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March 6, 2013
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News for and about the civil engineering community

  Top Story 
  • FTA OKs environmental analysis of Md.'s $2.5B Red Line light rail
    Baltimore's planned $2.5 billion Red Line light-rail project has received environmental approval from the Federal Transit Administration, moving the project to the design phase. Construction of the 14.1-mile, east-west rail system could begin in 2015 and is expected to take six years to complete. Work, once funding is found, will include laying surface, tunnel and above-ground tracks and building 19 stations. The Baltimore Sun (3/5)
  Infrastructure Watch 
  • Increasing urban sprawl leads to more sinkhole risks in Fla.
    As Florida's population continues to grow, so will the risk of sinkholes, according to this article. "Since the entire state is underlain by carbonate rocks, sinkholes could theoretically form anywhere," according to Florida's Lake County website. The state has 15,000 verified sinkholes and a lot of unverified ones, according to CoreLogic research. Few construction sites are tested. Bloomberg Businessweek (3/5) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Exxon plans Texas plant expansion, 10,000 construction jobs
    Exxon Mobil plans a multibillion-dollar upgrade of its plant in Baytown, Texas. The plant "is already the largest integrated refining complex in the country," said ExxonMobil Chemical Co. President Steve Pryor. Once permits are approved, work on the plant could take about three years and the facility is expected to be operational by the end of 2016. The project should create about 10,000 construction jobs. Houston Chronicle (tiered subscription model) (3/5) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Trends & Technology 
  • The details behind Chan-Moon Chung's self-healing concrete
    Chan-Moon Chung of Yonsei University in South Korea used a chemical approach to create self-healing concrete. He mixed methacryloxypropyl-terminated polydimethylsiloxane and benzoin isobutyl ether into small capsules made of urea and formaldehyde to keep the chemical mixture safe from sunlight and mixed them into the concrete. This article details how the capsules rupture and how their contents heals the cracks, providing resistance to water. The Economist (tiered subscription model)/Babbage blog (3/5) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Why are sustainable cities difficult to create?
    The latest version of the game SimCity can help explain why it's difficult to build a truly sustainable city. Six teams of urban planners faced off to play the game, trying to find a balance between doing what is known to work and building a sustainable community. The game is "designed to make players make unsustainable decisions. We want people to understand why it happens in the real world," said game designer Stone Librande. "If the game pulls you into this path that you know is bad and you know is wrong, you start to understand why we do things like mountaintop removal to get coal." FastCoExist (3/5) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Sustainable Development 
  • Health-measurement tool guides redesign of Denver neighborhood
    A health-impact assessment tool was used by the Denver Housing authority in one of its largest neighborhoods. Residents were asked how their quality of life could be improved, and those answers helped shape how the buildings and surroundings could be redeveloped. "[E]cologically advanced construction materials and practices" and geothermal and solar power were incorporated. Such assessments are "ideally suited to guide transit-oriented developments, infrastructure improvements and urban redevelopment in low-income neighborhoods," writes Joe Gose. The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (3/5) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • India's "clasped hands" tower designed to be green
    The Namaste Tower, under construction in Mumbai, India, has a design inspired by a traditional Indian greeting where the hands are clasped together. The 62-story tower designed by WS Atkins will be clad in fritted glass that doubles as a sunscreen to minimize solar gain within the building. It will also have canopies that include solar thermal collectors to produce 12% of the building's hot water needs. (3/5) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Advancing the Profession 
  • Turn off the noise, Carlos Santana says
    Business leaders can tap into the power of their imagination, but they need to turn off the noise first, says music legend Carlos Santana. That means turning off electronics -- even your stereo -- and simply stopping to think and dream. "[Y]our imagination is like a muscle. If you take the time to just sit down and just close your eyes and imagine things, it's like a muscle you develop," Santana explains. Forbes (3/4) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Has your company culture caught a cold?
    Every company's culture can falter, and it's up to leaders to become healers, writes Mike Figliuolo. Timely first aid can help put your culture back on track and prevent lazy or disgruntled workers from infecting others. "As a leader, it's on you to ensure only the purest essence of what you want your culture to be is passed along to future generations of leaders on your team," Figliuolo writes. ThoughtLeaders blog (3/4) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  News from ASCE 
  • Register for Automated People Movers 2013 by Friday and save $100

    Connect with and learn from your professional peers at the 14th International Conference on Automated People Movers and Transit Systems, coming to Phoenix April 21-24. You'll get to exchange ideas and gain technical knowledge while networking with colleagues. Download a copy of the preliminary program. Choose from more than 20 technical sessions in 10 different conference topics, where you can earn as many as 14.5 PDHs. Register and save $100 by this Friday, March 8. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

  • Civil Engineering online exclusive: Report Highlights Path to Lower Emissions
    ASCE Civil Engineering magazine online  

    A new report shows that New York City can use existing technologies to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 90 percent over the next 37 years. See how that's possible, then explore more fascinating articles at

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