Communicating the Value of Bridge Preservation

Author: Ed Welch, NCPP-Bridge Preservation Engineerjm

Perspective of: Jim Moulthrop, Executive Director FP2

Jim has had considerable experience with the marketing of the Preservation Perspective for pavements thru the Foundation for Pavement Preservation (FP2), a nonprofit trade association compiled of Industry members. They have three Major Objectives: To Advocate for Preservation at all levels of government, To Support Research Funding, and To Communicate the value of Preservation.

Jim’s Key Points.  What he has learned working with Pavement side of Preservation:

  1. There was a great need to get Preservation in ”The Law” (MAP-21). FP2 spent extensive time and resources to promote the inclusion of the Pavement Preservation in MAP-21, and they were successful in having it included, and consequently are seeing a positive outcome.
  2. The Pavement Preservation quarterly magazine “Pavement Preservation Journal” is a great way to tell the story. With over a 5,000 circulation, it also generates revenue of $10,000.00/Yr.  thru advertising.
  3. LTAP buy in takes a long time. Local Agencies have few resources and without being exposed to the Value of Preservation they will probably not consider it. A continued effort in Local training eventually pays off.
  4. Use simple analogies to make the public understand. Make comparisons of Maintaining & Preserving Homes, Cars, teeth, etc.
  5. “Money is always an issue”, but FP2 Members have found that Research and Lobbying, that are costly, are effective. Jim’s biggest frustration is that FP2 is “never fully funded” to accomplish all the needs that they have defined, but they only have 30 contributors. There is always more to do, so it should be carefully prioritized.
  6. Once organized, Jim has found that you need to have top level people on the board (Executives, Directors & Owners). These are the individuals whose support is most effective with networking and funding development

Please post a comment on “Communicating the Value of Bridge Preservation”. Hopefully, Jim Moulthrop’ s perspective on the Pavement side of the same issue will be food for thought and help us move forward as we promote the stewardship of our nations bridges.

TRB News Profiles – Larry Galehouse, National Center for Pavement Preservation (NCPP)

TR News, January – February 2015, Number 296

“Our highway infrastructure took decades and generations of Americans to build and is simply too valuable to be left to languish.”

An early champion for infrastructure preservation, Larry Galehouse managed maintenance programs at the Michigan Department of Transportation (DOT) long before starting the National Center for Pavement Preservation (NCPP).  In the 1990s he developed guidelines, specifications, and new processes for Michigan DOT’s Capital Preventive Maintenance Program, a model used for similar programs nationwide to extend highway pavement life.  He also worked on the original Lead States Team for Pavement Preservation designed by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). “Every team member was personally committed to the success of pavement preservation and felt that we were blazing a new trail,” Galehouse comments.

“Our highway infrastructure took decades and generations of Americans to build and is simply too valuable to be left to languish,” Galehouse observes. “As with any valuable asset, we must work hard to preserve it by judicious and timely proactive maintenance.”

In 2003, Galehouse founded NCPP, a collaborative agreement between Michigan State University and FP2, Inc., to advance preservation through outreach, teaching, and research.  “Starting any new venture takes perseverance, but with the help of many people, we were successful,” he notes.

NCPP manages the Transportation System Preservation–Technical Services Program (TSP-2), created to disseminate information to AASHTO member agencies for preserving their highway infrastructure, particularly pavements and bridges. The program serves as a clearinghouse of comprehensive, up-to-date information on efficient and effective preservation measures.  NCPP also administers the AASHTO Equipment Management Technical Services Program (EMTSP), which supports successful governmental highway equipment fleet management. Under these programs, separate regional partnerships have been created for pavement preservation, bridge preservation, and equipment management, drawing professionals from federal, state, and local agencies; private industry; consulting firms; and academia.

“When you think about it, three of the largest assets of any highway agency are its pavements, bridges, and equipment fleet,” Galehouse observes. NCPP, TSP-2, and EMTSP each host an extensive website with a freely accessible library of technical and policy resources.

