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Federal Highway Administration Research and Technology
Coordinating, Developing, and Delivering Highway Transportation Innovations
This magazine is an archived publication and may contain dated technical, contact, and link information.
|Publication Number: Date: March/April 1999|
Issue No: Vol. 62 No. 5
Date: March/April 1999
"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 Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) sources unless otherwise indicated. Your suggestions and input are welcome. Let's meet along the road.
Policy and Legislation
DOT Initiates Programs on Global Climate Change
At the Eno Transportation Foundation Conference on Global Climate Change held in Washington, D.C., Deputy Secretary Mortimer Downey announced Department of Transportation (DOT) initiatives designed to reduce carbon emissions that are caused by the transportation system. This reduction can be done in three ways: by encouraging more efficient travel practices, by making transportation more fuel efficient, and by adopting fuels that will emit less carbon.
Several programs, such as the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program (CMAQ), which funds projects that will help regions with air-quality problems meet the requirements of the Clean Air Act, will help lower emissions. The new Transportation and Community and System Preservation Pilot Program will fund strategies to improve the transportation system's efficiency. The Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) authorizes $500 million for the Clean Fuels Formula Grant Program, which will be used for clean-fuel buses and facilities.
Deploying intelligent transportation system technologies is also among the initiatives set up to lower carbon emissions, improve air quality, and help to slow climate changes.
Indiana Superior Court Declares Seat-Belt Law Unconstitutional
An Indiana County Superior Court judge ruled that the Indiana seat-belt law, which allowed police officers to stop vehicles if the drivers are suspected of not wearing their seat belts, was unconstitutional. The new ruling means that officers can stop a driver if they witness him or her operating a vehicle without wearing a seat belt. However, officers cannot pull a driver over because they merely suspect that he or she is not wearing a restraint. Indiana will file an appeal in the Indiana Supreme Court.
Management and Administration
FHWA Hires Conveners
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) hired two conveners, Alana S. Knaster of Los Angeles and Charles Pou of Washington, to consider the feasibility of using negotiated rulemaking to develop hours-of-service rules for commercial drivers. The Negotiated Rulemaking Act of 1996 allows conveners to impartially assist an agency in deciding whether it is appropriate for that agency to enter into a negotiated rulemaking process.
In negotiated rulemaking, an agency invites those likely to be affected by a regulation to form a committee and draft the proposed rule. If FHWA approves of the draft, the consensus-proposed rule is then published by the agency for public comment under traditional regulatory procedures.
This is the first comprehensive effort to improve hours-of-service rules since they were established in the 1930s.
Georgia Receives Incentive
The rate of seat-belt use for fiscal year 1997 in Georgia exceeded the state's base rate of seat-belt use. Since wearing seat belts reduces the severity of injuries in collisions, Georgia saved the federal government $2,113,500 in medical costs because of this statewide increase in seat-belt use. As a result, the state will receive that amount of funding in fiscal year 1999 under the TEA-21 Section 157 program.
HITEC Releases Bondade Technical Evaluation Report
The Highway Innovative Technology Evaluation Center (HITEC), a service center of the Civil Engineering Research Foundation (CERF), released a technical evaluation report on Transpo Industries Inc.'s Bondade CU-31 bonding solution. The product is a liquid tacking compound that is applied to the inner surface of a pothole prior to repair to improve the adhesion of the fill material and extend the life of the repairs.
Transpo submitted Bondade to HITEC for evaluation to provide an impartial report of its performance. The report, Evaluation Findings of Bondade CU-31 Bonding Solution (#40348), can be purchased by calling (800) 548-2723 or through e-mail at email@example.com.
Public Information and Information Exchange
Mid-Atlantic States and FHWA Plan for Year 2000 Maryland state and local traffic engineers from the Mid-Atlantic states met with FHWA officials to make sure that computerized signal systems will function properly when the year 2000 (Y2K) arrives.
Some states have different software packages to control traffic signals, and occasionally these software packages are not compatible. To avoid safety hazards and congestion, officials must be certain that traffic signals do not malfunction.
FHWA urged states and local communities to develop and implement contingency plans with a range of Y2K scenarios that anticipate what could go wrong and how to respond to those situations.
For more information on Y2K traffic control issues, see FHWA's Y2K Web site: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/y2k.
