Archive for the 'Western Builder' Category

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Dire States – A Transportation Vote in Wisconsin

The Dire States team interviews Craig Thompson, the executive director of the Transportation Development Association of Wisconsin. Thompson details a constitutional amendment in Wisconsin that, if approved by voters, will dedicate funds generated by transportation for road and bridge maintenance and construction in the state.

For more on the ballot initiative, visit: ‪http://bit.ly/1y85g4y

For more on Dire States, visit: ‪http://bit.ly/19eJ2AM

 

Strata Systems, Inc. Hires Midwest Regional Sales Manager

Scott Czewski, P.E. Midwest Regional Sales Manager

Scott Czewski, P.E. Midwest Regional Sales Manager

Soil reinforcement product manufacturer and distributor, Strata Systems, Inc., has recently selected Scott Czewski, P.E. as its new Midwest Regional Sales ManagerCzewski joins Strata as part of an initiative to develop new business opportunities in the Midwest, and in Strata’s growing base reinforcement and road infrastructure business, and to manage all of Strata’s existing partners.  He’ll service all Midwestern states from Texas, north to the Canadian border and east to Indiana.

Czewski was selected due to his extensive civil engineering and sales background, which totals more than 15 years. He was previously employed at CSI Geoturf in Michigan as a project consultant where he generated engineering specifications for products, developed concepts and methodologies for cost-effective design and performed internal sales and installation training. Czewski holds a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering from Michigan State University and is a licensed professional engineer.

To learn more about Strata Systems, Inc., visit www.geogrid.com.

 

Topcon Technology Roadshow Hits Northern Illinois

As part of a 24-stop North American tour, the Topcon Technology Roadshow visited Wilmington, Ill., located just south of Joliet—approximately 55 miles from Chicago. The two-day visit—June 25th and 26th—was held on the grounds of the IUOE Local 150 Union Training Center and was hosted by Positioning Solutions Company, Carol Stream, Ill., an authorized Topcon dealer.

6L4A2525ext copy 2“It was an awesome opportunity for construction and survey customers to see everything in one spot,” said Ed McCaffery, marketing director with Positioning Solutions Company. “From my observations and interactions, it was clear to me that contractors were surprised by the breath of the offering, enjoyed the hands-on exhibits both in the trailer and on the grounds, and they were intrigued with some of the new technologies that were demonstrated.”

Outdoor-Presentation-Areas_Overview copyThe Technology Roadshow displays and demonstrations covered the full range of machine automation, Topcon Enterprise Solutions, BIM and 3D layout, Sitelink3D site management, GNSS and robotics, and scanning and mapping. Contractors were able to maximize their time by scheduling their visit at a convenient time and choosing which displays or demos were of interest.

Justin Smith, survey/machine control manager with K-Five Construction Corporation, Lemont, Ill., liked the opportunity to see engineers and product reps that he’s worked with. “I was able to talk directly with them and get answers to my questions and learn better ways to take advantage of the technology I have.”

Interior Presentation Areas-Overview copyThe 53-foot mobile solutions center truck showcases the latest technology for the construction, survey, civil engineering, architecture, and design industries. The information provided is designed to help contractors learn:

  • The latest tools and technologies available for the job site and office.
  • The impact of field computer technology on project data and administration.
  • The latest software technologies and the ability to improve business productivity.
  • Total job site solutions to fit any size business.

6L4A2622int copy 2“My area of knowledge and expertise is in machine control, so it was nice to have the opportunity to learn the intricacies of survey systems,” stated Dan Breunig, mechanical supervisor with The Lane Construction Corporation, Shorewood, Ill. “The Technology Roadshow was beneficial to me because I had access to Topcon experts and was able to meet other contractors.”

6L4A3154 copy 2During the two-day stop, there were contractors from Illinois and southern Wisconsin.

“All in attendance were decision-makers and key personnel with keen interest in getting as much as they could out of their time there,” McCaffery stated. “Everything is geared toward helping the contractor understand the state of our ever-changing industry and what technologies they should consider adopting to stay competitive. After all, that’s what it’s all about!”

