Highway bill passed—at last

President Bush signed the long awaited “Safe, Accountable, Flexible and Efficient Transportation Equity Act—A Legacy for Users” (SAFETEA-LU) at the Caterpillar plant near Montgomery, Ill., on August 10. The bill will provide $286.4 billion over six years for highway and transit infrastructure projects. It will include $18.9 billion to improve the highway infrastructure of the nation, thanks to last year's reform of the ethanol tax.

The passage of SAFETEA-LU comes 22 months and an unprecedented 11 extensions after the expiration of its predecessor TEA-21.

Each state will receive at least 90.5 percent return on its contribution to the Highway Trust Fund, graduating to 92 percent by the year 2008. All states are also guaranteed a minimum of 19 percent average highway funding increase.

The new law appoints the U.S. Department of Transportation and establishes a pilot program for up to five states to coordinate environmental review for transportation projects.

Some of the bill's provisions:

  • That lawsuits challenging environmental reviews or permits be filed within 180 days
  • A twelve-month grace period for noncompliance before federal highway funds would be withheld
  • A private activity bonds program allowing $15 billion in federal tax-exempt bonds to finance highway, bridge, and intermodal facilities
  • $2.3 billion for research of surface transportation
  • A $5 billion dedicated safety program

Tom Trice, APWA president, says, “The long-awaited legislation is critically important to help reduce congestion, improve safety, create jobs, and enhance economic productivity while protecting the environment. Although it will not address all the needs of our transportation network, this legislation is a positive and much needed step toward reversing decades of underinvestment in our transportation system.”

To see the state breakdown of the SAFETEA-LU funding, visit http://www.agc.org/galieries/default-file/SAFETEA-LU%20Funding%20Chart.pdf and to see the Conference Report, go to http://www.house.gov/rules/109textTEALU.htm.

Self-consolidating concrete conference 2005

The second North American Conference on the design and use of self-consolidating concrete (SCC) is scheduled for October 30 to November 2, 2005, in Chicago. SCC continues to be an innovative material in the concrete construction industry, one that is destined to see great use. Presentations will cover mixes, testing, durability, and materials. On the second and third days of the conference, there will be a series of presentations of case studies from successful applications of SCC all over the world and in all kinds of applications, including slabs with steel fiber, columns and beams, precasting, shot-crete, tunneling, repair, and highway work. Talks will also focus on the economics of SCC—how to make it pay off in construction.

Organized by Dr. Surendra Shah and the Center for Advanced Cement-based Materials at Northwestern University, the conference presenters include the world's most knowledgeable people on SCC, from materials experts to designers to ready-mix producers to contractors. If you've ever considered using SCC, this is the place to learn. Staged at the Westin Hotel in downtown Chicago, there will also be social events where you can network with the leaders in this exciting new technology. On Sunday, October 30, you can attend a tour of many of Frank Lloyd Wright's most famous buildings. The registration fee is $399 for early registration (before September 30) and $499 after that. For further information, an agenda, or to register, go to www.scc2005.info or call 847-491-3858.

ACI 318-05 Building Code requirements for structural concrete

This most recent edition of the ACI Building Code, revised from the 2002 edition, provides minimum requirements for the design and construction of reinforced concrete structural elements. Written so that it may be adopted by reference in a general building code, the 22 chapters and 4 appendices include the latest revisions on a variety of topics. This publication is the most used structural design code in concrete construction.

To learn the new code provisions and how to implement them correctly in your day-to-day work, ACI and the Portland Cement Association are sponsoring a series of seminars. Instructors that served on the ACI Committee that produced the code explain each change, why it was made, and what it means to designers, specifiers, and builders of structural concrete. A portion of the day will be set aside to discuss Appendix D, Anchoring to Concrete, a new addition to the code. Easy-to-understand instructors will work through several design examples to illustrate applications of the new code provisions.

For more information see http://www.aci-int.org/EDUCATION/edu_SeminarDetails.asp?Seminar ID=61.

