AHTD Liason Committee Meeting

partnershipArkansas State Highway & Transportation Department

American Council of Engineering Companies – Arkansas


Liaison Committee Meeting Summary

October 31, 2012

A meeting of the AHTD-ACEC/A Liaison Committee was held on Wednesday, October 31, 2012 at the AHTD headquarters in Little Rock, Arkansas.  Those in attendance were:



Frank Vozel, Deputy Director & Chief Engineer

Lorie Tudor, Assistant Chief Engineer – Planning

Michael Fugett, Assistant Chief Engineer – Design


James Barr, Florence & Hutcheson (Chair)

Jim Beavers, CEI

Mike Burns, Crafton Tull



Sandra Otto (guest)




James Barr opened the meeting with introductions.  Mike Burns has been added to the committee.  Glynn Fulmer has rotated off the committee.  Sandra Otto of FHWA attended the meeting as guest.


Approval of Minutes


James Barr asked if there were any corrections needed to the January 11, 2012 Meeting Minutes.  Minutes were approved as presented.



Old Business


  • Status of electronic invoicing


Michael Fugett reported:


AHTD Computer Services is reviewing development of in-house software vs. outsourcing the software development.  The decision may be made in early 2013.


PDF invoicing, in lieu of mailed paper invoicing is permitted.  Mike Burns (Crafton Tull) has tested and used this system with AHTD.  A separate email address is available for consultants to submit PDF invoices if requested (by ACEC or the applicable consultants).



  • Status of RCB Standard Drawings to LRFD


Michael Fugett  reported:


The AHTD design software for the design of new reinforced concrete box culverts (RCBC) by LFRD is available on the FTP site.  AHTD will offer training on the use of this software in the future.  ACEC and AHTD will coordinate on this date.


AHTD is saving and archiving their individual designs as references.


Due to the time and labor required, AHTD cannot commit to a set of standards as previously issued for the working stress design concrete box culverts.



  • Status of ACEC boiler plate contract revision and certification letters.


James Barr noted ACEC is still working on comments to share with AHTD (The basis will be redlines received from Garver).



  • Update on Design/Build possibilities and pending expiration of current D/B legislation March 2013.


Frank Vozel reported:


AHTD will request reauthorization at the 2013 General Session.  The current legislation permits two projects of $50 million or greater.  AHTD may request revisions to the number of projects and also permitting project of less cost.


Design build is a tool for specific projects that AHTD may or may not utilize, but it is a needed tool.  AHTD is not necessarily for or against Design build but needs the option.  If approved, it will be used on ½ cent Program only.


  • Update on Responsiveness of Consultants working for the Department.  Concern has been previously expressed that AHTD jobs have not received the same priority as other jobs performed by Consultants.

Frank Vozel replied that AHTD is pleased to see that our (consultants) responsiveness is improved and “much better”.



  • Update on Every Day Counts.  Accelerated Bridge Design Concepts.

Michael Fugett stated that AHTD evaluates each project as applicable for accelerated bridge design.  AHTD is always looking for an applicant and a specific project to present itself for accelerated bridge construction.


Frank Vozel noted that:


AHTD spends significant time and energy on brainstorming and thinking outside of the box for specific projects and specific bridge locations.


AHTD has met with the larger national bridge construction companies and received their input for accelerated bridge design in general and specifically for the Broadway Bridge project.


The use of incentives and disincentives is a positive method to let the contractors assist with creative and accelerated options.



  • Sharing of Electronic Design Data with Contractors and liability issues associated with providing the data. (Not old business but discussed as part of the Every Day Counts)

Mike Burns discussed the 3D modeling as requested by contractors prior to bidding and as discussed by FHWA at the Every Day Counts 2 Conference.  Mike Burns stated that contractors are requesting the models prior to bidding to use in making their proposals.  They are also used after contract award to construct the project (electronic data replacing blue tops and staking).


Mike Burns further noted:


Liability is not an issue as long as a disclaimer document is signed including the requirement that the plans control or supersede electronic data.  The contractors are fine with signing the disclaimer document releasing liability.


Electronic data may improve bids and thus save AHTD money.



Sandra Otto added that FHWA is looking at the State’s administration of local projects; and looking at bridge acceleration such as precast and slide-in bridges as part of Every Day Counts 2.


Frank Vozel reiterated that the use of incentives and disincentives, including A+B+C method, is a positive method to let the contractors assist with creative and accelerated options.



New Business



  • Appreciation for the commonly used special provisions being made available through the ftp site and the standard drawings in PDF form on the website.
  • Appreciation for the internal notices regarding promotions in the Department being distributed to ACEC/A.
  • Update regarding MAP-21.

Frank Vozel stated:


The Department (and AASHTO) are staying current and abreast of MAP-21.  MAP-21 effects funding.  MAP-21 is not the typical Highway Bill, it is a 2 year authorization and not a 6 year authorization.


MAP-21 is authorization but not appropriation, the appropriation is a six month continuing resolution.


MAP-21 includes Performance Measures and deadlines.  The Rules are listed to be promulgated by April 2014.  The Bill expires shortly thereafter.


Previous Bills with a 6 year authorization were more beneficial to the States.


Sandra Otto replied that guidance is provided on the FHWA website.


Sandra Otto stated that the three Arkansas MPO’s (TMA’s) are very excited over the additional control they will have over projects and funding.


Frank Vozel noted that these same TMA’s will receive $5 million less in funding.


Sandra Otto noted that the TMA’s are very happy with more control even with less money.


