Dic 22, 2016

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Year in Review: The Biggest Construction Equipment News Stories of 2016


While everyone has their sights on ConExpo in March, it might be easy to overlook what a busy year 2016 turned out to be. Here’s an quick overview, plus a timeline, of what happened in the construction equipment industry last year. Bonus: check out our editors’ quick predictions for 2017 on page 30. (Note: In order to meet our print date, we had to cut off entries in mid-December, so this report won’t include events after that point.)

Two biggest auction players become one

Ritchie Bros. bought the online heavy equipment auction company Iron Planet for $758.5 million, and combined, the two companies are expected to generate online sales of $3 billion in assets annually. Ritchie Bros. also formed an alliance with Caterpillar, becoming Caterpillar’s preferred global partner for live onsite and online auctions once the IronPlanet acquisition becomes final.

GPS goes mast-free

Deere 700K Smart Grade 1

Both John Deere and Topcon introduced “mast-free” dozer GPS systems at the World of Concrete in February. Topcon also announced that it would be offering its mast free system on select Caterpillar dozers. In May, Komatsu boosted its lineup of mast-free Intelligent Machine Control Dozers to seven. These systems vary in details but they all use some form of inertial measurement units (IMU) to eliminate the traditional GPS mast antennae.

Equipment stocks surge higher

While the Dow Jones and S&P 500 booked gains of around 20 percent this year, heavy equipment manufacturing stocks soared much higher.

• Caterpillar started out 2016 just below $60 a share and despite a spate of corporate trimmings and warnings on earnings, climbed up above $90 by December for a 66 percent improvement.

• Deere hit bottom in January at around $74 a share but had climbed to over $90 a share in November and then spiked up over $100 just before Thanksgiving.

• In terms of percentage gain, Komatsu shot up 65 percent this year, starting out around $15 a share in January and hitting $23 in December.

• Cummins also saw huge share gains, rising 57 percent as it climbed up from $80 a share early in the year to $140.


Terex divests

It was a busy year for Terex, under new leadership after long-time CEO Ron DeFeo left in 2015. Following discussions with Finnish manufacturer Konecranes, Terex walked away from a merger in May, but is still selling its Material Handling and Port Solutions (MHPS) business to the former suitor. Then China-based Zoomlion came calling with an all-cash offer, a deal that eventually died because of the Konecrane MHPS segment buy. In June, Terex announced the sale of part of its compact equipment line to Yanmar. And in December, it sold its UK-based compact construction business to Groupe Mecalac. The moves consolidated Terex’s corporate structure from five segments to three: aerial work platforms (Genie), cranes (Demag and Terex) and materials processing (Powerscreen, Finley, Evoquip).

Hertz becomes Herc

Herc Rentals

Separating from its car rental parent, Hertz Equipment Rental morphed into Herc Rentals on July 1. Earthmoving equipment makes up 19 percent of the publicly-traded company’s fleet mix, while aerial equipment represents 27 percent of its total fleet. The company has approximately 270 company-owned branches in North America.

Changing of the guard

Both Caterpillar and Case Construction Equipment announced new presidents. Jim Umpleby is succeeding current Cat president Doug Oberhelman on March 31. In September, CNH Industrial, parent company of Case and New Holland, named Carl Gustaf Göransson president of both brands.


Cat enters outdoor power market


In a move that marked a departure from its traditional product and distribution, Cat announced that it would build a 4-model lineup of portable generators. In addition to using its dealer network, Cat is opting for an omni-channel distribution plan that uses big box retailers, e-retailers, specialty retailers and authorized sales and service agents. And, Cat says, generators are just the start of the products coming out of its new Home & Outdoor Power division.

Hyundai builds CNH compact excavators


Under a 10-year agreement, Hyundai will build 5-ton-and-above compact excavators for CNH Industrial’s Case and New Holland brands. CNH will still produce compact excavators below 5 tons. Hyundai said it expects the partnership to double its compact excavator sales.

Rental equipment reaches record revenues

The American Rental Association, projecting 2016 revenues, said the equipment rental industry grew 4.3 percent during the year, rising to $47.3 billion in revenues. By 2020, the association estimates rental revenues to reach $55.5 billion.

