On September 22, 2015, a delegation from Puerto Rico traveled to the Florida Department of Transportation’s (FDOT) State Materials Office (SMO) to learn about the latest innovations in Florida’s asphalt, geotechnical, pavements, and structural processes. The delegation, led by José M. López Pérez, Director of the Materials Testing Advisory Office, was made up of representatives from the Puerto Rico Highway and Transportation Authority (PRHTA). Director Tim Ruelke and several other key technical experts used the opportunity to share Florida’s unique experiences.
The purpose of the peer exchange was to provide PRHTA with examples of how FDOT has developed and implemented its quality assurance programs for construction inspection and approval to comply with the Code of Federal Regulations (23 CFR 637). The visit also offered a forum for the discussion of strategies and recommendations that could be implemented in Puerto Rico. The three-day visit began with discussions regarding Florida’s testing, research and development of materials-related specifications/procedures and ended with a tour of construction projects and production facilities in District Two and District Five.
More than 30 countries and numerous states have visited the State Materials Office for an exchange of ideas and best practices. The SMO establishes policies and procedures for the Materials Program; develops criteria for acceptable material quality; provides technical assistance; and monitors field activities for compliance with federal/state policies and procedures. For more than 70 years, the Materials program has been a nationally and internationally recognized leader in assuring the quality of the state’s transportation materials.