Asphalt Industry News February 2007

Transportation Funding on Hold to States

According to the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA), incoming chairmen of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees - Rep. David Obey (D-Wis.) and Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W. Va.) - plan to wrap-up all outstanding funding bills for FY 2007 into one measure.

This move creates significant uncertainty for federal highway and transit investment as the transportation funding bill is one of the nine measures Congress did not enact in 2006. The programs are currently funded through February 15 at their FY 2006 levels. The Obey-Byrd plan indicates "limited adjustments" may be made, but does not identify which programs' funding could be modified.

As such, the funding increases guaranteed by the 2005 surface transportation program reauthorization law, SAFETEA-LU, $3.4 billion for highways and $474 million for transit, are in jeopardy.

ARTBA is working with key transportation congressional members and stakeholder groups to ensure the FY 2007 SAFETEA-LU-guaranteed funding levels are included in that measure. ARTBA has also distributed to congressional offices state-by-state charts detailing how much each state has to lose in terms of jobs and highway funds if the SAFETEA-LU guaranteed funding level is not met.

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Company launches offerings for aggregate/asphalt dryer burners

Astec Inc. is entering the aggregate/asphalt dryer burner retrofit market. Previously, Astec burners were only available on its aggregate/asphalt dryers. Astec launched its retrofit offerings with the new Phoenix Phantom at Teichert in Tracy, CA, and the new Phoenix Coal at United Co. in Grand Junction, CO. With the addition of these two burners, Astec now offers four burner lines, including the Whisper Jet and the Phoenix Talon.

Astec burners offer the latest in reliable burner technology combined with complete one-source responsibility. With new retrofit capabilities, Astec is able to offer everything from a simple burner replacement to a complete installed system.

Astec's burner group engineers the burners to the specifications of each customer and manufactures each in a new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility. Prior to shipment, each burner is tested on one of Astec's three tri-fuel (oil, gas and coal) test stands to ensure fast and easy start-up at installation.

Since entering the burner business in 2003, Astec has shipped over 200 burners for hot mix asphalt facilities.

Industry veteran will be technical development manager

Dale Starry has joined Wirtgen America Inc. as manager, technical development, for Hamm Compaction Division and Vögele America Inc. asphalt paver product lines.

Starry will be active in customer product outreach and training for Hamm asphalt and soil compactors and Vögele asphalt pavers.

Starry's more than 37 years of construction industry experience qualifies him for his work with Wirtgen Group. Most recently, since 1997, he worked at Ingersoll Rand Co. in compaction marketing management, mangement of the compaction service and warranty department, and management of product applications and training initiatives through the Ingersoll Rand Road Institute.

Before that, Starry worked 15 years with Bomag compaction equipment, where his responsibilities included product management and marketing services, as well as product training and new product development for soil stabilizers and a full line of hand-guided and ride-on equipment for HMA and soil compaction applications.

Prior to Bomag, he worked for Ingersoll Rand, beginning in 1974, as an applications engineer for its compaction division, later moving to soil compaction product management.

Starry began his career with the West Vigrinia State Road Commission following his graduation from college. Starry has spoken extensively on asphalt and compaction topics and has contributed to or authored numerous articles and white papers.

Company has served roadbuilding industry for 20 years

On October 1, 2006, BLS Enterprises Inc. marked the 20th anniversary of its incorporation. Its founder Barry Stoughton says the company's first office was a spare bedroom and its first warehouse was a garage, bulging with inventory and no room for family cars.

The company's first customer was K-Five Construction Corp., a suburban Chicago roadbuilder, that was unable to obtain quality track pads.

The rubber pads on K-Five's Barber-Greene Model 265 asphalt paver were disintegrating under heavy use.

"Rubber was chunking off and peeling off the pad," he says. "It was so bad that they had to hire a laborer to pick rubber pieces out of the asphalt so it wouldn't become embedded in the pavement."

Because a previous customer had trouble with hard rubber tires flaking apart, Stoughton already had done research on polyurethane as a replacement for tire rubber. He put two and two together and concluded it would work for track pads as well.

"Unknown to me, in 1986 I must have been the first person in the United States to promote polyurethane in this manner," Stoughton says. "I convinced my customer that we could substitute polyurethane bonded to a track pad for rubber. His rubber tracks had lasted one year, but our new ones lasted 2 ½ years. Well, it didn't take 2 ½ years for me to realize that someone else would need the same thing."

Stoughton began making the rounds of asphalt paving companies in the Chicago area, and obtained testimonials, which were rolled over into advertising in trade journals. This led to an out-of-state customer in a new line - the asphalt cold milling business, Curt Stancliffe at Pallette Stone Corp. in New York State - who tried and liked the product.

"News began to spread around the country, and to build the business I went to an OEM, CMI Corp. in Oklahoma City, but didn't get that business," Stoughton says. "Instead we reached out to equipment distributors and redoubled our outreach to contractors, and later CMI became the first OEM to use our polyurethane pads on their milling machines. Now every major manufacturer of cold milling machines uses polyurethane pads; not all our pads, but we started the idea."

In 1986, BLS sold just one size pad, but today the company provides for over 400 different machines.

Giglio joins Board of Directors

Quixote Corp. announces Joseph M. Giglio has been elected to the company's Board of Directors to fill the vacancy resulting from the death of William G. Fowler earlier this year.

Giglio is an executive professor at Northeastern University's College of Business Administration and Vice Chairman of the Hudson Institute, a leading public policy organization in Washington D.C.

He has extensive experience within the transportation sector. He was appointed to the Board of the Special Commission on Transportation Finance by Governor Romney of Massachusetts, and has served as special advisor to the U.S. Office of the Secretary of Transportation. He has also served as chairman and vice chairman of the Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITSA) and as former chairman of the Public-Private Division of the American Road and Transportation Builders Association.

New deadline is February 16

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is extending its comment period for a proposed rulemaking on temporary traffic control devices, first issued November 1, 2006. The new deadline is February 16, 2007.

FHWA has proposed to supplement its regulation that governs work zone safety and mobility in highway and street work zones to include conditions for the appropriate use of, and expenditure of funds for, uniformed law enforcement officers, positive protective measures between workers and motorized traffic, and installation and maintenance of temporary traffic control devices during construction, utility and maintenance operations.

The proposed changes are intended to decrease the likelihood of fatalities and injuries to workers who are exposed to motorized traffic while working on Federal-aid highway projects.

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