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Federal Highway Administration > Publications > Focus > November 2000 > Lead State Teams Take a Bow
November 2000Publication Number: FHWA-RD-00-063

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Lead State Teams Take a Bow

The seven American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Lead States teams "set a model for technology deployment that will be used for years to come," says John Conrad of the Washington State Department of Transportation and chair of the AASHTO Task Force on SHRP Implementation. That model was both celebrated and reflected upon at the fifth and final Lead States Workshop, held in St. Louis in September. The workshop was the culmination of four years of work by the teams, with their term of service now ending and responsibility for the implementation of the SHRP technologies being handed over to various AASHTO subcommittees.

Those four years of work have seen the creation of videotapes, brochures, and Web sites; the development of instructional workshops; the writing of handbooks and guide specifications; and the fielding of countless phone calls and emails from State and local highway agencies, all with the end goal of taking the new SHRP technologies and making them mainstream. These activities fulfilled the promise put forth by William Burnett, the then chairman of the Task Force on SHRP Implementation, in 1995: "By sharing their experiences with others, Lead States can help other States implement products more easily." All told, more than 100 representatives from 23 State highway agencies, industry, academia, and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) took part in the shared effort. "The Lead State initiative," said John Horsley, Executiv Director of AASHTO, "is a success story unto itself."

At the meeting, team members gathered for the last time to both review their accomplishments and finalize their transition plans for shifting responsibilities to the AASHTO subcommittees. The accomplishments include:

  • The innovative pavement maintenance material team's distribution of a field demonstration guide and conducting of six hands-on demonstrations.
  • The concrete assessment and rehabilitation team's promotion of such innovative techniques as ground penetrating radar and electrochemical chloride extraction.
  • The explosive growth in use of the Superpave system witnessed by the Superpave team, from 95 projects in 1996 to almost 4,000 this year.
  • The increase in the number of high-performance concrete (HPC) bridge projects, thanks in large part to the efforts of the HPC team.

Almost half of States are now using high-strength HPC in construction of bridge girders. Other States are beginning to use HPC for both superstructures and substructures.

But for the teams, just as important as their past efforts are the transition plans for what is to come. For the anti-icing/road weather information systems (RWIS) team, the transition plan includes continuation of a project looking at the documentation of the benefits and costs associated with anti-icing/RWIS technology, as well as a project to develop a formal training program for the technology. The pavement preservation team's transition goals include ensuring that industry and local governments stay involved in implementation efforts, promoting a linked pavement preservation/pavement management system strategy, and establishing a clearinghouse to enable the sharing of data between research groups and highway agencies. And the alkali-silica reactivity (ASR) team is urging that the follow-on work by AASHTO include developing methods that will rapidly and reliably evaluate the performance of concrete mixtures for ASR susceptibility. All of the teams, meanwhile, support the continuation of the Lead States Web site (leadstates.tamu.edu), which has been a vital resource for those looking for information and documents. "Communication is the key to continued success," said Dean Carlson, Secretary of Transportation for the State of Kansas.

Each of the team transition plans can be found on the Lead States Web site. For a list of the AASHTO subcommittees taking over team responsibilities, see below.

The Lead States teams won't be meeting again. But their success will continue to stretch beyond just the implementation of the SHRP technologies. As Byron Lord of FHWA noted at the close of the workshop, the teams have "changed the future and created a new paradigm of technology transfer. They leave a legacy of excellence."

Pavement Preservation in the United States Pamphlet Directory Pamphlet

The work of the Lead States teams included creating and distributing a variety of newsletters, reports and brochures on the SHRP technologies.

AASHTO Subcommittee Contacts

  • The AASHTO Subcommittee on Maintenance is assuming the responsibilities of the pavement preservation team. Contact: Tom Lorfeld at the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT), 608-267-3149 (fax: 608-267-7856). The subcommittee's task force for snow and ice is taking over the work of the anti-icing/RWIS team. Contact: Ken Kirkland at FHWA, 360-705-7851 (fax: 360-705-6823). And the subcommittee's pavement task force will carry on the tasks of the innovative pavement maintenance materials team. Contact: John Selmer at Iowa DOT, 515-239-1589 (fax: 515-239-1005; email: jselmer@max.state.ia.us).
  • The Subcommittee on Bridges and Structures will continue the work of the concrete assessment and rehabilitation and high-performance concrete teams. For information on concrete assessment and rehabilitation, contact Malcolm Kerley at Virginia DOT, 804-786-2635 (fax: 804-786-2988; email: kerley_mt@vdot.state.va.us). For information on HPC pavements, contact Jim Grove at Iowa DOT, 515-239-1848 (fax: 515-239-1845; email: jgrove@max.state.ia.us). For information on HPC structures, contact Richard Wilkison at Texas DOT, 512-416-2276 (fax: 512-416-2557; email: rwilkiso@mailgw.dot.state.tx.us).
  • The Subcommittees on Materials and Construction will assume responsibility for the tasks of the ASR team. Contact: Gerald Malasheskie at Pennsylvania DOT, 717-787-4720 (fax: 717-783-5955). The Subcommittee on Materials will also continue to play a key role in Superpave implementation. Contact: Rick Smutzer at Indiana DOT, 317-232-5280 (fax: 317-356-9351; email: rsmutzer@indot.state.in.us).

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