Setting the Record Straight – A Response to the Sierra Club’s Inaccurate and Misleading Paper on the California Cement Industry

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Executive Summary
A recent paper commissioned by Sierra Club California and authored by Global Efficiency Intelligence paints an inaccurate and intentionally misleading picture of the California cement industry. The paper’s sensational claims that the California cement industry is “failing the climate challenge” and is “substantially dirtier” than cement industries in other nations, including China, are absurd and incompatible with the facts, including many of those presented in the paper itself.

Link to full rebuttal:

CNCA Announces the Availability of New Pavement Design Tool

CNCA Announces the Availability of New Pavement Design Tool


Pavement Designer, a free web-based pavement design tool for streets, local roads, parking lots, and intermodal/industrial facilities. Link to
“ represents a dramatic shift in solutions availability to designers of streets, roads, parking lots, and industrial facilities,” he said, adding, “By bringing multiple programs together in one package and eliminating the cost and time to download software, updates, and patches, we have removed barriers and enabled designers to select the best option for pavement designs.”

“This comprehensive but easy-to-use pavement design tool not only covers full-depth concrete, but also provides design solutions for concrete overlays and composite pavements,” said Wayne Adaska, P.E., the Portland Cement Association’s Director of Pavements. “Further, the tool includes other cement-based materials like roller-compacted concrete, cement-treated base and full-depth reclamation with cement.”

Celebrating 70-Years of Pavement Performance on I-10

Celebrating 70-Years of Pavement Performance on I-10


ONTARIO, CALIF . ( Aug. 18, 2017 ) – It’s not every day that a highway is the reason for a major celebration, but for a section of Interstate 10 (I – 10), between Ontario and San Bernardino, a celebration today marked this freeway’s remarkable 70 year journey…and signaled its vital link to the past, present, and future.

State legislators, leadership of the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), and construction industry leaders gathered today to commemorate the 70-year anniversary of the concrete pavement freeway, which is both a vital link to business, commerce and personal mobility in the region, and crucial key to the provision of goods and services nationwide.

Dignitaries included The Hon. Jim Frazier, Assembly Member (11th District); The Hon. Eloise Gomez-Reyes, Assembly Member (47th District), The Hon. Marc Steinorth, Assembly Member (40th District); John Bulinski, Caltrans District 8 Director, and Allen Hamblen, President/CEO of CalPortland Company and 2017 Chairman of the Portland Cement Association Board of Directors.

California State’s Formal Recognition

In recognition of this pavement’s longevity, the California Senate and State Assembly recognized the freeway with a formal proclamation, calling attention to the pavement’s longevity and remarkable service.

In addition to carrying some 270,000 vehicles per day, this section of I-10 also carries more trucks with heavier payloads than ever before, the proclamation notes. The proclamation also recognizes the freeway for its “sustainability and resiliency to the forces of nature and man.”

Caltrans District 8 Director, John Bulinski stated, “The 70-year pavement life of these sections of I-10 is the mission that Caltrans will continue to provide a safe, sustainable, integrated and efficient transportation system to enhance  California’s economy and livability.”

“Manufacturing and distributing cement and other building materials provides us with the opportunity to see the results of the great potential that exists in the built environment,” Hamblen of CalPortland Company said, adding. “When we apply science, technology, and artistry, and add equal measures of sustainable construction practices, almost anything imagined is possible.

About this Section of Interstate 10

When the original U.S. Route 70-99 was planned in 1945 and built in 1947, Caltrans officials likely never envisioned that it would still be carrying traffic 50 years longer than the 20-years for which it was designed.

“By any standard, 70 years is a remarkable period of time for any pavement to last, but considering that it is 8 inches thick – about 50 to 75 percent thinner than most freeway pavements – and that it carries about 180,000 more vehicles per day than the 90,000 it carried less than 25 years ago, it is an exceptional example of pavement longevity,” said Tom Tietz, Executive Director of the California Nevada Cement Association. Tietz served as master of ceremony of the event.

