For more information, visit our Web site

VOL. 20, NO. 3 Fall 2005

Katrina and Rita Blow through Louisiana
Months after Katrina and Rita ravaged the Gulf Coast, their presence is still evident. While we are making what some say is a remarkable recovery after these back-to-back storms, some areas are still damaged beyond recognition. Many of our friends and relatives have managed to return to their homes—others have found new ones. Land-based and cell phone service, which we took for granted before the storm, is becoming reliable once again. Life is returning to normal, but our definition of “normal” has changed.

ge an ch ex

LTAP Responds to 2005 Hurricane Season

LTAP is also adjusting to the current realities in Louisiana. We cancelled most classes, workshops, and conferences after Katrina and curtailed most instate travel. Some classes scheduled for the week of Katrina and immediately after were located in the hardest hit areas. We had no means to contact the facilities or the participants of our classes in Jefferson Parish and Slidell, and we had just rescheduled some programs when Rita roared through the southwestern portion of the state.
cont. on page 2

Building and Maintaining Better Roads
Practical Application of Proven Research
resolving problems. Response to specific problems often results in solutions that can be applied in other situations and used by other transportation and road agencies across the state and the country.

LTAP is located organizationally and physically within the Louisiana Transportation Research Center (LTRC) at LSU in Baton Rouge. LTRC has a long history of nationally recognized research in the areas of geotechnical engineering, materials, structures, and traffic safety. State-of-the-art laboratory facilities along with test sites on actual roadways and structures are used by LTRC professionals to investigate and solve real-world problems. More than just a research facility, LTRC works closely with DOTD engineers and district personnel to help improve the quality and safety of Louisiana’s roadways. LTRC will often investigate specific problems and use research and best practices to assist in

Technical Information Series No. 1

LTAP’s new series of articles, “Building and Maintaining Better Roads,” will include information from LTRC on new technologies and techniques to improve the quality and safety of Louisiana’s roads. The practical application of recommendations and solutions that have resulted from research will be highlighted as they are related to use at the local level. In this issue, find out if open graded friction course is a safer surface for your roads.

cont. on page 4

In this issue: 1 LA Local Road Safety Program - 3 1 Open Graded Friction Course - 4 1 Decision Making Grid - 5 1 Road Classification - 6 1 Digital World of Pavements - 7 1 Emergency Railroad Numbers - 8


Page 2

Katrina and Rita

(cont. from page 1)

The importance of our public works agencies and the transportation community has been graphically demonstrated throughout the recent storm season. The efforts of local agencies to respond to the destruction have been nothing short of heroic in many of the hardest hit areas. The critical need for preparation, planning, and training of responders at all levels has been clearly demonstrated. Several classes focused on the roles and responsibilities of public works in emergency response and disaster recovery are being developed and will be presented in Spring 2006. As Louisiana moves towards recovery, LTAP is also moving ahead to continue to serve all of our customers. e The bridge inspection classes were rescheduled (again) in those parts of the state that could accommodate training programs. e The foundational elements of the new Local Roads Safety Program were finalized and the program’s 2006 activities are being planned (see the article in this newsletter for more information). e A new class, “Introduction to Construction Leveling,” was finalized and piloted.

emergency preparedness. These opportunities will be critical to learn from Katrina and Rita and be more prepared for future emergencies. As 2005 draws to a close, LTAP is preparing for a busy 2006. While Louisiana may not be back to “business as usual,” the state is certainly “back in business.” As always, we welcome each request for service and we’ll do our best to respond. In addition to providing our traditional services and training, we will work to meet the changing needs of our customers. Call us! We are here to serve you.

