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May 2015

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This month’s newsletter includes information about:

    • 2016 World Steel Bridge Symposium Issues Call for Papers.
    • NSBA Webinar on NEW Continuous Span Standards and SIMON Software.
    • American Roads and Transportation Builders Association Pitches a 15 Cent Gas Tax Increase.
    • Webinar on "Innovative, Cost-Effective Options for Short Span Steel Bridge Design".
    • Inside this Month's Modern Steel Construction "Making History".
    • Mark your Calendar for these Upcoming Events.


2016 World Steel Bridge Symposium Issues Call for Papers

The 2016 World Steel Bridge Symposium, to be held April 13-15, 2016 in Orlando, Florida, is now accepting abstracts. The organizers of the 2016 WSBS are interested in papers and presentations that deal with all aspects of steel bridge design and construction. Papers will be requested based on acceptance of abstracts of 500 words or less. Below is a list of important information.

· Preferred format is a PDF attachment.

· Send abstracts to abstracts@steelbridges.org

· Abstracts are due by June 5, 2015

· Authors will be notified of acceptance by July 17, 2015

· Completed papers for review must be received by November 13, 2015

The World Steel Bridge Symposium brings together design engineers, construction professionals, academicians, transportation officials, fabricators, erectors, and constructors to discuss and learn state-of-the-art practices for enhancing steel bridge design, fabrication, and construction techniques.

2016 World SBS


NSBA Webinar on NEW Continuous Span Standards and SIMON Software

 NSBA logo
On June 25, 2015 the National Steel Bridge Alliance will hold an educational webinar on the new Continuous Span Standards and SIMON software. The standards, developed in conjunction with Commonwealth Engineers & Consultants, Inc of Providence, RI, utilize the NSBA’s SIMON software to develop preliminary plate girder sizes for three span bridges.

The standards address bridges with five girders in the cross section, under balanced geometry configurations: center spans between 150 ft and 300 ft and end spans at 78% of the center span. Girder spacings for these geometries will range between 7’-6” and 12’-0”. Plate sizes have been optimized for cost and provide the necessary information to quickly compare alternatives and establish preliminary pricing. All solutions are based upon the AASHTO LRFD 7th edition and HL 93 live loading. Homogenous and hybrid plate girder solutions are prepared with the homogenous solutions utilizing ASTM A709 50W steel throughout the girder while the hybrid solutions utilize ASTM A709 50W steel for the web and ASTM A709 HPS70W steel in selected portions of the flanges.

In addition tabulated data for each of the 88 solutions available as a .pdf file,NSBA is providing the SIMON input files for each solution so an engineer can quickly make adjustments based upon their specific geometries or loading. A tutorial of utilizing this unique feature will follow the standards walkthrough.

Check back for additional information on webinar time and pricing as it becomes available.


The American Roads & Transportation Builders Association Pitches a 15 Cent Gas Tax Increase

A group representing road builders said Thursday that the federal gas tax should be increased by 15 cents per gallon to help pay for infrastructure improvements.

The American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) said increasing the gas tax this year would raise $401 billion for new transportation spending.

The gas tax hike could be offset with a “federal tax rebate for middle and lower income Americans for six years,” the group suggested.

ARTBA President Pete Ruane said the tax increase was more viable than other ideas that have been floated as a solution to a transportation shortfall that has bedeviled lawmakers for years, such as taxing oversees corporate profits.

“If our national leaders think they need to use budget gimmicks or ‘one-offs’ again to pass the surface transportation investment program the states need and the business community has been pleading for, then use those devices to provide a $90 tax rebate to middle and lower income tax filers to offset the cost to them of a 15 cent per gallon increase in the federal gas tax,” Ruane said in a statement. “Don’t use them to just prop up the program for a few years,” Ruane continued. “That won’t resolve the structural damage that’s been done to the Highway Trust Fund, nor will it allow states to do the long-range capital planning that the nation needs.”

Transportation advocates have been pushing for an increase in the gas tax to help for infrastructure improvements for years as lawmakers have struggled to pass long-term federal highway bills.

The gas tax, currently set at 18.4 cents per gallon, has been the traditional source of transportation funding since the 1930s. The tax has not been increased since 1993, however, and it has struggled to keep pace with rising construction costs as cars have become more fuel-efficient.

The federal government typically spends approximately $50 billion per year on transportation projects, but the gas tax only brings in about $34 billion.

Lawmakers have turned to other areas of the federal budget in recent years to make up the difference, but the short-term solutions have resulted in Congress approving only a series of temporary infrastructure funding patches since a 2005 transportation bill expired in 2009, including an $11 billion 2014 measure that is now scheduled to expire on May 31.

Lawmakers have introduced a series of bills recently to extend the expiring transportation funding measure, but they have not yet coalesced around a specific funding source. The idea of increasing the federal gas tax to help pay for construction projects has been discussed, but many lawmakers are reluctant to ask drivers to pay more at the pump.
Additional proposals from the White House and lawmakers like Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) rely on the idea of taxing overseas corporate revenue through a process known as “repatriation” to pay for a new round of road projects.