In addition to the many features and benefits of this section of I-10, the pavement was also the first in the nation to employ a restoration method called “diamond grinding.” Diamond grinding removes surface bumps and other irregularities, restoring the pavement almost to its new condition. First used as part of a restoration and expansion project on this section of freeway in 1967, diamond grinding has become a time-tested, reliable, durable and cost-effective alternative to resurfacing or reconstruction.

The event, held at the Ontario Airport Hotel and Conference Center, was co-hosted by CalPortland, Caltrans Region 8, California Nevada Cement Association, Southwest Concrete Pavement Association, with additional support from the American Concrete Pavement Association and Portland Cement Association.

Green Mass Concrete for the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge

Green Mass Concrete for the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge


Ric Maggenti, California Department of Transportation

The environmental benefits aside, greener concrete has been chosen for many of the new east spans of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge as a practical construction material as well as for durability. In these cases, environmental benefits were not the motivation, but rather the need to meet requirements of design and construction.

There are four distinct construction projects completed or underway, some with multiple contracts, to build the 2.2-mile (3.6-km) long bridge across San Francisco Bay between Oakland and Yerba Buena Island. The new bridge will replace the seismically vulnerable east spans of the 1936 San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.

The new bridge from east to west comprises the Oakland Touchdown, the Skyway, the Self Anchored Suspension (SAS) bridge, and the Yerba Buena Island Transition. The Oakland Touchdown uses low-level, post-tensioned, cast-in-place concrete box girder bridges. The west end of these twin parallel bridges connects to the Skyway. The Skyway, now completed, is a 1.5-mile (2.4-km) long precast segmental structure that used the balanced cantilever construction method. The SAS bridge is the signature structure and connects the Skyway to the Yerba Buena Island shore. The SAS bridge will be a single tower bridge with asymmetrical spans. The Yerba Buena Island Transition structures will be prestressed concrete box girder bridges. They will connect the west end of the SAS to the Yerba Buena Island Tunnel.

Construction began with the Skyway. For durable concrete, California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has required that 25% of the cementitious material be fly ash in almost all of its structural concrete to mitigate Alkali Silica Reactivity (ASR) since 1997. Thus all the concrete on this massive project required at least 25% fly ash. Higher percentages of fly ash were utilized for the large footings and other mass concrete elements. For the pier concrete, the Contractor, instead of using fly ash, chose to use 50% ground granulated blast-furnace slag, which was the maximum percentage allowed by the 2001 specifications. Bid prices indicated that this can be an economical benefit to the contractor as there was no requirement or even encouragement for its use. Though by today’s rapidly changing standards, the amount of supplementary cementitious materials used was modest in the 450,000 yd3 (344,000 m3) of concrete in the Skyway, the Environmental Protection Agency in 2006 recognized Caltrans as a leader in the construction use of waste products.

The west end of the SAS terminates at a massive pier bent. Here the suspension cables will loop around on saddles and head back toward the east end. The span on the west side nearest San Francisco is shorter then the span east of the tower. This creates an uplift on the west side that is countered by massive concrete anchors as well as the weight of the 8200 yd3 (6300 m3) concrete bent cap. Four columns supporting each end of the bent rest on 63x63x33 ft (19x19x10 m) anchorage blocks. To satisfy the restrictive thermal and corrosion requirements, the concrete contained 674 lb/yd3 (400 kg/m3) of cementitious materials including 40% fly ash. In 2004, this was considered a high percentage for California bridge concrete. Compressive strengths were over 9000 psi (62 MPa) at 90 days.

Caltrans Concrete Strength
Measured compressive strengths of concrete used in pile caps.