2006 Louisiana Transportation Engineering Conference Postponed
has greatly affected the Department of

The devastation of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita Transportation and Development’s operations and resources. As a result, the Transportation Engineering Conference scheduled for February 12-15, 2006, has been postponed until February 2007. The new date will be announced in Tech ( Exchange and on the LTRC Web site

LTAP will be working with professional organizations and state and federal agencies to respond to requests for training and information regarding

Page 3

Technical Assistance and Funds for Safety Improvements Available

Louisiana’s New Local Road Safety Program
offered as part of the program include “Road Safety Fundamentals,” “Road Safety Audits” and “Low Cost Safety Improvements.” In addition, the technical assistance of a traffic engineer and other traffic safety professionals will be available to communities as part of the program to assist in identifying safety improvement opportunities through data analysis and road safety reviews. Technical assistance will also be available as communities identify mitigation alternatives and develop applications for funding of safety improvement projects.

The LRSP will offer the opportunity for regional groups, local agencies, and communities to implement road safety programs that are appropriate for their specific areas. A first step for all road system users will be to review the crash data for specific locales and determination of additional data needs. Preliminary crash data will be available through LTAP and the Louisiana Traffic Records Committee. Assistance in analyzing and interpreting the data will be available through LTAP. Priority corridors or roadways that merit initial attention will be identified.

In partnership with DOTD and the Louisiana Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), LTAP is launching a new safety program targeted specifically at local roads. The Louisiana Local Road Safety Program (LRSP) will expand and incorporate many of the current safety initiatives that include local interests. The LRSP will provide assistance to local agencies to identify opportunities to reduce crash rates and fatalities and to apply for funding to mitigate hazards.

A schedule of events for 2006 will be available soon. Check the LTAP Web site for current information ( For more information, contact Marie Walsh at (225) 767-9184.

Louisiana Crash Clock
(Based on 2004 data) 1 fatality every 8 hours and 50 minutes

LTAP will work with local communities to develop coalitions and working groups that include representatives from the many entities with an interest in roadway safety. Depending on the community these might include elected officials, public works and road agencies, LADOTD District personnel, citizen groups, law enforcement, planning organizations, and schools as well as other area specific groups. LTAP will coordinate Regional Workshops conducted to introduce the program and to inform communities about the opportunities to apply for federal funds to implement safety improvements once the need is identified. Training will be provided to help local agencies identify and document areas for improvement and to identify potential solutions. Training classes to be

1 incidence of property damage every 4 minutes and 28 seconds 1 crash every 3 minutes and 13 seconds

1 injury every 6 minutes and 11 seconds

Statistics taken from Louisiana Highway Safety Commission, Louisiana Traffic Record Data Reports (available online at

Page 4

A Safer Surface: Open-Graded Friction Course
by Sam Cooper, P.E. (Senior Asphalt Research Engineer, LTRC) and Chris Abadie, P.E. (Materials Research Administrator, LTRC) If you have ever driven behind a large truck in the rain, you know it can be a dangerous situation. No matter what road surface you are on—concrete or asphalt, low or high volume traffic—the overspray that is created behind and to the sides of the truck wheels diminishes your visibility. One solution to this problem is a thin overlay called open graded friction course (OGFC).

OGFC is a high void hotmix with a majority single size aggregate. Because the mixture is porous, water can drain through the mix to the shoulder area, thus preventing the unwanted overspray. Removing water from the surface also minimizes hydroplaning. Other reported benefits of OGFC are lower pavement noise and reduced roadway glare during wet weather, which improves the night visibility of pavement markings.

According to project engineers, this project was successful in eliminating “road spray” and enhancing visibility for drivers following another vehicle in wet weather.

An OGFC has been developed that incorporates the use of polymer modified asphalts and fibers. This improves the life of OGFCs and makes their use very attractive. This type of OGFC is recommended in the southeast United States where warm wet weather prevails. Georgia has been using OGFCs for the last 15 years, and other southeastern states like Texas and Alabama have begun to apply OGFCs on selected highways. Louisiana’s OGFC specification was recently revised by adding fibers and polymers to the mix for greater durability. This new generation of OGFC was placed on US 71 in June 2003 in Grant Parish, Louisiana. The OGFC was placed at approximately three-fourths of an inch compacted thickness, and the area covered was relatively small (2181.30 square yards). DOTD District 08 selected this project site to improve this location’s existing surface characteristics. OGFC placement was determined to be the most appropriate treatment for this area.