Ruane said Thursday that increasing the gas tax would provide a more permanent solution to the transportation funding problem, however.

“Just using repatriation as a one-time, short-term patch for Highway Trust Fund investments does not address or resolve the trust fund’s underlying revenue stream problem,” he said. “After the repatriation ‘fix’ period is over, the trust fund’s cash flow problem not only returns, but will be worse than it is now, threatening another crash in the highway and transit investment program.”

Ruane touted his group’s proposal to offset the gas tax increase with a break on other federal taxes as a possible solution to the political quandary that has bogged down the transportation funding debate for years.

“Our proposal provides an answer for those who believe Americans are not willing or able to invest another $90 a year to improve their mobility and help keep the cost of just about everything they buy down,” Ruane said, adding that repair costs from shoddy infrastructure are already “being passed on to consumers.”

“I submit the mobility we get from our modest, individual contributions transportation infrastructure improvements is an outstanding return on investment,” Ruane continued. “If there is a better plan out there that puts the surface transportation program back on solid ground over the next 10 years with a sustainable growth trajectory, then let’s move on it now. The time for cogitating and fretting is over. The clock is ticking.”

This article originally appeared on TheHill.com

Webinar on "Innovative, Cost-Effective Options for Short Span Steel Bridge Design"

The Short Span Steel Bridge Alliance (SSSBA) will host a free one-hour webinar on “Innovative, Cost-Effective Options for Short Span Steel Bridge Design” on Tuesday, May 12, 2015 from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. EDT. The webinar is being held in cooperation with the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) and the American Galvanizers Association (AGA) as part of Infrastructure Week 2015. It will be conducted by Greg Michaelson, Ph.D., Professor at the Weisberg Division of Engineering at Marshall University.

Infrastructure Week 2015 is a national outreach being conducted May 11-15 to build awareness of and educate policymakers and citizens about the infrastructure challenges in the United States. Now in its third year, Infrastructure Week highlights the critical importance of investing in and modernizing America’s infrastructure systems and the essential role that infrastructure plays in the economy. AISI is an affiliate member of Infrastructure Week 2015.

In this webinar, Dr. Michaelson will discuss innovative press-brake formed tub girder technology for short span (140 feet or less) bridges, a promising modular unit that allows accelerated construction and reduced traffic interruptions. The system meets the need for Accelerated Bridge Construction while offering an economical and competitive design solution. The first two projects to utilize this new technology will be constructed this year in Iowa and West Virginia.

Dr. Michaelson will also discuss eSPAN140, a free, web-based tool that delivers customized preliminary short span steel bridge designs in three steps and under five minutes. eSPAN140 was developed by SSSBA partners with input from the National Association of County Engineers Structures Committee, the Federal Highway Administration, and the AASHTO T-14 Technical Committee for Structural Steel Design. eSPAN140 provides a “one-stop shop” for steel fabrication and erection details for standard designs for rolled beam, plate girder, corrugated structural plate, and corrugated steel pipe structures.

This webinar is being presented as a special addition to AGA’s Galvanize It! webinar series and is approved for continuing education units (CEUs), learning units (LUs), and professional development hours (PDHs). To register, click here.

SSSBA logo

The Short Span Steel Bridge Alliance provides essential information to bridge owners and designers on the unique benefits, innovative designs, cost competitiveness, and performance related to using steel in short span installations up to 140 feet in length. SSSBA partners comprise bridge and buried soil steel structure industry leaders, including manufacturers, fabricators and representatives of related associations and government organizations. For more news or information, visit www.shortspansteelbridges.org or follow us on Twitter @ShortSpanSteel.

Inside this Month's Modern Steel Construction "Making Headway"

SAFE AND SOUND is the name of the game for Missouri bridges—and not just figuratively.

In one of the most ambitious statewide bridge improvement programs in the country, the Missouri Department of Transportation’s (MoDOT) Safe and Sound Bridge Improvement Program has improved 802 bridges in three-and-a-half years: 554 replacements through a single design-build contract and 248 rehabilitation projects managed through its more conventional monthly lettings.

As part of the program, two Interstate 55 bridges, northbound and southbound traveling over the BNSF railroad and 5th Street in Festus, Mo., were identified to be re-decked. These bridges, built in 1967, had six spans each ranging from 37 ft to 60 ft long for a total length of 300 ft. In the center, over the railroad tracks, was a 60-ft span.

However, this stretch of I-55, which lies about 35 miles south of downtown St. Louis, is experiencing rapid growth and carries increasingly higher traffic volumes as commuters from Jefferson County’s bedroom communities travel to work in St. Louis. Consequently, there was a desire to widen the bridges for an eventual third lane in each direction. This could not be accommodated if the bridges were to merely be re-decked. Plus, the Safe and Sound budget had only $1.5 million to allocate to the project—not enough to replace the structures.

Luckily, MoDOT’s St. Louis District chipped in $3 million, which enabled MoDOT’s Bridge Division to search for the design solution to economically build two new bridges that would accommodate the additional lanes while also fitting within multiple on-site constraints.

Read all about the project in this month’s Modern Steel Construction.

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