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This magazine is an archived publication and may contain dated technical, contact, and link information.
|Publication Number: Date: July/August 2001|
Issue No: Vol. 65 No. 1
Date: July/August 2001
Along the Road is the place to look for information about current and upcoming activities, developments, trends, and items of general interest to the highway community. This information comes from The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) sources unless otherwise indicated. Your suggestions and input are welcome. Let's meet along the road.
Policy and Legislation
Proposed Rules Ensure Safety of Mexican Trucks and Buses Operating in the United States.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) proposed three separate rules addressing the safe operation of Mexican trucks in the United States and requirements that they comply with U.S. safety regulations.
According to a timetable outlined at a meeting with representatives from the government of Mexico on March 22, the United States will permit authorized Mexican carriers to operate throughout the United States before the end of this year.
If adopted, the proposals posted in the Federal Register would:
The first two proposals would establish new application procedures for Mexican motor carriers seeking authorization to operate, require carriers to provide detailed information about their safety practices, and require carriers to certify compliance with U.S. motor carrier safety regulations. Mexican carriers will be subject to the same safety standards that now apply to U.S. and Canadian carriers.
The third DOT proposal would require, as a condition of registration, that all Mexican new-entrant carriers undergo at least one satisfactory safety audit within 18 months of receiving authorization to operate in the United States. The purpose of the safety audit would be to evaluate a Mexican carrier's safety performance and basic safety management controls. This would be accomplished by reviewing information about the carrier, including records related to driver medical qualifications; driver hours of service; drug and alcohol testing; and vehicle inspection, maintenance, and repair.
According to the proposed rule, if an audit determines that a carrier does not satisfactorily exercise basic safety management controls, its authorization to operate would be suspended, and it would be required to cease operation in the United States.
FMCSA also is developing a proposal to establish a comparable safety monitoring system for all new-entrant U.S. and Canadian-based carriers as required by the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999.
The three notices of proposed rulemaking are in the U.S. DOT docket (Docket Nos. FMCSA-98-3297, FMCSA-98-3298, and FMCSA-98-3299). The proposed rules are also online at http://dms.dot.gov.
Final Rule Paves the Way for Biodiesel Fuel
Biodiesel fuel, the all-natural alternative to conventional diesel fuel, has been approved as an appropriate substitute for federal alternative-fuel vehicle fleets.
Spencer Abraham, secretary of energy, approved a final rule that paves the way for biodiesel fuel to be used as an alternative fuel in automobile fleets covered by the Energy Policy Act of 1992. Biodiesel fuel, in its purest form, is a biomass product developed from animal, plant, or waste oils from renewables such as soybeans.
The final rule reflects changes made to the act through the Energy Conservation Reauthorization Act of 1998. A key provision allows fleets required to acquire alternatively fueled vehicles the option of purchasing a set quantity of biodiesel fuel and using the new fuel in appropriate vehicles already in their inventory. Some states are pursuing alternative fuel and the associated fleets as part of their emissions-reduction package. Biodiesel fuel can be used in its pure form or mixed with conventional diesel fuel for a somewhat cleaner formula.
ITE TMC Committee Web Site Is Now Available
The Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) Transportation Management Center (TMC) Committee has developed a Web site for practitioners to access and share information and to interact with their peers on TMC-related activities. This site provides links to technical references and manuals, publications and documents, case studies, best practices, and training resources. Site users can ask their peers a question or join the online dialogue focused specifically on TMC-related issues. Individuals interested in actively participating and advancing the activities of the ITE Committee are encouraged to become a member. Those interested may join at any time by registering online. Additional details on the committee can be obtained by referencing the Charter and 2001 Action Plan. This site was developed and will be maintained as a partnership between the ITE ITS Council, TMC Pooled-Fund Study, and FHWA.
You can access the ITE TMC Committee Web site at www.tmcite.org.
