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September 6, 2012
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News for and about the civil engineering community

  Top Story 
  Infrastructure Watch 
  • TransCanada files new route proposal for Keystone XL
    TransCanada has proposed to Nebraska officials a new route for the U.S. segment of its Keystone XL pipeline that avoids the Ogallala Aquifer and the Sandhills region in Nebraska. "The identified route, along with our commitment to implement additional safety requirements above and beyond those required for any other pipeline, ensures the protection of Nebraska's resources," said Russ Girling, TransCanada's president and CEO. TransCanada submitted the revised route plan to the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality. The Hill/E2 Wire blog (9/5), Fox Business/Dow Jones Newswires (9/5) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Completion of $1.5B Chicago-St. Louis HSR project pushed to 2017
    The $1.5 billion high speed rail project that will connect Chicago to St. Louis is progressing, but the phase involving Alton, Ill., to St. Louis may take until 2017 to complete. "The high speed rail project is moving forward as planned," said Josh Kauffman, spokesman for the Illinois Department of Transportation. "The vast majority of the project is slated or expected to be complete sometime in 2015." KMOV-TV (St. Louis) (9/4) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Trends & Technology 
  • $200M Mitsubishi transformer plant built to withstand lightning strikes
    Construction of the $200 million Mitsubishi Electric Power Products plant in Memphis, Tenn., is on target for completion by April 1. Supported by 6,200 concrete pilings underground and 47-ton steel columns above ground, the structure is built to withstand artificial lightning strikes of 5.2 million volts. The building will be the testing ground for the durability of massive electrical transformers for industrial clients such as utilities. The Commercial Appeal (Memphis, Tenn.) (free registration) (9/4) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Domed structure in Canada to test storm winds' impact on buildings
    A domed structure in London, Ontario, will simulate the strength of storm winds and test their impact on buildings. The facility will use 106 fans and will be about 130 feet in diameter. It also may be used to identify feasible sites for wind energy in urban areas, said Horia Hangan, an engineering professor at the University of Western Ontario. Daily Commercial News (9/4) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Sustainable Development 
  • Sustainable building will not go for LEED
    The Durst Organization plans a 750-unit apartment building in New York that will not be designed to qualify for LEED certification, even though Durst built the world's first LEED Platinum building. Durst says LEED is too confining, and it wants to go beyond LEED standards to include use of water from other buildings in the toilets; piped-in outside air, which uses more energy but provides better air quality; and a central HVAC system instead of individual ones. The Wall Street Journal (9/5) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Sustainable construction need not be complicated
    The process involved in designing a sustainable building can be likened to the steps needed to cook a soufflĂ©, writes Emma Stewart, head of sustainability solutions at Autodesk. She mentions nine similarities between green building projects and cooking a soufflé, such as the right blend of elements and the quality of their outcome. She also notes that those who have transitioned from "2D drawings to 3D virtual construction" find sustainable projects less intimidating. Forbes (9/4) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Advancing the Profession 
  • Go beyond your gut when making strategic decisions
    No matter how much companies plan, they'll eventually have to make decisions based on the best evidence. One way to improve those decisions is by using decision analysis -- including the decision trees method -- to leverage managerial judgment to evaluate a project's potential in complex situations, writes John Dillard. "When used as a strategic planning tool, decision trees can help organizations determine how to allocate resources and when to scale up or delay investment," he writes. SmartBrief/SmartBlog on Leadership (9/4) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

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  News from ASCE 
  • Envision™ sustainability rating system welcoming applicants
    Having put the final touches on its Envision™ sustainable infrastructure rating system, the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure has begun accepting projects for review and credentialing. Projects submitted for review by Envision will be welcome on a first come, first serve basis. The average review and approval time is expected to be approximately 90 days. Information on the application process, as well key elements of the rating system, can be found at the official ISI Envision page LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

  • Civil Engineering online exclusive: Commuter Rail Lightens Up
    ASCE Civil Engineering magazine online  

    A commuter line in Texas receives an FRA waiver to operate lightweight cars in a corridor shared by traditional Federal Rail Administration-compliant vehicles. Learn how they share and find more fascinating, topical articles at LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

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One never notices what has been done; one can only see what remains to be done."
--Marie Curie,
Polish-French physicist and chemist

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