DOT Releases Technical Analysis of Truck Sizes and Weights
The draft Comprehensive Truck Size and Weight Study, Volume III was released in December 1998. The four-volume study is a technical tool used to analyze how various truck sizes and weights impact the highway structure. This draft volume describes analytical tools designed to evaluate the nation's truck size and weight regulations, which takes into account such factors as safety, the environment, traffic congestion, the economy, and infrastructure costs.
The complete study will have four volumes: Executive Summary, Issues and Background, Scenario and Analysis, and Guide to Documentation. The draft of volume II was released in June 1997. Comments on both volumes II and III will be incorporated into the final report, expected to be released in spring 1999.
Delaware Opens New Composite Bridge
The state of Delaware opened its first all-composite bridge deck late last year. The deck, located on state business Route 896 in Glasgow, Del., is roughly 10 meters by eight meters and is composed of two 0.76-meter-thick fiber-reinforced composite panels, each of which weighs slightly more than six metric tons.
This bridge project was a joint effort of FHWA; the Delaware Department of Transportation; the University of Delaware; Hardcore, a private composites company; and contractor James Julian International.
CERF Receives Award for Web Site
The CERF Web site — www.cerf.org — has been honored with a 1998 "Standard of Excellence" Web Award from the Web Marketing Association Inc.
More than 500 Web sites from around the world were considered for the award. CERF's Web site works to facilitate the exchange of information on research and innovations for the design and construction industry. The site includes infromation about CERF's innovation centers, research initiatives and ongoing research projects, international symposiums and practices, and opportunities for collaboration. For more information on CERF, contact Stacy Warner at (202) 842-0555.
Construction Begins on Alameda Corridor
Construction of the Alameda Corridor in California began at a ground-breaking ceremony held in December 1998. This ceremony officially marked the beginning of construction of the 16.1-kilometer, mid-corridor trench and track construction project. Actual construction began in January 1999. This project is the largest single component of the $2.4 billion Alameda Corridor, which, when completed, will link the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, facilitating the intermodal shipping of freight throughout the United States.
The 32.2-kilometer Alameda Corridor project is jointly funded with a $400 million innovative financing loan from DOT, $2.5 million from the U.S. Department of Commerce, $71 million in FHWA grants, $276 million from state and local sources, $400 million from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, Calif., and up to $1.3 billion in project revenue bonds.
The corridor will consolidate four separate freight train routes, eliminate about 200 rail grade crossings, and will reduce congestion.
VDOT Constructs Shelter for Endangered Species
The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has placed nesting boxes for peregrine falcons, an endangered species since 1970, on several Virginia bridges: the James River bridge on U.S. Route 17; the Berkely Bridge on Route I-264 near the Elizabeth River; and, most recently, the Godwin Bridge on U.S. route 17 over the Nansemond River and the West Norfolk Bridge on Route 164 over the western branch of the Elizabeth River.
VDOT, while constructing the Coleman Bridge on U.S. Route 17 over the York River, found that the bridge was a potential nesting site for the falcons, which tend to nest on tall cliffs or urban skyscrapers. VDOT placed a nesting box on the bridge to accommodate the falcons and to help preserve the species.
VDOT earned FHWA's Excellence Award in the category of Environmental Protection and Enhancements through FHWA's Excellence in Highway Design competition.
As a result of VDOT's efforts, new criteria have been developed for establishing nesting boxes on potential peregrine falcon nesting sites, such as state bridges.
FHWA Initiates Aesthetic Treatments Album
FHWA has initiated the development of a photo-album workbook for special roadway aesthetic treatments. The project will involve compiling examples of innovative aesthetic treatments that have been applied on transportation projects nationwide, with a particular emphasis on structural and geotechnical features such as bridges, walls, barriers, soil, and rock cut and fill slopes. The workbook will include color photographs, brief project and aesthetic treatment descriptions, details of typical plan sheets, construction specification, and construction cost data.
When completed, this photo album workbook will be placed on a Web site to be used as a resource by highway designers and landscape architects. Users can consult the album when presenting preliminary design alternatives to clients, enabling them to view and recognize a particular treatment.
Arkansas Highway to Improve Safety
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Rodney E. Slater joined in the dedication of the final 51.5 kilometers of Interstate 540 in Arkansas. When completed, I-540 — which was once called one of the most dangerous highways in America by Reader's Digest — will improve the safety of highway travel in the state, while enhancing mobility and economic growth.
