January 25, 2022
SmartBrief for Civil Engineers
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Booming Nashville, Tenn., faces a crossroads
(Terry Wyatt/Getty Images)
Nashville, Tenn., is facing the double-edged sword of hypergrowth, and how it responds could permanently shape its future, writes Aaron M. Renn. "If Nashville hasn't seized its moment to pull off a real infrastructure transformation ... it could be saddled with the infrastructure of an overgrown small town -- and the problems that come with it -- forever," Renn writes.
Full Story: Governing (1/24) 
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Seventy-two percent of civil contractors believe it will be hard to find qualified workers this year, up sharply from the 58% who expected labor shortages a year earlier, according to Dodge Construction Network's Civil Quarterly. However, 73% of contractors surveyed said they're optimistic about finding projects in 2022.
Full Story: For Construction Pros (1/24) 
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Sixty-five cities around the world will see 200 landing sites to accommodate air taxis over the next five years if plans by UK-based Urban-Air Port come to fruition. The effort has received financial support from Hyundai unit Supernal, building on a UAP-Hyundai collaboration in Coventry, England, to build a vertiport scheduled to open in April.

SmartTake: Some big players are banking that people will soon hail quiet, redesigned helicopters across town. Boeing just said it's investing $450 million into Wisk, its unmanned air-taxi venture with Google co-founder Larry Page. Last year, five air-taxi ventures went public in the US. And what flies up, needs infrastructure to come down. -- Jaan 
Full Story: DesignTAXI (1/25),  Interesting Engineering (1/24) 
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The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act provides $800 million for dam safety, hydropower and pumped-storage investments, thanks to a broad coalition of industry and environmental groups pushing to address the many deficiencies in US dams. The coalition's next objective is a 30% tax credit for hydroelectric dams to be included in the Build Back Better Act.
Full Story: Engineering News-Record (tiered subscription model) (1/24) 
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The Energy Department's loan-guarantee program to help develop clean energy is back in play with an initial guarantee of as much as $1 billion for Nebraska-based Monolith Inc. to convert natural gas into carbon black and clean hydrogen. More than 70 applications, worth a total of more than $60 billion, have been submitted for the program, which has lending authority for $40 billion.
Full Story: The Associated Press (1/24) 
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Project Watch
Security researchers are warning of a risk of embedded devices becoming a target for ransomware, which has led to pipeline shutdowns and other infrastructure concerns. Red Balloon Security said it found vulnerabilities in the Schneider Electric Easergy P5 protection relay, a device that's key to the operation of modern electric grids.
Full Story: TechCrunch (tiered subscription model) (1/22) 
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The Massachusetts Department of Transportation will retrofit a noise barrier on Route 128 with a photovoltaic system able to produce enough power to supply 120 homes annually. The barrier is based on a design by Ko-Solar and will be funded, installed, monitored and maintained by Solect Energy.
Full Story: Massachusetts Department of Transportation (1/24) 
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Emissions goals and environmental building design standards are often at odds in the UK, with some of the most highly rated buildings proving to be energy hogs by comparison with lower-rated counterparts, according to an analysis by the Better Buildings Partnership. The conclusion meshes with other studies questioning such certifications in the US, although the US Green Building Council says its research confirms its ratings' validity.
Full Story: Bloomberg CityLab (free registration) (1/24) 
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Researchers found that concrete with an additive of nano alumina helps guard against structural damage from sulfates. Researchers also discovered that adding a 2.3% nano alumina matrix increased tensile properties by 20.6% for M55-grade concrete.
Full Story: AZoNano (1/21) 
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The SBCE Team
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If you have feedback on today's brief or want to submit a story or picture, shoot us an email.

Evan Milberg - I am the lead editor for SmartBrief's construction and engineering newsletters. You can reach me at evan.milberg@futurenet.com

Jaan vanValkenburgh - I manage original content for SmartBrief’s infrastructure division. You can reach me at jaan.vanvalkenburgh@futurenet.com

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