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March 8, 2013
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News for and about the civil engineering community

  Top Story 
  • "Bertha" being loaded onto a ship in Japan for Seattle trip
    Source: KING-TV
    The 5-story-tall tunnel-boring machine named "Bertha" is being loaded in 41 pieces onto a ship in Japan for its trip to Seattle. The machine, which is expected to arrive in the city later this month, will be used in the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program. Meanwhile, crews at the Seattle site are 80% finished with work on what will become a 400-foot-long, 80-foot-deep launch pit where the borer will be assembled. KING-TV (Seattle) (3/7) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

  Infrastructure Watch 
  • San Francisco proposes $25B in capital projects over 10 years
    San Francisco's latest capital plan recommends spending $25 billion on capital projects over the next 10 years. The plan, which is expected to create 223,000 new jobs, includes waterfront redevelopment; rehabilitation of the city's water and sewer systems; and completion of the Transbay Center, Central Subway and San Francisco General Hospital's acute care wing among other projects. However, "aligning the city's capital budget with the plan's recommendations will require more creativity and strategic thinking around potential revenue sources." San Francisco Chronicle (3/7) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Operator to spend over $5B in transmission-improvement projects
    Grid operator PJM Interconnection said it authorized more than 750 electric transmission-improvement projects last year. The upgrades are due to "massive power plant retirements, fuel-switching to cheaper natural gas and finding clean renewable resources to meet state requirements for lower-emission generation," the operator said. The cost for the work will be more than $5 billion. PJM provides power to 60 million people in 13 states and Washington, D.C. Platts (3/7) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Calif.'s $500M rail project advances
    A $500 million rail project in California that would transfer cargo inland by rail from Los Angeles and Long Beach ports has been approved by the Los Angeles Harbor Commissioners. Work is slated to start later this year and about 1,500 jobs could be created over the three-year life of the project. "Modernizing our transportation infrastructure is crucial to creating jobs, strengthening our economy and improving our quality of life in Los Angeles," said City Councilman Joe Buscaino. San Jose Mercury News (Calif.) (free registration)/The Associated Press (3/7) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Trends & Technology 
  • Engineers to face technically challenging project in Hong Kong
    The Xiqu Centre, a comples planned for Hong Kong that will include two theaters and a tea house, is a technically challenging project since it will be located within a "cramped urban site" with the city's rail metro tunnels and a station directly beneath the structure. Structural engineering firms Buro Happold and Atkins will need to ensure work does not affect the stability of the station and the tunnels. "There are several hurdles, including making sure the Centre's foundations are clear of the metro and the structure spreads its load in a way that does not add additional load to the MTR tunnel," said CK Chan, Atkins’ director for structure in Asia Pacific. (Australia) (3/8) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Crews put finishing touches on Hong Kong's new $1B cruise terminal
    Crews are at work putting the finishing touches on a $1 billion cruise terminal in Hong Kong. Dubbed by locals "groundscaper" because the 2,789-foot length of the terminal is double the height of the city’s tallest building, the facility will feature the largest gangways in the world. The "innovative Cruise Terminal at Kai Tak will set the standard for cruise terminals throughout the world," said Bill Flora, U.S. director of the Hong Kong Tourism Board. Los Angeles Times (tiered subscription model) (3/7) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Sustainable Development 
  • New tech tools aim to help maximize building sustainability
    New technology tools from Scotland's Integrated Environmental Solutions are designed to help those in the AEC industry maximize how sustainably a building is designed. The toolset includes life-cycle cost and assessment and capital cost. There's also a BIM component, and the tools can be customized. "A major advantage of these tools is the ability to get rapid feedback on design options so you can assess and reassess right from concept through to detailed design," said IES Director Craig Wheatley. Constructech (free registration) (3/5) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Advancing the Profession 
  • How to lead like Henry V
    A famous speech from Shakespeare's "Henry V" holds lessons for modern leaders, writes Nigel Roberts. Henry's soaring rhetoric provides an upbeat call to action based on a higher goal -- the same strategy CEOs should use to win over their employees. "[T]he Bard managed to capture some universal truths about human nature and the complex way that individuals relate to each other which can provide useful lessons for today's corporate leaders," Roberts writes. (3/7) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  News from ASCE 
  • Research sustainable infrastructure, add yours to ASCE's online library
    Civil engineers increasingly are applying sustainability principles to projects to deliver "triple bottom line" benefits to the public. ASCE's online library of sustainability project profiles showcases such works and makes them examples for fellow engineers. Profiles span all sectors and budgets. Submit your project for inclusion in the library and demonstrate how it has contributed sustainable economic, environmental and social benefits. The expanding library helps civil engineers research solutions, share data and information with clients, and find sources for further research. View the profiles, and submit a project worthy of addition to the library. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Civil Engineering online exclusive: Replacement of Important Pa. Bridge Will Mimic Original
    ASCE Civil Engineering magazine online  

    Design work continues on replacing the historically important Harrison Avenue Bridge, in Scranton, Pa., which crosses the formidable Roaring Brook gorge. Learn about the challenges, then explore more fascinating articles at

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