The final portion of the 77.2-kilometer interstate was dedicated at a ceremony held at the Bobby Hopper Tunnel near Winslow, Ark. I-540 runs between Alma and Fayetteville, Ark.
The highway, which was initially approved in 1987, was built at a cost of $458 million. FHWA granted $379 million to the project.
FHWA Extends Deadline for Motor Carrier GPS Pilot Test
FHWA extended its application deadline for those interested in participating in a global positioning system (GPS) test program from Oct. 5, 1998 to June 30, 1999. Written applications should be mailed to the Office of Motor Carrier Research and Standards, FHWA, Department of Transportation, 400 Seventh Street, SW, Washington, DC. 20590. FHWA extended the deadline because no applications had been received; however, several motor carriers indicated that they wanted to participate in this pilot project but were unable to purchase or develop the requisite computer systems and software that complement the GPS software before the original deadline in October.
Motor carriers who want to participate in the program must have GPS technology and complementary safety management computer systems that meet all of the conditions specified in the April 6, 1998, notice in the Federal Register.
This project will allow qualified motor carriers that use GPS technology and related safety systems to enter into an agreement with FHWA to use these technologies to record and monitor a driver's hours of service.
Ice Ban™ Deicing Product Wins 1998 CERF Charles Pankow Innovative Applications Award
Ice Ban America Inc. won the 1998 CERF Charles Pankow Innovative Applications Award. FHWA, among others, collaborated with Ice Ban America to produce Ice Ban™ — a non-toxic and biodegradable deicer made from a liquid residue that is created from the processing of corn and grains.
This product has proven to be cost-effective and can be mixed with road salt to significantly decrease salt's corrosiveness and to lower its working temperature.
Collaborators on the project include Archer Daniels Midland; Better Roads Magazine; FHWA; Minnesota Corn Processors; the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation; New York State DOT; Dr. Jeno Toth; the towns of Murray, Webster, and Yates, N.Y.; and Washington State DOT.
Forster Receives ASTM Prevost Hubbard Award
The American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) Committee D-4 on Road and Paving Materials presented Stephen Forster, research geologist/team leader at FHWA's Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center, with the 1998 Prevost Hubbard Award. This award is presented annually and honors outstanding service to the committee and work in the field of bituminous road and paving materials.
Forster received the award for providing outstanding leadership and standards-writing contributions to the committee. He was chairman of Subcommittee D04.51 on Aggregate Tests from 1983 to 1996. During that time, standard test methods for flat and elongated particles in coarse aggregate were developed along with the standard test method for determining the percentage of fractured particles in coarse aggregate.
The award was established in 1972 in honor of Prevost Hubbard, a distinguished member of D-4 for 63 years, who also served as committee secretary for 38 years.
FHWA Deputy Administrator Honored by NTA
The National Technical Association (NTA) named FHWA Deputy Administrator Gloria Jeff as one of the 1998 Top Women in the Sciences and Technology.
NTA selected Jeff as one of 50 women who have excelled in the field of science and technology. She shares the honor with former Energy Secretary Hazel O'Leary; Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson, who chairs the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission; and U.S. Representative Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas.
Jeff helps lead an agency of DOT that has 3,550 employees and an annual budget of more than $25 billion.
Hyun Named Deputy Chief of Staff of DOT
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Rodney E. Slater named Carrie Hyun as DOT's deputy chief of staff. She will be responsible for strategic communications and for crisis and policy management. Previously, Hyun was communications director at the bipartisan U.S. Census Monitoring Board, where she worked to ensure that the year 2000 census is conducted fairly and accurately. She also served as DOT's associate director of media relations.
Thomas J. Ptak, FHWA associate administrator for program development, retired Jan. 2, 1999. Ptak worked for FHWA and its predecessor agency, the Bureau of Public Roads, for 35 years.
In recent years, Ptak served as FHWA deputy regional administrator, region seven; then as chief of the Intelligent Vehicle-Highway System Research Division; then Director of the Office of Engineering and Highway Operations Research and Development; and then FHWA regional administrator, region nine.
Ptak earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in civil engineering from the University of Wisconsin and is a registered professional engineer in that state.
Shackelford to Chair TRB
Wayne Shackelford, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Transportation, was named chairman of the Transportation Research Board's (TRB) Executive Committee for 1999. He took office during the 78th Annual Meeting of TRB in Washington, D.C., in January.
