Keystone XL pipeline gets boost from State Department report | Seattle tunnel update: Bertha overheats after advancing 4 feet | Judge delays demolition of Harmon Hotel in Las Vegas
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February 3, 2014
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Keystone XL pipeline gets boost from State Department report
A recent State Department report about the proposed Keystone XL pipeline found building the 1,179-mile-long pipeline from western Canada to Nebraska will not have significant effects on the environment and the rate of oil sands extraction in Canada will not change even if the pipeline gets approved. It also found 42,100 construction jobs would be created by the $7 billion project. However, the report is not the final word. The Associated Press reports, "Secretary of State John Kerry will now consider the report and a final decision won't be made until multiple agencies and the public have opportunities to weigh in." Politico (Washington, D.C.) (2/3), Yahoo/The Associated Press (1/31), U.S. News & World Report/Data Mine blog (1/31), National Journal (2/2), The Washington Post (tiered subscription model)/The Associated Press (1/31), The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (1/31)
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Seattle tunnel update: Bertha overheats after advancing 4 feet
tunnel boring machine
After advancing a total of four feet last week, Bertha, the tunnel-boring machine at work on Seattle's Highway 99 tunnel project, overheated. Crews stopped the machine after warning lights came on, indicating above-normal temperatures, an incident related to the cutterhead's rotation, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation. "They are looking to understand what that might mean. Tunneling and these machines are very, very complex. This is not unique, this is not expressive of some sort of overall concern with the machine," said WSDOT's Todd Trepanier. The Seattle Times (1/31), KIRO-TV (Seattle) (1/31)
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Judge delays demolition of Harmon Hotel in Las Vegas
The razing of the half-built Harmon Hotel tower in Las Vegas has been postponed by an order from Clark County District Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez. The judge ruled the structurally-flawed building should remain as is until more tests can be performed. Las Vegas Sun/The Associated Press (1/31)
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New funding formula could restart work on $698M dam project in Tenn.
Work on the stalled $698 million Chickamauga Lock project at the Chickamauga Dam in Tennessee -- and other structures that "provide critical support to our national security by transporting classified material" -- could resume because of a new funding formula approved by Congress. "In particular, there is a demonstrated need for funding for projects where a replacement is needed due to significant wear and tear on the current infrastructure," according to a letter from a dozen lawmakers to the Army Corps of Engineers. Chattanooga Times Free Press (Tenn.) (1/30)
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ExxonMobil to build rail terminal to transport Canadian oil sands
ExxonMobil unveiled a plan on Thursday to build a $250 million rail terminal in Alberta to transport Canadian oil sands to the market. The planned terminal can transport up to 250,000 barrels of oil per day and is expected to be complete by 2015. "We're looking at utilizing initially about 100,000 barrels a day to move our expanded production into the market. It's all about optionally flexibility and being able to take advantage of spreads and options to maximize the overall value," said ExxonMobil Vice President for Investor Relations David Rosenthal. (1/30)
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Ind. university announces $400M arena expansion project
University of Notre Dame expansion
(Yahoo/ NBC Sports)
Indiana's University of Notre Dame has unveiled plans for a $400 million expansion project that will involve the addition of three multi-use buildings connected to its football stadium. The renovation will also add up to 4,000 new premium club seats to the stadium's capacity. Chicago Tribune (tiered subscription model) (1/30), Yahoo/NBC Sports (1/30), Bloomberg (1/29)
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Announcing the latest release of On Center Software's solutions: On-Screen Takeoff®, Quick Bid®, and Digital Production Control. New features include: enhanced secure licensing, Windows 8 compatibility, ESXi support, more annotation options, more flexibility with On-Screen Takeoff legend, and more tabs on markups detail and materials tab.
Innovation & Green Building
Work on new concrete types continues
Green-building startup bioMason has developed concrete that uses bacterial colonies to "grow" bricks. It was one of the award-winning entries in the Cradle to Cradle Product Innovation Challenge last November. Meanwhile, researchers in the Netherlands are at work on concrete with a "self-healing propensity" that could reduce "the need for expensive and time-consuming repair work," and could eventually lead to buildings needing less steel reinforcement, according to this article. Sourceable (2/3)
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Policy Watch
Immigration plan from House wins acclaim from construction groups
An outline aimed at immigration overhaul developed by the House of Representatives has earned acclaim from the Associated General Contractors of America and other groups because it shows lawmakers understand the "issue is crucial to our overall economic vitality," according to Stephen Sandherr, CEO of AGC. Unlike the Senate bill, the House plan has no "W Visa" limit for guest construction workers, but it does advance a temporary worker program. However, it could take quite a while before the outline becomes a proposal, especially with a limited time because of the Nov. 4 elections, according to this article. Engineering News-Record (1/31)
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5 steps to a successful incident-investigation package
Accidents occur on construction jobsites every day. Incident investigations determine how and why these failures occur. By using the information gained through an investigation, future accidents may be prevented. Order Five Steps to a Successful Incident Investigation Package, or visit the AGC Store.
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Visit the Constructor Marketplace today
The Constructor Marketplace saves you time and money by listing product-specific vendors and service providers within the construction industry in one convenient location. Visit to find qualified providers for your next project. Contact John Bacon at 352-333-3425 or for listing and advertising opportunities.
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Life has a funny way of becoming ordinary as soon as it can."
-- Colm Tóibín,
Irish writer
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