July 30, 2021
SmartBrief for Civil Engineers
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The Miami-Dade Police Department has barred structural consultant Allyn Kilsheimer from visiting the site of the Champlain Towers South condominium in Surfside, Fla. The city's mayor says that impedes the ongoing investigation into the building's partial collapse. Meanwhile, the police have issued a request for qualifications for local structural forensic engineering services to investigate the cause of the disaster, whose death toll now stands at 98.

SmartTake: The police cite "conflicts or associations with the building or the Town of Surfside" to justify blocking Kilsheimer. However, it says it is "willing to be a liaison with NIST engineers and communicate well with MDPD homicide investigators." Kilsheimer is a world-renowned engineer, and the police's explanation for keeping him off site could be perceived as vague, creating more questions than answers. 
Full Story: Engineering News-Record (tiered subscription model) (7/29) 
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Roughly 20% of Iowa's bridges are in poor condition, meaning they are not necessarily dangerous but need to be repaired or replaced, according to the state Department of Transportation. The latest regular inspection of Iowa's nearly 24,000 bridges has also found more than 42% in fair condition and almost 40% in good condition.
Full Story: WOI-TV (Des Moines, Iowa) (7/28) 
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Pay-fors in the Senate's bipartisan infrastructure plan include $205 billion in unspent pandemic relief funds, $87 billion from spectrum auctions for 5G services, $53 billion in unemployment insurance aid and $49 billion from delaying a Medicare rebate rule, according to a Republican summary of the plan. The plan would also reinstate a tax on chemical manufacturers and would crack down on a tax enforcement for cryptocurrencies.
Full Story: The Associated Press (7/29) 
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Project Watch
Arctura is preparing to use a $1.5 million grant from the Energy Department to test a new type of paint that may protect wind turbines from lightning strikes. The paint, which contains what Arctura owner Neal Fine calls "magic pixie dust," is designed to help lightning pass to the ground without damaging turbine blades.
Full Story: The Boston Globe (tiered subscription model) (7/27) 
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Well-depleting drought has been compounded by federal refusal to release water from the Upper Klamath Lake, leaving many Oregon residents along the California border scrambling for water. More than 300 wells may have gone dry in recent weeks, and there is a long wait list for well drilling.
Full Story: The Associated Press (7/29) 
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Canadian pipeline firm TC Energy is considering investing billions of dollars to move from natural gas to renewable energy to power its North American pipeline network after its April request for information on wind power for US pipeline projects drew strong interest. "We started just with our liquids pipeline and it gives us really a lot of confidence that we'll be able to pivot quickly to our natural gas pipeline business both in the U.S. and in Canada," said TC Energy President of Power and Storage Corey Hessen.
Full Story: Reuters (7/29) 
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A $16.3 million initiative that saw Medellin, Columbia, plant tens of thousands of native trees and plants along 30 interconnected corridors across the city has helped residents find shade and has reduced average temperatures in some areas. The vegetation has also improved the city's air quality by absorbing harmful carbon emissions.
Full Story: Thomson Reuters Foundation (7/28) 
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A university in Loughborough, England, will use a $700,000 grant from the Wolfson Foundation to create a world-first slope simulator to better understand often deadly landslides and earthwork failures. The plan is to build a tilting table to hold large-scale slopes that will be successively wetted and dried to simulate slope deterioration over time.
Full Story: The Engineer (UK) (7/30) 
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Enjoy the View
Mid-Delaware Bridge between Matamoras, Pa., and Port Jervis, N.Y.
Mid-Delaware Bridge between Matamoras, Pa., and Port Jervis, N.Y.
(Jag9889/Wikimedia Commons)
The Mid-Delaware Bridge is a four-lane truss bridge carrying US Routes 6 and 209 across the Delaware River. It was built in 1939 by R.C. Ritz Construction Company. The structure, also known as the Port Jervis-Matamoras Bridge and the Fourth Barrett Bridge, is notable for its extensive use of v-lacing and lattice on its members, according to HistoricBridges.org.
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The SBCE Team
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Evan Milberg - evan.milberg@futurenet.com
Jaan vanValkenburgh - jaan.vanvalkenburgh@futurenet.com
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