Los Angeles is abuzz with construction activity. The city's $185 million Orange Line busway extension opens in June; the first phase of a $930 million light-rail Expo Line will be finished this summer, and a $1.5 billion second phase is being built. A $1.37 billion, 1.9-mile regional connector and a $5.6 billion Westside subway extension were recently approved. "These projects are transforming not just our transportation system but what this city and this region look like, [with places] connected to each other -- and not just through the single passenger automobile," said Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
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 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.
A retractable-roof stadium has been proposed as the new home for the Atlanta Falcons. The construction of a $947.7 million arena calls for demolition of the Georgia Dome because it would be hard for the Dome to remain economically viable without the Falcons. In addition, an expansion of that stadium and addition of a retractable roof would cost almost as much as a new stadium, according to a study by Kansas City-based architecture firm Populous.
The Port of South Louisiana plans to build a 2,000-foot-long container dock and container storage yard supported by an intermodal rail yard and is studying site options. The $760 million project could grow to become a $1.3 billion project if expansion plans are implemented.
For the past decade, engineers have retrofitted and reinforced San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge with the goal of creating a bridge that can withstand a magnitude 8.3 earthquake. They have replaced entire towers, covered support pylons with steel and replaced road sections bit by bit -- all without closing the bridge or changing its appearance. The third phase of the $660 million retrofit is under way and includes anchorage housing and pylon reinforcement. The final phase of construction, set to go out to bid next year, includes reinforcement of the main towers, south pier and fender.
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The "functionally obsolete" Brent Spence Bridge in Ohio is a symbol of the need for government to invest in America's aging infrastructure, writes David Lawder. But partisanship and deficit spending still hamper Congress' ability to create a long-term surface transportation funding bill, which makes long-term planning and projects dicey. "[A] contractor is not going to make that commitment to buy a $750,000 piece of equipment if they don't know whether they'll have enough work to keep it busy," said Brian Deery, senior director of highway and transportation at the Associated General Contractors of America.
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A new 20-year sustainable-development plan for Washington, D.C., focuses on energy efficiency, increased mass transit and bicycle lanes, more tree cover, green roofs and more. "The goal is to have D.C. be visionary in as many areas as possible and, when you add it all up, for D.C. to be the greenest, healthiest, most livable city in the U.S.," said Christophe Tulou, head of the D.C. Department of the Environment.
The first meeting of the House and Senate conference on the transportation bill is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, May 8, said Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. "Now is the time to set aside our personal wish lists and focus on the issue at hand -- the reauthorization of a bill that is absolutely essential to our economy," Boxer said. "Controversy should not be part of the conference and we should come together for the good of the country."
Arizona's immigration law that requires police to check the legal status of people they stop was part of the discussion Wednesday before the Supreme Court. Chief Justice John Roberts and other justices questioned whether the mandate would encroach on federal immigration enforcement as the federal government would still decide whether to detain illegal residents. The justices raised concerns over other parts of the law.
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