Peer-to-peer rentals pick up steam

More firms are eyeing ways to connect contractors and their surplus fleets. This fall, Canadian firm Dozr announced its peer-to-peer equipment sharing startup, joining space already occupied by EquipmentShare and the Caterpillar-backed Yard Club. Dozr is adding built-in insurance as part of its platform, and estimates it will be 40 percent cheaper than retail rental rates.

Chinese-made machinery goes direct

The 344-horsepower Shantui SD32DQ dozer will be in a lineup that includes dozers from 80 to 530 horsepower.

The 344-horsepower Shantui SD32DQ dozer will be in a lineup that includes dozers from 80 to 530 horsepower.

Staffed with U.S. industry veterans, IronDirect took on the distribution conundrum experienced by Chinese equipment firms wanting to sell here. The company’s solution: sell online and service locally, either through a customer’s preferred dealer or the company’s network of service providers. Also selling on IronDirect’s site: Paladin attachments, Berco undercarriages and Magni tele handlers.

Attention, drivers and operators

Making sure drivers and operators are alert—and safe—when behind the controls is now being addressed with technology. Cat’s Fitbit-like Smartband, worn on the wrist, measures motion with an internal 3D accelerometer. When you stop moving, it assumes you’re asleep. SmartCap, on the other hand, integrates a fatigue monitoring band into a worker’s headwear of choice. The Australian company monitors fatigue by looking at brain waves, a technique it claims can catch nod-offs before they happen. And by using a smartphone app, users can analyze information from the head band, and receive alertness alarms.

Artics get bigger

Bell B60E

Two manufacturers used the Bauma show in Munich, Germany, to intro 60-ton articulated haulers, a significant jump in size for these machines. The Volvo A60H can haul up to 40 percent more than the company’s next machine size down, the 43-ton A40G. There’s less of a size jump for the Bell Equipment B60E, since Bell has produced the 50-ton B50 for several years. The Bell machine also features a 4×4 configuration, rather than a typical 6×6, with the manufacturer opting for a tighter turning radius.


Drone popularity heats up


With the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) releasing its final regulations on the commercial use of drones (officially Unmanned Aerial Systems) in June, construction’s use of drones continues its steep upward adoption path.

In September, Kespry announced a drone system that, after initial setup through a tablet app, will automatically fly a route drawn by a user and then create a 3D map of the terrain in the cloud. Also in September, Caterpillar drone partner Redbird was acquired by Airware, a San Francisco-based company that hopes to integrate Redird’s hardware and mapping software with its own flight planning software to create a full drone solution for construction and mining companies.

Under the new regs, commercial drones must weigh 55 pounds or less and be flown at speeds less than 100 miles per hour, within sight of the operator and not above 400 feet.

Overall, with a clear set of rules for commercial pilots to follow, the FAA and the U.S. Department of Transportation say the regulations open “pathways towards fully integrating UASs into the nation’s airspace,” adding that the drone industry is expected to generate 100,000 jobs and $82 billion for the U.S. economy over the next 10 years.


Chevy partners with Navistar

General Motors and Navistar reached a long-term agreement in October to develop and assemble medium-duty, conventional cab Class 4 and 5 commercial vehicles. There will be two versions of the trucks—one Navistar-International branded line and one GM/Chevy-branded line. The vehicles will be jointly developed using Navistar’s rolling chassis configurations and manufacturing capabilities and GM’s commercial components and engines. The vehicles will begin production in 2018.

Kobelco equipment, cranes merge

Kobelco Cranes North America merged with Kobelco Construction Machinery USA in December, joining the two subsidiaries in a move that mirrored the April merger of the global construction machinery excavator and crane companies. Kobelco says the merger will not affect the companies’ two North American dealer networks.

Cat consolidates

A Cat CT681 in a dump configuration.

A Cat CT681 in a dump configuration.

