Complex Challenges of Managing Public Infrastructure
Managing public infrastructure in the face of 21st-century challenges can be a daunting task for public agencies. Take Iowa’s highway system for example. Like many other states, it hasn’t increased much in terms of mileage over the last 50 years. Yet, the number of licensed drivers grows with each generation. In just the past ten years, a half million people have become licensed drivers in the state of Iowa—an increase of 28 percent. To make the situation more complex, public agency revenues have been relatively flat with decreased buying power for construction projects.
“The challenges facing our roadway network are vast and interrelated,” shares Jerod Gross, PE, LEED AP, and Civil Engineer for Snyder & Associates. “We must continue to investigate proper means and methods to maintain an efficient and safe transportation system with limited available resources.”
For Gross and his colleagues, it’s no surprise that many state Departments of Transportation (DOTs) and other public agencies are focused on preserving their existing systems without increasing system size. Coupling that focus with new federal requirements on asset management has agencies searching for economically efficient techniques that both stretch pavement life and increase overall system condition. Snyder & Associates is helping agencies do just that through their work for the National Concrete Pavement Technology Center (CP Tech Center).
Committed to Advancing Concrete Overlay Technology
In the last ten years, there’s been an explosion of interest in concrete overlays. Since 2006, the CP Tech Center and Snyder & Associates have been at the forefront of that interest with the development of the nation’s first Guide to Concrete Overlays.
Since then, together, we’ve trained thousands of engineers and officials across the country on the design and construction of concrete overlays. Our efforts have included numerous workshops, seminars, and field reviews.
The Overlay Guide itself is now in its third edition, and the CP Tech Center, with our assistance, has created several other overlay related bulletins and guides.
Recently, the CP Tech Center finalized a research report on concrete overlay performance in Iowa and will soon release a new guide for the development of concrete overlays that will include sample drawings, specifications, and trends in cost.
Making a Difference in the Pavement Industry
Another hot topic for today’s public agencies is pavement preservation.
As the CP Tech Center’s Technology Transfer Engineer, Snyder & Associates works with experts throughout the country to develop pavement preservation training materials, manuals, and educational offerings.
Preservation timing and techniques are important to meet the ever-increasing demands of the motoring public. It’s a concept that’s part of our DNA.
“Working with the CP Tech Center, we get the opportunity to help make a difference in the pavement industry,” states Gross. “Continuous improvement is essential in civil engineering and planning. It’s something we’re committed to across the firm.”
Increasing Pavement Performance Through Performance Engineered Mixtures
Over the last few years, Midwest cities have been working with the CP Tech Center to increase pavement performance in today’s municipal environment with a focus on Performance Engineered Mixtures (PEMs). This recent interest in PEMs examines the concrete mixture itself and works to identify ways it could be enhanced.
Along with addressing the mixture, the CP Tech Center began looking at test methods that might provide a better indication of performance. For example, concrete permeability is closely tied to performance. Yet, concrete mixtures are rarely designed specifically for low permeability and are rarely subject to a testing protocol indicative of permeability.
Over the next five years, the CP Tech Center will champion PEM research and technology, and Snyder & Associates will play a big role in that effort.
Paving the Way to Improve the Nation’s Transportation Infrastructure
The CP Tech Center, with assistance from Snyder & Associates, is paving the way to advance and improve the nation’s transportation infrastructure. Educational offerings, technical publications, and applied research are collaborative efforts that brighten the future of infrastructure nationwide.
Our resolve to be a strong force for continuous improvement grows stronger every day.
“We must be stewards of our infrastructure,” shares Wade Greiman, PE, Transportation Business Unit Leader. “We accomplish this by staying in front of new technology, contributing to emerging pavement research, and comprehensively evaluating pavement to determine cost-effective solutions that last. Our clients and their constituents should expect that.”