Concrete Helper

An outstanding new website that came to our attention recently is With some great tools and advice (and a concrete glossary that is even better than ACI’s), Concrete Helper is the brainchild of Heath Armstrong, a recent graduate of Middle Tennessee State University’s Concrete Industry Management program. “My goal is to compile a website where students can interact with relevant information and each other,” says Armstrong. “I hope this website will open the eyes of students to see all the wonderful applications and possibilities of concrete.”

The Demise of Metric

The metric revolution seems to have died a quiet death. In the early 1990s, a major push was made to move toward metric measurements in construction. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and other U.S. government agencies, dictated that all projects using federal money had to go metric. In response, the Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute’s members marked all rebar with soft metric designations for size and grade. But private construction never adopted metric and now even the FHWA has recognized that fact. So CRSI has reversed course, “to reduce confusion and the chance of errors/delay,” and is encouraging its members to revert to inch-pound markings.

A Highway Reauthorization?

Hope springs eternal when it comes to getting a highway bill passed in our nation’s capital. The Senate’s Environment and Public Works committee has introduced the “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act” or “MAP-21,” which would provide funding of $109 billion over two years (2012 and 2013). Although a short two-year time frame is less than ideal, it’s better than what seems like the day-to-day authorizations we are operating under now. For a detailed analysis of MAP-21, plus a countdown clock showing how long it’s been since the last highway bill expired, go to the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (

If you have any questions about anything concrete, send them—if I can’t answer I will find someone who can.