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Highways of the Future: ASHE 2003
By Michael S. Cleary, P.E., Conference Chairman

As we move into the future, the highway industry will encounter many new and exciting changes. We will explore this future next May at the 2003 ASHE National Conference. Region 1 of the American Society of Highway Engineers will host the "Highways of the Future" in Akron, Ohio, on May 29 - June 1, 2003.

The conference registration and reception committee has chosen the luxurious Hilton-Akron/Fairlawn Hotel for the conference location. With ample space and amenities, the 41st annual conference promises to be a first-class event. The hotel is known worldwide for providing a level of service that makes people smile. In fact, the hotel is ranked number one in the world among all Hiltons for problem-free stays. We also have made available the newly renovated Four Points Sheraton Hotel, which is located within 200 feet, as our overflow facility.

The conference program of events also is being designed with first-class touches in mind. As Ohio celebrates its Bicentennial Anniversary in 2003, we, too, will celebrate. We invite you to come and embark on a journey into the future in the "Hall of Fame" State of Ohio.

As we explore the theme for the conference, we will showcase the single largest project ever undertaken by the Ohio Department of Transportation, the $220 million "Maumee River Crossing" cable-stayed bridge in Toledo. This year's Honorary Chairman, Mr. Gordon Proctor, Director of the Ohio Department of Transportation, has given his full support for the conference. We have teamed with the Ohio Department of Transportation and many other industry leaders and will present many of the newest topics and issues of the future. Some of the other technical highlights we are considering include:

  • Ohio Bridges - Their Design, Construction and Maintenance: A review of the past, present, and future of bridges in the State of Ohio and their continually changing shapes and sizes required to meet transportation needs.
  • What's New in Concrete and Asphalt Pavements: A seminar on the new direction in the country regarding pavement design and fabrication and construction. Traffic loads and frequencies, material types and qualities, pavement thickness, drainage and soil conditions, weather conditions, etc. now are being considered to predict the pavement's performance and design.
  • Historic Bridge Restoration: A review of historic bridges and their unique features, and an overview of those characteristics that makes a bridge historic.
  • Geosynthetics/Stabilization: A presentation on the increasing uses of geosynthetic materials in the highway industry that reduce overall life-cycle costs by providing better stabilization and support.
  • Stormwater and the Need to Provide Adequate Control: A look at the unique solutions being devised to manage the ever-growing water runoff issues in the highway industry.
  • Privatization of Right-of-Way Acquisition: A look at the use of private industry for handling all aspects of R/W acquisition services and why the future points in this direction.
  • FHWA Federal Funding: A seminar to discuss perhaps one of the most important transportation issues of the future . . . federal funding and the reauthorization of the Surface Transportation Act.
  • The City of Cleveland Innerbelt Freeway System: A discussion on the many factors being considered in the redesign of one of the heaviest traveled and most dangerous inner-city freeways in the State of Ohio.
  • Intelligent Transportation Systems: A look at the utilization of intelligent transportation systems on projects throughout the country and their impact on motorists.

As we planned the tours and excursion activities for the conference, we included many of the points of interest that make northern Ohio so unique and special. Our itinerary centers on the visitation of three of the National Hall of Fames. Tour activities will include:

  • Pro Football Hall of Fame: Canton- Enjoy the QB-1 Call-the-Play Theater, the GameDay Stadium, including Cinemascope film with high-definition laser and digital sound, an interactive Tele-Trivia Game, and the Super Bowl Experience exhibition.
  • Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Cleveland- See me, Feel me, Touch me. Experience the dramatic surround sound theater, interactive exhibits, multimedia exhibits, interviews, rare films, and performances as we rock and roll together.
  • The National Inventors Hall of Fame: Akron- Experience the museum with over 150 patented inventions, an Inventors Workshop with hands-on demonstrations and a You Make-It Area, and an exhibit room for just wandering through worlds of genius. Children will enjoy the excitement of being able to actually see some inventions at work.
  • Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens: Akron- Visit the historic 65-room Tudor Revival mansion and 70 acres of gardens built in 1915 for Franklin and Gertrude Seiberling, founders of the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company.
  • Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad: Akron- Climb aboard and take an excursion through the 33,000 acres of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park in climate-controlled coaches that saw passenger service on the Seaboard and Santa Fe Railroads. We will visit the historic Village of Peninsula, Boston Mills Historic District, and Hale Farm & Village.
  • Hale Farm & Village: Akron- We will step off the scenic train ride to experience history coming to life. Hale Farm & Village is an outdoor living history museum that depicts mid 19th century life. We will bring you back into the past, year 1848, to experience glass blowers, blacksmiths, broom and candle makers, potters, and weavers.
  • Mario's International Spas: Akron- Minutes from the Hilton, we will shuttle those interested attendees to Mario's Spa Center to enjoy three hours of the ultimate spa teaser. Enjoy a one-hour workout and a whirlpool, steam or sauna bath, a tonic body massage, or an invigorating facial, hair styling or manicure, and a champagne lunch.
  • Harry London's Chocolate Factory: Canton- Taste as many of the 500+ varieties of chocolate and gourmet candies as you can on our guided tour of the 200,000 square foot factory. Learn about the cocoa bean and how chocolates are manufactured and distributed to so many people worldwide.

Our Conference Golf Outing will be held Thursday, May 29, 2003, at The Legends of Massillon Golf Club, located south of Akron. The course is rated 4+ stars by Golf Digest and is considered the 4th best public course in Ohio. This premier 27-hole golf course features 22 lakes and 83 bunkers. We expect more than 200 golfers to play in the 18-hole scramble tournament. On Friday evening, we will listen, sing, and dance to a Las Vegas Playing Beatles Tribute Band from Canada featuring the fab-four's music of the 60s, 70s and 80s. On Saturday evening, we will relax and enjoy an Off-Off-Broadway Variety Show honoring New York City.

The conference will bring you the opportunity for learning, laughing, and, most importantly, networking with your peers. As ASHE moves into the future, we are confident that many of you will continue your support of the National Conferences. We celebrate this event and invite our industry partners, including contractors, suppliers, fabricators, vendors, consultants, and governmental agencies to join us. If you need additional details or would like to support us as a conference sponsor or exhibitor, contact us at

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