Representative Elizabeth Esty is looking to strengthen the durability of America’s road surfaces through legislation that would encourage research into innovative construction materials to extend the service life of pavements.

“Innovative materials and techniques speed up project deployment, extend the life cycle of infrastructure projects, and are more resilient to storms and corrosion. In Connecticut, public sector and private sector groups are rapidly advancing the use of innovative materials and techniques in infrastructure projects,” Esty said. “It is vital to the success of these projects that we begin to lay the foundation for more sustainable materials and productive techniques that will allow America to rebuild its infrastructure.”

The “IMAGINE Act” was introduced earlier this month with Virginia Republican Barbara Comstock and Rhode Island Democrat David Cicilline. Companion legislation was also introduced in the Senate by Rhode Island Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse and Tennessee Republican Lamar Alexander.

The bill would, among other things, establish a task force, chaired by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and bringing together the Federal Highway Administration, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Environmental Protection Agency, and others to assess existing standards and test methods for the use of innovative materials in infrastructure with an eye on removing any barriers to their use.

Esty’s bill has support within Connecticut’s construction industry.

“One of the most important aspects of this legislation is that it creates a cooperative environment that fosters innovation among several industries.  It lays the foundation for the introduction of more sustainable materials and productive techniques as America rebuilds its infrastructure,” said Don Shubert, President of Connecticut Construction Industries Association.

christine stuart / ctnewsjunkie file
R. Bradford Oneglia, Vice President of O&G Industries, Inc. in Torrington, said his company “strongly supports” the bill. Oneglia says it would bring government, academia and industry together to accelerate the development of high-performance materials and construction methods. O&G provides asphalt and concrete across Connecticut and eastern New York.


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