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March 22, 2013
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News for and about the civil engineering community

  Top Story 
  • Construction, design errors found at Alaska port work
    The Open Cell Sheet Pile foundation system that supports the northern expansion of Alaska's Port of Anchorage was "not adequately designed to meet global stability and seismic displacements based on the design criteria," according to a study by CH2M Hill. Additional problems were found with installation of sheet piles. A third party will be hired to review CH2M Hill's studies before a final decision can be made on how to move ahead with the project. Alaska Journal of Commerce (3/21) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Infrastructure Watch 
  • Cost of S.C. fuel project to rise to $7.7 billion
    The Department of Energy has adjusted both the schedule and the cost associated with its mixed-oxide fuel project at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina, according to a Government Accountability Office report. The facility is now expected to cost $7.7 billion, up from $4.9 billion, and its startup has been moved back three years to November 2019. The report's figures are not yet final, said Robert Middaugh, a spokesman for the National Nuclear Security Administration. The Augusta Chronicle (Ga.) (3/20) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Deck cracks appearing on precast composite slab bridges in Minn.
    The Minnesota Department of Transportation began using the "precast composite slab span system" in 2005 with the goal of quickly building short bridges in rural areas. Now, surface cracks are appearing on those bridge decks more frequently than on conventional bridges. They don't hamper the structural integrity of the bridges but do increase maintenance costs. Now, MinnDOT is adjusting the concrete mix to try to minimize future cracking. Finance and Commerce (Minneapolis) (3/20) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Trends & Technology 
  • Engineers, designers work to make old buildings useful, last longer
    Preservation, reuse and restoration of buildings to make them last longer and increase their value present some challenges to structural engineers and designers, according to this article. The hardest task can be keeping a project on budget because costs can increase due to unknown risks and unseen conditions at the site. Meanwhile, the demand for this kind of work will continue to grow, according to Greg Donofrio, an assistant professor who specializes in preservation architecture at the University of Minnesota. Finance and Commerce (Minneapolis) (3/21) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Intelligent urban transportation could begin with smart parking
    A phenomenal amount of air pollution and wasted time is generated when frustrated urban drivers search for parking spots. Smart parking could be the answer, directing drivers to the nearest opening. The components needed for such systems -- data management, software, sensors, smartphones and model pricing systems -- are all available, and efforts in this direction could provide a solid start for more comprehensive intelligent transportation systems, writes Rocky Mountain Institute consultant Greg Rucks. (3/21) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • The advantages of modular control buildings
    Modular process control buildings allow for flexible process automation and power distribution to remote sites and help save space, Principal Technology CEO Matthew S. Hodson writes. He adds that the modular buildings offer advantages over standard control panels because they are more secure and can include climate-control functions. Manufacturing Business Technology (3/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Sustainable Development 
  • Sustainability a key feature of mixed-use complex in Berlin
    The:Square 3 mixed-use project in Berlin is designed to be sustainable. The three tapered towers of the complex, which will be built to maximize daylight and ventilation to reduce energy needs, will have plenty of green roofs and walls. Photovoltaic cells will be embedded in the towers' outer skin to absorb solar energy. The project, slated for 2016 completion, includes retail space, apartments, offices and a shopping mall that encircle a green courtyard. (3/21) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Mass.' Cape Wind project catches a breeze from Japan
    The Cape Wind project is set to move ahead with funding of $2 billion from the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ. The wind farm of 130 turbines in Massachusetts' Nantucket Sound is expected to have a maximum theoretical output of 468 megawatts, which would rank it among the largest offshore installations. It could provide three-quarters of the energy needed by Cape Cod and the Islands. Gizmag (3/21) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Advancing the Profession 
  • Infographic: Mapping the growth of STEM jobs
    Building strong education programs that focus on science, technology, engineering and math makes good sense, especially since data indicate U.S. students are falling behind their international counterparts in math and science. This article's infographic highlights the important role STEM can play in opening doors to jobs in a sector expected to grow three times faster than other fields over the next decade. EdTech magazine (3/2013) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  News from ASCE 
  • ASCE’s Bridges Photo Contest: Enter by March 31
    The response to ASCE's Bridges Photo Contest has been incredible! Bridge enthusiasts from around the world have been submitting photos since the contest opened, with more coming in every day. The striking original photos of bridges you’ve captured could help people see what great civil engineering is about. Cash prizes will be awarded to top photos, which will be eligible for inclusion in ASCE’s 2014 Bridges Calendar. Find out how to win at Be sure to submit your photos by March 31! LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

  • Civil Engineering online exclusive: Report Links Underground Engineering, Sustainability
    ASCE Civil Engineering magazine online  

    A new National Research Council report examines how moving infrastructure underground and improving the planning of underground spaces can add to the resiliency and sustainability of urban environments. Look into the report’s findings, then explore more fascinating articles at

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If we were all given by magic the power to read each other's thoughts, I suppose the first effect would be to dissolve all friendships."
--Bertrand Russell,
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