The portion of the Oakland Touchdown now under construction is 1080 ft (330 m) long and has seven spans over six piers. Under the piers are mass concrete pedestals, which sit on mass concrete pile caps that make up the footing. The pile caps vary in size having a footprint from 46 ft (14 m) square to 52×72 ft (16×22 m). In a cost savings move, Caltrans proposed a passive thermal control plan using 50% fly ash mixes to replace the contractors active thermal control system, which used internal cooling pipes. These mixes had 337 lb/yd3 (200 kg/m3) of fly ash and 337 lb/yd3 (200 kg/m3) of portland cement. The water to cementitious materials ratio was 0.4, the maximum permitted by the specifications for corrosion control. The strength requirement was 5000 psi (35 MPa) at 90 days for the pedestal and 4350 psi (30 MPa) for the pile cap. The average measured strength for all the pedestals was 4620 psi (31.8 MPa) at 28 days and 5720 psi (39.4 MPa) at 56 days. The graph below shows the 28- and 56-day strengths for the pile caps. The average strengths were 4630 psi (31.9 MPa) and 5630 psi (38.8 MPa), respectively. The lowest strengths occurred on samples stored during a 2- to 3-month period when temperature control of the curing room was malfunctioning. A few samples tested at 7 days had average strengths of about 3000 psi (21 MPa). Concrete from four pedestals had an average 90-day strength of 6230 psi (43.0 MPa). One 180-day test result was 6830 psi (47.1 MPa).

As Caltrans strives toward complying with California’s Assembly Bill 32 to reduce greenhouse gases, the Bay Bridge project is an example showing that this need not be a tradeoff with efficient concrete mixes.

Further Information For further information about the mass concrete used in the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, please contact the author at

Record-Setting Concrete Pour in Los Angeles

Record-Setting Concrete Pour in Los Angeles


Portland Cement Association (PCA)

Over the weekend of February 15-16, Catalina Pacific Concrete/CalPortland successfully produced and delivered the concrete for the largest continuous concrete foundation pour in history. Ultimately 21,200 cubic yards of concrete were placed for the new Wilshire Grand, beating the existing record of 21,000 cubic yards set by The Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas in 1999. The Wilshire Grand is planned to be the tallest structure west of the Mississippi River.  When completed, this more than $1 billion world-class mixed use office and hotel project will ascend 73 stories skyward topping out at 1,100 feet.

The concrete placement began at 4:47 p.m. on Saturday, February 15, and was supplied from eight area concrete batch plants operating at full capacity throughout the night and into the morning. A fleet of 208 concrete mixer trucks delivered loads of concrete continuously until reaching the final record 21,200 cubic yards.

A project of such magnitude required precise logistics for raw materials replenishing all of the operating concrete batch plants through the concrete production facilities until the concrete was delivered to the project for placement. Included was around-the-clock transport and delivery of more than 200 truckloads of cement from CalPortland’s Mojave and Colton cement plants, approximately 65 loads of fly ash, and 1,340 truckloads of rock and sand to all operating concrete batch plants going on behind the scenes to support the epic event.

Sepulveda Widening Project, Culver City – Southern California APWA Project of the Year Award 2012

Sepulveda Widening Project, Culver City – Southern California APWA Project of the Year Award 2012


By City of Culver City

The Sepulveda Boulevard Widening Project was selected to receive a 2012 Project of the Year Award from the Southern California Chapter of the American Public Works Association (APWA). This award recognizes public agencies for outstanding capital improvement projects and public works programs.

Project Cost: $6 Million Year Completed: 2011

The Sepulveda Boulevard corridor is a Principal Arterial in the City. Within the project limits, there were three (3) travel lanes northbound and two (2) travel lanes southbound between Playa Street/Jefferson Boulevard and Green Valley Circle. This project provides three (3) continuous lanes in the south bound direction. The project is funded by Los Angeles County MTA grant and city’s developer mitigation funds.

