December 2012 - Infrastructure Digest

Thailand’s BTS Plans $1.5 Billion IPO for Infrastructure Fund

“Thailand’s sole elevated-railway operator, BTS Group Holdings PCL, aims to raise at least $1.5 billion next year through an initial public offering of an infrastructure fund, a deal that would ranks as the country’s largest-ever IPO.

BTS is the latest company seeking to cash in on Thailand’s sizzling stock market. Share sales this year have more than doubled to $1.7 billion, from $548 million in 2011, according to data provider Dealogic. Among the year’s IPOs were Tesco Lotus Retail Growth Freehold & Leasehold Property Fund, which raised $602 million in March, and Ananda Development PCL, which raised $183 million in November.”

Why should you read this? Something about the confluence of “country’s largest-ever IPO” and “infrastructure fund” just seems inherently interesting to me. Wall Street Journal, December 2012

Asphalt Versus Concrete

““If we get communities to base roadway design on total life of pavement and total capacity, concrete and asphalt are comparable in many ways,” said Scott Haislip, director of streets and roads with the American Concrete Pavement Association (ACPA), headquartered in Skokie, Ill.”

Why should you read this? Excellent overview of a decision made daily by thousands of public works administrators. Not nearly as clear cut a decision as you might think. A classic. Public Works, March 2006

The top 10 most popular Public Works magazine online articles in 2012

Why should you read this? C’mon, it’s Public Works—quick links to ten popular articles. Public Works, December 2012

K&E Excavating Says It’s D7E Hybrid Dozer Cuts Fuel Costs In Half

““At first our operators were skeptical that an electric-drive tractor could outperform what we already had,” recalls Kuenzi. “But after just a few weeks on the job, they were convinced the D7E was the way to go. The more they used it, the more they liked it.”

Performance was tested for the D7E on its first two jobs: One was at a substation moving 250,000 cubic yards of dirt and boulders; the next job was at an airport hauling out material and debris (more project detail below).”

Why should you read this? Excellent, detailed analysis of ROI on the new Cat D7E, based on actual project use. FCP, September 2012

Technology and Its Impact on Reducing Inflow and Infiltration

“Fixing I&I defects in collection systems with multiple I&I sources can be complicated. With the advancement in sewer line rehabilitation, removing the I&I is more affordable than in the past. Further, if you add in the potential costs of I&I to the environment and to the impact on a community’s growth and quality of life, I&I reduction is a high value, necessary investment.

The EPA estimates that if the nation’s infrastructure needs are not addressed in the next 10 years, 35 years of water quality gains will be lost. Even though removing I&I can be a net cost-saver, the work required to remove it from a sewer system isn’t cheap. Municipalities need to be strategic in designing their I&I remediation efforts and do whatever they can to minimize the cost impact of the program on ratepayers and taxpayers. Today’s technologies are playing a large part in closing this gap, and we can all expect the coming years to produce even greater technologies to address our infrastructure needs.”

Why should you read this? Useful overview of current technologies that help to prioritize and maximize I&I reduction investments. Trenchless Technology, November 2012

BRIDGE DESIGN: Truss with a twist

“A different framework
The new bridge’s clean form is heavily influenced by current realities of bridge design, where costs are determined less by material use than by fabrication, transportation and erection costs. This framework provides the designer with a fundamentally different set of sensibilities, whereby improvements in structural safety, lower maintenance costs and extended service life can be realized without an increase in overall cost. HNTB’s design for the Memorial Bridge replacement was very much influenced by this philosophical shift in design.

Substructure design
Rather than demolish or reconstruct two of the four main river piers, Archer-HNTB determined the existing piers could be more effective if left in place as an additional element of protection. The granite facing on all four existing river piers was in excellent condition after nearly 90 years in service. As a result, the existing piers were used as cofferdams. Crews drilled through them to install more than a dozen 500-ton-capacity battered micropiles per pier. Independent of the existing piers, the new substructure not only eliminated the need to replace the existing substructure and, thus, all in-water work, but it left the riverbed undisturbed. This solution avoided work-window restrictions imposed by environmental commitments that restricted in-river work only during the cold winter months.”

Why should you read this? Describes a bridge replacement that took place in a big hurry, partially due to innovative design and reuse of some original bridge components. Roads & Bridges, December 2012

Economic stress continues to weaken European infrastructure

“Fitch Ratings explains in a series of recently published reports that the prolonged economic weakness in European economies and the impact that this has on consumer demand and public sector spending continues to erode the core stability of the infrastructure sector. The medium-term prospects for specific infrastructure assets vary significantly and are determined mainly by a combination of the economic and political dynamics of the host country, the asset’s type and its relative importance and the asset’s financial and operational flexibility.”

Why should you read this? This is an abstract of several reports on the state of European infrastructure. The information may well cast a light on the coming future of American infrastructure. Reuters, December 2012

World Record Sports Facilities

“Greatest-capacity fixed-dome stadium — Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans; 76,468 seating capacity for football; Owner: Louisiana Stadium & Exposition District. The world’s largest steel dome, a 680-ft dia Lamella roof supported at its perimeter by a 9 ft tension ring, with a surface area of 9 acres. It is home to the New Orleans Saints of the National Football League, hosts basketball games, concerts and expositions, and will host Super Bowl XLVII in February, 2013. “

Why should you read this? This is a slide show of some of humanity’s largest building efforts—the cathedrals of our age?—and interesting facts abound. Did you know the world’s largest horse racing facility is in Japan—and has a view of Mt. Fuji? ENR, November 2012

Sandy Recovery

When Hurricane Sandy made landfall in New Jersey and ravaged much of the U.S. East Coast, it changed the nature of the debate over infrastructure and how to protect lives and property. Photo: AP/Craig Ruttle.

Why should you read this? Not an article, but rather, ENR‘s special report on Sandy recovery efforts with dozens of article links in several sections. Not of interest if there is no possibility of storms in your area. ENR, December 2012

Portable MBR overcomes oil and grease wastewater challenges in Middle East

“ACWA Emirates said cost savings achieved using the portable MBR solution are estimated at AED 10 million ($2.7 million, £1.7 million). Removing the wastewater by tanker from such a remote site to the nearest treatment facility, 100 km away, and bringing in water for wastewater treatment, would have cost an estimated AED 42 million ($11.4 million, £7.1 million), equivalent to AED2700 ($735, £500) for each round of delivery and removal by tanker.”

Why should you  read this? The wealthy oil states have the funds to experiment on a large scale with all sorts of interesting infrastructure technology, and this is a brief look at one such experiment, a portable membrane bioreactor.

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