Bridge Builders Have "Designs" on Pittsburgh Conference

Innovations in design and construction await bridge pros at this year's International Bridge Conference; politically charged year serves as backdrop

Article December 28, 2000
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This is a watershed year for the bridge
industry both technologically and politically. Innovative
engineering specifications and designs are being implemented and
new materials, such as high-performance concrete and steel, are
being used in the field. The year also is of major importance
politically as the bridge industry strives, along with other
sectors of the highway industry, for passage of a new federal
surface transportation bill that will properly fund our nation's
bridge needs in coming years.

These issues will be discussed
and examined during the 14th Annual International Bridge
Conference in Pittsburgh June 2Ð4. The event, staged at the
Pittsburgh Hilton Hotel and hosted by the Engineers' Society of
Western Pennsylvania, expects to draw in excess of 1,000 bridge
engineers from around the world. Attendees will have the
opportunity to view bridge-building and maintenance technology
and services on display in the conference's exhibit area. This
year, conference exhibitors, including ROADS & BRIDGES, will
occupy 250 booths.

Underscoring the importance of industry
efforts this year to secure needed federal funding for bridge
research, maintenance, repair and building is the appearance of
Peter Ruane, president and CEO of the American Road &
Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA), at the keynote
session on June 2. ARTBA is one of the founding industry
associations behind the creation of the Transportation
Construction Coalition (TCC), a collection of organizations
formed to pursue an aggressive highway construction industry
agenda during this year's budget and ISTEA reauthorization
battles. Joining Ruane on the keynote agenda will be John H.
Haley Jr., acting commissioner of the New Jersey DOT, Eugene C.
Figg Jr., P.E., of Figg Engineering Group, and Frederick
Gottemoeller, P.E., R.A., of Gottemoeller & Associates.

"We've asked the keynote speakers to inform attendees on where
the funding situation stands in relation to technology
advancement and maintenance and construction dollars," said
Charles Schubert, IBC general chairman and project manager with
Michael Baker Jr., Inc. The theme of this year's conference is
Innovations in Bridge Design and Construction. "Innovation leads
to increased efficiency and better use of bridge funding,"
Schubert said.

Featured state

Each year, the IBC selects
a state to profile bridge work conducted within its borders.
This year's featured state is New Jersey. The theme of the
session is Traffic and Historical Considerations in the
Rehabilitation and Reconstruction of Existing Structures.
Subjects to be discussed during the session include the Garden
State's experience in bridge widening, reconstruction,
rehabilitation, historic bridge preservation, timber railing
crash test research, fatigue design of sign structure supports
and value engineering.

Additional conference sessions will
focus on design, long span bridges, segmental and seismic
design, rehabilitation and strengthening, construction,
innovation and testing, foundations and coatings and materials.

Two seminars will highlight new material technologies being
implemented in the field. The latest advances in
high-performance concrete (HPC) will be presented in a condensed
version of a Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) three-day
showcase. The seminar will cover the following topics: a
definition of HPC, international developments, structural design
and optimization, and HPC properties. Examples from selected
states also will be given.

Complementing the HPC seminar is
a seminar on high-performance steel, which either has been used
or is being proposed to be used in Tennessee, Nebraska and
Pennsylvania. Cooperative efforts between the Navy and the FHWA
are resulting in rapidly accelerated advances in material
performance and a push to move quickly from research to
application.

Awards luncheon

A tradition of the
conference is the presentation of the International Bridge
Conference Bridge Awards co-sponsored by the Engineers' Society
and ROADS & BRIDGES. For the 11th consecutive year the
Richardson and Roebling medals will be presented during a
luncheon to those in the bridge industry most deserving of
recognition and praise. The George S. Richardson Medal is
awarded for a single, recent outstanding achievement and the
Roebling Medal is presented for lifetime achievement in bridge
engineering.

For more information on the 14th Annual
International Bridge Conference, contact the Engineers' Society
of Western Pennsylvania, 337 Fourth Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15222
or call (412) 261-0710, fax (412) 261-1606.

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