The most recent OGFC project constructed in Louisiana is located on I-20 in West Monroe between Britton Road and Vancil Road. This location was also selected to improve the existing surface characteristics. The project entailed constructing a one-inch thick OGFC on all four lanes of this section of the interstate. Approximately 169,795 square yards of OGFC material was placed on this 5.5-mile section of I-20. The application of OGFC is limited not by traffic, but by economics. The price of mix on these first projects was $6.00 per square yard. After the construction industry gets more experience with this mix, the cost for lower volume highways may be in the $4.00 per square yard range (using $60.00 per ton as a basis). OGFC is worth consideration on both state and local roads. It provides one of the safest surfaces possible, and it is a tool to fix some problem roads with a thin surface.

Page 5

Planning Tools: A Decision-Making Grid
All of us are faced with numerous decisions. Often, there are alternative solutions to a situation, but thoroughly evaluating these different opportunities can be difficult. A Decision Grid can help decision makers assess a set of ideas to determine which ones are most likely to offer the highest payback. With decision grids, sorted ideas can emerge from a mass of random brainstormed thoughts. Grids also make the sorting process more systematic. An Impact/Effort Grid can outline effective problem solving. 1. Identify the problem as precisely as possible. Is the situation a symptom or the root cause of the problem? 2. Brainstorm a set of ideas to solve the problem. Post all ideas on a nearby wall and draw the impact-effort grid on a sheet of flip chart paper. 3. Discuss the brainstormed ideas one by one and place each in one of the following categories:

Difficult to do

3 4

Easy to do Major Improvement

1 2

Minor Improvement

Page 6

Know Your Roads

Road owner and classification determine funding and reimbursement availability
Do you know exactly how the roads in your municipality or parish are owned and classified? These characteristics not only affect what funding programs are available to you, they also affect how reimbursements are obtained after a disaster or emergency. In Louisiana, most roadways are owned by parishes, followed by the State and then municipalities. Local agencies should know which of their roads are owned or maintained by the State and which are strictly a local responsibility. Roads are classified by function and include descriptions such as interstate, major or minor arterial, major or minor collector, and local.

According to the 2002 Highway Statistics Report published by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), of the approximately 60,913 total road miles in Louisiana, 46,963 are rural and 13,930 are urban. Approximately 16,680 of these miles are owned and maintained by the state, and about 43,580 are owned and maintained by local agencies. Local agencies own approximately 31,673 miles of rural roads classified further as either a minor collector or a local road. These types of rural roads are eligible for Federal

Page 7

The ownership and classification of a road impacts funding that may be available for safety and other improvements. Additionally, in times of crisis such as the emergency response to Hurricane Katrina and Rita, these lines often become blurred as agencies work to remove debris and restore accessibility to storm ravaged areas. Public works and road agencies do the work that needs to be done to allow their communities to become functional as soon as possible. This necessary response often creates an accounting nightmare as financially strapped communities attempt to obtain reimbursement through FEMA and other sources. You need to understand the classifications of the roads in your community and the eligibility of each road segment for funding and reimbursement. For more information on the classification of your roads, contact: Jamie Setze Planning and Research Engineer FHWA Louisiana Division (225) 757-7623

A world of pavement information is now available with one click at The FHWA’s new topic-based Web site is the onestop destination for information on everything from pavement design and construction to maintenance and rehabilitation. Visitors can select a specific topic, such as design, or choose a focus area, such as “Optimize pavement performance,” “Advanced quality system,” “Pavement surface characteristics,” or “Environmental stewardship.” Also featured are listings for publications, software, upcoming conferences and events, and workshops and training, including National Highway Institute courses. Additional options for site users include looking up technical guidance and technology transfer resources, as well as information on pavement research. Site visitors can also find links to pavement-related communities of practice, such as one on the Mechanistic-Empirical Pavement Design Guide (see article, page 8). A list of links to other useful Web sites offers related sites in the categories of asphalt, concrete, recycling, and the Long-Term Pavement Performance program. The site’s comprehensive list of contacts include FHWA staff across the country, as well as state highway agencies’ key personnel and contacts at various industry associations.

