Public Facilities Archives - Infrastructure Digest

Mammoth Lock Takes Shape in Belgium

Ship access capacity to the Antwerp’s Waasland Canal complex in Belgium will be more than doubled by construction of the world’s largest ship lock at the Deurganck dock. With a construction cost of some $290 million, the lock on the tidal River Scheldt’s left bank—500 meters long, 68 m wide and 17.8 m deep—is due to start operations in spring 2016.

The new lock will be more than 4 m deeper than the current world-record holder, Antwerp’s 25-year-old Berendrecht Lock, which serves docks on the opposite riverbank. It is also longer and wider than the new locks under construction for the third lane of the Panama Canal, but those locks will be up to 18.3 m deep. The Deurganck Lock will be the largest in the world by volume.

Why should you read this? It’s the biggest lock news of the last year! ENR, December 2014

ATA Leaders Express Disappointment in President’s Infrastructure Message

“Just mentioning infrastructure is not a solution to our nation’s critical needs, and by simply bringing the topic up without details President Obama missed an opportunity to underscore the critical role our highway system plays in our economic well being,” said ATA President and CEO Bill Graves. “Now is the time, with the Highway Trust Fund set to go bankrupt in May, to show vision and leadership and most importantly, find funding, to keep that from happening. The trucking industry calls on the President and Congress to end this unnecessary uncertainty by funding our nation’s infrastructure and passing a new highway bill.”

Why should you read this? The SOTU is a good gauge of sentiment; is it anything more? PRN, January 2014

NJ Transportation Chief: Route 3 Cracks Widened Over Months

In October, inspectors checking the bridge found two 3-inch cracks in its steal beams, WCBS 880’s Levon Putney reported.
“The tests this week found the cracks had grown to 6 3/4 inches and 4 1/8 inches,” Transportation Commissioner Jamie Fox said. “That is what scared us.”

Why should you read this? Expect to inspect. CBS, January 2015

Officials forced to drain 50 acre lake after discovering leak in dam

Bounds told WLOX News on Thursday that the initial four foot wide trench that was dug to relive the pressure has expanded to 30 feet wide. Emergency officials were left with no other choice than to drain the entire lake.

Why should you read this? “No other choice than to drain the lake.” WLOX, January 2015

Cincinnati bridge collapse: 1 dead, 1 hurt after Ohio bridge collapses

Hours after an Ohio interstate overpass undergoing demolition collapsed, killing one person and injuring another, commuter traffic was slow around the Cincinnati region early Tuesday, particularly on other main arteries into the city.

Why should you read this? Bridge week continues, with a sad warning story. AP, January 2015

Bay Bridge’s troubles: How a landmark became a debacle

Sometime in the next few weeks, the lead contractor for the Bay Bridge’s new eastern span will finally declare that the most complex public works project in California history is done — and state and local authorities will be solely responsible for a landmark beset by problems that trace back more than 16 years, to the day a handful of experts picked a design that bordered on the experimental.

Why should you read this? Fascinating, in a sick, train wreck kind of way. San Francisco Chronicle, January 2015

Gov. Chris Christie met with feds on Bridgegate

Federal investigators are probing why lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge were closed for several days, causing massive traffic jams.
Some of Christie’s aides and allies have been linked to the lane closures, which are alleged to have been arranged as part of an attempt at political retribution.

Why should you read this? To be honest, I’m just tickled that civil infrastructure is getting a political scandal all its own… Politico, January 2015

Obama Proposes New Muni Bonds for Public-Private Investments

The program, called Qualified Public Infrastructure Bonds, wouldn’t expire, and there’d be no cap on issuance, the administration said in a statement Friday. The debt also wouldn’t be subject to the Alternative Minimum Tax, which limits the tax benefits and exemptions that high-earning individuals can claim to reduce their levies.

Why should you read this? Maybe you need money? Bloomberg, January 2015

What happens when a dedicated wastewater treatment operator earns a pilot’s license? Answer: One of the most unique hobbies you can image.

About 12 years ago, Marcel Tremblay earned his pilot’s license and began a hobby that combined two of his passions: wastewater treatment and flying. Tremblay noticed airports and wastewater treatment plants are often located close to each other, so he began taking aerial photos of the plants and arranging plant tours for when he landed. His fly-over features soon become a regular component of Mass Waters, the Massachusetts Water Pollution Control Association’s newsletter, which Tremblay edits.

Since then, Tremblay has flown to nearly every corner of the state as he explores various wastewater treatment systems.

Why should you read this? It’s always seemed to me that treatment plants are some of the most beautifully designed public facilities, so I’m on board with this hobby. TPO, January 2015

Sinking Soils Further Impede Efforts To Extricate Alaskan Way Viaduct’s Stuck TBM

Differential settlement of more than an inch has temporarily shut down efforts on the already-stalled Alaskan Way Viaduct project under downtown Seattle. Excavation had been underway on an access pit that was designed to repair “Bertha,” the stuck tunnel-boring machine (TBM), as crews continue to monitor the movement on surrounding buildings.

The 57.5-ft-dia machine has been stuck since December 2013, just over 1,000 ft into its 1.7-mile route under downtown Seattle as part of an effort to replace the aging viaduct after settlement was first detected a month earlier (ENR 2/24 p. 21).

Why should you read this? Schadenfreude? ENR, December 2014

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