PCA Highlights Need for Infrastructure Bill in Huffington Post

toscas_hiIn his State of the Union address last week, President Barack Obama made a strong national infrastructure plan one of his top priorities for his final two years in office.

PCA used this as a spring board to highlight its position for this potential legislation and research from the industry and MIT with the Huffington Post article, "Time is Now for President, Congress to Act on a National Infrastrasture Bill. PCA has long supported a nationwide plan to reconstruct our crumbling roads and bridges that authorizes infrastructure construction and rehabilitation using durable and resilient materials. 

"Congress needs to stop neglecting our roads and bridges and live up to its role as steward of our nation's critical infrastructure," Jim Toscas, PCA president and chief executive officer said in the article. "With the improving economy, the demand on our transportation infrastructure will rise to new heights. We can't continue with a 'business-as-usual' approach and allow one of our nation's most important strategic assets to further degrade just when it's needed most."

According to comScore February 2014 report, The Huffington Post has a total digital population of 79 million monthly unique visitors.
Contact Erik Rancatore

Market Intelligence

Housing Starts Predicted to Increase in 2015

Edward SullivanResidential housing starts will be on the increase in 2015 according to the Portland Cement Association (PCA). 

During the 2015 International Builders' Show, PCA Chief Economist and Group Vice-President Edward J. Sullivan announced that housing starts will increase 20 percent to 1.2 million units in 2015. This is up from roughly 950,000 units in 2014, and strong gains are also expected for 2016.

Multifamily units in particular should see a significant increase in starts compared to previous years with a 12 percent jump from 2014 levels. Nearly 400,000 multifamily starts are expected in 2015 in addition to 800,000 new units in the single-family market. The trend in multifamily construction is expected to persist throughout the forecast horizon as high student debt keeps the Millenniums out of the new home market and Baby Boomers leave the market.

"The forecast is based on sustained strength in the labor markets with more than 3 million net new jobs created in both 2015 and 2016,” Sullivan said. “In addition, wage gains in the context of sub-6 percent unemployment are expected to reinforce labor market fundamentals.”
Contact Ed Sullivan


PCA Engages DOT at Transportation Research Board Meeting

More than 12,000 participants, including PCA and CTLGroup staff, attended the Transportation Research Board (TRB) meetings in Washington DC from January 11-15, 2015. TRB provides an opportunity to engage Department of Transportation staff in industry initiatives.

Staff participated in committee work and technical sessions. More than 5,400 papers were presented in about 750 technical sessions. Some of the key committee actions addressed research and emerging technologies, concrete properties, durability, nanotechnology, rigid pavement construction, and bridges. Plans are in place to hold webinars based on two concrete workshops (Cracking and Resistivity) later this year. IRB will also award the research project, NCHRP 18-17, on Entrained Air Void System for Durable Highway Concrete. It is the first concrete related topic funded by the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP)  in several years.

A new joint subcommittee on roller-compacted concrete (RCC) pavement was established in a portland cement concrete pavement committee meeting. This action is in response to numerous inquiries for education and training on proper RCC construction practices. 

For more on TRB, see the 2014 TRB Annual Report, a 68-page review of the organization's initiatives, awards, and leadership.
Contact Steve Kosmatka.


Regional News

Nebraska Constructs Longest County Overlay

Use of concrete overlays for road rehabilitation is gaining momentum in Nebraska. Dawson County’s recent eight-mile concrete overlay of a full-depth hot mix asphalt (HMA) pavement is the longest constructed thus far. The Darr Bridge Road project, near Lexington, is a six-inch overlay.

On this alternative design/alternative bid project, concrete competed with four inches of asphalt resurfacing. Consulting engineer Miller & Associates presented the options to the county board including life-cycle cost analysis based on the county’s own maintenance history. The board selected concrete due to the favorable life-cycle cost analysis comparison.

The Darr Bridge Road project is one of ten overlays built in Nebraska in the last two years. Four-, five-, and six-inch thick overlay applications have been utilized to rehabilitate pavements on the state and county system as well as on general aviation airports.
Contact Doug Burns


Concrete Pavement Projects Trending Up

Placement Train (good) 1Road construction with concrete paving is experiencing a rebirth in popularity due in large part to technological advances, costs, and quick turnaround times, according to a report in the January 2015 Equipment World.

Concrete pavements have been a part of our nation’s highways and roads for nearly 100 years. Now developments in equipment and admixtures have opened up the market for concrete overlays, roller-compacted concrete (RCC) and full-depth reclamation with concrete.

Reduced state revenues have required government agencies to work with smaller budgets. As a result, concrete is becoming the material of choice and education for agencies and contractors about the benefits of concrete paving and potential applications is on the rise. 

Stringless technology for concrete overlays, new RCC admixtures, and advanced reclaimer machinery for FDR have made the processes more desirable. In addition, project speed and lower inconvenience to drivers makes concrete competitive.

“RCC competes well with asphalt paving on cost and speed of construction,” said Wayne Adaska, director of pavements at PCA. “The zero-slump concrete, which uses no forms or reinforcement, is placed with asphalt-type pavers and then compacted tot a high density using vibratory rollers.”
For the complete article, see Equipment Contractor.
Contact Wayne Adaska

Education & Training

Register for Concrete Overlay Webinar Series

The Concrete Pavement Technology Center at Iowa State University will present webinars on concrete overlays during the next two months, with support from the American Concrete Pavemement (ACPA) and sponsorship by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

Four webinars are planned. The first, Overlay Performance History, is scheduled for February 12, 2015. Future topics are: Overlay Materials (February 26), Overlay Design Details/Joints (March 5), and Maintenance of Traffic During Overlay Construction (March 26). See details at ACPA.

Registration is required. To register, send an email with your name, title (or rank), and complete contact information to Debbie Becker. There is not a charge for people working directly for the federal, state, or local government agencies or the military. There is a small fee for others. Individual and group rates are available.
Contact Steve Kosmatka.


New ICR Environmental Handbook Now Available

Environmental Handbook, 2nd EditionThe International Cement Review (ICR) Cement Plant Environmental Handbook, 2nd Edition, is available for purchase. This handbook features 45 authoritative articles by leading experts and cement producers from around the world. Included are best practices in cement operations, expert viewpoints and recent case studies on alternative fuels, clinker substitution, quarry management, CO2 reduction, emissions abatement, supplementary cementious materials, and more.

Contributors include Audrey Becnel and Muhammad Khan, Titan Florida. LLC, John Kline and Charles Kline, Kline Consulting, LLC, and Enrique De Hoyos Guajardo, Cemex Mexico. View the full table of contents.

Free copies are available with an International Cement Review subscription online at www.CemNet.com/Subscribe.