Less than a year after announcing plans to more fully commit to the business by building its own trucks, Caterpillar announced in February it would scrap its on-highway vocational truck lineup entirely. The company ceased taking orders immediately but said it would continue to offer customer support for trucks already on the road. In August, Caterpillar announced that it would stop making track drills and sell off its lineup of room and pillar equipment for underground soft rock mining. It also ended its compact excavator deal with Wacker Neuson, opting the make less-than-3-ton units itself.


Electromobility gains momentum

The autonomous, battery-electric HX1 would weigh 6 tons and carry 15 tons.

The autonomous, battery-electric HX1 would weigh 6 tons and carry 15 tons.

This fall, Volvo offered an intriguing look at how it envisioned the future, with a heavy emphasis on electromobility. The concept HX1 autonomous battery-electric 15-ton hauler, for example, is designed to replace heavier diesel artics in an electric-centric quarry. Managed by a fleet control system, the carrier doesn’t have to back up or be repositioned since it’s functional at both ends. In other developments, Alabama Cat dealer Thompson Machinery signed on to carry the 1,000-horsepower Nikola One Class 8 hydrogen electric-powered truck. Thompson will also carry the Nikola Motor’s Zero all-electric side-by-side off-road vehicle. And Wacker Neuson intro’d its “E” lineup at Bauma, showcasing electric wheel loaders, compact excavators, dumpers and rammers. (These machines aren’t destined for North America just yet, though.)


Komatsu buys Joy Global for $3 billion


Komatsu president and CEO Tetsuji Ohashi, left, met with Joy Global president and CEO Ted Doheny, right, during the MINExpo show in Las Vegas this week. Komatsu’s acquisition of Joy is expected to close by mid-2017.

Despite a still-limping mining industry, Komatsu announced in July that it would acquire Wisconsin-based surface and underground mining equipment manufacturer Joy Global for $2.9 billion. Joy Global, founded in 1884, manufactures the P&H, Joy and Montabert brands of equipment. Komatsu expects a long-term rebound in the mining industry driven by population growth and rapid urbanization around the world. The deal is expected to close by mid-2017.


New emissions rules for heavy trucks

In August, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration finalized new emissions and fuel economy standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. The final Phase 2 standards follow immediately Phase 1 greenhouse gas and fuel efficiency standards that won’t be fully implemented until next year. By model year 2027—when the Phase 2 standards are fully phased in—tractors in a tractor-trailer combination must achieve up to 25 percent lower CO2 emissions and fuel consumption than an equivalent tractor in 2018.


There was much to celebrate this past year, including:

100th: The Georgia and Mississippi Departments of Transportation both began after the 1916 Federal Aid Road Act

60th: President Eisenhower’s signing of the law which established
the Interstate Highway System.

50th: Volvo’s Gravel Charlie is built, and the articulated hauler is born

50th: Genie—a name derived from the “magic in a bottle” theme around the compressed air used in the company’s rst aerial lifts—gets its start.

30th: Komatsu America’s rst U.S. plant is established in Chattanooga, Tennessee

VW invests in Navistar

The HX series is International's first completely new truck introduction since 2010.

The HX series is International’s first completely new truck introduction since 2010.

Volkswagen bought a 16.6-percent stake in Navistar, investing $256 million in the company and appointing two directors to the Navistar board of directors. The deal represents a chance for VW to break into the North American heavy truck market. The technology partnership will focus on powertrain solutions and explore collaborations in commercial vehicle development, including advanced driver assistance systems, connected vehicle solutions, platooning and autonomous technologies, electric vehicles and cab and chassis components.

New lube oils

It’s been 10 years since the industry upgraded its heavy duty diesel engine lube oil standards. In December, oil companies started marketing a new, split standard: CK-4 for off road equipment and most on-highway diesel trucks, and FA-4 for new on-highway trucks seeking better fuel efficiency with lower viscosity grades.

CTL reign continues


Compact track loaders continue to gain market share, usually at the expense of skid steers and backhoes. CTL financed unit sales rose a projected 41 percent in 2016, compared to 2007. Backhoes and skid steers have not fared so well, with financed unit sales hovering around half of what they were in 2007. As of press time, the Kubota SVL75-2 was shaping up to be the most popular machine financed in 2016 in terms of number of units sold.

