Improvements to Maryland's John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway are relying on company's high-performance cement product for significant cost and long-term durability benefits.

NewCem slag cement supplied by Lafarge is playing a key role in the Maryland Transportation Authority's (MdTA) Express Toll Lanes Project that will help reduce traffic congestion along a highly congested segment of I-95 north of the city of Baltimore.

According to the MdTA, motorists spend the equivalent of ten days or more each year sitting in traffic during their average 30-minute commute along I-95 in the Baltimore metro area. Without effective highway improvements to ease traffic congestion, the length of weekday rush hours could double by 2025. Weekend traffic will resemble weekday rush hours, local roads will clog with the overflow from highways and the number of accidents will increase.

The MdTA's Express Toll Lanes Project is designed to ease congestion and increase safety by making significant highway improvements to this busy 10-mile stretch of I-95. Once complete, there will be two express toll lanes and four general-purpose lanes in each direction. Motorists will have the option of using the general-purpose lanes at no cost or paying a toll to use the express toll lanes. With vehicles spread out over two extra lanes in each direction, travel times, accidents and delays should decrease.

The U.S. Federal Highway Administration is actively promoting the use of high performance concrete (HPC) in constructing longer-lasting, low-maintenance roads and bridges — an effort that promises to deliver huge cost savings in the nation's highway infrastructure. Engineered for long-term durability, NewCem is specified in HPC mixes by many state DOT's to help achieve greater strength potential, reduced permeability, and increased resistance to chemical attack in concrete. It also provides significant sustainability benefits, as the use of slag cement in concrete saves virgin raw materials, consumes less energy, and makes use of an industrial by-product material that might otherwise be disposed of in landfills. The result is high performance concrete with an extended service life, lower life cycle costs, and less environmental impact.

Scheduled for completion in 2012, the MdTA Express Toll Lanes Project includes improvements to the mainline roadway and reconstruction of bridges and interchanges. All 70,000 cubic yards of concrete used in the project will include NewCem slag cement. Most applications will use a traditional mix of 65 percent portland cement and 35 percent Newcem; however, several mass concrete placements will require 30 percent portland cement and 70 percent NewCem.