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March 27, 2013
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News for and about the civil engineering community

  Top Story 
  • Caltrans may replace 288 giant bolts on Calif.'s Bay Bridge
    Caltrans is considering replacing all 288 bolts on the $6.4 billion eastern span of the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge in California after at least 30 of them snapped. The bolts are between 9 and 17 feet long and about 2.5 inches in diameter. "It appears to be a type of materials problem -- the presence of hydrogen in the metal," said Tony Anziano, Toll Bridge program manager, who is "pretty confident" it's not a design issue. It is unclear how long replacing the rods would take, but the new bridge is safe and still scheduled to open the day after Labor Day, Caltrans said. San Francisco Chronicle (free content) (3/26) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Infrastructure Watch 
  • Forbes' 15 "Emerging Downtowns" undergo building booms
    Forbes has released a list of the top 15 cities tagged as "Emerging Downtowns" where populations have boomed and college-educated professionals are settling in. Among the cities with booming downtowns are Denver, Detroit, Atlanta, Cleveland, Los Angeles and New York City. Pedestrian walkways, bike paths and green housing are just some of the amenities the younger generations look for. "We carefully evaluate what the future workforce is looking for, and we incorporate those demands into what we are building," said Tami Door, chief executive of the Downtown Denver Partnership. Forbes (3/25) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Trends & Technology 
  • Construction tech could help overhaul U.S. infrastructure
    Technology and processes such as BIM, finite-element analysis and other methods "will allow the construction industry to fix infrastructure with the money that is available," this article notes. Technology has the potential for helping the industry eliminate costs and improve collaboration. "As America searches for a way to improve its infrastructure, construction technology can help by providing the means to build structures as cost effectively and efficiently as possible," it notes. Constructech (free registration) (3/26) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Technology helps AEC firms document "green" building
    As the interest in sustainable building grows, so too does the need for help to manage the documentation that invariably accompanies a project. For instance, SCS Global Services and GreenWizard are partnering on a solution to provide companies with a better way to locate and procure certified materials for LEED projects. Others are working together to "provide environmental and sustainability certification, auditing, testing, and standards development." Constructech (free registration) (3/22)
  • French abbey gets "modern-day engineering reinforcements"
    A historic Benedictine abbey off France's northern coast is undergoing $270 million in "modern-day engineering reinforcements" to protect it from invading salt marshes. The Mont Saint-Michel abbey is located on a UNESCO World Heritage site. The project includes a river dam designed to "flush the silt out to sea" and a bridge to replace a 19th century causeway. The project is expected to be completed in 2015. Engineering News-Record (3/26) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Sustainable Development 
  • Giant downdraft tower might create 500 MW of power
    Solar Wind Energy hopes to construct a 2,250-foot-tall, wind-powered tower on the Arizona-Mexico border that would generate 500 megawatts of power. The project, which consists of the $1 billion tower, a plan to pipe desalinated water in from the Sea of Cortez in Mexico and a desalination plant, is expected to create 2,500 construction and transportation jobs. When water is sprayed into the hollow tower's opening, it creates very humid and heavy air, which sinks down the tower. The sinking ir can accelerate to 50 mph and then exit the tower and spin turbines. Forbes (3/26), Forbes (3/26) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Advancing the Profession 
  • Why leaders should model themselves on Margaret Thatcher
    Recently released papers shed light on former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's handling of the Falklands crisis, writes Heritage Foundation fellow Luke Coffey. Thatcher's decision to go to war came at a time of uncertainty, confusion and conflicting advice from subordinates, making her stand all the more impressive, Coffey argues. "Perhaps the biggest lesson one can learn is that making the right decision is not necessarily the same as making the most popular decision," he writes. The Huffington Post/The Blog (3/24) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  News from ASCE 
  • Get details behind ASCE’s new Report Card in free webinar for members
      
    ASCE’s all-new 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure is out, and by now you’ve heard of the marginally improved, yet still poor, D+ overall grade. Several of the grades among the 16 categories also showed improvement. Curious about the research process and the trends behind the grades, or other Report Card recommendations? Join in a free eLearning Webinar for ASCE members Wednesday, April 3, at 2 p.m. ET. Robert Victor, P.E., chair of ASCE's Report Card Committee, and Brian Pallasch, managing director of ASCE Government Relations, will share background on the Report Card’s creation, and how it arrived at its conclusions. They also will take your questions. Register now for this free ASCE members-only benefit.
    The new Report Card was the basis for a notable editorial cartoon in last Sunday’s New York Times. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

  • Civil Engineering online exclusive: Oregon Urged to Plan for Earthquake, Tsunami
    ASCE Civil Engineering magazine online  

    A new report to the Oregon State Legislature details the risks from a powerful earthquake on the Cascadia Subduction Zone, and outlines a 50-year plan to build infrastructure resilience. Look into the recommendations, then explore more fascinating articles at www.asce.org/cemagazine.

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