Interchange design shift

A rendering of Delaware's first diverging diamond interchange at SR 1 and Route 72.

A rendering of Delaware’s first diverging diamond interchange at SR 1 and Route 72.

U.S. interchanges are undergoing a design shift; from the stale, split-phase, head-to-head configuration to high-volume, semi-continuous designs such as diverging diamond interchanges (DDI) and roundabouts. These moves are prompted in part by the need to accommodate expanding numbers of motorists. DDIs eliminate conflicting left turns needed to clear opposing traffic, a feature that inherently improves safety and keeps traffic flowing.

Bertha makes progress… finally

Crews working for Seattle Tunnel Partners fill in the pit used to access and repair Bertha, the SR 99 tunneling machine on Dec. 14, 2015. Sand was delivered into the pit through the flexible pipe on the left, and was then spread out and compacted by crews inside the pit. Photo credit: WSDOT via Flickr

Crews working for Seattle Tunnel Partners fill in the pit used to access and repair Bertha, the SR 99 tunneling machine on Dec. 14, 2015. Sand was delivered into the pit through the flexible pipe on the left, and was then spread out and compacted by crews inside the pit. Photo credit: WSDOT via Flickr

In October, Bertha, the largest tunnel-boring machine in the world, made it past the halfway point of its 9,270-foot journey beneath Seattle to create a tunnel for State Route 99. The tunnel will replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct and is expected to open to traffic in early 2019, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation. This is roughly three years later than the original projected completion date, as the project has been slowed in part due to mechanical issues with Bertha.

And now for 2017…

Here are some quick takes on what our editors see ahead:

Tom Jackson

Equipment prices rise, demand skyrockets and inventories shrink in anticipation of a big infrastructure bill and more pipeline work. Get your orders in now.

Chris Hill

Trump unveils a major infrastructure initia- tive that will focus on roads, bridges and airports, but dismissive of mass transit. The proposal will include a heavy emphasis on public-private partnerships for funding.

Marcia Doyle

Rental purchase options will continue to experience rapid growth. Even if America becomes an infrastructure cornucopia in 2017, the impact of the Great Recession will still linger in the minds of contractors.

Wayne Grayson

Drone use among con- tractors and DOTs will continue to grow, as will the introduction of more drone hardware, software and services designed with construction in mind.

Source:: Equipment world

12th Day of Construction Gifts: A rugged smartphone case


If someone on your list works in construction or the trades, chances are their smartphone is at risk just about every day. Which makes a rugged case to protect their investment a no-brainer gift.

We recently published our 2017 guide to the best smartphone cases for construction. If you want a comprehensive look at what’s available, check that out. But for the purposes of a quick recommendation for this gift guide, we’ll recommend you go with either one of these two cases:

Dog and Bone Wetsuit Impact

The Wetsuit Impact is one of the thinnest cases you can buy that provides both waterproof and drop protection. And at around $50, it’s much cheaper than comparable cases from LifeProof. Plus it comes recommended from the trustworthy folks over at the Wirecutter.

i-Blason ArmorBox

If you don’t need waterproof protection but want a case that will guard your phone against drops, dirt and dust, i-Blason’s ArmorBox comes in a wide range of colors for a variety of phones and can be had for between $15 and $20 on Amazon. This dual-layer case features a hard shell exterior, a shock-absorbing TPU inner core and plenty of extra padding around the corners for all around protection against drops. It also features a built-in screen protector and a mount for a belt clip.

Source:: Equipment world

A construction success story at 30, James MacKay likes “the jobs no one else wants”


When asked to describe how he started in construction, James MacKay laughs. “I got into a little bit a trouble when I was in high school,” he says.

His father, a construction veteran, promptly dropped James off at a friend’s paving job…and that contractor, just as promptly, put him on a jackhammer. But rather than view it as punishment, James now says: “I instantly loved it.”

That introduction set him on his course, and today he oversees a $10 million firm with 60 employees…at the age of 30. And now his father, Tom MacKay, who taught him that lesson about hard work all those years ago, runs his concrete division.