Public Information and Information Exchange
Studies of the Atlanta Olympics and Traffic: The Other Side of the Story
In "Along the Road" in the May/June 2001 Public Roads, we reported a study that pointed to the reduced traffic in downtown Atlanta during the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games as the causal factor in a reduction of asthma attacks in Atlanta during the same period. The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
However, a Cambridge Systematics study of the effectiveness of transportation control measures during the Atlanta Olympics had a much different conclusion. The study, conducted on behalf of National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Project 8-33 and published in April 1997, concluded that Atlanta's improved air quality during the Olympics was related more to meteorological events than to the transportation strategies that were put into place to reduce traffic during the Games. This conclusion was based on the fact that many nonattainment areas surrounding Atlanta also showed air quality improvements during the period of the Olympics even though they did not put additional transportation control measures in place. For example, the report indicates that in addition to the reduction in the level of ozone in Atlanta, ozone levels across the Southeast also dropped. In Birmingham, Ala., 240 kilometers (150 miles) upwind of Atlanta, ozone levels dropped by 25 percent.
The Cambridge Systematics report, titled Changes in Air Quality and Transportation Associated with the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics, does agree that "the transportation strategies implemented during the Olympics were largely successful in reducing traffic, particularly during the morning and evening rush hours when unusually low levels of congestion were experienced." However, vtraffic outside of the peak periods showed little change or a slight increase from normal, and it appears that total daily traffic volumes decreased by five percent or less," according to the Conclusions portion of the report.
"At the same time, average ozone levels were between 10 and 20 percent lower than the summer 1996 average," states a report summary. The summary continues: "The analysis concludes, however, that the observed air quality changes cannot be linked to reductions in traffic. Instead, conditions of low ozone prevailed over much of the Southeast region during the period of the Olympics, suggesting that the improved air quality in Atlanta was most likely explained by regional weather patterns rather than decreases in mobile source emissions related to the Olympics.
"The results of this analysis underscore the difficulties of using ambient monitoring data, particularly ozone, to assess the air quality impacts of transportation programs." The summary goes on to make some recommendations for the direct measurement of the air quality impacts of transportation programs.
The Cambridge Systematics/NCHRP report summary can be found at http://webservices.camsys.com/nchrp/htm/intrrep.htm.
Transportation Department Announces Grant to University of Wisconsin at Madison
In April, DOT's Research and Special Programs Administration (RSPA) announced an $862,300 grant to the University of Wisconsin at Madison to operate a university-based center of excellence in transportation on its campus.
The grant supports the Midwest Regional University Transportation Center (MRUTC), established in 1999 under a similar grant. MRUTC is one of 33 university transportation centers (UTCs) funded by DOT. Seven other universities participate in MRUTC: Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College (Hayward, Wis.), Marquette University (Milwaukee), Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill.), Richard Daley College (Chicago), University of Chicago, University of Cincinnati, and the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee. Collectively, the UTCs include more than 80 schools throughout the United States. All of the centers conduct combined programs of research, education, and technology transfer activities.
MRUTC specializes in the optimization of transportation investment and operations. Its objective is to maintain, upgrade, and operate multimodal transportation assets in order to maximize the social benefits they provide.
The UTC program already has produced more than 1,200 research reports and involved more than 3,500 university students and faculty in the study of transportation. UTC program grants must be matched by recipients on a dollar-for-dollar basis, doubling the value of the federal investment.
NSTI Host Sites Receive Awards and Are Expanded
DOT's Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) recognized 13 primarily historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) with 18 different awards and added six sites to the existing 34 host sites for FHWA's National Summer Transportation Institute (NSTI).
NSTI is one of several educational initiatives of DOT, challenging the country to work with youth of all ages and help them focus on math, science, and technology skills so that they are prepared to serve in the transportation work force of the future. To date, NSTI host sites include HBCUs and other minority institutions of higher education across the nation. South Carolina State University serves as NSTI's National Resource Center.
The six schools added were Central State University (Wilberforce, Ohio), Denmark Technical College (Denmark, S.C.), Langston University (Oklahoma City, Okla.), Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute (Albuquerque, N.M.), University of Puerto Rico (Mayaquez), and White Earth Tribal and Community College (Mahnomen, Minn.).