“Understanding the theory and practice of pavement and bridge preservation and equipment fleet management is critical for successful program implementation within highway agencies,” Galehouse notes, adding that these programs have helped coordinate and expand resource management efforts among agencies. “Many highway agency personnel now realize the positive benefits of these programs.”

For many years Galehouse and his staff have collected and reviewed baseline information for the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) on the pavement preservation activities of federal, state, and local agencies. This data collection has involved on-site appraisals with the agencies to discuss their programs and obstacles to implementing a preservation program. More than 40 agencies—state DOTs, the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the FHWA Federal Lands Division, and several county highway departments—have been evaluated. The resulting information has helped develop national guidance on preservation and now resides in an accessible online database to help agencies set their own preservation benchmarks.

Galehouse also has facilitated pavement preservation technical transfers to highway agencies in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, the Caribbean Islands, and China, and he has negotiated and helped arrange engineering student exchanges between Michigan State University and the South China University of Technology in Guangzhou, China.

“I am keenly aware of the necessity to train ever-changing highway agency and contract personnel in the application of new materials and the operation of sophisticated equipment,” Galehouse shares. “Training and certification can help ensure reliable and high-quality preservation.”

Galehouse affirms the value of both basic and applied research, which are vital to assessing innovative practices in the real world. “Basic research is needed to develop new materials and techniques; applied research is needed to incorporate advances and improvements into day-to-day operations,” he comments. “To do this successfully, we must recognize opportunities and make the case for innovation with officials who may have natural tendencies to resist change.”

Galehouse helped champion the formation of a TRB Standing Committee for Pavement Preservation. He became the first chair of the committee and worked to increase awareness of preserving the nation’s highway investment. Galehouse received bachelor’s degrees in civil engineering from Michigan State University and in surveying from Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Michigan. He served in the U.S. Navy Seabees during the Vietnam War.


What product manufacturers think of NTPEP: the voice of Sika

Aamer Syed

Author: Lorella Angelini, Angelini Consulting Services LLC

Perspective of: Aamer Syed, Product Manager with Sika Corporation

I met Aamer Syed, Product Manager for concrete repair products with Sika Corporation, at the ICRI Fall Convention in Kansas City. We had a down-to-earth conversation about NTPEP (National Transportation Product Evaluation Program) and bridge preservation.

Sika has been TSP2 National Member for several years. Is bridge preservation an important area for Sika?

  • Sika is definitively a national player in the bridge preservation market.  We are present in all the states with technical and sales people. As far as technology goes, we operate in the repair and protection of concrete structures with a large offering that includes epoxy sealers, overlays, silicone sealants, repair mortars, and strengthening. Working with DOTs is a big part of our business, no doubt about it.

Do you have experience with the NTPEP program?

  • Sika was one the first companies to have products tested by NTPEP. This goes back 10 years when we worked with the Rapid Set Concrete Patch Materials (RSCP) Technical Committee.
  • Sika tested products according to three other NTPEP protocols: Concrete Admixtures (CADD), Portland Cement Concrete Joint Sealants (JS) and Polymer Concrete Overlays (PCO). I had been a member of the PCO Technical Committee.

What is your opinion of the NTPEP program?

  • On the face value, I think it is the best program we can have.  The idea of doing one set of tests and having it used by all the DOTs is something that manufacturers can definitively support. Manufacturers can submit a product to a large number of DOTs with one set of tests. It is a great concept!
  • Is it a practical concept? I think this is where the gap lies. AASHTO needs to find a way to make the program more widely accepted, more widespread than it currently is. The level of acceptance by state DOTs is lower than I would like it to be.  Acceptance level should be as high as 80% correspondingly to 40 states. In my experience, it is between 20 and 40%, 10 – 20 states. NTPEP needs to drive the program to get more recognition from state DOTs.

Do you have suggestions for NTPEP improvement?