WESTERN BUILDER and the ACPs Remember Jim Keyes

0004405740-01-1_20140707.jpgxKeyes, James Earl, know to his friends in the industry as Jim, a long time resident of Elm Grove, WI, died peacefully at home surrounded by the love of his family, on July 6, 2014, at the age of 80. Beloved husband for 52 years of Mary. Loving father of Brian (Jennifer) Keyes, Patricia (Dean) Knudson, Thomas (Mary Kaye) Keyes, Margaret (Joel) Rolefson, Daniel (Jamie), William (Deanne), Stephen (Saskia) Keyes, Carolyn (Frank) Souk, and Kelly Keyes. Proud grandpa of 18 grandchildren. Also remembered by his brothers John and Tom and sister Dorothy.

Jim, along with his brother John, owned and operated Western Builder Publishing in Wauwatosa, WI. Jim and John also own KSM Industries in Germantown, WI. Western Builder has been serving the Wisconsin construction industries since its founding in 1902.

Jim proudly served in the United States Army. Visitation will be held Thursday July 10, 2014 at the Funeral Home from 4 to 7 PM. The Mass of Christian Burial celebrating Jim’s life will be offered Friday 11 AM. at St. Mary Visitation Church, Elm Grove (1260 Church St.) Private family graveside at St. Mary Cemetery, Elm Grove. Memorials may be made to the charity of your choice . “Lady of the ways, Pray for us”

 

 

TRIP Report: South Dakota Faces Deteriorated Roads And Bridges, High Traffic Fatality Rate And Potentially Stifled Economic Growth Without Increased Transportation Investment. Travel On State’s Roads And Bridges Projected To Increase Further In Coming Years

TRIPSouth Dakota’s system of roads and bridges is increasingly deteriorated and crowded, with a traffic fatality rate that is higher than the national average. Increased investment in transportation improvements at the local, state and federal levels could improve road and bridge conditions, boost safety, improve efficiency and support long-term economic growth in South Dakota, according to a new report released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation organization.

The TRIP report, South Dakota Transportation by the Numbers: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe and Efficient Mobility,” finds that throughout the state, nearly a quarter of locally and state-maintained roads are in poor or mediocre condition. And, one in four South Dakota bridges show significant deterioration or do not meet current design standards. Vehicle miles of travel (VMT) on South Dakota’s roads increased 29 percent from 1990 to 2011. VMT in South Dakota is expected to increase another 25 percent by 2030.

According to the TRIP report, seven percent of South Dakota’s major locally and state-maintained roads have pavements in poor condition, and an addition 16 percent are in mediocre condition. Driving on rough roads costs the average South Dakota motorist $301 annually in extra vehicle operating costs – a total of $181 million statewide. Costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.

The TRIP report finds that 21 percent of South Dakota’s bridges are structurally deficient, the fifth highest share in the nation. Bridges that are structurally deficient have significant deterioration to the bridge deck, supports, or other major components. These bridges are often posted for lower weight or are closed to traffic, restricting or redirecting large vehicles, including commercial trucks, school buses and emergency service vehicles. An additional four percent of the state’s bridges are functionally obsolete. These bridges no longer meet current highway design standards, often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment with the approaching road. Bridges that are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete are safe for travel and are monitored regularly by the organizations responsible for maintaining them.

“Roads, bridges and highways are essential for business to operate and are a basic function of government,” said David Owen, president of the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “This report brings a sharp focus on the needs and will be invaluable in helping seek policies that will keep South Dakota’s infrastructure strong.”

Traffic crashes in South Dakota claimed the lives of 647 people between 2007 and 2011, an average of 129 fatalities per year. South Dakota’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.23 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2011 is higher than the national average of 1.10. The 2011 traffic fatality rate in on South Dakota’s non-Interstate rural roads was 1.71 traffic fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel, more than double the 0.77 traffic fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel on all other roads and highways in the state.

Signed into law in July 2012, MAP-21 (Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act), will fund surface transportation programs in South Dakota at approximately $274 million annually for fiscal years 2013 and 2014. From 2007 to 2011, the federal government provided $2.52 for road improvements in South Dakota for every one dollar paid in federal motor fuel fees. Yet, if a lack of adequate revenue into the Federal Highway Trust Fund is not addressed by Congress, funding for highway and transit improvements in South Dakota could be cut by $267 million for the federal fiscal year beginning October 1, 2014.

