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September 28, 2012
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News for and about the civil engineering community

  Top Story 
  • China's rapid building leads to structure collapses
    China uses up to 40% of the world's steel and cement each year while it builds its infrastructure with mind-boggling speed. But the new buildings "can only stand 25 to 30 years on average,” said Qiu Baoxing, the country's deputy minister of construction, whereas in the U.S. they last 70 to 75 years. Poor building materials and the country's aim for growth over quality have affected the buildings' conditions and have led to a series of infrastructure collapses, writes Christina Larson. Bloomberg Businessweek (9/27) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Infrastructure Watch 
  • $69B Calif. HSR project could be halted if injunction granted
    Three separate lawsuits against the California High-Speed Rail Authority have been combined, and a hearing on their requests for injunctions is scheduled for Nov. 16. The suits challenge the Merced-Fresno route of the $69 billion bullet train project, including approval of the environmental reports. If Judge Timothy Frawley grants a preliminary injunction, work on the rail project would stop until after a trial. The Fresno Bee (Calif.) (free registration) (9/26) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Deal could pave way for $900M desalination facility in Calif.
    Carlsbad, Calif., could become home to the largest saltwater-desalination plant in the Western hemisphere. The San Diego County Water Authority came to a tentative agreement where it would buy all the water -- 50 million gallons a day -- from Poseidon Resources. If the agency's board approves the deal, Poseidon will sell bonds to cover 82% of the cost to build the plant and a 10-mile-long pipeline. The estimated cost is $900 million. Google/The Associated Press (9/27) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

  • Other News
  Trends & Technology 
  • Planned hotel complex in NYC includes 625-foot-tall Ferris wheel
    Developers plan to build a tourist complex on New York's Staten Island that includes a 200-room hotel, a mall and a 625-foot-tall Ferris wheel intended to become the world's tallest. City officials hope that the $230 million Ferris wheel brings more tourists into the less-visited New York borough. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2014, with the grand opening expected by the end of 2015. The Washington Post/The Associated Press (9/27) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

  Sustainable Development 
  • Study: Multiple benefits of green buildings should be promoted
    A survey by McGraw-Hill Construction found that return on investment was a key factor in building green, but builders and developers should consider more than just energy-cost reductions, the company says. "[M]issing is a quantification of the full 'triple bottom line' benefits from these investments, especially around the social benefits to human performance and well-being," the company said. McGraw-Hill also noted the importance of documenting the various benefits. Environmental Leader (9/26) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Election 2012 
  • MAP-21 provisions will "really change the transportation status quo"
    Several provisions of the $105 billion transportation bill that will take effect next month will "really change the transportation status quo," according to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. Some of the new provisions include grants to universities to establish University Transportation Centers; proposed streamlining of environmental reviews after natural disasters; and increased funding of the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act loan program. The Hill/Transportation blog (9/27), (9/27) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Advancing the Profession 
  • Civil engineer among jobs with high growth, good salaries
    Civil engineering is one of several underrated careers that have high growth and low stress levels, according to "The pay is better, the hiring outlook is better, the level of stress tends to be lower, and the physical demands aren’t that great," said Tony Lee, publisher. Business Insider (9/27), Forbes (9/27) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Featured Content 

  News from ASCE 
  • For a limited time, ASCE's on-demand, online seminars are 25% off!
    Save 25% on your professional development with ASCE's on-demand, online seminars. These courses are a comprehensive, proven, convenient way to earn CEUs/PDHs toward your license renewal. Learn anytime and anywhere with a variety of topics to select from in your specialty. Please note: this offer is not valid in combination with any other discounts, nor can it be applied to Course Sets or P.E./F.E. Review Courses. Register now to take advantage of the 25% discount. Offer expires Dec. 31. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Civil Engineering online exclusive: Naturally Ventilated Sports Center Under Way in the U.K.
    ASCE Civil Engineering magazine online  

    Construction has begun on the University of Cambridge’s new sports center, a naturally ventilated sports hall designed by London-based Arup Associates. Explore the novel design concepts, then discover more fascinating, topical articles at

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In the cellars of the night, when the mind starts moving around old trunks of bad times, the pain of this and the shame of that, the memory of a small boldness is a hand to hold."
--John Leonard,
American critic

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