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Public Roads - May/June 1998

Along the Road

Policy and Legislation

"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.

DOT and EPA Launch Transportation and Air Quality Pilot Program

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are launching several pilot programs aimed at reducing traffic congestion and improving air quality by attempting to change travelers' behaviors through public outreach initiatives.

Officials with EPA's Office of Mobile Sources, FHWA, and the Federal Transit Administration will work with state and local organizations in Dover, Del.; Milwaukee; and San Francisco to support efforts to meet congestion and air quality goals under the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act and the Clean Air Act. The goal of the project is to build national and local coalitions of public and private organizations that will promote environment-friendly attitudes regarding transportation and air quality.

Customized packets of information are being distributed to each of the cities in the pilot study that address that city's different needs. Results of the three pilot studies will be evaluated this fall.

Management and Administration

Highway Construction Costs Are Up

FHWA announced that highway construction costs increased 13 percent in the fourth quarter of 1997. These results raised FHWA's composite index for highway construction costs to 138.2 percent of the 1987 base index (1987 average costs equal 100 percent).

Increases in the unit prices for reinforcing steel, portland cement concrete, bituminous concrete, structural steel, and structural concrete raised this index in the fourth quarter. There was a decrease in the unit price for common excavation.


The costs of construction projects on the nation's highways are on the rise.

Trends in highway construction costs are measured by an index of average contract prices compiled from reports of state highway contract awards for federal-aid contracts greater than $500,000. Since the enactment of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991, the index reflects federal-aid contracts on the national highway system.

ITS-IDEA Program Encourages ITS Development

The Transportation Research Board, with support from FHWA, began Innovations Deserving Exploratory Analysis (IDEA) Program to stimulate intelligent transportation systems (ITS) development through awarding contracts to ITS projects. This program has awarded approximately 67 research contracts to innovative ITS projects and has an annual budget of $1.5 million. IDEA covers four topic areas: highways, transit, ITS, and high-speed rail.

The next submission date for proposals is Sept. 30. Proposals are regularly submitted on either March 31 or Sept. 30. Experts in differing technical areas review and evaluate about 850 ITS proposals. The ITS-IDEA advisory committee then considers the submitted concepts.

- ITS America News

Technical News

NAPA and FHWA Release Superpave Construction Guidelines

The National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA) and FHWA have sponsored a colloquium on the difference between using SuperpaveT and conventional hot mix asphalt. NAPA and FHWA released a report, Superpave Construction Guidelines, which reveals the outcome of that discussion. This new publication details situations unique to the use of coarse-graded Superpave mixes, which differ from situations encountered when using conventional hot mix asphalt.

FHWA Funds War Against Graffiti

The Highway Innovative Technology Evaluation Center (HITEC), an innovation center of the Civil Engineering Research Foundation, recently received funding from FHWA to evaluate graffiti removal methods and technologies developed to protect structures from graffiti.

HITEC, with the assistance of the American Public Works Association and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, is assembling an expert panel and a collection of candidates who are successfully applying graffiti-removal techniques and protection technologies so that HITEC can perform a group evaluation. Following the evaluation, the panel plans to develop and publish HITEC reports to document the performance of the technologies participating in the program. The panel meeting is scheduled for early summer 1998, but no date has been set yet.

Initiative Helps to Save Lives in Crashes

The Minnesota Department of Transportation, Minnesota State Patrol, Mayo Clinic, and Calspan are developing and testing an emergency response infrastructure and crash notification system. Using technology developed during federally funded automatic collision notification field tests, the project - named Mayday Plus - is designed to save lives by allowing emergency response officials to react faster and more efficiently to vehicle crashes.

