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$2.4B expansion of Las Vegas airport will be finished in June | $6.5B worth of redevelopment projects in San Diego approved | 5 major transportation projects OK'd to apply for federal loans
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April 26, 2012
ASCE SmartBrief
News for and about the civil engineering community
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$2.4B expansion of Las Vegas airport will be finished in June
McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas is close to finishing construction on its Terminal 3. The scope of work consisted of adding 14 new gates and constructing a new 6,000-vehicle car park, a tram system and improved road access. Work was done while the airport was operational, which made it "challenging," said Don Wright, Bechtel?s project manager for the expansion.
Airport-World.com (4/24) 
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Infrastructure Watch
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$6.5B worth of redevelopment projects in San Diego approved
A new oversight board in San Diego -- which replaces several redevelopment agencies -- has given the OK for $6.5 billion to fund pending and future projects in the city. The board did not delete any items from the list, which now goes to the state for approval, because it didn't want to give "up money that might go elsewhere."
The San Diego Union-Tribune (tiered subscription model) (4/25) 
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5 major transportation projects OK'd to apply for federal loans
Five transportation projects were chosen by the Department of Transportation to apply for Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act loans. Included are California's $1.3 billion State Route 91 project and $960 million Gerald Desmond Bridge replacement in Long Beach, and a $1.5 billion Interstate 35W project in Texas. "A little TIFIA goes a long way for communities that use these loans to leverage additional funding so they can tackle the big-picture transportation projects this country needs," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said.
Engineering News-Record (4/25) 
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$2B Dallas mixed-use project will be developed in phases
Beck Ventures' acquisition of the Valley View Center property sets the stage for a multiphase redevelopment that will be known as Dallas Midtown. The $2 billion project calls for construction of a five-star hotel, high-rise offices and retail space along with luxury residential towers and multifamily units.
CityBizList.com/Dallas (4/24) 
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Court challenges could stall work on $1B Calif. solar project
The rush to build massive solar installations -- such as Southern California Edison's $1 billion Genesis project -- raises the question of whether land surveys have overlooked sacred American Indian sites. Some tribes are preparing court challenges that could affect future solar and wind projects to be built in the desert. "The relatively undeveloped deserts are next in line," said Jon Erlandson, an archaeologist and director of the University of Oregon Museum of Cultural and Natural History. "But out there, fast-track processes that do not involve a lot of thorough research before building something are setting the stage for future conflicts and potential disasters."
Los Angeles Times (tiered subscription model) (4/24) 
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Trends & Technology
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BIM could help reduce instances of material failure
The number of instances of material failure at construction sites in New York City rose sharply this year, but building information modeling technology could help reverse that, say some. The software allows a building inspector to take a virtual tour before construction even begins and identify possible problem areas. BIM is ?spectacular,? Louis Coletti, president of the Building Trades Employers? Association, said.
The Epoch Times (4/25) 
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Construction begins on Calatrava-designed campus in Fla.
Construction has started on the University of South Florida Polytechnic?s Santiago Calatrava-designed campus in Lakeland, Fla. The two-story Innovation, Science and Technology structure will be egg-shaped and clad in white grating that provides natural ventilation and daylight. "It is my hope that this first building for Florida Polytechnic?s new campus will be enjoyed for generations to come, while also acting as a catalyst for continued architectural and technological advancement," Calatrava said.
Inhabitat (4/25) 
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Sustainable Development
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Material innovation: Building for a sustainable future
As the construction industry shifts to using "green" products for a sustainable future, scientists are recreating the most basic materials such as concrete to make that goal a reality. This article notes developments of three innovative building materials: a phase-change material called "bioPCM" gel; Solidia's plastic-based concrete alternative; and Novacem's carbon-negative magnesium oxide-based concrete alternative, which absorbs more carbon from the air during its production process than it releases.
ConstructionDigital.com (4/23) 
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Report: Non-powered dams are untapped clean-energy source
Non-powered dams could be a help in expanding the country's renewable energy supply, according to a report from the Department of Energy. Of the more than 80,000 non-powered dams in the country, 54,000 of the largest ones could generate more than 12 gigawatts of electricity. "Adding power to the existing dam structure can often be achieved at lower cost, with less risk, and in a shorter timeframe than development requiring new dam construction," the report notes.
Forbes (4/25) 
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Election 2012
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House names group to conference with Senate on transportation bill
The House of Representatives has named 20 Republicans and 13 Democrats as conferees to work on the transportation bill. The House voted to conference with the Senate on the bill, but voted down instructions to accept the Senate bill as is. "American workers should not have to wait any longer as Congress searches for an agreement," said Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va. "The time for political games is over."
The Hill/Floor Action blog (4/25),  The Hill/Floor Action blog (4/25) 
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Advancing the Profession
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Invest in people or get ready for an exodus
Big Think
Companies should invest heavily in developing their workers' talent -- or be prepared to see their workers jump ship, says former Deloitte CEO Jim Quigley in this Big Think video. "We must invest in building the capability of our people. And if we don't invest in building their capability, they're going to go someplace else where they think someone will," he says.
SmartBrief/Leadership (4/24) 
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In new study, ASCE warns of "Failure to Act" to upgrade electric grid
The nation’s aging electric transmission, generation and distribution systems are in need of major investment to avoid dealing a blow to the nation's economy, according to the latest "Failure to Act" study from ASCE, released by the Society today. Failure to Act: The Economic Impact of Current Investment Trends in Electricity Infrastructure calls for accelerated action through 2020 to forestall losses of $126 billion to U.S. businesses, $656 billion in American families' personal income, and as many as 529,000 jobs. Read and download a full copy of the report at asce.org/failuretoact. Previous reports in ASCE's Failure to Act series remain available: surface transportation and drinking water and wastewater systems.
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Civil Engineering online exclusive: Building and Contents Tested on Shake Table
Among the great new articles only at asce.org/cemagazine: A five-story structure, portions equipped as a hospital, is being tested on an outdoor shake table at the University of California San Diego to help engineers understand the response of critical structures and their potential for remaining fully operational after an earthquake. Get the details with your member login.
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