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ATSSA surveys reveal impact of raw materials supply issues on members

Association advocates on behalf of members amid supply challenges

Nearly 90% of ATSSA manufacturers and suppliers reported experiencing a shortage of raw materials needed to produce roadway safety products, according to an ATSSA survey this summer.

That percentage increased from 75% when those same members were surveyed in March, according to data assembled by ATSSA.

ATSSA surveyed its members after hearing that limited supplies of materials were impacting the work of the roadway safety infrastructure industry. Multiple factors were leading to the supply challenges: extreme weather in February in the Midwest and Texas, the effects of COVID-19 in the U.S. and delays in the supply line due to international shipping.

The June survey showed that nearly 61% of members had been dealing with those issues for three to six months. About 11% more said they had been dealing with them for seven to 12 months.

ATSSA President & CEO Stacy Tetschner sent a letter to the leaders of state departments of transportation (DOTs) on behalf of members in March and again in April as a result of what he was hearing.

His March 19 letter addressed the impact on High Friction Surface Treatment applications. His April 9 letter addressed the broader issue of key raw materials.

Tetschner followed up with a June 22 letter to Cheryl Walker, associate administrator of the Office of Safety at the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

“I urge you to share this information with your FHWA Division Administrators in each state to underscore the importance of this situation and strongly urge those Division Administrators to work collaboratively with their state DOT and industry partners as we navigate this market fluctuation,” Tetschner said in his letter to Walker.

Members provided a long list of raw materials they were finding in limited supply:

  • Metals including steel and aluminum
  • Sheeting
  • Plastic
  • Posts
  • Lumber
  • Resin including epoxy resin, paint resin and Methyl Methacrylate (MMA) resin
  • Traffic paint
  • Pigments
  • Formulation additives.

They also provided a long list of roadway safety infrastructure products and devices impacted by the supply challenges as shown below.

In March, the majority of survey participants (about 55%) expected the situation to last three to six months. By June, the biggest number of respondents (about 45%) expected it to last longer--seven to 12 months.

In both surveys, members had significant concerns about the impact of the shortage of raw materials on their ability to meet the needs of their roadway safety industry customers’ needs for this year’s construction season.

In March, 41% expected to meet the customer’s needs but a nearly equal percentage—39%--were unsure. In June, prospects were worse.

Members expecting to meet their customers’ needs dropped from 41% in March to 37% in June. Consistent with that, the percentage of members feeling they would be unable to meet customer needs increased from 22% to 32%.

ATSSA is continuing to monitor the situation and may distribute another survey later in the year to see where things stand for our members, ATSSA Director of Innovation & Technology Eric Perry said.


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