Celebrating 25 Years and the Future!

Editorial by Linda Figg, President, ASBI

This is a special year for the American Segmental Bridge Institute, as we celebrate our 25th anniversary. It is a time for reflection on all we have accomplished together. It is also an important opportunity to look towards our future and further advancements in segmental bridges.

Over the past 25 years this organization has embraced and supported the important relationships between owners, engineers, contractors, and material suppliers working together to advance the technology of segmental bridges throughout this country. This professional organization is unique in the partnerships, cooperation and single-minded purpose of our membership.

ASBI began as in idea. Eugene C. Figg Jr. envisioned opportunities for teamwork and collaboration in order to support each other in the segmental bridge industry. I will always remember the day my father called me into his office to share his ideas for a focused organization that would bring together all areas of segmental bridge interests to advance the industry together in partnership. In December 1988 ASBI was officially founded during the annual AASHTO meeting in Wichita, Kansas. ASBI founding members (pictured at right) were a cross section of interested leaders who set the frame work for how the organization and industry would grow and succeed.

Jack Wilkes, former FHWA Director of Engineering, was elected as the first President. Cliff Freyermuth who was associated with the Portland Cement Association, the Prestressed Concrete Institute, and the Post – Tensioning Institute served as the first Manager and was a dedicated day-to-day leader for 20 years. Today, Randy Cox, former Bridge Division Director for TxDOT is our committed manager who continues to be passionate about our future.

In the very first ASBI News Release, Jack Wilkes laid out the purpose of the newly formed organization: “The main purpose of the American Segmental Bridge Institute is to provide a forum where designers, contractors, material interests and owners can meet to advance the state of the art of engineering, construction, construction management, and materials involved n concrete segmental and cable-stayed bridges. Over 80 of these major concrete structures with spans up to 1300 ft. provide a proven competitive method for meeting the long span bridge and elevated highway needs of our nation’s transportation system. Now it is time to concentrate efforts on innovative development that will further refine the efficiency of the design and construction process.“

These words are as true today as they were 25 years ago. Our work together has led to industry advancements for segmental bridges that make us more efficient, allow us to set records for new concrete span lengths, and helped bridges stand strong against extreme weather events.

Today, we are building on our predecessors’ achievements, but perhaps in a more personal way: our ability to affect a community economically by using local labor and local materials, finding faster ways to get bridges built, appreciating the inherently pleasing aesthetics of our segmental shapes, continuing to build on more environmentally sensitive construction techniques, and so much more. Some of the many benefits that ASBI provides our membership are shown in the "Benefits-Table".