In 1998, Congress authorized funding for the program under the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21). In addition to FHWA support, the institutes receive assistance from local chapters of the National Urban League, state departments of transportation, private sector companies, and other federal agencies. Participating colleges and universities host the institutes and provide housing and instructors for each session.
Thirteen fiscal year (FY) 2000 host sites received special awards and recognition for their contributions to the success of the program.
The award recipients, some of which received more than one award, include Albany State University (Albany, Ga.), Arizona State University (Phoenix), California State University at Los Angeles, City College of New York, Delaware State University (Dover, Del.), Jackson State University (Jackson, Miss.), Kentucky State University (Frankfort, Ky.), Morgan State University (Baltimore, Md.), South Carolina State University (Orangeburg, S.C.), Texas Transportation Institute (College Station, Texas), Tuskegee University (Tuskegee, Ala.), University of Missouri at Rolla, Virginia State University (Petersburg, Va.), and West Virginia State College (Institute, W.V.).
Since its inception, NSTI has reached more than two million youth. The program provides a four-week introduction to all modes of, and careers in, transportation, as well as academic enhancement activities.
ARTBA Foundation Provides College Assistance to Children of Fallen Highway Workers
The children of seven highway workers killed in the line of duty will receive financial assistance in their pursuit of higher education thanks to scholarships announced by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association's Transportation Development Foundation (ARTBA-TDF). ARTBA-TDF's Highway Worker Memorial Scholarships Program was established in 1999 with a gift to the Foundation from two Roanoke, Va., highway contractors - Stan Lanford, president of Lanford Brothers, and Jack Lanford, president of the Adams Construction Company. Both men are past chairmen of the national association.
This year's scholarship winners are: Ronnie Cooper (Hanlontown, Iowa), Daniel Doyle (Sault Saint Marie, Mich.), Courtney E. Henderson (Lancaster, Ky.), Scott A. Moore (Tifton, Ga.), Stacy Smith (Amarillo, Texas), Amy L. Snyder (Columbia, Pa.), and Miguel Villa (El Paso, Texas).
Major contributors to the ARTBA-TDF scholarship program include the Laborers' International Union of North America's New Jersey and New York State Health and Safety Funds, HBG Constructors Inc., and Barnhill Contracting.
- American Road & Transportation Builders Association
Mineta Announces 13 Environmental Excellence Awards
In April, Secretary Mineta announced the 13 winners of FHWA's 2001 Environmental Excellence Awards. The 2001 Environmental Excellence Award recipients are from California, Florida, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Puerto Rico. Recipients from Arizona, Iowa, New Jersey, New York, and Texas received honorable mention.
FHWA received 145 nominations from 31 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. An independent panel of judges selected winners for 11 categories: air quality improvement; cultural resources; environmental leadership; environmental research; environmental streamlining; livable communities; nonmotorized transportation; recycling; scenic byways; vegetation management; and wetlands, water quality, and ecosystems. For the livable communities category, the judges selected an urban winner and a rural winner. For the environmental leadership category, they named a group winner and an individual winner.
The following is a list of the award recipients:
Mineta Accepts Application From Wisconsin for Funds to Repair Hoan Bridge
Secretary Mineta accepted an application from Wisconsin Gov. Scott McCallum for federal discretionary funds to help rebuild the Daniel Webster Hoan Bridge in Milwaukee.
The Hoan Bridge, which collapsed Dec. 13, is eligible for funding under several discretionary funding categories administered by FHWA.
Secretary Mineta said the department would give the project serious consideration during the review process for discretionary funds and will continue to work closely with Wisconsin to ensure that the bridge is fully repaired as quickly and as efficiently as possible.
About 37,000 motorists travel over the dual?span Hoan Bridge each day. The bridge, which opened in 1977, carries I?794 over the Menomonee River. It connects the Bay View neighborhood and the southeastern suburbs to downtown and other major freeways.
On Dec. 13, 2000, two of the three girders on one of the Hoan Bridge twin approach spans failed. After the structure was declared unstable, the failed span was demolished in a controlled demolition. On Feb. 17, 2001, the Wisconsin DOT opened the southbound span to one lane of light vehicular traffic in each direction.
