Bill Burt, retired executive director of the Concrete and Aggregates Association of Louisiana (CAAL), helped to unite the state's concrete industry as the Louisiana Supreme Court ruling upheld the right of a state engineering department to specify a specific material for a road project bid in December 2000.
A Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) heavy-duty highway project provided funding only for the initial construction and contained no financial provisions for future recurring periodic maintenance. The road upgrade was designed to allow an increase in legal truck weights for lumber and other agricultural vehicles. The design engineers based their decision of a concrete surface on life-cycle costing models.
Diamond B Construction, one of the state's largest and most politically influential asphalt paving contractors, requested that DOTD amend the design specifications to include an asphalt alternative. DOTD, however, informed Diamond B Construction that the project would be let as designed. To stop the project, Diamond B Construction turned to a legal appeal of the bid process, claiming that DOTD was stifling competition.
The court case became a battle over life-cycle costing models. Because the concrete contractor and CAAL were deemed parties that would be affected by the case verdict, their lawyers were allowed to submit evidence questioning Diamond B Construction's claims. Eventually, the judge ruled in favor of the DOTD position, and the decision withstood appeals.
The article includes an interview with Burt, in which he describes the entire concrete industry's involvement in this landmark case.