Frank Vozel summarized MAP-21 as the overall funding is less.  The Highway Trust Fund is being depleted, and future Federal Funding may be further reduced as much as 35% in the next 1-2 years.  Innovative financing as described in the Bill cannot be more debt.



  • Sharing of Electronic Design Data with Contractors and liability issues associated with providing the data.

Refer to above.



  • Status and/or implementation of MEPDG for pavement design.

Michael Fugett reported:


AHTD will use dual pavement designs starting in 2013.  Additional training in MEPDG by Dr. Hall is planned.  The dual designs will be compared and the Department will then move forward with MEPDG.


Concerning FWD (Falling Weight Deflectometer), AHTD is using FWD for certain projects.   If FWD is required, AHTD will provide those services and will not ask the consultant to provide.



  • How is the decision made to make a general advertisement versus advertisement to On-call consultants versus assignment to an On-call consultant?

Frank Vozel noted that there is not a formal policy or procedure, the selection is project driven.  Further:


AHTD considers the project and many other criteria when determining to use the on-call or a separate advertisement.


AHTD considers the needs and uses their judgment to determine if advertising will result in additional ideas and/or needed resources.


Jim Beavers stated that he appreciated the mix of advertisements to permit opportunities.



  • If the ½ cent sales tax passes on Nov. 6th, will work be assigned to the current On-call consultants?  Update on Program Manager Project concept.

Frank Vozel noted:


AHTD will not provide the design or construction phase services (CE&I) for the ½ cent sales tax program.


AHTD will use a Program Manger, and potentially two Program Mangers.


One PM for the I-30 project ($300 million).  AHTD is reviewing the criteria and may, or may not, allow this PM to be the lead designer.


A second PM for the remaining projects.  No decision on if this PM will also be allowed to design selected projects.


AHTD will move quickly after the tax is approved November 6, 2012.  The legal requirements of utilizing the bond funds and the needs of the State require that AHTD move with speed.


AHTD is staffed for their normal workload (design and maintenance) and sees the benefit of using consultants for this temporary sales tax program.


AHTD could revise their position if workload and economics require



Mike Burns noted that in Oklahoma they are required to use individuals who reside in Oklahoma.

James Barr noted that as a taxpayer he supports the efficient use of the funds and AHTD may determine that the PM should be in-state or a national firm as based on what is the most efficient use of resources.


Lorie Tudor asked if the consultants have experience working with Program Managers.


Jim Beavers noted the recent City of Springdale Bond Program and the Program Manager was a national firm.  Jim Beavers experiences were positive, the PM managed and reviewed while local consultants designed the projects.  There was some political push back at the end of the program and the City of Springdale (Patsy Christie) might be consulted for more information related to their program.



  • Discussion regarding design firms providing construction engineering and inspection services (CE&I) on projects they have designed.

Mike Burns noted that FHWA is opposed to the design firm providing CE&I services.  The Consultants normally provide CE&I for their own designs, both public and private.


Frank Vozel noted that AHTD inspects the projects which they designed and they do not see what they do as a problem.  However, he stated that letting a consultant provide CE&I for a project which they designed could be a problem.


Sandra Otto restated FHWA’s opposition.



  • Bentley is planning a major update to InRoads.  Has a schedule been discussed for implementing the next version of InRoads or other design software?

Mike Burns discussed the upcoming upgrades and changes that will be very expensive and time consuming.  Bentley is combining InRoads and GeoPak and will change the way we design.


Michael Fugett reported:


The planned software combination will change the way we design

horizontal alignments, vertical alignments, prepare plan and profile and prepare cross-sections.  The software changes will change everything, a total change in our business.


The software will require a new operating system and significantly more memory.


Bentley will support InRoads for approximately two more years.


AHTD cannot change in 2013 due to the STIP workload, but the time required for AHTD and their consultants is over the next two years.


Lorie Tudor asks how the consultants are dealing with this change.


Mike Burns noted that we prefer to match AHTD’s schedule and meet AHTD’s requirements.  The costs are significant in software, hardware, and training.



Michael Fugett stated that we (AHTD and the consultants) will be working through this together, communication will be key.



  • Is AHTD familiar with the revisions to 23 CFR Part 172 with comments due November 5, 2012?  Related to procurement of federally funded projects.

Frank Vozel noted that AHTD is aware and providing Comments.


Lorie Tudor noted that Jennifer Williams (Consultant Coordinator) and the audit section have reviewed and no major changes are noted. AHTD is already generally complying with these requirements.



  • ACEC/A State Agency Forum – December 7, 2012

Location – Garver in North Little Rock

AHTD is invited to attend and encouraged to provide a speaker.  typically 35 minutes is allotted for AHTD.



  • Other Information that might be of interest to ACEC/A.

I-555 Access Road shortlist time?  (Mike Burns)


This week (Michael Fugett)


Statewide Bicycle/PED Plan shortlist? (Jim Beavers)


Possibly November 8th,  or up to two weeks past (Lorie Tudor).  AHTD is also coordinating with the Parks Department.


Mike Burns asked about an update to a modification of legislature in Arkansas on the “Move Over” law to include AHTD vehicles as well as emergency vehicles. ACEC would like to include consultants, surveyors, utilities and other vehicles that would be working as well as AHTD vehicles.


Frank Vozel replied that AHTD will be requesting a change in legislation in 2013.


Mike Burns stated that ACEC is working on updating our Charter adding a working group with more individuals being included preparing the agenda prior to submitting to AHTD and asked if AHTD had a preference to amend the existing Charter or complete a new Charter.  ACEC prefers to continue with two meetings per year.


Frank Vozel said AHTD did not have a preference and they were agreeable to two meetings per year.



There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.