DOT wants $1B in infrastructure grant funding | Chilean bridge project to resume | Colo. county approves multimodal transportation plan
February 20, 2020
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The Transportation Department is seeking $1 billion in discretionary grant funding for transportation infrastructure during fiscal 2020. The request was made through the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development program.
Full Story: Supply Chain Management Review (2/19) 
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Evaluating Separation Requirements and Using Geotextiles with Geogrid
One of the most useful functions of geosynthetics is their ability to separate fine-grained soils from granular fill material that is used in roads or other civil engineering projects. There are a number of popular misconceptions regarding the separation function. Learn more.
Infrastructure Watch
Hyundai Engineering & Construction said it has made some concessions to the Chilean government so a $740 million bridge project can continue. Hyundai heads up the Puente Chacao Consortium building the bridge, which will link the South American continent with the Chiloe archipelago.
Full Story: Reuters (2/18) 
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Multimodal transportation is the focus of a newly approved transportation master plan for Boulder County, Colo. The $2 billion plan's 61 projects include commuter rail, bus service, safety-conscious intersections and connector trails for bikes.
Full Story: The Longmont Times-Call (Colo.) (2/18) 
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Virgin Trains has submitted documents to Clark County, Nev., outlining plans for a 273,000-square-foot, 2-story-high station south of the Las Vegas Strip. The station would take up 14 acres of a 110-acre plot and would serve as the Southern Nevada base for a proposed high-speed rail link with Southern California.
Full Story: Las Vegas Review-Journal (tiered subscription model) (2/17) 
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The Toho Water Authority has received a $40 million Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act loan from the Environmental Protection Agency for an $81.9 million sewer and wastewater system upgrade in Kissimmee, Fla. The project "will continue to improve the reliability of our wastewater infrastructure while demonstrating our ongoing commitment to safeguarding public health and the state's water quality," said Clarence Thacker, the water authority's board chairman.
Full Story: Engineering News-Record (tiered subscription model) (2/19) 
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Trends & Technology
Florida Power & Light now has two drones that can be quickly dispatched to assess infrastructure conditions in otherwise hard-to-reach places. The drones are contained in boxes that can be opened remotely to release the drones, which automatically fly to an obstacle-free height of 160 feet and then follow a predetermined route to snap photos and record video.
Full Story: TCPalm (Fort Pierce, Fla.) (free content) (2/19) 
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Sustainable Development
Judge Loren Smith of the US Court of Federal Claims has thrown out a case in which property owners accused the Army Corps of Engineers of being responsible for Houston-area flood damage after Hurricane Harvey. Flooding affected homes upstream and downstream of two federally owned reservoirs after the hurricane, which Smith said was "an Act of God, which the government neither caused nor committed."
Full Story: The Associated Press (2/19) 
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Federal and local officials will not allow underground construction near Mississippi River levees on Friday, when water levels are projected to exceed 15 feet at the Carrollton gauge. However, the Army Corps of Engineers does not expect to open spillways above New Orleans and Baton Rouge.
Full Story: The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate (2/19) 
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Advancing the Profession
Artificial intelligence and generative design are unlikely to replace engineers but do stand to change their jobs significantly, writes Trevor English. AI in civil engineering, for example, could work with computer-aided design to prepare the groundwork for a new site, freeing the engineer to consult more with the client and make adjustments.
Full Story: Interesting Engineering (2/19) 
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A team led by civil engineering associate professor Elie Hajj at the University of Nevada at Reno has developed a new way to estimate the costs of operating vehicles over the nation's roads. The Federal Highway Administration plans to adopt the model, which pulls in data from an array of sources to build computer models that are validated by actual vehicles.
Full Story: University of Nevada, Reno (2/18) 
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ASCE News Daily
Free ASCE paper explores future traffic flow with driverless vehicles
What will traffic flow be life when roads are shared by autonomous vehicles and human drivers? Over the next 20 years, driverless vehicles will become common, increasing road capacity, even reducing accidents, some predict. A new paper in ASCE's "Journal of Transportation Engineering, Part A: Systems" explores changes in traffic signaling characteristics in this mixed system. Read it free for a limited time, courtesy of ASCE Library.
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Are you blinkered by how to use turn signals in a traffic circle?
What's the correct use of turn signals when entering and exiting a traffic circle? Do you use turn signals and if so, which ones? Is it just too hard of a habit to get into? Are there laws mandating their use where you live and what are they? Read the responses of other ASCE members and add your own. What's your experience?
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