Shackelford has served as commissioner of Georgia DOT since 1991. He served as president of the Southeastern Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials; as vice president, and then president of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO); and, most recently, as chairman of the board of directors of the Intelligent Transportation Society of America (1998-1999).
Turner Receives Medal for Lifetime Achievement in Transportation
Francis C. "Frank" Turner is the inaugural recipient of the Frank Turner Medal for Lifetime Achievement in Transportation, a newly established award given in his honor by TRB.
Frank Turner is know as the "father" of the Interstate Highway System and spent his entire professional career at FHWA and the Bureau of Public Roads. Turner was selected by President Eisenhower to serve as executive secretary to the Advisory Committee on the National Highway Program. With Turner's support, the committee recommended a National System of Interstate and Defense Highways financed through a federal-state partnership, which has continued to this day.
FHWA's Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center in McLean, Va., also bears his name.
Selection of future award recipients will be made by a committee composed of top officials of the following organizations: FHWA, AASHTO, the American Public Works Association, the Texas Transportation Institute, and TRB.
New Executive Director at AASHTO
Francis B. "Frank" Francois, AASHTO executive director for 18 years, retired on Feb. 1. He is succeeded by John Horsley, former associate deputy secretary of transportation and director of U.S. DOT's Office of Intermodalism.
In addition to directing AASHTO's operations, Francois led and participated in a number of national and international transportation organizations. He was an ex officio member of TRB's Executive Committee and played a key role in the creation of the Strategic Highway Research Program and the Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS America). He currently serves on the boards of ITS America and the World Road Association (formerly the Permanent International Association of Road Congresses).
Horsley served as DOT's associate deputy secretary since April 1998. He was appointed by President Clinton as DOT's deputy assistant secretary for governmental affairs in 1993. Before that appointment, he served five terms as county commissioner in Kitsap County, Wash., near Seattle.
Chase Selected as Boase Lecturer
Steven Chase, a research engineer in FHWA's Office of Research, Development and Technology, has been selected as the 36th Boase Lecturer for the University of Colorado in Boulder. Each year, the university selects an individual of national recognition to lecture.
Chase is an expert in the areas of nondestructive evaluation and bridge management information systems. His lecture will present a summary of the evolution of bridge management systems over the last three decades and will discuss the next generation of bridge management systems. Issues to be discussed include the impact of new technologies, integration of bridge management systems into comprehensive infrastructure management systems, and the need for both network and project-level support.
Skelton Is FHWA's Chief Counsel
In January, Karen E. Skelton was named FHWA's chief counsel. Before this position, Skelton was deputy assistant to the president and deputy director of political affairs. Previously, she was director of political affairs in the Office the Vice President and a trial attorney for the Justice Department's Office of Environment and Natural Resources. She also has served as the deputy counsel to the attorney general.
Reagle and Cirillo Are Reassigned
George L. Reagle, FHWA's associate administrator for motor carriers, was appointed senior adviser to the federal highway administrator. He will advise on safety, the North American Free Trade Agreement, and other motor carrier issues.
Reagle held other key safety-related positions, such as director, Office of Surface Transportation Safety, National Transportation Safety Board; associate administrator for enforcement, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA); and associate administrator for traffic safety programs, NHTSA.
With the reassignment of Reagle, Julie Anna Cirillo, the change manager for FHWA's organizational restructuring and former regional administrator of region nine, will assume the responsibilities of program manager (previously called associate administrator) for motor carriers and highway safety.
Design Build for Transportation Conference To Be Held in Utah
On April 22-23, 1999, the nation's largest conference on design-build delivery for transportation projects will take place in Salt Lake City. The Design-Build for Transportation Conference is sponsored by the Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA), FHWA, and the American Society of Civil Engineers.
The conference will feature FHWA Administrator Kenneth Wykle as the keynote speaker and will hold several break-out sessions on topics such as design-build for small bridges, performance specifications for transportation projects, and design-build finance.
For more information, contact DBIA at (202) 682-5860, or visit DBIA's Web site (www.dbia.org).
Photo 1 and 2: Virginia DOT received FHWA's Excellence in Highway Design Competition Award for its falcon nesting box on the James River bridge in Newport News, Va.
Photo 3: Frank Turner, whose portrait hangs in the Turner Building — one of the two buildings that comprise the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center in McLean, Va. — received the Medal for Lifetime Achievement in Transportation, a newly established award in his honor.
Photo 4: Stephen W. Forster received the ASTM Prevost Hubbard Award.