  • In some instances NTPEP testing is treated as an additional set of tests required by some state DOTs. States say to us: “You have to bring NTPEP”. Then they say: “You have to do this set of tests on top of NTPEP”.  If you ask for NTPEP plus another set of test, you really ask a lot of manufacturers. It is very costly and time consuming for manufacturers to supply different sets of data for different requirements, for different DOTs.
  • Once more, I cannot agree more on the concept of NTPEP. It is a fabulous idea. Increasing the acceptance level is where the work needs to be done.

NTPEP is testing program. It is a “photo” of a product. It is up to the single DOT to decide whether they like this “photo” or not. What do you think about evolving NTPEP from a testing protocol to a certification program?

  • It is a great idea. NTPEP Technical Committees should be able to provide guidance to DOTs in order to help define an acceptance range for test results. Based on the wide range of climates we have in the United States, NTPEP could create tests protocols tailored to 3 to 4 climatic zones.  If my products pass requirements for two climatic zones, I should get approval by all the states that are in those two zones.  In other words, I may have a product that cannot be accepted in the states of the North-East, but it can be in compliance for the states of South-East or South-West that have a completely different climate.

 What about the representation of manufacturers in NTPEP the Technical Committees?

  • Manufacturers are already part of NTPEP Technical Committees as advisory people, but not as voting members.
  • It is important to strengthen the collaboration between NTPEP and industry associations. For example, ICRI (International Concrete Repair Institute) has done a large body of work related to testing programs for concrete repair material.  ACI (American Concrete Institute) has done work for polymer coatings overlay. I support NTPEP reaching out and collaborating with these and other organizations for the value of transferring knowledge.

Do you have a final recommendation?

  • I go back to what I said before. The Technical Committees should make a bigger effort to promote NTPEP testing program to the DOTs. It is unrealistic to expect that a manufacturer spends $20,000 – 30,000 for a NTPEP testing protocol if it there are only a few DOTs that solely rely on that program for product approval.

Communicating the Value of Bridge Preservation

Dick Dunne

Author: Ed Welch, NCPP-Bridge Preservation Engineer

Perspective of: Dick Dunne, Director of Structural Engineering services, Michael Baker, Inc.

Dick is the former NJDOT Bridge Engineer and brings both an Owner and Consultant perspective to this topic.

Dick’s Key Points on Communicating the Value of Bridge Preservation:

  1. Dick’s involvement: Every chance I get, I communicate in general terms with Owners, and fellow Consultants the need for Bridge Preservation.
  2. Looking at both sides: I feel that with quality based selection of consultant bids for Bridge Preservation Contracts is the answer for better quality of contract documents and project outcome. It captures the real needs of the owner. In other words: You must properly compensate a quality consultant for quality work. Don’t consider a Bridge Preservation Contract insignificant. They are the key to the most effective fiscal management.
  3. Today: TSP2 has made a great start in a short time. NHI Web Based training is an effective option. TRB AHD37 is a great move forward for Bridge Preservation Research. AASHTO SCOM T-9 and SCOM BPTWG are terrific avenues in the bridge community. All/some of these initiatives should be taken advantage of and will each promote the communication of Bridge Preservation in their own way.
  4. The future: We need to communicate more and when you think about it, Bridge Preservation needs to be linked to Asset Management. Owners need to invest (not spend) in their Assets with a preservation perspective.
  5.  Needs: We need Research that quantifies the benifit6s of Bridge Preservation, Syntheses and Case Studies are what the community is looking for. Also, marketing and lobbying should be considered an investment not a cost.
  6. Frustration: The Front Line Management is far removed from the Executives that create programs. Unfortunately, we are now referring to our “Operations Program” not “Maintenance and Preservation Programs” which is really “Reactive” not “Proactive”
  7. 7.  In Summary: Our greatest need is Quantifying the Benefits of Bridge Preservation. Sharing this information is the second half of this single need. Find real data and communicate the positive value whenever you get the chance.

