Lessons Learned at the Transportation Conference

Posted by on Mar 13, 2012

On February 23 and 24, several of our engineers attended the 55th Annual Transportation Conference presented by Auburn University’s Samuel Ginn College of Engineering and the Engineering Continuing Education Department of Civil Engineering Alabama Technology Transfer Center.

The event was held at the Renaissance Montgomery Hotel & Spa at The Convention Center and was well attended by federal and state highway personnel, contractors, county engineers, consulting engineers, construction material vendors, researchers, professional society representatives and university faculty members.

Here are some of the key take-aways our leaders came home with.

Jim Meads, President/CEO:

“I attended a number of interesting presentations, including a presentation by ALDOT’s Tim Barnett on “Alabama’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan”.  Sain is the lead consultant on the Plan led by Becky White, Sain Principal, and Dr. Dan Turner, former UA Professor who is working with us on the project.

Another presentation that was interesting was entitled “Roundabouts: Key Design and Operational Issues.”  This presentation talked about Georgia DOT’s roundabout program.

Roundabouts are an excellent option for intersection traffic control instead of traffic signals. In many cases, roundabouts provide better traffic operations than signals and also give the designer an opportunity for more landscaping.

We are looking at roundabouts as options on several current projects in Alabama and Louisiana.”

Alicia Bailey, Project Manager:

“I learned that Governor Bentley has created the Alabama Geographic Information Program.  With this program, the State has formed a website which will be a content management system for GIS information.  This is a huge collaborative effort between the State of Alabama, Cities, Counties and Universities for sharing information.

The public will be able to see what information is available and where to go to get it and will even be able to download some information straight from the website.

Sain Associates does a lot of work which requires GIS information so the formation of this website will be of definite use to us.”

Joe Meads, Principal/Owner:

Victor Mendez, Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration  (FHWA) in Washington,D.C. was one of the keynote speakers. He gave us a Federal Perspective on Transportation.

The FHWA has proposed a six-year $350 billion highway program and includes taking half of the savings from the Iraq/Afghanistan wars and moving it to Infrastructure.

He recognized Elmore County Engineer Richie Beyer for his state leadership in Alabama with on FHWA’s Every Day Counts Initiative.  Sain staff have participated in two of the Every Day Counts task groups.

He said the number one priority of the FHWA is safety, which is why the budget for safety has been doubled. He outlined a list of three things to reduce fatalities:

  1. Buckle up
  2. Put away cell phones
  3. Drive safely

Governor Bentley announced a three phase Alabama Transportation and Rehabilitation Program (ATRIP) to assist cities and counties to address urgent transportation infrastructure needs.

The program’s focus is on essential needs related to roads and bridges.  The initial program will be funded with $200-$300 million of Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicles (GARVEE) Bonds.

Additional phases could bring ATRIP to a total of $800 million to $1 billion. Sain will offer our services to cities and counties for potential projects.”

Sain Associates, Inc., is headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, with offices in Cullman, Alabama, Pulaski, Tennessee and Mandeville, Louisiana. Sain is a site engineering, traffic/transportation engineering and planning and land surveying firm with experience in more than thirty states.

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