February 26, 2021
SmartBrief for Civil Engineers
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Arch of world's highest rail bridge near completion
Arial view of one side of the Chenab Bridge in 2016 (Ojhayogesh/Wikimedia Commons)
Crews expect to complete the arch closure for India's Chenab Bridge next month, marking a milestone for what will be the world's highest railway span, rising 1,178 feet above the Chenab River. Located in the Himalayas, the bridge is designed to withstand high winds, earthquakes and terrorist bombings.
Full Story: The Times of India (2/25) 
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Solar panels are coming to vast stretches of urban transit surfaces to power local facilities and, when there is excess energy to sell, revenue. One example is the 16-acre expanse of panels planned for a parking lot at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport.

SmartTake: JFK airport's 12.3-megawatt solar project is a great example of a transport agency acting like a business. Other agencies should emulate it, especially given that many face depressed revenues due to the pandemic and a future dominated by electric transport.
Full Story: Fast Company online (2/25) 
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Climate change factors will guide lawmakers as they formulate a reauthorization of the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act, say Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., and Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del. Democrats have suggested the highway policy could be wrapped into broader legislation for infrastructure funding.
Full Story: Transport Topics (2/24) 
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Project Watch
Technology
More than 300 projects globally are pursuing economical production of "green" hydrogen as a fuel source with methods to extract the gas that require little or no carbon emissions. Mary B. Powers examines some of these projects and the stiff challenges ahead.
Full Story: Engineering News-Record (tiered subscription model) (2/25) 
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The FloodNet.nyc project aims to pinpoint and document street flooding across New York City as climate change brings rising sea levels and more severe rainstorms. In an interview, leaders discuss the project, which could yield more granular data than currently available from non-catastrophic events.
Full Story: Government Technology online (2/24) 
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The Nevada Department of Transportation will be leveraging technology to tackle the state's roadway congestion problems using a $6 million federal grant. The solutions to be applied include wrong-way and vehicle-occupancy sensors.
Full Story: KSNV-TV (Las Vegas) (2/24) 
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AECOM Vice President Dev Rastogi is heading up the Texas Hyperloop project and the Automated Bus Consortium, both of which hold the potential to transform transportation. Drawing on these projects and wide experience, Rastogi reflects on her role at AECOM, engineering's challenges and upcoming technologies that go beyond high-speed rail.
Full Story: Dallas Innovates (2/24) 
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Featured Content
Insights for leaders and managers from SmartBrief Originals
Sustainability
Material programming may allow new architectural applications of wood by programming it to curve in desired ways during the drying process, say researchers at the Institute for Computational Design and Construction and the Cellulose and Wood Materials Laboratory. Their work led to the construction in Germany of the Urbach Tower, which is becoming a local landmark.
Full Story: Redshift (2/25) 
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To realize net-zero carbon emissions in construction, it's important to learn from pioneering efforts in Scandinavia and independent initiatives such as the World Green Building Council's Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment. Challenges to net-zero efforts cross multiple sectors and include cement manufacturing and growing urbanization.
Full Story: Deutsche Welle (Germany) (2/24) 
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Seventeen projects that tap the potential of geothermal energy will receive a combined $46 million under the Energy Department's Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy Initiative at the University of Utah. "America leads the world in installed geothermal capacity, but it accounts for just two percent of our renewable energy portfolio. Developing advanced geothermal energy technology requires strong investment in basic and early-stage research," said Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Okla.
Full Story: Department of Energy (2/24) 
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Research
The coronavirus pandemic has proven that engineers can help curtail gridlock by decreasing trasnportation demand, but it remains to be seen if that will be possible once the pandemic ends, according to David Schrank, a research scientist at the the Texas A&M Transportation Institute.

SmartTake: There have been decades of debate about the need to balance major projects that add new capacity and smaller, cheaper "quick wins." What's been fascinating to see is how, as Schrank puts it, "COVID forced our hand" through teleworking environments that could allow officials to stretch transportation dollars. 
Full Story: Texas A&M University (College Station) (2/23) 
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Enjoy the View
Urbach Tower in Urbach, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Urbach Tower in Urbach, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
(ICD/ITKE University of Stuttgart)
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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 - evan.milberg@futurenet.com
Jaan vanValkenburgh - jaan.vanvalkenburgh@futurenet.com
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Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.
Muhammad Ali,
professional heavyweight boxer, social activist, entertainer, philanthropist
February is Black History Month
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