5 billion to highway and infrastructure funding.

The Obama and Camp proposals “are in the same zip code,” Foxx said Wednesday after his Birmingham speech, and he hopes in the coming months the two plans can be reconciled into a long-term solution.

The administration also has “expressed an openness to ideas that may emerge that Congresspeople have among themselves about this and will continue to keep an open ear and open mind to what comes back,” Foxx said.

A bipartisan group of key Senators working on the next highway funding bill announced last week a set of priorities for their legislation, which include making the bill five or six years and maintaining current spending levels.

Editor’s note: James Jaillet is news editor for sister sites CCJ and Overdrive.



New Mexico DOT develops 25-year transportation plan

highway

The New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) is advancing with the development of its 25-year transportation plan, Albuquerque Business First reports.

The plan, dubbed nmdot 2040, will include all areas of transportation such as safety, highway maintenance, bridges, rail, mass transit, sidewalks and more.

The agency is holding a series of public meetings throughout April, May and June to present information about the plan and what NMDOT’s future plans.

Ford F-150 wins ‘Battle of the Best’ Bracket Showdown

f150

The Ford F-150 has been crowned champion in the 2014 “Battle of the Best” Bracket Showdown.

Automotive classifieds website Carsforsale.com hosted the showdown, which featured 64 vehicles in a single-elimination bracket divided into four regions.

In the final round, the F-150 defeated the Dodge Charger by collecting 51 percent of the votes.

Last year, the F-150 earned the Best Value truck brand award from Vincentric. Since then, Ford has begun to offer a sport model of the pickup, a compressed natural gas (CNG)/liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) capability and a snow plow prep option. The manufacturer also gave consumers the chance to test-drive the truck in its “You Test” campaign in February.

Ford, Ford f-150, 2014 “Battle of the Best” Bracket Showdown, pickup, truck

Foxx highlights job creation during trips to Kentucky, Tennessee

Foxx visits the Ohio River Bridges project during his "Invest in America, Commit to the Future" bus tour. (Photo Credit: U.S. DOT)

Foxx visits the Ohio River Bridges project during his “Invest in America, Commit to the Future” bus tour. (Photo Credit: U.S. DOT)

After his visits to Kentucky and Tennessee on Tuesday, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx reiterated one word: jobs.

He visited Louisville, Kentucky and Nashville, Tennessee for the second day of his “Invest in America, Commit to the Future” bus tour.

His first stop in Louisville was the Ohio River Bridges project, which is set for completion in 2016. In a post on the DOT’s Fast Lane blog, Foxx notes that the completed bridge will be the first new bridge in the Louisville area in more than 50 years.

Foxx says the project “will support more than 4,000 construction and engineering jobs” and will generate economic growth that creates an additional 15,000 jobs.

“At DOT, we were enormously proud to have provided roughly $1 billion in federal funding and loans to build this project,” Foxx writes. “It’s a pretty good investment when you consider that money is going to a project that will have an $87-billion-dollar economic impact on this community and our country.”

While in Louisville, Foxx also stopped by the UPS Worldport. On the DOT’s blog, Foxx points out how transportation investment affects jobs beyond those in the transportation industry.

“By 2050, we’re going to have to haul an additional 14 billion tons of freight around this country,” Foxx writes. “Needless to say, without new investment, supply chains will fall apart, hindering job growth and harming retailers, manufacturers, and the millions of American consumers who need their goods to be transported efficiently and affordably.

Foxx’s last stop of the day was the Intestate 40 bridges in Nashville, Tennessee. Foxx paints a picture on the Fast Lane blog of these nearly 46-year-old bridges.

“In fact, just last summer, the Charlotte Avenue bridge was closed not once, but three times, because chunks of concrete kept crumbling and falling onto cars and the roadway,” Foxx writes.

He notes that the bridges carry 130,000 vehicles daily.

Foxx says the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) plans to “rehabilitate the steel and bridge decks on all four bridges and re-pave about three miles of connecting roadways on I-40.” In the title of the blog, Foxx notes that the project is “an opportunity to improve lives [and] create jobs.”

To read about Foxx’s visit to Ohio on Monday, click here.

Massachusetts House, Senate pass $12.7 billion transportation bond bill

Massachusetts State Capitol (Photo Credit: A Travel Broad)

Massachusetts State Capitol (Photo Credit: A Travel Broad)

Massachusetts could soon see billions of dollars worth of transportation projects across the state.

The state’s House and Senate have passed a $12.7 billion transportation bond bill that would authorize spending for many projects, including high-profile highway and rail projects, the Herald News reports.

The bill includes earmarks such as $100,000 for intersection improvements at Tronic Square in Worcester and $100 million for improvement to the South Coast Rail corridor. The bill sets aside $2.3 billion total for the corridor.

Other items authorized in the bill include:

  • $325 to improve South Station in Boston

  • $1.3 billion to extend MBTA’s Green Line to Medford

  • $2.5 billion for new Red Line and Orange Line trains

  • $300 million to improve local roads

Related: Massachusetts’ $12.4 billion transportation plan covers state, local needs

The bill also doubles fare evasion fines on the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), as well as dozens of small transportation projects.

The next step in the bill becoming law is for Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick to sign off on it, which could happen as early as Thursday.

What the latest Obamacare update means for your business

Midsize employers don’t have to provide health insurance in 2015; full-time employee definition changed to 40 hours for health care reform

(Photo Credit: txking / Shutterstock.com)

(Photo Credit: txking / Shutterstock.com)

The employer mandate under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) – a.k.a. Obamacare – that would require companies with 50 or more full-time employees to offer affordable health care coverage to employees and their dependents (an employee’s child younger than 26 years old) in 2015 or face big fines now have more time.

