The 99th Annual Transportation and Highway Engineering (T.H.E) Conference convened at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Illini Union February 26-27, 2013. This year’s conference attracted more than 1,200 transportation professionals. Illinois Center for Transportation (ICT) investigator William Buttlar, Professor and Director of Online and Blended Learning for the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, served as chair of the conference.
At T.H.E., engineers from each Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) district were honored for their excellence in service. Additionally, ICT recognized Priscilla Tobias, IDOT Safety Engineering Bureau Chief, as the ICT Technical Review Panel (TRP) MVP. Tobias has served as a TRP chair for five ICT projects and has received praise for working to ensure that findings improve IDOT safety policies, offering thoughtful and constructive comments during the research process, and possessing strong leadership abilities.
Two interrelated ICT projects were recognized with this year’s ICT High Impact Research Award. The project “Tack Coat Optimization for HMA Overlays” was honored. Principal investigators were Samuel Carpenter and Imad Al-Qadi of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. TRP Chair was James Trepanier of IDOT’s Bureau of Materials and Physical Research. The research team included Hasan Ozer and Zhen Leng. TRP members were Amy Schutzbach, Charles Weinrank, Patty Broers, Terry Hoekstra, Derek Parish, and Thomas Winkelman. Additionally, the project “Best Practices for Implementation of Tack Coat” was recognized. Principal investigator for this project was Al-Qadi. TRP Chair was Derek Parish, Acting Operations Engineer for IDOT District 4. The research team for this project included Ozer, Leng, Alejandro Salinas Cortina, Khaled Hasiba, Jim Meister, and Jeff Kern. TRP members were Cynthia Williams, Tim Kell, Wayne Phillips, Richard Mauch, Steve Harmon, Jim Trepanier, and Jay Behnke. These studies built on each other to improve existing IDOT policy and advance innovative tack coat application products and technologies.
During the conference, more than 50 speakers presented on a variety of timely and relevant issues in the transportation industry. General sessions covered best practices on bridge closure versus staging, recycling and sustainability, and railroad truss placement. There were also break-out sessions for engineers that focused on bridges and structures, traffic operations and maintenance, local roads and streets, and design and construction.
Next year will be the 100th anniversary of the T.H.E. Conference, and it will be held March 26-27, 2014. Special pre- and post-event conference activities are being planned. For more information, visit the conference website.