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March 7, 2013
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News for and about the civil engineering community

  Top Story 
  • NYC's East Side Access project over budget, behind schedule
    New York City's East Side Access project, which will bring Long Island Rail Road service to Grand Central Terminal, is behind schedule and over budget, according to state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli. The project, originally expected to be completed by 2009 and cost $4.3 billion, will not be finished until 2019 and could cost $8.76 billion. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s current estimate is $8.25 billion, excluding the full cost of rail cars. Bloomberg (3/6)
  Infrastructure Watch 
  • Video brings Boston's Longfellow Bridge construction stages to life
    Longfellow Bridge construction  
    Source: YouTube/Mass. Department of Transportation
    A video from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation shows how work on the Longfellow Bridge that connects Boston to Cambridge in Massachusetts will be finished in six phases. "Our projects are complex and lengthy and the rehabilitation of the historic Longfellow Bridge is no different," said Sarah Lavoie, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation. "It can be difficult to visualize the end result, and this video brings all construction stages to life." The project is expected to be completed in 2015. BostInno (Boston) (3/6), YouTube/Mass. Department of Transportation (3/4) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

  • Alaska plans to build $5.2B hydroelectric dam on Susitna River
    The Alaska Energy Authority hopes to construct a $5.2 billion dam on the Susitna River. The dam is expected to produce up to 600 megawatts of electricity, which will become a new power source for more than two-thirds of Alaska's population. However, the project faces two challenges. -- whether it would be cheaper to build a natural gas pipeline spur instead of the dam, and the dam's effect on the salmon population. The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (3/6) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • The big issues facing the next EPA chief
    The Environmental Protection Agency has numerous pollution-related concerns awaiting action as part of enforcing the Clean Air Act, writes Brad Plumer. Utility-based carbon dioxide emissions, drilling-based methane emissions and EPA rules postponed during the past four years will all need to be addressed by nominee Gina McCarthy, Plumer writes. The Washington Post/Wonkblog (3/4) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Trends & Technology 
  • Building system said to protect concrete buildings from earthquakes
    The Carmelo Group of Puerto Rico says its GCT Insulated Concrete Panel Building System for concrete buildings offers a fast and efficient way to build. In addition, it is "energy efficient, soundproof and resistant to termites and floods." It is also resistant to earthquakes of up to magnitude 8.5 and to winds of up to 250 mph. In a video taken at the World of Concrete, Edgar Figaro explains how the system works. DesignBuildSource.ca (Canada) (3/1) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • New system cuts cost of cleaning up wastewater
    New technology from Baswood Corp. provided for Dr. Pepper Snapple Group provides a low-energy pretreatment for wastewater from bottling plants that greatly reduces the cost of ridding the water of sugars. The BioViper system accomplishes this by lowering the biochemical oxygen demand, the amount of oxygen required by aerobic micro-organisms to decompose organic matter in water effluent. The system, which is modular and scalable, "represents an authentic paradigm shift across the whole spectrum of needs, from industrial pre-treatment to primary municipal treatment to the most demanding tertiary sludge reduction," said Baswood Chairman Edward Norton. TMCNet.com (3/6) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Sustainable Development 
  • Sensors, meters at heart of IBM's smart building
    Meters that gather energy consumption data every 15 minutes and devices that sense when a room is vacant and turn off lights are part of an IBM Smart Building initiative for energy savings. IBM reports that the project at its Living Lab tech center in Dublin was able to cut annual energy consumption by 20%. ITProPortal.com (U.K.) (3/6) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • New "driver of economic land transformation?"
    Garden plants might one day be used to provide usable materials from grounds polluted by industrial waste. The toxic metal ions extracted could be processed to yield metallic nanoparticles useful for multiple applications. "If we can make high-quality nanoparticles during the bioprocessing steps which follow the harvesting of the plants, we have a unique driver for economic land transformation," said Louise Horsfall of Scotland's University of Edinburgh. NBC News (3/5) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Advancing the Profession 
  • Ask "where" and "how" to plot a course for victory
    Strategic success comes down to answering these questions: Which playing field do you want to be on, and how will you achieve success once there, David Burkus writes. "If you know how to ask and answer these two questions properly, then you can cut through the confusion and craft a strategy that really works," he writes. SmartBrief/SmartBlog on Leadership (3/5) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  News from ASCE 
  • Free ASCE eLearning Webinar: Careers in Structural Engineering
    Structural engineers are at the forefront of designing the world's most impressive structures, from the tallest buildings to the longest bridges. They work to design the safe, sustainable, and efficient structures in which we all live, work, play, travel over and rely on each day. Join the leaders of ASCE's Structural Engineering Institute for a live webinar geared to students and younger members on career paths and employment opportunities in structural engineering. Get your questions answered live and learn more about how SEI can assist in launching your career. This eLearning Webinar, free for ASCE members only, will be held Wednesday, March 13, from 3 to 4 p.m. ET. Sign up now. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Civil Engineering online exclusive: Art and Film Museum Given Modern Makeover
    ASCE Civil Engineering magazine online  

    The University of California Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive is being seismically upgraded and architecturally improved with a modern addition that makes the community the star. See what’s in the works, then explore more fascinating articles at www.asce.org/cemagazine/.

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Scientific progress makes moral progress a necessity; for if man's power is increased, the checks that restrain him from abusing it must be strengthened."
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