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The National Association of State Highway and Transportation Unions (NASHTU) is dedicated to ensuring that federal transportation dollars are spent on cost-effective, safe projects that serve the public interest. NASHTU is comprised of 38 unions and associations representing hundreds of thousands of state and locally employed transportation engineers, construction managers and inspectors, technical workers and related public servants from throughout the United States.

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Nipigon Bridge – Report Faults Design, Improper Installation

The Ministry of Transportation Ontario (MTO) recently released two engineering reports that found the Nipigon Bridge failure was caused both by improper design and faulty installation of the bolts that held the bridge deck to the span.

The $106 million bridge in the Canadian Province failed last January just 42 days after opening to traffic when a number of bolts securing the deck to the bridge framing sheared and cause the deck to rise almost two feet.  The bridge failure heavily impacted both freight and other traffic because it shut down the only highway link between Eastern and Western Canada.

Specifically, the engineering analyses reports found that certain bridge elements were not designed in accordance with the contract and also did not meet the requirements of the Canadian Highway Bridge Design Code.  Additionally the bolts used were too long and were not properly tightened during installation.

The investigatory reports do not allocate or estimate a percentage of responsibility for the errors between the private design, construction, and inspection firms responsible for the bridge.  One thing that is clear is that the project was completed entirely by the private sector with little involvement of the MTO, the public entity responsible for ensuring the safe delivery of the project.  MTO estimates that the repair work will cost between $8 and $12 million.

The Nipigon Bridge failure is another good example of the need for public sector design and construction inspection of taxpayer funded public works projects.  The Nipigon Bridge was wholly outsourced to the private sector, with no one from MTO protecting the public interest.  The bridge was designed by McCormick Rankin, built by Bot Ferrovial, and the project management, construction administration and inspection were outsourced to Hatch Mott McDonald.

In the next Congressional Session, NASHTU will continue to pursue our two legislative priorities which would ensure that the construction inspection for highway projects is performed by public sector employees who are loyal to the public and require cost benefit analyses prior to outsourcing.

Read the article in Metro

Read the full engineering reports released by MTO

2017 NASHTU Conference – New Venue, Earlier Date

NASHTU’s Annual Conference will move to a new venue in 2017 – the Washington Court Hotel in Washington D.C.  It is just down the street from the Hyatt (which could not accommodate us in 2017) and is a first-rate hotel.  The conference will be held Monday, April 24 through Wednesday, April 26, 2017.

At the 2017 conference, we will continue to advocate NASHTU’s priorities:

  • Require state and local departments of transportation to perform cost-benefit analyses prior to outsourcing
  • Ensure public safety by requiring public employees to perform the construction inspection on federally funded transportation projects
  • Oppose efforts that seek to mandate or incentivize the use of outsourcing on transportation projects

The NASHTU conference will also feature key Members of Congress and transportation policy experts.  In addition, we will have many informative panels on outsourcing schemes and issues affecting public sector labor unions.

NASHTU has secured a special room rate of $349 per night for the conference.  The hotel has also agreed to honor the group rate for the Saturday prior to our conference and Wednesday, April 26, based on hotel availability.  If you are planning to stay those nights, please make your reservations as soon as possible.  To make reservations, please call the Washington Court Reservations Department at 1 (800) 321-3010.

If you have any suggestions for speakers, panel topics, or interesting subjects for the conference, please let us know.

HR 1692: Ensuring Safety, Efficiency and Accountability on Transportation Projects

Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD), has introduced legislation that requires public employees to perform the construction inspection on federally funded state and local transportation projects.  NASHTU has advocated for public inspection on transportation projects for many years.

The Safety, Efficiency, and Accountability in Transportation Projects through Public Inspection Act of 2015 (HR 1692) will ensure that public safety is protected, transportation funds are not wasted, and that projects are delivered in a timely manner.

On transportation projects, construction inspectors are the eyes, ears, and voice of the public.  Public inspectors ensure that construction standards are met, that projects meet safety requirements, and that the materials used will stand the test of time.

Please help generate support for this bill by personalizing and sending a co-sponsorship request letter to the members of your state’s congressional delegation.

To ensure the timely receipt of the letter, we would suggest that you e-mail the letter, fact sheet and disaster examples to the Legislative Directors of the Members of Congress.

News Stories

Sustainable infrastructure after the Automobile Age – The Breakthrough American infrastructure of the early 19th century was the Erie Canal, which connected the Midwest farm belt with the Port of New York and the eastern seaboard. In the second half of the 19th century, the railroad offered the next infrastructure revolution by connecting the two oceans and the continent in between. In the middle of the last century, the transformational infrastructure was the Interstate Highway System, consummating America’s 20th-century love affair with the automobile. Each new wave of infrastructure underpinned a half-century of economic growth. – Jeffrey D. Sachs for The Boston Globe – September 26, 2016

Illinois Safe Roads Amendment will end raids on transportation budget – Illinoi voters can reform state government in a limited yet very important way when they cast their ballots by approving the Safe Roads Amendment. – Herald-Whig View – September 25, 2016

Alameda Corridor dream becomes financial nightmare for Los Angeles and Long Beach ports – Sluggish trade from Asia through the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach has created financial peril for the once-heralded Alameda Corridor, the 20-mile train expressway designed to speed goods to market. – Rachel Uranga for LA Daily News – September 24, 2016