The National Transportation Product Evaluation Program or NTPEP – a group dedicated to evaluating materials, products, and devices of common interest for use in highway and bridge construction – is supporting a new research and certification institute focused on promoting the use of composite reinforcement for infrastructure projects in North America and beyond.
NTPEP – an American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials technical service program – is working cooperatively to make the new FRP Institute for Civil Infrastructure a “focal point” for research, testing, material certification, and education for fiber-reinforced polymers.
Richard Krolewski, president and CEO of the new FRP Institute for Civil Infrastructure, said in a statement that the new group is “absolutely committed” to creating a material verification program that will create standards, inspect, and audit manufacturing facilities, and provide training.
Joseph Stilwell – a fabrication engineer with the Maine Department of Transportation and chair of the FRP-NTPEP task force – said that the two organizations are “two sides of the same coin.”
He added that while the two remain “totally separate organizations,” they are working together to “advance an emerging technology to provide confidence to state and government entities while creating a quality benchmark for manufacturers.”
Cabell Garbee – manufactured products engineer for the North Carolina Department of Transportation – chairs the FRP’s DOT Advisory Board and serves with Stilwell as co-chair of the NTPEP task force.
“The FRP Institute is the industry group driving products forward, working with manufacturers that are interested in providing quality products to state departments of transportation,” Garbee said.
“The NTPEP task group is concerned with making sure those products meet the minimum specifications [to] enable state DOTs to qualify the producers for their listings. The two groups really go hand-in-hand,” he added.
FRP’s Krolewski added that the joint FRP-NTPEP group has been under development for nearly two years, with a planning group of 11 state DOT representatives along with input composite reinforcement experts from industry and academia.