Beginning this fall, for a six-month period, 120 vehicles in southern Minnesota will be equipped with crash sensors, cellular phones, and global positioning systems. Together, these devices will provide 911 dispatchers and emergency response officials with a direct communications link to the vehicle. Emergency response officials will be able to receive detailed crash data such as the direction of impact, the severity of the crash, and the final resting position of the vehicle. This information will prevent typical problems that emergency response teams encounter, such as delayed notification and unreliable eyewitness accounts of the crash, which delay emergency responses and endanger crash victims.

- Calspan

Public Information and Information Exchange

FHWA Announces Status of Eisenhower System of Interstate and Defense Highways

As of Dec. 31, 1997, more than 99.9 percent - 68,859 km - of the United States' interstate system is now in use. Since Dec. 31, 1996, 19 km were put into service. Total miles now open to traffic include 64,920 km that are complete or essentially complete. The other 3,939 km include: 146 km that require major improvements to bring them to full interstate standards; 3,593 km of toll facilities; and 200 km of roadways currently under improvement or still requiring additional minor work to complete initial construction.

National Transportation Week Begins in May

National Transportation Week was observed May 10-16. First created by a joint resolution of Congress in 1962, National Transportation Week is an opportunity to emphasize the importance of transportation to the nation's economy and quality of life. Specific activities and events were held locally. For more information on National Transportation Week, contact Karen Haas Smith at (301) 460-4720.

FHWA Project Honored for Excellence in Erosion Control

The Western Federal Lands Highway Division received the 1998 Environmental Achievement Award from the International Erosion Control Association (IECA) for an FHWA project honored for excellence in erosion control. The award was presented to project engineer Robert Miller and design engineer Ed Hammontree at the annual IECA conference in Reno, Nev.

The project is located in the Idaho Panhandle National Forest and involved straightening and widening a 16-km section of Forest Highway 9 in the scenic mountains between Enaville, Idaho, and Thompson Pass on the Idaho-Montana border. This project aimed to control erosion on high, steep slopes through mountainous terrain; to protect the spawning grounds of native cutthroat trout from sediment; to reclaim 60.7 hectares of dredge mining tailings; to recontour the abandoned roadway, and to construct wetlands as part of a material source development and reclamation plan.

FHWA Requests Comments on Revised MUTCD

FHWA is requesting comments on the proposed new edition of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). Scheduled for publication in the year 2000, the new manual plans to clarify the provisions, including metric dimensions and values, for the design and installation of traffic control devices and to improve the overall content organization.

The National Committee on Uniform Traffic Control Devices has been in charge of rewriting and reformatting the new MUTCD and has begun submitting recommendations to FHWA for review. FHWA is inviting comments on the proposed changes. The reviews and subsequent changes to MUTCD will occur in stages.

The proposed text for Parts 1 (General Provisions) and 7 (Traffic Control for School Areas) were published in volume 62 of the Federal Register, page 64324, on Dec. 5, 1997. The closing date for comments is Sept. 8. To obtain a copy of Parts 1 and 7, contact Linda Brown at

NAPA Announces Asphalt Competition Award Winner

Haskell Lemon Construction Co. in Oklahoma City received the National Asphalt Pavement Association's (NAPA) Sheldon G. Hayes Award for reconstructing eight kilometers of roadway on I-40 in Canadian County, Okla. This award is given to companies who use at least 45,350 metric tons of hot mix asphalt in a pavement project. A total of 63,490 metric tons of hot mix asphalt, all of which was recycled, was removed and 79,816 metric tons of new, full-depth polymer-modified hot mix asphalt were used to repave the roadway.


Virginia Tech and VDOT Chosen for Grant on Night Driving Visibility

FHWA has awarded Virginia Tech's Center for Transportation Research and the Virginia Department of Transportation's (VDOT) Research Council $1.8 million to find ways to increase driving visibility in darkness, fog, rain, and snow. The grant recipients plan to test prototype ultraviolet (UV) headlights combined with special fluorescent-reactive pavement markings, signs, and lane delineators under different lighting and weather conditions.

FHWA-funded studies to be conducted by Virginia and VDOT will focus on increasing driving visibility in darkness and fog.

