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ACMA Briefs Congressional Staff on Advantages of Using Composites in Bridges

20 November 2009

The American Composites Manufacturers Association (ACMA) has recently briefed Congressional staff on the advantages of using composites in bridge repair and design and encouraged the inclusion of language in the surface transportation reauthorization bill that would require states to use life-cycle costing for construction of transportation structures.

The briefing, held in the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C., was the first staff briefing event organized by the Congressional Composites Caucus to educate Members of Congress and their staff on the benefits of using composite materials to improve our nation’s transportation infrastructure.

""Composites are the key to making highway structures last longer in harsh environments,” said Charlie McClaskey, composites industry consultant and member of ACMA’s Transportation Structures Council (TSC), who provided introductory remarks. “They offer a number of advantages in bridge repair and construction. Composites are strong and corrosion resistant, which means they’ll hold up longer than traditional materials like steel. They are also lightweight, which makes it easier to transport and install bridge components—saving time and money. These kinds of life-cycle considerations point to how green composites really are,” said McClaskey.

McClaskey showed Congressional staff portions of a new informational DVD to further demonstrate the advantages of composite bridge repairs and installations. Dan Richards, Ph.D, P.E., chairman of ACMA’s Transportation Structures Council, then provided a case history of how his company used composite bridge decking material to quickly replace steel grating on a high-use bridge in Florida.

Both gentlemen fielded questions from the nearly two-dozen Congressional staffers attending the event. They repeated their commitment to expanding the use of composites to renew America’s infrastructure and they encouraged participants to learn more about the Congressional Composites Caucus.

The Composites Caucus is a growing organization of Representatives interested in the composites industry and offers ACMA members an opportunity to meet with Members of Congress and their staff to build support for the industry. To date, there are 26 members of the Composites Caucus, which is co-chaired by Congressman Joe Wilson of South Carolina and Virginia Congressman Rick Boucher.





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