Please post a comment on “Communicating the Value of Bridge Preservation”. Hopefully, Dick Dunne’s joint perspective from the Owner and Consultant side of the same issue will be food for thought and help us move forward as we promote the stewardship of our nations.

A Conversation with Ted Hopwood about NTPEP

Hopwood,-Ted---2014Author: Lorella Angelini, Angelini Consulting Services LLC

Interview with: Ted Hopwood, P.E., Engineer Associate with KY Transportation Center

The National Testing Product Evaluation Program (NTPEP) by AASHTO is dedicated to the US highway industry. In the last 10 years it has gathered a lot of consensus but it has also raised some questions.  I am going to explore different perceptions of NTPEP through conversations with industry opinion leaders. The first conversation is with Ted Hopwood, Engineer Associate with Kentucky (KY) Transportation Center.

You are considered an authority in the industry with an outstanding 31 years of service at KY Transportation Center. How would you define your area of expertise?

  • You can say that I am “1 mile wide and 1 inch deep”.  I deal with bridge maintenance and inspection with the purpose of keeping bridges in a good state. There are so many topics related to bridge preservation that no one person can be considered an expert of them all. I am kind of a generalist, who understands the topics and locates the expertise that is needed to properly address them.

Are you active with NTPEP?

  • Yes, the KY Transportation Center is part of the NTPEP team. We do tests for concrete coatings.  NTPEP is a testing program focused on materials. People in the NTPEP group are primarily from highway agencies. They essentially define test programs and put together committees when they need to tackle a particular topic. Since most DOT labs are very busy, NTPEP committees tend to outsource testing, collaborating with universities or private testing firms. 

Can you summarize how the NTPEP testing program works?

  • Speaking from the point of view of a manufacturer wanting to test a concrete coating product, the process starts with the manufacturer signing a contract with AASHTO. The manufacturer pays AASHTO so that AASHTO can pay the contracted lab for testing the product. Tests are done according to a protocol created by experts from different state Agencies. The manufacturer, who knows what tests are performed, furnishes the lab with the coating product. The lab performs some tests at its location, some others in the field. For example, concrete coating samples go to Florida DOT for exposure testing. When tests are completed, the lab develops test data, which are uploaded in a software program developed by AASHTO. This set of data is available to highway Agency material divisions.

What are your reasons for supporting NTPEP?

  • Before NTPEP, when a manufacturing company had a product for DOT applications, the company had to contact 50 states to get approval. Each DOT created its list of approved products based on its own test program and the successful use of products in other states. This put a strain on both the manufacturers and the highway material divisions due to the amount of tests they had to perform. In other words, things did not work out very efficiently for either group. The NTPEP concept stemmed from this inefficiency. It entails having one centralized group (DOT, university or private contractor) that tests the products and provides data. Each DOT looks at these data and establishes its own criteria for acceptance.

Are there other benefits of NTPEP?

  • I believe the NTPEP test data mine is another major benefit of the program. Almost any question about the performance of certain types of materials can be answered through the NTPEP test data mine.

What are your suggestions for improving NTPEP?

  • Looking into the future, I suggest that end users will get together under the TSP2 banner and establish uniform criteria for evaluating the test data, either regionally or nationally. My vision is for NTPEP to evolve from a testing to a certification program.  Otherwise, the certification program could be a product of the TSP2 regional partnerships.
  • I also think that the NTPEP program needs to expand the number of products to be evaluated for bridge preservation since a significant number of materials are not currently included in the NTPEP program. This also calls for a more structured relationship between NTPEP and TSP2.

If there were something about the program you could change, what would it be?

  • I would try to create standardization for acceptance of materials nationally or, at least, at regional level. Right now each state has its own criteria for acceptance.
  • I would also try to create a NTPEP test protocol for those materials that have niche properties that apply to a few states only. There are a lot of unique materials that are coming out, which are hard to characterize under the current NTPEP program.
  • Lastly, I support the idea of creating a NTPEP test protocol for testing superior materials, not only the good ones.  How do we go from the currently established standards to accepting better materials?  How do we evaluate great performing materials, when the testing is set up to evaluate the good ones only? It is nice to have good performing materials for bridge preservation but we also like to get great performing ones.