“Addressing South Dakota’s need for a safe, efficient and well-maintained transportation system will require a significant investment boost at the federal and state levels.  But not addressing the state’s need for an improved transportation system will result in even greater costs to the public,” said Will Wilkins, executive director of TRIP.

South Dakota Transportation By The Numbers:

Meeting the State’s Need for Safe and Efficient Mobility

Executive Summary

South Dakota’s extensive system of roads, highways and bridges provides the state’s residents, visitors and businesses with a high level of mobility. This transportation system forms the backbone that supports the state’s economy. South Dakota’s surface transportation system enables the state’s residents and visitors to travel to work and school, visit family and friends, and frequent tourist and recreation attractions while providing its businesses with reliable access to customers, materials, suppliers and employees.

As South Dakota looks to achieve further economic growth the state will need to maintain and modernize its roads, highways and bridges by improving the physical condition of its transportation network and enhancing the system’s ability to provide efficient and reliable mobility for motorists and businesses. Making needed improvements to South Dakota’s roads, highways and bridges could also provide a significant boost to the state’s economy by creating jobs in the short term and stimulating long-term economic growth as a result of enhanced mobility and access.

Meeting South Dakota’s need to modernize and maintain its system of roads, highways and bridges will require a significant boost in local, state and federal funding.

Signed into law in July 2012, MAP-21(Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act), will fund surface transportation programs in South Dakota at approximately $274 million annually for fiscal years 2013 and 2014.

While the new federal surface transportation program has improved several procedures that in the past had delayed projects, MAP-21 does not address long-term funding challenges facing the federal surface transportation program. As a result, nationwide federal funding for highways will be cut by almost 100 percent from the current investment level for the fiscal year starting on October 1, 2014 (FY 2015) unless Congress provides additional transportation revenues.  This is due to a cash shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund as projected by the Congressional Budget Office.

The level of funding and the provisions of the federal surface transportation program have a significant impact on highway and bridge conditions, roadway safety, transit service, quality of life and economic development opportunities in South Dakota.

Population and economic growth place increased demands on South Dakota’s major roads and highways, leading to increased wear and tear on the transportation system.

  • South Dakota’s population reached 833,354 in 2012, a 20 percent increase since 1990, when the state’s population was 696,004. South Dakota has 603,258 licensed drivers.
  • Vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in South Dakota increased by 29 percent from 1990 to 2011 – from 6.9 billion VMT in 1990 to 9.0 billion VMT in 2011.
  • By 2030, vehicle travel in South Dakota is projected to increase by another 25 percent.
  • From 1990 to 2011, South Dakota’s gross domestic product (GDP), a measure of the state’s economic output, increased by 82 percent, when adjusted for inflation. America’s GDP for the same time period increased by 53%.

Twenty-three percent of major locally and state maintained roads and highways in South Dakota have pavement surfaces in poor or mediocre condition, providing a rough ride and costing motorist in the form of additional vehicle operating costs.

  • Seven percent of South Dakota’s major roads and highways have pavement in poor condition and an additional 16 percent are rated in mediocre condition. Fourteen percent of South Dakota’s major roadways are rated in fair condition and the remaining 63 percent are rated in good condition.
  • Roads rated in poor condition may show signs of deterioration, including rutting, cracks and potholes. In some cases, poor roads can be resurfaced, but often are too deteriorated and must be reconstructed.
  • The 2011 pavement data in this report for arterial roads and highways is provided by the Federal Highway Administration, based on data submitted annually by the South Dakota Department of Transportation (SDDOT) on the condition of major state and locally maintained roads and highways in the state.
  • Driving on rough roads costs the typical South Dakota motorist an average of $301 annually in extra vehicle operating costs – a total of $181 million statewide. Costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.

Twenty-five percent of locally and state-maintained bridges in South Dakota show significant deterioration or do not meet current design standards. This includes all bridges that are 20 feet or more in length. South Dakota has the fifth highest share of structurally deficient bridges in the nation.

  • Twenty-one percent of South Dakota’s bridges are structurally deficient – the fifth highest share in the nation. A bridge is structurally deficient if there is significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components. Structurally deficient bridges are often posted for lower weight or closed to traffic, restricting or redirecting large vehicles, including commercial trucks and emergency services vehicles.
  • Four percent of South Dakota’s bridges are functionally obsolete. Bridges that are functionally obsolete no longer meet current highway design standards, often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment.