WOC Mexico gets “Grande”

Mirroring the growth of Mexican construction, World of Concrete Mexico 2005 in June attracted about 10% more attendees, and 75 more exhibitors than the 2004 inaugural show.

Attendees this year saw a wide range of concrete industry-related products. Mexican contractors wanted to learn how to become less dependent on manually batching fresh concrete, said Josh Watters, Cemen Tech's national sales manager.

The event, organized by Hanley Wood, EJ Krause of Mexico, and IMCYC, included an international program of conferences and companies worldwide.

World of Concrete Mexico 2005 presented products and services of more than 200 exhibitors, leaders in the market, both national and international, among them concrete producers; cement companies; manufacturers of products and admixtures for concrete, machinery for concrete production, “texturizing” of concrete, formwork, cranes, tools and technology for repair and demolition, as well as products for the growing sector of decorative concrete.

World of Concrete Mexico 2006 will be held on June 14–16, 2006.

Visit www.worldofconcretemexico.com for more on the show.

Specifier's Guide to Durable Concrete

This new publication from the Portland Cement Association is an instructional guide and basic reference for those responsible for writing and implementing concrete specifications. It covers the basic concepts of concrete technology as it relates to durability, and is intended to supplement Design and Control of Concrete Mixtures. It provides sufficient information to allow the practitioner to select materials and mix design parameters to achieve durable concrete in a variety of environments. It also warns the user when expert help is needed. For more information or to purchase, go to www.cement.org/bookstore.

Tilt-up advantages for school construction

Dan Pratt, vice president of the building division of Hughes General Contractors, has been added to the list of speakers for the first annual convention hosted by the Tilt-Up Concrete Association (TCA) to be held Oct. 12–15 in Atlanta.

The Tilt-Up Convention's theme, “Tilt-Up 4 Today: Energy, Environment, Economy, Efficiency,” was selected to highlight the diverse and growing attributes of the site cast tilt-up method. Ed Sauter, TCA executive director, said Pratt's expertise and experience with award-winning educational facilities make him a speaker not to be missed.

During the past 21 years, Pratt has overseen the construction of 90 educational facilities in Utah with Hughes General Contractors, 16 of which were tilt-up structures. Pratt will discuss some of these projects and how they have partnered with the Washington County School District to make tilt-up the leading solution for educational facilities.

Pratt will also highlight work with other school districts and provide tips on how attendees can partner with owners to create architectural tilt-up, including curved, round, and liquid colored panels as well as the use of an aluminum forming system.

Concrete Construction is the official media sponsor of the event. Additional information is available on TCA's website at www.tilt-up.org.

Learning about ICFs

If you're not familiar with insulating concrete forms (ICFs), this course is an excellent introduction. ICFs are a popular and fast-growing new method of constructing high-performance exterior walls for a home. The full-day course covers the advantages and costs of ICF construction, the components and materials used, design and planning considerations, the logistics of ICF construction and important business and marketing considerations. Upon completion you'll have all the information you need to evaluate and start using ICFs.

Building with Insulating Concrete Forms

Instructor: Jim Niehoff, Portland

Cement Association

November 10, 2005—8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Sheraton New Orleans Hotel

For more information or to register, contact: Dawn Faull at 800-368-5242 ext. 8362


Explore the booming Mexican housing market at the 3rd International Housing Conference of the Americas, November 3–5, 2005, at the Four Seasons hotel in Mexico City. Co-hosted by NAHB and Mexico's home builders association, CANADEVI, this conference will provide the perfect venue for U.S. and Mexican builders, developers, and other key housing sector players to explore new business opportunities and forge new relationships. Previous conferences have resulted in millions of dollars worth of investment and trade between Mexico and the United States. The conference will feature educational panels on key market topics and issues, property tours of middle and high-end residential housing, tabletop exhibits, networking events, and valuable insight from leading U.S. and Mexican industry leaders. Don't miss the opportunity to learn about the booming housing sector in Mexico and explore how you can become a vital player.