FHWA is also helping to conduct an in?depth forensic examination to determine what caused the bridge's failure. The agency is working in partnership with the Wisconsin DOT, Lehigh and Northwestern universities, and independent consultants.
Alaska's Whittier Access Project Named 2001 Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement
In April, Alaska's Whittier Access Project (WAP) was named 2001 Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement (OCEA) by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). Past OCEA winners include the relocation of the Cape Hatteras lighthouse, the Interstate highway H-3 in Hawaii, the Denver International Airport, and the World Trade Center.
WAP provides highway access for the residents of the city of Whittier, Alaska ¾ a vital cargo port, recreational area, and tourist destination located on Prince William Sound. For 50 years prior to the completion of the project, Whittier was separated from the nearest highway by eight kilometers (five miles) of rugged mountains, lakes, and glaciers, forcing residents who needed to travel outside of Whittier to load their automobiles onto shuttle trains that would travel through a 4.0-kilometer- (2.5-mile-) long railroad tunnel.
WAP enabled the community to comply with new Federal Railroad Administration safety regulations. The $80 million project converted the 4.0-kilometer- (2.5-mile-) long railroad tunnel into a multimodal railroad and highway facility, the only combined highway/railroad tunnel in the world. It is also the longest highway tunnel in North America. The project also includes two bridges, a 152.4-meter- (500-foot-) long highway tunnel, 4.2 kilometers (2.6 miles) of road, and support facilities.
One other project, Enron Field in Houston, Texas, the new home of the Houston Astros, received a merit award. The $250 million project was created to enhance the fan experience and features an innovative retractable roof, natural grass playing field, and wide-open design. Serving as a cornerstone of renewal for the historic northeast quadrant of the city, Enron was built on the site of a 1911 railroad station, which was renovated and incorporated into the design of the stadium. A full-scale working locomotive helps reinforce the important historical reference to Houston's history as a railroad hub.
Each year since 1960, ASCE names a project as an Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement. This prestigious national award recognizes civil engineering projects that contribute to community well-being, demonstrate resourcefulness in planning and solving design challenges, and use innovative construction methods.
The first OPAL awards were inaugurated in April 2000.
- The American Society of Civil Engineers
FHWA Approves Record of Decision Advancing Hoover Dam Bypass Project
In March, FHWA signed a Record of Decision (ROD) allowing the long-awaited Hoover Dam Bypass project to proceed.
The ROD represents the conclusion of 10 years of project development, environmental studies, public input, and negotiations between the seven entities involved with the project: the states of Arizona and Nevada, the Bureau of Reclamation, the Lower Colorado Dam Facilities Office, FHWA, the National Park Service, and the Western Area Power Administration. The ROD officially names the Sugarloaf Mountain alternative as the best alternative to minimize environmental impacts, resolve traffic congestion and prevent crashes at the dam, and increase protection of the dam and waters of the Colorado River.
The project will eliminate a major bottleneck on U.S. 93, a major traffic route between Phoenix and Las Vegas and a part of the National Highway System. It will reroute trucks and traffic, preventing them from traveling across Hoover Dam, a route that was completed in 1936.
The bypass will be a four-lane, divided highway about 5.1 kilometers (3.2 miles) long that will include numerous wildlife crossings, as well as a 579-meter (1,900?foot) bridge that will cross the Colorado River at a height of more than 274 meters (900 feet).
Construction is scheduled to start in late 2002 and will take about five years to complete. It is budgeted at $198 million.
The complete environmental document and the ROD are available for review on the project Web site at www.hooverdambypass.org and at the following locations: Boulder City Public Library (Boulder City, Nev.); Bullhead City Public Library (Bullhead City, Ariz.); Clark County Public Library (Las Vegas, Nev.); and Green Valley Public Library (Henderson, Nev.).
