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Precast Concrete Walls Separate Road from Rail

Precast walls at O'HareThe O’Hare Modernization Program (OMP) is one of the largest construction projects in the country at one of the world’s busiest airports.  It transforms O’Hare International Airport’s airfield from a system of intersecting runways into a modern parallel runway configuration to reduce flight delays and increase capacity well into the future.

When completed, O’Hare will have eight runways - six will be east-west parallel runways and two crosswind runways.  To accomplish this, more than 400 homes and an industrial park were purchased and demolished. The Union Pacific Railroad needed to be moved several thousand feet south of its original alignment as did Irving Park Road, a state highway, and the Bensenville Canal.  These three transportation lines will now parallel to each other in a narrow thru-way.

To accomplish this daunting task, OMP officials are using the precast T-WALL® Retaining Wall System designed by The Neel Company and cast by Dukane Precast.  The walls, when complete, operate as a more than half mile long grade separation for the railway tracks directly next to the relocated Irving Park Road.

In total 89,000 square feet of wall area will be installed.  Construction started this summer and proceeded at a rapid rate with up to 80 units placed each day.  At the end of construction, more than 2,000 T-WALL units will be put in place.  The wall units are 7.5 feet wide and vary in height from 2.5 to 10 feet, with most being 5 feet high.  The units are monolithic all concrete units with no tie backs, mechanical connections or additional soil reinforcements required.

Construction on the $15 billion modernization plan started in 2009 and is expected to be completed by the Spring of 2012.  

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Free Webinar to Highlight MIT Research

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Concrete Sustainability Hub (CSH) will present the free webinar “MIT Concrete Sustainability Hub Research Update,” October 25, 2011, at 2:00 pm Eastern. 

The 1.5-hour session will include abbreviated overviews of the presentations and research reports released during the 2011 MIT Concrete Industry Day on August 11.  The webinar will present the results of two years of effort in developing comprehensive strategies for new technologies, designs, and policies associated with the future use of concrete pavements and buildings, and how concrete will contribute to meeting the "2030 Challenge."  Environmental and cost impacts, and areas with the most potential for improvements will be discussed.

The webinar will also be recorded for future playback.
Register for the webinar
Download recent MIT CSH research reports
Contact Mark Justman

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September PPI: Several Indices Decline

September PPIAccording to the latest Producer Price Index (PPI), issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the steel PPI decreased from August to September by 0.5 percent, along with lumber (0.6 percent) and asphalt (0.1 percent).  The concrete PPI increased 0.2 percent from August.

Year-over-year indices, however, all increased. The steel PPI was up 13.5 percent, lumber up 1.0 percent, and asphalt up 8.4 percent. The concrete PPI increased the least from 2010, at 0.3 percent.

Source: Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. PCA provides this information to aid in the promotion of concrete and cement-based products.
More information
Contact Joe Chiappe

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Senate Mark Up of Surface Transportation Bill Scheduled

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) announced that it will markup its version of the surface transportation reauthorization bill, titled, “Moving Ahead Progress for the 21st Century” (MAP-21).    The markup will take place on November 9.

The two-year bill provides $109 billion in funding, but still needs the Senate Finance Committee to locate the $12 billion needed to fill shortfalls in the Highway Trust Fund.   By scheduling a markup, EPW  is placing pressure on the Finance Committee to secure the funding necessary before the Super Committee’s plans for funding cuts are released.
Contact Lauren Schapker

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MIT Concrete Sustainability Hub Releases New Research Brief

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Concrete Sustainability Hub (CSH) recently released “When Concrete Takes (part of) the Heat,"  the latest in a series of summaries on research activities in areas of concrete science.

Since concrete contributes to sustainability of buildings through improved energy efficiency, including thermal mass effects, it is important to determine if those effects can be controlled and optimized.  One potential method of doing so is to control the chemical structure of C-S-H, the main building block of concrete.

This research highlights the impact of chemical modifications, namely the calcium-to-silicon ratio, on specific heat capacity of C-S-H. It also highlights the power of the bottom-up approach being developed at MIT. Specifically, that the derived functional relations between thermal properties and molecular structures provide a molecular baseline for nanoengineering the thermal performance of cement-based materials that will eventually contribute to increasing energy efficiency.
Read the news brief from the CSHub.
More information on the MIT Concrete Sustainability Hub Concrete Science program

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Pavement Guide Now Available

Guide to Cement-Based Integrated Pavement Solutions provides a clear, concise, and cohesive presentation of cement-bound materials options for 10 specific engineering pavement applications. Developed by the National Concrete Pavement Technology Center at Iowa State University's Institute for Transportation, the publication provides the benefits, considerations, brief descriptions, and summary of materials, design, and construction requirements, as well as a list of sustainable attributes for each technology.

The Guide is designed so that the most up-to-date and relevant information is easily extractable. It is ideal for practitioners, including engineers and managers who face decisions regarding what materials to specify in the pavement systems they design or manage. City and county engineers, along with the A/E firms that often represent them, and state DOT engineers at all levels who are seeking alternatives in this era of changing markets will also find the publication useful.

Guide to Cement-Based Integrated Pavement Solutions is currently being offered in PDF format. A printed version is also planned.
Download a PDF from the PCA Bookstore
Contact Wayne Adaska


Cement and Its Impact on Concrete Performance
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ACI/PCA 318-11 Building Code Seminars
New Brunswick, N.J, - October 25
St. Louis - October 27
Orlando, Fla. - November 1
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Boston - November 8
Detroit - November 10
Des Moines, Iowa - November 15
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Phoenix - December 1
Atlanta - December 6
Washington, DC - December 8
Dallas - December 13
San Francisco - December 15

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Design and Control of Concrete Mixtures—PCA's renowned reference on fundamentals of concrete technology and construction has been fully revised with the latest industry standards/specs.



Meetings and Events

PCA Fall Board Meeting
November 13-15, 2011
Washington, DC
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World of Concrete
January 23-27, 2012
Las Vegas, Nevada
Free registration

International Builders' Show
February 8-11, 2012
Orlando, Florida
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PCA Spring Meeting
April 16-18, 2012
Rosemont, Illinois
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2012 IEEE-IAS/PCA Cement Industry Technical Conference
May 13-17, 2012
San Antonio, Texas
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PCA Professors Workshop
July 23-27, 2012
Skokie, Illinois
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PCA Fall Meeting
August 27-28, 2012
Rosemont, Illinois
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PCA Fall Board Meeting
November 11-13, 2012
Washington, DC
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The Portland Cement Association conducts market development, research, education, and government affairs work on behalf of its members—cement companies in the United States and Canada.

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