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PennDOT's highway materials testing labs opens in Harrisburg with 120 new jobs

It's a dreaded time for motorists, but it's the busiest time of year for PennDOT, especially this spring and summer. With nearly $3 billion in roadway and bridge construction slated to begin, PennDOT opened a new materials testing lab in Harrisburg.

The $27.1 million, 107,500 square-foot facility, located on the former Harrisburg State Hospital grounds, replaced a nearly 100 year-old facility that no longer met the demands of a vigorous testing program. The new facility employs 120 workers involved with the quality assurance and testing of construction material and includes an improved HVAC system, backup generators and more space to accommodate new testing equipment.

"It's going to be a busy highway construction season, which not only means jobs for workers, but also lots of materials testing to ensure the quality of products used in roads and bridges across the state," says PennDOT Secretary Allen D. Biehler.

PennDOT performs more than 70,000 tests annually on items like aggregate, asphalt, cement, concrete, paint, road salt, soil and steel. Last year, the lab tested more than 13,000 samples.
PennDOT's lab was the first state lab in the country to receive ISO 9001 certification, which means it meets international standards for quality management. It also holds accreditations by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Official Materials Reference Laboratory and the Cement and Concrete Reference Laboratory.

"(This new lab) will allow our employees to conduct their work more safely and efficiently," says Biehler.

Source: Allen D. Biehler, PennDOT
Writer: Joe Petrucci

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