MacKay Construction Services works in Boston and the surrounding suburbs, concentrating on defense construction, colleges and universities, and hospitality jobs, doing concrete, earthmoving, site development…anything his clients want. “I don’t want to turn down work from them,” MacKay says. “Everyone digs dirt or pours concrete, so my clients have to know I give service, that they can call me anytime; It’s how I separate myself from the pack.” It’s a mindset that usually has him on the road by 5 a.m.

MacKay realizes that things would be different if he didn’t have a solid base of clients, including Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems and Columbia Construction. “They helped us through the recession,” MacKay says. “We jump through hoops for them.” Another invaluable help: Tom Evangelista with E. J, Paving – the contractor who put him on a jackhammer as ‘punishment’. “When I told him I was going out on my own, he set me up on some jobs, and connected me with the right people,” he adds.

This attitude resonates with clients. “They are one of our go-to guys; they want to do things the right way,” says Daniel Thompson with Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems. “In fact, one of our project supers told us, ‘any job I’m doing from now forward, I want use these guys for my site and concrete.’”

Tricky jobs

coy1116_image1“I like the tricky jobs,” MacKay says. “I want the jobs that no one else wants.” One such job called for underpinning an existing building; a project that had only one other bidder. “You get into the exciting unknown, and it forces you to problem solve,” he comments.

This firm is also enjoying Boston’s booming construction economy right now, but not for the obvious reasons. “It takes my bigger competitors away and opens up things for me that they would normally be bidding on,” MacKay says.

While his company is signatory to several unions, MacKay likes to run composite crews. “I can keep guys busy year round,” he says. Since Boston’s Big Dig project wound down just as he was starting up, he was able to snag quality crew members. “When I hire someone, I hire them for the long term. I want people to know they make a difference to us.”

“The word I would associate with Jim is ‘value,’” says Peter Martin with Hilti North America. “He recognizes that productivity is one of the key elements to his success, and providing proper equipment training and support to his people is integral in achieving good productivity, especially in a metro market. If you’re not productive there, you’re losing a lot of money.”

Because he attained success at a relatively young age, MacKay makes it a point to lean on the experience of others. “You need to surround yourself with people with real life experience,” he says. “You have to have guys who’ve seen it before.”

For example, MacKay hired Chris Pedrick, a construction business veteran, as his office manager four years ago. “Sometimes he has to slap me around a bit,” MacKay says with a laugh. “When he started, I still had checks in my back pocket. Now, I think our books are the neatest they’ve ever been.”

MacKay says he gets assistance in the human relations department from his mother, Vicki MacKay, who works in the firm’s office. “She’s kind of like the defense lawyer for the guys,” he says with a grin. “She has the insight and helps me fix problems. Your customers see what your guys are feeling, so we want them well paid and taken care of, and looking professional.”

Steam clean

coy1116_image2All MacKay trucks and equipment gets steam cleaned every other Sunday, or more if the salt build-up in the winter time calls for it. This isn’t just an effort to create a professional appearance: “We find problems when they’re small, such as loose items, and it’s also better for safety,” MacKay says.

MacKay employs three mechanics and basically sticks to three brands: Cat for equipment, Mack for heavy trucks and Ford for pickups. Compact excavators and skid steers form the majority of his fleet, which also includes excavators and Class 8 trucks.

“He’s so knowledgeable about what he buys, he’ll know more about it than I do,” says Mark Bruno, a sales rep with Milton Cat. And, sure enough, during his time with us, MacKay went into the fine points of his 318F wheeled excavator. “It just cruises down the road at 25 mph, and the side camera is so important when you’re driving down the street. The split boom with a thumb quick coupler is great for underpinning work. I’ve been using wheeled excavators for six years and I can’t live without them.”

MacKay’s equipment philosophy is simple: buy new equipment for every day needs and rent most of the rest. “I definitely rely on rental, especially for large equipment above the 322 size,” he says. For example, he needed the reach of a Cat 374 excavator for a coffer dam job. “The fact that you’re getting a new machine when you rent is worth volumes,” he says. “Rental is huge for me.”

“He’s got a combination of business savvy and street smarts that’s very rare,” says Bruno. “I think a lot of his employees would take a bullet for him, and if they’d take a bullet, you can bet the concrete is going to be poured right.”