The construction work included utility relocation, street widening, landscape median modification, traffic signal modification, red light enforcement camera relocation, and roadway reconstruction. In addition, Sepulveda Boulevard from Sawtelle Boulevard to Playa Street/Jefferson Boulevard has been re-striped to add allow a third southbound lane during peak traffic hours (pending approval from Business owners).

About 11 inches of pavement was constructed with durable and environmental friendly Portland Cement Concrete. 8200 cubic yard of concrete was placed.

  • Decorative concrete paver crosswalks were installed at Jefferson/Playa intersection and at Green Valley intersection.
  • ADA complaint curb ramps and pedestrian push buttons at signalized intersections were installed.
  • Street lighting were upgraded to energy efficient induction luminaires.
  • Vehicle detection cameras were installed instead of the conventional in-pavement loop system.
  • The existing Southern California Edison transmission power poles will be relocated to accommodate the street widening in 2012.

In June 2008, the City Council approved a Professional Services Agreement with Willdan Engineering to provide engineering design services for project. The City Council subsequently awarded the construction contract to Shawnan and construction management services to Willdan Engineering in April 2011. The street became fully open to traffic in late November 2011.

©2011 City of Culver City
Link to Source

Also see the CNCA Project Profile for this project – Click Here

Frontier Project Wins Pervious Pavement Award

Frontier Project Wins Pervious Pavement Award


The Frontier Project Foundation, established in 2005 by the Cucamonga Valley Water District, has received the “Cornerstone Concrete Excellence Award” from the Southern California Concrete Producers.

HMC Architects designed the 14,000-sq-ft demonstration building, and Turner Construction Co. was the builder.  Frontier Project board vice-chair Kathy Tiegs received the award at the 36th annual awards program last month at the South Hills Country Club in West Covina.

“The Frontier Project is designed to be a demonstration building for the community,” says Tiegs. “Being recognized for the innovative use of pervious paving, which contributes to retaining rainwater onsite and reduces runoff to storm drains, we are able to demonstrate a very valuable product for all visitors to learn about.”

The Frontier Project in Rancho Cucamonga has 2,437 sq ft of pervious paving installed in courtyard and garden paths throughout the one-acre campus. In addition to the pervious paving, the project utilizes decomposed granite pathways that contribute to water retention onsite. A 2,000 gallon underground cistern and a 50,000 infiltration basin collect all of the water onsite, which is then used for landscape irrigation or allowed to percolate back into the underground basin.

The Frontier Project site was originally an empty lot and the foundation didn’t want to take away the footprint of allowing rainwater to filter into the underground basin. Established by the Cucamonga Valley Water District, it was important to demonstrate a variety of water efficient methods onsite: the infiltration basin, use of low-water use plants, the pervious paving, and low-water use fixtures in the restrooms and kitchen are all examples of water efficiency at the Frontier Project.

The Frontier Project is open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. for visitors and self-guided tours.

The Frontier Project will feature the latest in sustainable design, systems, products and technologies. The goal of the project is to educate residential consumers, commercial builders and sustainable design advocates regarding the latest methods and technologies in water, energy and site conservation.

Current capital partners include the Cucamonga Valley Water District, the City of Rancho Cucamonga and Joseph Filippi Winery, Altek Media Group, Associated Engineers, Chino Basin Water Conservation District, Faust Printing, Floor and Deck Solutions, GM Business Interiors and Herman Miller, Inc., International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers/ National Electrical Contractors Association, Kelly Paper, Nestles Water of North America, RainBird, Stantec Engineering, Turner Construction, Senator Bob and Andrea Dutton, and Robert and Julie DeLoach.

The Frontier Project, which is seeking LEED platinum certification, broke ground in April 2008, and was completed June 2009. The building features a demonstration kitchen and living room, a demonstration gallery of various systems and technologies both currently on the market and not yet available, an 80 person conference space, office space, a green roof system and photovoltaic panels, low water use demonstration gardens and a cistern to collect and reuse water onsite.

© 2014 McGraw Hill/ENR.