FHWA and Michigan DOT Win Prestigious Public Relations Award
Two videos co-produced by FHWA and the Michigan Department of Transportation to promote preventive maintenance programs have received the prestigious Crystal PACE Award, one of the top honors in the public relations field.
Jim Sorenson, senior construction and preservation engineer in FHWA's Office of Asset Management, and Larry Galehouse, manager of the Pavement and Roadside Section of the Michigan Department of Transportation, served as executive producers of the videos. The videos were also made possible through a partnering effort by the Foundation for Pavement Preservation, a nonprofit research and education organization based in Falls Church, Va., and other state highway agencies.
LTS Productions, the Michigan firm that shot and edited the videos, logged more than 4,184 kilometers (2,600 miles) by air and 11,265 kilometers (7,000 miles) by highway to gather extensive pavement footage, scenery, and commentary from administrators, engineers, and contractors in nine states across the country.
Jackson Confirmed as DOT Deputy Secretary
In May, the Senate confirmed Michael P. Jackson as deputy transportation secretary.
As deputy secretary, Jackson will serve as the department's chief operating officer with responsibility for the day-to-day operations of 11 modal administrations and the work of 100,000 DOT employees nationwide and overseas. He will work with Secretary Mineta to carry out DOT's major missions and to provide leadership in the areas of strategic management, regulatory reform, and research and development.
Jackson previously served as DOT chief of staff for Secretary Andrew H. Card Jr. from 1992 to 1993.
Before returning to DOT, Jackson worked in the private sector as vice president and general manager for business development at Lockheed Martin IMS Transportation Systems and Services. From 1993 until 1997, Jackson was senior vice president and counselor to the president of the American Trucking Associations where he handled freight, technology, and international trade matters.
Jackson has served in several other executive branch positions, including special assistant to the president and executive secretary for cabinet liaison during the George H.W. Bush administration, and as press spokesman and deputy chief of staff to the secretary of education.
Jackson graduated with honors from the University of Houston and received a doctorate in political science from Georgetown University.
Taylor Named New Deputy Chief of Staff
Vincent T. Taylor is the new deputy chief of staff at DOT. As deputy chief of staff, Taylor provides executive direction on a variety of transportation policy matters and directs policy, program, and managerial support to the operations of the department.
Most recently, Taylor was the program manager for counter-narcotics, law enforcement, and terrorism in the Office of the Inspector General at the Department of State.
Originally from Los Angeles, Taylor began his civil service career in 1987 as a special investigator with the Defense Investigative Service. From 1988 to 1999, he served as operations security and tactical deception officer of the U.S. Air Force's Space Systems Division. He also served in three positions at the U.S. Department of State ¾ chief of the Facilities Security Division in the Bureau of Diplomatic Security; special assistant to the undersecretary for management; and deputy executive director for the Bureau of Finance and Management Policy.
Taylor is also a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves.
Taylor has a bachelor's degree from the University of Maryland at College Park, a master's degree in criminal justice from California State University at Long Beach, and a master's degree in public administration from Shippensburg University ¾ Shippensburg, Pa. He is also a graduate of the U.S. Army War College.
Bush Nominates Physician to Head NHTSA
President Bush tapped a physician with expertise treating car-crash victims to head the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The White House announced in June that President Bush nominated Jeffrey William Runge as NHTSA administrator. Runge is currently assistant chairman of the Carolinas Medical Center's department of emergency medicine in Charlotte, N.C. The hospital identified his specialty as "injury research, including resuscitation, brain injury, and traffic safety." In 1996, as a fellow at NHTSA, he received the Highway Safety Leadership Award.
Runge, a 1981 graduate of the Medical University of South Carolina, is a past chairman of the American College of Emergency Physicians Injury Prevention and Control Subcommittee and currently serves on the organization's Trauma Care and Injury Control Committee.
Stoner Promoted to Division Administrator Position
Norman Stoner was promoted to division administrator in Springfield, Ill. Stoner was serving as assistant division administrator of the Michigan Division. Previously, he served in other key positions, such as regional operations team leader in the former Region 5 regional office, Homewood, Ill., and at headquarters as a highway engineer in the Office of Highway Safety. Stoner began his career with FHWA in 1969 as a highway engineer trainee.