“Having those relationships separates you,” MacKay says. “The businesses I see fail are the ones that are isolated. You’ve got to be out there. Even with your competitors, communication is huge.”

Source:: Equipment world

Euro Auctions acquires heavy machinery auctioneer Yoder & Frey


Photo credit: Yoder & Frey

Euro Auctions, with headquarters in Dromore, Northern Island, has purchased U.S.-based heavy machinery auctioneer Yoder & Frey. Financial details of the acquisition were not revealed.

The company says the action will “create a stable and strategic partnership from which the local market knowledge of Yoder & Frey, combined with the global market expertise of Euro Auctions, will provide greater options when buying and selling their equipment.”

The Euro Auctions sales site in Atlanta will be re-branded as Yoder & Frey in an effort to “strengthen” the Ohio, Pennsylvania and Kissimmee winter consignment auction in Florida. The company says the deal will add six or seven new sales to the Euro Auctions global calendar starting in 2017.

“Working with Euro Auctions, the Yoder & Frey brand will gain exposure to a global market place and increased access to a global database of both buyers and sellers,” says Peter Clark, Yoder & Frey CEO. “The equipment that comes along with this association will help grow the Yoder and Frey brand. From working with the Euro Auction’s team previously, we are aware of our similar core focus of delivering a quality service and a competitive price, while also never losing sight of our customers’ true needs. I believe it will be a good fit for both companies and look forward to a good start together at the Florida auction from February 6-11, 2017.”

“We are extremely excited to announce the merger with Yoder & Frey in the USA as this gives Euro Auctions a strong US brand with which to extend the reach the business has globally and achieve a stronger presence there,’ says Jonnie Keys, Euro Auctions operations manager. “Yoder & Frey has achieved a leading position in the US market and strategically within the important Florida region. Working with Peter Clark and his team, we aim to expand the operations in the USA, introducing the American market to the global reach of Euro Auctions, whilst building the brand to the good of both Yoder & Frey and Euro Auctions.”

Source:: Equipment world

USDOT releases Ladders of Opportunity report on upward mobility through transportation


Road work on Interstate 75 heading into Atlanta.

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has released its “Ladders of Opportunity Transportation Empowerment Pilot LadderSTEP 2015-2016 Report” that shows progress made in seven cities to foster upward mobility through transportation decisions in these areas.

“Transportation projects should be designed and built with the full engagement of communities they impact,” says Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “By partnering with these cities and their mayors in the LadderSTEP pilot program, we were able to take advantage of the tremendous benefits of in-depth collaboration, which has inspired participants to keep creating more opportunities for their communities through transportation projects.”

USDOT launched the LadderSTEP program in 2015 to develop “sustainable economic development related to planned transportation projects.” The seven cities in the pilot include Atlanta; Baltimore; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Charlotte, North Carolina; Indianapolis; Phoenix; and Richmond, Virginia.

The department worked with each city to select a “game-changing” project, meet with “local stakeholders” to work on the project and discuss the “vision” for them and to determine opportunities for each project. The agency and mayors’ offices also created a “city work plan” for creating a timeline, goals and strategies for the projects.

“Every city that participated in the LadderSTEP program has seen the value of bringing a community together to talk about their area’s future,” says USDOT Chief Opportunities Officer Stephanie Jones. “This pilot showed how the LadderSTEP approach can empower communities across the country to have a collaborative and inclusive process.”

Major accomplishments highlighted in the report include:

