Report: Roughness Index succeeding profilograph in pavement parameters

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A new Louisiana Transportation Research Center (LTRC) report tracks a major transition in current U.S. concrete and asphalt pavement smoothness requirements. “Best Practices for Achieving and Measuring Pavement Smoothness, A Synthesis of State-of-Practice” shows a growing number of states moving away from profilograph-based specifications in favor of those determined on a more widely-accepted and precise measure: the International Roughness Index (IRI).

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Mineral technology, machinery developer taps clays’ geopolymer binder potential

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A National Science Foundation-backed building materials technology startup, Watershed Materials in Napa, Calif., reports a high-strength masonry unit production process using natural mineral-based geopolymers. Recently identified reactive compounds allow for molding universally available clays into what the company contends is a sustainable alternative to conventional concrete masonry.

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EPA RainWorks Challenge

Environmental Protection Agency ’s fourth annual Campus RainWorks Challenge compels undergraduate and graduate student participants to design green infrastructure systems to reduce stormwater pollution. Such systems include permeable pavement materials, rain-harvesting vessels and vegetated green roofs. Along with companion practices, EPA notes, they decrease pollution to local waterways by treating rain where it falls and keeping polluted stormwater from entering sewer systems; increase economic activity, neighborhood revitalization, job creation and open space; and, reduce local water infrastructure burden, urban heat island effect and energy consumption.

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Hardscape unit demand outpaces overall landscape product business

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Landscaping product demand is forecast to grow 5.3 percent per year, from $5.3 billion in 2014 to $8.2 billion in 2019, as the market continues to recover from the effects of the 2007–2009 recession. Of four major categories profiled in Landscaping Products, a new five-year outlook from Cleveland market researcher Freedonia Group, hardscape units—concrete or clay pavers, segmental retaining wall units—lead the pack with projected annual growth at 7.3 percent, from just over $2 billion in 2014 sales toward $2.9 billion in 2019.

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Concrete trades near top in AGC survey tracking widespread labor shortages

Nearly 90 percent of 1,350-plus respondents to an industry-wide Associated General Contractors of America survey, conducted at peak season, report trouble finding qualified craft workers to fill key spots as construction demand continues to rebound in many markets. Seventy-nine percent of responding firms nationwide cite difficulty filling one or more of 21 hourly craft professional positions, particularly carpenters (73 percent of firms that employ carpenters report difficulty), followed by sheet metal installers (65 percent) and concrete workers (63 percent).

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