Virginia Tech and VDOT's Research Council will provide in-kind services. Ford Motor Co. will provide the prototype headlights, and 3M Company, Day-Glo Color Corporation, and Carsonite International will provide the pavement markings, signs, and lane delineators. The value of all products and services will amount to more than $800,000.

FHWA Sponsors First International Transportation Essay Contest

FHWA is accepting entries for the 1998 International Essay Competition. The contest, sponsored worldwide by the World Roads Association (PIARC), is being conducted simultaneously in the United States and other countries around the world. It is designed to stimulate new approaches to meeting the transportation challenges of the 21st century. The contest is a component of DOT's Garrett A. Morgan Transportation and Technology Futures Program.

Essays must be submitted by Oct. 31, 1998, and should consist of an innovative, balanced, practical, applicable, and multidisciplinary approach to solving a real transportation problem facing a country or region. The essay is not to exceed 8,000 words or 25 pages, including diagrams, charts, photographs, and illustrations. Each submission must also include a two-page summary. Young professionals, graduate students, and post-graduate academics (with 10 years or less experience) in the transportation field are eligible to participate. Employees of the U.S. DOT are not eligible.

The author of the winning essay from the United States will be awarded an expenses-paid trip to attend the 21st World Roads Congress in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in October 1999 and will be published in a future edition of FHWA's bimonthly magazine Public Roads. If the winning U.S. essay is selected by the World Road Association as one of the top four essays from around the world, the primary author or team representative will present the paper on a panel at the World Roads Congress.

For complete details on the essay competition, please visit, or contact the Office of International Programs by telephone (202) 366-2155 or e-mail at


Masuda Selected as Division Administrator

FHWA Administrator Kenneth R. Wykle selected Allen Masuda to be division administrator in Jefferson City, Mo. The effective date is yet to be announced.

Masuda currently serves as the assistant division administrator in Richmond, Va. Previously, he was a district engineer in both Richmond, Va., and West Trenton, N.J. He holds a bachelor's degree in civil engineering.

Deputy Administrator Has Two New Special Assistants

Gloria Hardiman-Tobin and Martine Micozzi have been assigned to two special assistant positions within the Office of the FHWA Deputy Administrator.

Hardiman-Tobin has been with FHWA for five years and served as an attorney with the Office of Chief Counsel, Program Legal Services, General Law Branch. She holds a master's degree in transportation planning and a juris doctorate in law.

Micozzi has been with DOT for five years, three of which have been with FHWA. She served as a member of the Congestion Pricing Pilot Program Team and as technical assistant to the Associate Administrator for Policy. She earned a master's degree in urban planning and is professionally certified in transportation demand management.

ACI Announces Personnel Changes

The American Concrete Institute (ACI) announced the retirement of George F. Leyh, executive vice president and chief staff officer, and the appointment of Daniel W. Falconer as managing director of engineering.

Leyh had held his position at ACI for more than 22 years and plans to retire this July. He also served as president of ACI International's research and education foundation, ConREF, as well as president of ACI's for-profit subsidiary, Associated Concrete Ltd.

Falconer, formerly a vice president with VSL Corporation in Pennsylvania, will take on the challenges of organizing and developing new technical efforts, representing ACI's interests both nationally and internationally. He holds bachelor's and master's degrees in civil engineering.



U.S. ITS Joint Program Office Offers Courses

The U.S. Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office is presenting a free three-day course for transportation professionals on how to apply the tools and methodologies developed by the National ITS Architecture Team for DOT. The course will be held at the DOT headquarters building at Seventh and E Streets, SW., in Washington, D.C. The class will be conducted on March 24-26, April 28-30, May 12-14, and June 9-11. Applicants must call to register for the course. For more information, please contact Robert Glass at (202) 426-9327 or (202) 426-9332 or Lee Simmons at (202) 366-8048.