This is the second delay.

Last year, the U.S. Treasury Department delayed the mandate for all employers until 2015. The latest delay now gives employers with 50 to 99 full-time employees until 2016 to comply with these rules – but with a caveat. The business must certify that they are eligible.

However, even larger firms that don’t qualify for this delay will still get a break. These companies now only need to offer affordable coverage to 70 percent of full-time employees in 2015 to avoid the monetary penalties, and they don’t need to provide dependent coverage as long as they’re moving forward with the steps needed to offer this coverage beginning in 2016. After next year, at least 95 percent of full-time employees need to be offered insurance, according to Kiplinger’s.

Employers also now have some additional reprieve against the stiff monetary penalties imposed under the PPACA for not providing qualified healthcare to full-time employees.

The House of Representatives has voted to ease the health care reform law’s definition of a full-time employee by changing it to employees working at least 40 hours per week, Business Insurance reports. The PPACA legislation, which took effect Jan. 1, 2014, requires employers with at least 100 employees – starting in 2015 – to offer qualified coverage to full-time employees, which has been defined as employees working an average of 30 hours per week or 130 hours per month, or face a penalty of $2,000 per employee. The same requirement applies to employers with between 50 and 99 employees, effective in 2015, the Business Insurance report says.

Changing the classification of a full-time worker from 30 hours per week to 40 hours per week would reduce the number people receiving employer-based coverage by about 1 million, but it would increase the number of uninsured, the Obama Administration said in a statement.

That’s a ‘sweet’ road trip, honey

honey

Los Angeles is considered one of the “10 Most Traffic-Congested Cities,” according to Forbes report, with motorists spending 34 percent more time on the road (including highways, streets and arterial routes) than during the odd times when traffic is flowing freely.

Related: High winds knock over six big rigs

However, late last month, four lanes of traffic were shut down — but not as a result of our nation’s inadequate infrastructure.

This time, it was a big rig that was hauling 42,000 pounds of honey that overturned on northbound 605 in Industry, Calif., which is located in Los Angeles County, according to a report in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune. No one was trapped or hurt, according to the report.

The honey may have been sweet, but the backup and the cleanup it caused sure weren’t.

Crews were afraid that the sweet substance would get into storm sewers so they worked quickly to clean up the mess.

For aerial footage from KCAL-TV showing the truck and the honey that spilled out, click here.

Foxx talks economy, modernization, innovation during Ohio visit

(Photo Credit: U.S. DOT)

(Photo Credit: U.S. DOT)

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx visited three cities in Ohio on Monday for the first stop on his “Invest in America, Commit to the Future” bus tour.

Foxx will visit various cities in the U.S. throughout the five-day tour, which aims to promote infrastructure investment.

His first three stops were in Pickaway County, Dayton and Norwood, Ohio.

While in Pickaway County, Foxx visited the Pickaway East West Connector project, which will connect US 23 and the Rickenbacker intermodal Facility.

Foxx notes on the DOT’s Fast Lane blog that the project received $16 million in TIGER grants. He says the project will help boost the economy by creating a way for “hundreds of commercial trucks to bring their goods to market more affordably and efficiently.”

“Already, a quarter-million shipping containers pass through this freight corridor every year. Now, even more will,” Foxx writes. “And that’s a good thing, since we need to find a way to move 14 billion more tons of freight by 2050.”

Foxx’s trip to Dayton took him to the city’s I-75 modernization project. The $168 million project aims to improve safety, decrease congestion and update a portion of the Interstate.

In another Fast Lane blog post, Foxx says he met project workers who “aren’t just repairing this highway, they’re also increasing its capacity, so that tens of thousands more vehicles will be able to travel this road every day.” He notes that the completed project will feature a third lane.

Foxx also points to an area on I-75 that was previously dubbed “Malfunction Junction.” Crews are improving the area with tasks including removing left-hand ramps.

The project received $162 million in federal funding, Foxx notes. He says the DOT is proud to have given the project that money because it has created numerous jobs.

“It’s clear that projects like this one are helping Americans build and live better lives, and why we need a long-term transportation bill to ensure they continue to be funded in the future,” Foxx writes.

For his final stop of the day, Foxx visited Siemens’ Norwood Motors Manufacturing Facility, where he met workers who build motors and gears for trains.

Foxx wrote in blog post that rail investment creates those manufacturing jobs as well as other jobs.

“When we invest in rail in this country, DOT’s Buy America program ensures that everything we build is built with American parts and by American workers,” Foxx writes. “This is something we’ve always understood in this country – investing in transportation is a tried and true way to create jobs, and to grow business.”

Congress could allocate $44 million in federal transportation funds to Golden Gate Bridge suicide barrier

shutterstock_89117647

The Golden Gate Bridge may soon feature a suicide barrier funded in part by federal transportation dollars.

Members of the bridge board last week requested $11 million from the California Legislature for the $66 million project, the Contra Costa Times reports.

The report also notes that lobbyists from the bridge board returned to California from Washington D.C. earlier this month with high hopes that Congress could allocate $44 million in federal transportation funds for the project.

San Francisco board member Janet Reilly told the Contra Costa Times that the project “was ineligible for any federal funds whatsoever” two years ago. However, a transportation bill that Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) pushed was passed in 2012 and contained phrasing that allows funds to be used for items such as safety rails and nets on bridges.

The Golden Gate Bridge plan includes a stainless steel cable net that extends that extends 20 feet below and 20 feet from the side of the bridge and would collapse slightly if someone jumped in it. It would also include a “snooper” truck that has an elongated arm to help people get out of the net. The net, which is expected to deter people from jumping, would take three years to build.

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