  • In Atlanta, city and federal staff benefitted by forming new strategic partnerships with local foundations to help stimulate economic development activity in the area. The city chose to focus on the Martin Luther King Jr. Drive Corridor Improvement Initiative, which received a $10 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) 2016 grant to provide new mobility options and increase access to transit, employment centers, and services. This project will continue to promote the core values of LadderSTEP once the pilot has concluded.
  • In Baltimore, significant achievements include helping the city acquire funding for affordable housing on North Pulaski Street; allowing the city to adhere to its local hiring program while using federal funding on the project which employs local residents for construction; and coordinating with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to avoid conflicts with an ongoing FRA project. Additionally, federal-level involvement in the project alleviated private investor concerns about any uncertainty of the project moving forward, which increased developer interest in the area. In West Baltimore, the North Avenue Rising Project received a $10 million TIGER 2016 grant to create a safer corridor along approximately five miles of North Avenue through pedestrian improvements, enhanced bus stops, and transit infrastructure that will increase access to employment centers and essential services for a low-income area continuing the LadderSTEP project area goals.
  • In Baton Rouge, the additional federal staff and technical knowledge provided through LadderSTEP enabled the city to complete the TramLinkBR Project’s environmental review process in six months, rather than the typical 12 to 18 months. This environ­mental assessment is now in the public and agency review process. To help fund construction the city is seeking a Capital Investment Grant (CIG) from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). Through LadderSTEP, FTA assisted the city in preparing a complete CIG application. On June 24, 2016, the city submitted a request to enter into the project development phase for the fiscal year 2018 CIG program.
  • In Charlotte, the city secured $7.7 million in city tax dollars for design work for Phase 2 of the Gold Line Streetcar project and established a partnership with the Knight Foundation, which committed $1.5 million over three years to area revitalization. Furthermore, LadderSTEP served as a platform for bringing all partners together on multiple projects occurring simultaneously to help the city decide how to prioritize these projects.
  • In Indianapolis, LadderSTEP support has helped advance the development and pending construction of the city’s first bus rapid transit (BRT) project. The BRT Red Line is planned along the most densely populated corridor in the state and will provide improved transit options for 133,000 college students, 140,000 employees and 60,000 residents who live within a half mile of the line. A large event is planned for 2017 focused on workforce mobility surrounding the BRT Red Line, which will involve new partners that were connected during the pilot. In addition, momentum from LadderSTEP helped Indianapolis successfully pass a ballot initiative for county-wide system improvements and secure a $75 million Small Starts grant from FTA.
  • In Phoenix, a TIGER 2014 planning grant funded the development of an environmental assessment (EA) and con­ceptual engineering for the light rail project. Through LadderSTEP, FTA reviewed the draft EA document and advised the City of Phoenix on necessary edits. The South Central EA was approved for public circulation on May 6, 2016. DOT also organized a workshop, which involved a variety resource groups, included the Ford Foundation that was focused on Equitable Transit Oriented Development (TOD) and hosted a group of 60 community stakeholders who shared their vision for the project. DOT and the Local Initiative Support Corporation also worked with the city to rally community support for a transportation funding referendum, which passed and is contributing funds to the project. The city secured a $700 million transportation infrastructure invest­ment from the Ford Foundation for the Valley Metro light rail extension; began developing an Early Action Business Assistance Program in the corridor; and initiated an application for a FTA TOD planning grant, for which the FTA regional office provided guidance and resources on. Community support for the project has also increased significantly due to a shift in the way city staff are communicating project benefits.
  • In Richmond, through LadderSTEP, DOT worked with the city to strategize a redesign of the commercial triangle in the Greater Fulton area and create a zoning and traffic pattern study, as well as a bicycle and pedestrian plan. These efforts have enhanced the transportation network and accelerated the project by providing additional staff resources to communicate with the public and key stakeholders and quickly built connections with other disciplines (e.g., housing). A BRT cooperation agreement is now in place.

The full “Ladders of Opportunity Transportation Empowerment Pilot LadderSTEP 2015-2016 Report” is available here.

Source:: Equipment world

ACPA honors Pitcock with 2016 Hartmann-Hirschman-Egan Award


ACPA President and CEO Jerry Voigt (right) presents the association’s 2016 Hartmann-Hirschman-Egan Award to James D. Pitcock Jr., owner, chairman and CEO of Williams Brothers Construction Company.

The American Concrete Pavement Association (ACPA) has presented its 2016 Hartmann-Hirschman-Egan Award to James D. Pitcock Jr., owner, chairman and CEO of Williams Brothers Construction Company.

ACPA presents the award annually to individuals or organizations for “unparalleled, long-term commitment, dedication, participation, and leadership in the concrete pavement community.”