Mathis Promoted to Division Administrator Position
Daniel Mathis was promoted to division administrator in Olympia, Wash. Mathis was serving as assistant division administrator of the Illinois Division. Prior to his assignment in Illinois, he served as district engineer, and later as engineering operations team leader in Iowa. From 1987 to 1990, he served at headquarters as a highway engineer in the former Pavements Division. Mathis is also an alumnus of the Highway Engineer Training Program.
ASCE Presents Lifetime Achievement Awards at OPAL Awards Gala
In April, ASCE presented their Lifetime Achievement Awards at the second annual Outstanding Projects and Leaders (OPAL) award gala. The OPAL awards honor professional civil engineers for lifelong contributions in five categories - public works, construction, management, design, and education.
Jorge Manuel Dengo-Obregon, a Costa Rican civil engineer and the country's former vice president, received the Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award in Public Works for his more than 50 years of public service in engineering and economic development throughout Central America.
During his lengthy career, Dengo-Obregon successfully developed and launched a program that brought electricity and telecommunications to more than 80 percent of his country within 10 years. He also successfully responded to the crisis situation created by the eruption of the Irazü volcano by forming the National Civil Defense Office, which still exists today as the National Emergency Commission.
The Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award in Construction was presented to Ben C. Gerwick, former Chairman of Ben C. Gerwick Inc., Consulting Engineers. A leading authority on the advancement of precast and prestressed concrete, Gerwick was active in developing structural underwater concrete and concrete slurry wall technology. He was also active in the design and construction of concrete platforms in the Arctic Ocean, which culminated in an iceberg-resistant concrete platform off the coast of Newfoundland.
Gerwick was elected as a member of the National Academy of Engineering in 1973, and in 1985 he was bestowed with an Honorary Membership to ASCE. Both awards are the highest of their kind in the civil engineering profession.
Former CEO and president of Parsons Brinckerhoff Inc., James L. Lammie, was honored with the Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award in Management. The award recognizes Lammie for his excellence in leadership in a career that has spanned 48 years in both the military and private sectors.
After graduating from the U.S. Military Academy in 1953, Lammie went on to serve 21 years in the U.S. Army, where he successfully led a brigade of 650 soldiers building roads, bridges, an airfield, and barracks in Vietnam. This and other exemplary acts led him to be chosen as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers district engineer in San Francisco, a position which he held until his retirement as colonel in 1974.
From 1976 to 1981, he served as the project director of the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority. In 1982, Lammie was promoted to president and CEO of Parsons Brinckerhoff Quade & Douglas Inc., a subsidiary company. And, in 1990, he became president and CEO of the parent company, Parsons Brinckerhoff International Inc.
Robert F. Mast, founder, owner, and senior principal of BERGER/ABAM Engineers Inc., one of the world's foremost consulting firms, received the Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award in Design.
Mast originated the method of designing connections in precast concrete using his concept of "shear friction." He is noted for developing practical and widely used methods for reinforcing joint and connection areas.
Mast helped found BERGER/ABAM Engineers Inc. in 1959. He is also the author of more than 150 technical papers, articles, and presentations.
The Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award in Education was presented to Ralph B. Peck, Ph.D., P.E., professor emeritus of foundation engineering for the University of Illinois. The award recognizes Peck for his longstanding commitment to students of civil engineering during a career that has spanned more than 60 years.
In December 1942, Peck joined the civil engineering department of the University of Illinois at Urbana
Peck has authored more than 200 technical publications dealing with foundations, earth pressures, tunnels, slopes, and earth dams, two of which are used in classrooms worldwide and are considered by many to be essential textbooks in the education of well-trained geotechnical engineers.
ASCE also presented an Honorary Fellowship at the OPAL awards to Riley P. Bechtel, chairman, CEO, and a director of Bechtel Group Inc. The Bechtel organization, which was founded more than 100 years ago, is one of the world's leading engineering, construction, and project management firms.
- The American Society of Civil Engineer