A Digital World of Pavements

For more information on Federal Aid Highways and FHWA Emergency Response reimbursement, contact: William (Bill) Farr Program Operations Engineer FHWA Louisiana Division (225) 757-7615

Leslie Mix Data Collection and Management Systems Administrator, DOTD (225) 379-1919

For information on specific pavement subjects, please contact the individuals listed by topic on the Web site. For more information on FHWA’s topic-based Web sites, contact Bob Hayes at FHWA, 202-366-4970 (email: robert.hayes@ A topic-based site is also available for hydraulics engineering ( Additional sites for other program areas under development. Reprinted from FOCUS, August 2005,

Page 8

Christmas will soon be upon us and cities across the state will celebrate with parades. In the spirit of safety, Louisiana Operation Lifesaver encourages parade organizers to include railroad and roadway safety in their planning efforts. To keep everyone safe at your city’s parades, please contact the railroads in your area and let them know if your parade will be passing over their tracks. Trains do not run on schedules and could easily be running during your Christmas parade time. Below is contact information for all of the major railroads in the state of Louisiana. To determine which railroad owns the tracks at your city’s crossing, the name of the railroad is posted with emergency numbers at each public crossing. If you cannot determine which railroad owns the tracks, call Karla Schiro with DOTD in Baton Rouge at 225-379-1928. Thank you for your time and consideration. Have a wonderful and safe holiday season! Union Pacific Railroad 1-888-UPRR-COP or 877-7267 Kansas City Southern Railroad 1-877-KCS-XING Canadian National Railroad 1-800-465-9239 Norfolk Southern Railroad 1-800-946-4744 Louisiana and Delta Railroad 1-337-364-9625, Ext. 0 CSX Railroad 1-800-232-0144 AMTRAK 1-800-331-0008 Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad 1-800-832-5452 This information is provided by Louisiana Operation Lifesaver P.O. Box 66336 Baton Rouge, LA 70896 225-925-6995

Keep Your Christmas Parade Safe

Need Technical Help? Contact LTAP!
(225) 767-9117 (800) 595-4722 (in state) (225) 767-9156 (fax) LALTAP

Dr. Marie B. Walsh, Director David McFarland, Teaching Associate Robert D. Breaux, Office Manager

LTAP Center Louisiana Transportation Research Center 4101 Gourrier Ave. Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70808

Publication Statement

Technology Exchange is published quarterly by the Louisiana Transportation Research Center. It is the

newsletter of the Louisiana Local Technical Assistance Program. Any findings, conclusions, or recommendations presented in this newsletter are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of LSU, LADOTD, or FHWA.

Newsletter Staff

The Louisiana Local Technical Assistance Program was established at the Louisiana Transportation Research Center on the LSU campus in 1986. The purpose of the center is to provide technical materials, information, and training to help local government agencies in Louisiana maintain and improve their roads and bridges in a costeffective manner. To accomplish this purpose, we publish a quarterly newsletter; conduct seminars, workshops, and mini-workshops covering various aspects of transportation; provide a lending library service of audio/visual programs on a variety of transportation topics; provide technical assistance through phone and mail-in requests relating to transportation technology; and undertake special projects of interest to municipalities in Louisiana.

Sher Creel, Executive Editor Emily Wolfe, Writer/Editor

Nick Champion, Photographer Jenny Speights, Webmaster