South Dakota’s traffic fatality rate on rural, non-Interstate routes is more than double that on all other roads and highways in the state. Improving safety features on South Dakota’s roads and highways would likely result in a decrease in traffic fatalities and serious crashes in the state. Roadway features are likely a contributing factor in approximately one-third of all fatal and serious traffic crashes.

  • Between 2007 and 2011, 647 people were killed in traffic crashes in South Dakota, an average of 129 fatalities per year.
  • South Dakota’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.23 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2011 is higher than the national average of 1.10 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel.
  • The fatality rate on South Dakota’s rural non-Interstate roads was 1.71 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2011, more than double the .77 fatality rate on all other roads and highways in the state.
  • The number of fatalities occurring on the state’s non-Interstate rural roads is disproportionately higher than the amount of vehicle travel on these roads. While 49 percent of all vehicle travel in the state takes place on South Dakota’s non-Interstate rural roads, 68 percent of the state’s fatalities occurred on non-Interstate rural roads.
  • Several factors are associated with vehicle crashes that result in fatalities, including driver behavior, vehicle characteristics and roadway features. It is estimated that roadway features are likely a contributing factor in approximately one-third of fatal traffic crashes.
  • Roadway features that impact safety include the number of lanes, lane widths, lighting, lane markings, rumble strips, shoulders, guard rails, other shielding devices, median barriers and intersection design.
  • Where appropriate, highway improvements can reduce traffic fatalities and crashes while improving traffic flow to help relieve congestion. Such improvements include removing or shielding obstacles; adding or improving medians; improved lighting; adding rumble strips, wider lanes, wider and paved shoulders; upgrading roads from two lanes to four lanes; and better road markings and traffic signals.
  • Investments in rural traffic safety have been found to result in significant reductions in serious traffic crashes. A 2012 report by the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) found that improvements completed recently by the Texas Department of Transportation that widened lanes, improved shoulders and made other safety improvements on 1,159 miles of rural state roadways resulted in 133 fewer fatalities on these roads in the first three years after the improvements were completed (as compared to the three years prior). TTI estimates that the improvements on these roads are likely to save 880 lives over the next 20 years.

The efficiency of South Dakota’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the state’s economy. Businesses are increasingly reliant on an efficient and reliable transportation system to move products and services. A key component in business efficiency and success is the level and ease of access to customers, markets, materials and workers.

  • Annually, $27 billion in goods are shipped from sites in South Dakota and another $28 billion in goods are shipped to sites in South Dakota, mostly by truck.
  • Seventy-seven percent of the goods shipped annually from sites in South Dakota are carried by trucks and another 13 percent are carried by multiple mode deliveries, including trucks.
  • Highway accessibility was ranked the number one site selection factor in a 2011 survey of corporate executives by Area Development Magazine.

The federal government remains a critical source of funding for South Dakota’s roads, highways and bridges and provides a significant return to South Dakota in road and bridge funding based on the revenue generated in the state by the federal motor fuel tax.

  • The MAP-21 program, approved by Congress in 2012, increased funding flexibility for states and improved project approval processes to increase the efficiency of state and local transportation agencies in providing needed transportation improvements.
  • MAP-21 does not provide sufficient long-term revenues to support the current level of federal surface transportation investment.  Nationwide federal funding for highways is expected to be cut by almost 100 percent from the current investment level for the fiscal year starting October 1, 2014 (FY 2015) unless Congress provides additional transportation revenues. This is due to a cash shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund as projected by the Congressional Budget Office.
  • If the funding shortfalls into the federal Highway Trust Fund are addressed solely by cutting spending it is estimated that federal funding for highway and transit improvements in South Dakota will be cut by $267 million for the federal fiscal year starting October 1, 2014, unless Congress provides additional transportation revenues.
  • From 2007 to 2011, the federal government provided $2.52 for road improvements in South Dakota for every one dollar paid in the state in federal motor fuel fees.
  • From 2007 to 2011, federal revenues accounted for 54 percent of state revenues used for South Dakota’s roads, highways and bridges.

Sources of information for this report include the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the South Dakota Department of Transportation (SDDOT), the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), the U. S. Census Bureau, the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). All data used in the report are the most recent available.