PennDOT Opens New Materials Testing Lab to Aid Record Road and Bridge Repair Effort

Tue Apr 14, 2009 11:46am EDT

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PennDOT Opens New Materials Testing Lab to Aid Record Road and Bridge Repair
Effort

HARRISBURG, Pa., April 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Just in time to meet the
demands of a nearly $3 billion roadway and bridge construction season, the
Department of Transportation recently opened its new highway materials testing
lab in Harrisburg, PennDOT Secretary Allen D. Biehler, P.E. announced today. 

"It's going to be a busy highway construction season, which not only means
jobs for workers, but also lots of materials testing to ensure the quality of
products used in roads and bridges across the state," Biehler said. "This new
lab will do just that and also allow our employees to do conduct their work
more safely and efficiently."

Before the new lab was built, PennDOT employees were working in a nearly
100-year-old facility that did not meet the demands of a vigorous testing
program. 

The new, 107,500-square-foot facility, which is located on the former
Harrisburg State Hospital grounds, employs 120 workers involved with the
quality assurance and testing of construction material.

The new facility offers an improved HVAC system, backup generators and more
space to accommodate testing equipment. 

PennDOT typically performs more than 70,000 tests a year on items including
aggregate, asphalt, cement, concrete, paint, road salt, soil and steel. More
than 13,000 samples arrived in the lab last year, with each sample often
undergoing multiple testing processes.

PennDOT's lab was the first state lab in the nation to receive ISO 9001
certification, which means it meets international standards for quality
management. For this certification, the lab must include a set of procedures
covering key business processes, monitor processes to ensure their
effectiveness, keep adequate records, regularly review the effectiveness of
individual processes and the quality system, and facilitate continual
improvement. It also holds ISO 17025 certification related to testing
standards and competency of equipment, methods and staff.

The lab also holds accreditations by the American Association of State Highway
and Transportation Official Materials Reference Laboratory and the Cement and
Concrete Reference Laboratory. 

Construction of the $27.1 million lab began in September 2007. The size and
facilities of the new site ensure that the lab will meet modern testing
requirements in a low-maintenance facility that will last for years.


    CONTACT: Erin Waters
    (717) 783-8800



SOURCE  Pennsylvania Department of Transportation

Erin Waters of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, +1-717-783-8800
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