“It is a privilege that our association enjoys when it highlights the most affective and influential people in our industry. Mr. Pitcock will forever be on the list of Hartmann-Hirschman-Egan recipients, which started in 1968 with the first award going to Jimmie Johnson, inventor of the slipform paving machine. We are extremely pleased to shine a light on Mr. Pitcock’s achievements within the concrete paving community” stated Gerald F. Voigt, ACPA president & CEO.

ACPA says it recognized Pitcock for his leadership in the transportation-construction industry, as well as leading one of the largest concrete paving contractors in the country.

Along with Claude and John Williams, Pitcock founded Williams Brothers Construction Company in 1955, and since that time has served in multiple volunteer leadership positions, including national president of The Associated General Contractors of America, and president of the Texas Highway Branch of the Associated General Contractors for two terms.

Pitcock served in 1976 as a representative to the National Transportation Policy Study Commission. He has also served on the Texas State Board of Registration for Professional Engineers; as chairman of the Houston Chamber of Commerce transportation committee and the Texas Deep Water Port Authority; was inducted into the Texas Good Roads/Transportation Association’s Hall of Fame; named the 2006 Engineer of the Year by the Texas State Legislature; named to the Texas Transportation Institute’s Hall of Honor; and named as one of the “America’s Top Construction Professionals of the 20th Century.”

From the ACPA:

“First presented in 1968, the Hartmann-Hirschman-Egan Award was originally named in honor of Harold W. Hartmann, who served as the Association’s Secretary-Treasurer from 1964 until 1974. In 1987, Robert E. Hirschman’s name was added in recognition of his term as the Association’s Chairman (then President) in 1967, as well as his tenure as Secretary-Treasurer from 1975 to 1987. In 2007, the name of Edward A. Egan was added in recognition of his steadfast leadership and dedication to the Association and the industry it serves. Among the stations he occupied was the ACPA’s chairman in 1986, as well as Secretary-Treasurer – from 1988 to 2007, making him the longest-serving person in that capacity in the Association’s history.

Source:: Equipment world

DelDOT website aims to help develop non-traditional transportation projects


Delaware Avenue, Wilmington (DelDOT)

The Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) has launched a website aimed at helping to develop non-traditional transportation projects to provide choices for cyclists and pedestrians.

The site was developed for the state’s Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP)—a Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) program created through the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. Its purpose is to “encourage community-based projects” that are small in scale, including pedestrian and bicycle facilities, recreational trails, safe routes to schools, vegetation management, stormwater management and historic preservation.

“TAP projects are grass roots driven projects that allows communities to determine what their transportation needs are and with the help of local government acting as sponsors, help build connections to enhance walking and biking as well as add beautification to their neighborhoods in the form of landscaping, lighting, or street furniture,” says Ann Gravatt, DelDOT planning supervisor and TAP manager.

DelDOT says it supports and administers the TAP for all Delaware projects, and all potential TAP projects require a sponsor, which will be responsible for 20 percent of the project costs.

“The project sponsor also assumes the maintenance and legal liability for the duration of the project’s useful life,” the agency says. “Any project sponsored by a non-government agency, organization or individual must have a government agency as a co-sponsor.”

Sponsors can be local governments, regional transportation authorizes, natural resource or public land agencies, school districts and local education agencies or other local and governmental entities that have oversight of transportation or recreational trails.

More details area available here.

Source:: Equipment world

Florida bridge opens after 3 years of construction


Photo: Still from CBS12 footage

After three years of construction and a weekend of being closed for re-striping, Florida’s new Flagler Memorial Bridge between Palm Beach and West Palm Beach opened one lane in each direction on Monday, CBS12.com reports.

The project cost taxpayers approximately $105 million dollars.

Some businesses were negatively impacted during the years of construction, and some eventually closed, but for others, it was business as usual with only the inconvenience of backed-up traffic.

Now that construction is complete and the bridge is open, officials told the news agency that commuters would be able to move more smoothly from one side to the other.

The old bridge has been known to get backed up during peak hours, and businesses say they found snowbirds avoided Palm Beach because of that.

Source:: Equipment world