What are you going to focus on in the next years?

  • In the next couple of years I will focus my attention on test methods and procedures for the repair of concrete. I am also planning to study the diagnosis of concrete distress, an important aspect of the repair process. Too many highway repairs of reinforced concrete are not very durable. Successful applications require a combination of factors: proper damage evaluation, selection of repair material and procedure, and its correct execution in the field.

Communicating the Value of Bridge Preservation

Author: Ed Welch, NCPP-Bridge Preservation Engineer

Perspective of: Drew Storey, INDOT Maintenance Management Operations Analyst, and Jeremy Hunter, INDOT Bridge Asset Engineer.

Drew and Jeremy were willing to do a joint interview giving the reader a broader perspective of INDOT’s answer to “Communicating the Value of Bridge Preservation”.

  1.   Present Involvement: It is discouraging that in informal conversations with consultants they have a ”push back” perspective (not big proponents) when it comes to doing  Bridge Perseveration Contracts. These are traditionally not large projects and are not cost effective to the consultant. As a resolve to this INDOT is considering a conference on the Value of Bridge Preservation.
  2. INDOT is trying to get in “The Preservation Mode” and they feel that the TSP2 National Conference was a great avenue for “Communicating the Value of Bridge Preservation”.

  3. Today: We must drive the need for Preservation. Give all Owners (States and Locals) the funding and skills to accomplish this. Get to it early as a dedicated program. Start with Specifications. This will move the needle of your Average Bridge Condition from Poor towards Good. The earlier you get to Preservation the better.
  4. The future: Need to promote Preservation on the Local Agency level thru the Local Agency Director. Steer Locals to put a percentage towards Preservation. Most local programs in place only address replacement.
  5. Needs: We need Metrics; Cost Benefit is the metric that owners are looking for. We need to agree how to measure future cost effectiveness (with examples).Internal buy-in is most important, but Legislators and the Public have to be involved as well. Surveys to the Public expose their understanding of needs and where marketing or training is needed.
  6. Locals:  Some sort of forum to show Local Agencies that they are saving money with Preservation needs to be incorporated in your program.
  7. Frustration: The Consulting Industry, large and small, need to see the benefits of Bridge Preservation. Ultimately Owners, Industry and our Bridges will be better off. INDOT understands that they can’t do it the way that they always have.
  8. In Closing: We need a “National Bridge Preservation Credo” that bluntly defines the need and value of Bridge Preservation.

Please post a comment on “Communicating the Value of Bridge Preservation”. Hopefully, Drew and Jeremy’s joint perspective from the INDOT/Owner side will instill further perspective on how we can meet the challenge of getting the word out about Bridge Preservation.

Tagged with:

Let’s Start Our Conversation…

ed lorellaThe purpose of this blog, “A Conversation about Bridge Preservation”, is to speak about bridge preservation in an open and informal way, thus reaching the general public in addition to the specialists. TSP2 believes in the value of exchanging opinions, ideas and experiences between people who have a stake in bridge preservation or simply are passionate about it.

The writers, Ed Welch and Lorella Angelini, are two civil engineers who share a strong commitment to increasing awareness of bridge preservation within and beyond the construction industry.

Ed is from the Northeast and after a long career as the New Hampshire DOT Bridge Maintenance Engineer, is now the Bridge Preservation Engineer for the AASHTO-TSP2 Program facilitated @ MSU. Lorella is an independent consultant who lives in Minneapolis. She has decades of experience with manufacturers of specialty products in the area of concrete repair and protection..

During the next months, we will be covering two topics; the value of NTPEP (National Transportation Product Evaluation Program) for bridge preservation and the importance of Communicating the Value of Bridge Preservation.  Feel free to suggest any other topics you would like to explore!

Stay tuned for an interview with Drew Storey and Jeremy Hunter of Indiana DOT.