January 19, 2024
By Lane Kimble
WISCONSIN DELLS, Wis. — The view from the podium was truly impressive: a sea of people crowded into a huge ballroom with their attention on the stage. It’s the kind of audience WisDOT Secretary Craig Thompson truly relishes.
“It’s just fantastic to have contractors and the people that are so integrally involved in building our infrastructure all in one place at one time with our DOT people to be able to talk about the same messages,” Thompson told WTBA shortly after delivering his opening remarks.
The secretary helped kick off the 2024 WTBA/WisDOT Contractor-Engineer Conference at the Kalahari in Wisconsin Dells. Nearly 700 people were there for the start of the two-day event – surpassing 2023’s total.
Thompson highlighted some of the several hundred construction projects that played out during the course of the year, noting many in the crowd played a part in improving more than 900 miles of roads and 200 bridges.
“When you look back at the amount that was accomplished, with all the contractors and all of the people that worked on it across the state last year, it really is impressive the amount of projects that we delivered for the state of Wisconsin,” Thompson said.
The conference’s agenda included members of WisDOT’s leadership team who discussed funding and quantity projections, work zone safety, technology improvements, and provided updates on several upcoming major projects.
The conference also featured the return of afternoon breakout sessions, giving the large crowd the chance to dive into topics such as e-ticketing, utility relocation, concrete and asphalt advancements, and more.
“When people in different areas can get together in closer quarters and truly have a back and forth is how we can find some ways to move forward and overcome some of these challenges that we have,” Thompson added.
The C-E Conference continues Friday morning. Topics include a new work zone safety initiative, ethics, and emerging technologies.
WTBA will share a recap video in next Friday’s newsletter. Conference attendees should also be on the lookout for a follow up survey in their inboxes next week.