construction Archives - Infrastructure Digest

The Greening of Civil Infrastructure

Similar progress is being made by manufacturers such as Unilever, a global brand leader in food, personal healthcare and other consumer products. In 2013, 75 percent of the company’s manufacturing sites brought their delivery of nonhazardous waste to landfills down to zero. Included among Unilever’s wide array of global waste recovery, recycle and reuse initiatives is the use of overflow plant sludge in prefabricated construction products and as an alternative raw material in cement production.

Increasingly, the waste generated from the manufacturing processes of companies like these and others is also finding its way into major infrastructure projects throughout the nation. The byproducts from manufacturing, as well as other industrial processes such as energy generation, offer a valuable resource for use in civil infrastructure.

Why should you read this? May create some reuse opportunities for you. ASTM, February 2015

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

High-Tech Railway Monitoring Helps Save $13 Million

One component of the plan emerged early as particularly challenging and troublesome. Work on one section of the TBI would require installation of 162 feet of 12’x9′ box culvert, which in turn would require removal and replacement of 120 feet of rail operated by BNSF, and in the area of track affected, the top of the sewer tunnel was just five feet beneath the top of rail. Understandably, BNSF was concerned about the effect of any work in the area. This is a very busy section of commercial railway–30 to 40 trains daily–and shutdowns are almost unheard of, and stoutly resisted by BNSF. Still, BNSF agreed to an unprecedented 30-hour suspension of rail activity.

To further complicate work in this section, high groundwater and difficult soils made subsidence an issue, and railway settling was a real concern even without construction work. To allay BNSF’s concerns, Barr devised a technically progressive subsidence monitoring system based on 250 track-mounted prisms and two Leica TM30 optical monitoring sensors. With this worked out, the 30-hour “Big Dig” was set to proceed.

Why should you read this? Monitoring is getting easier, cheaper… and more important. (full disclosure—I wrote this awesome article) The American Surveyor, January 2015

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

Contractors Get Reprieve At the Pump

As the price of crude oil bottoms out at its lowest market value in more than four years, the bottom-line fuel costs of many construction-fleet managers are lighter. But equipment managers are taking this market depreciation with a grain of salt, knowing from experience that the price will bounce back sooner rather than later.

“It’s very nice to have the dip right now,” says Arne Ruud, corporate equipment manager for Broomfield, Colo.-based Guy F. Atkinson Construction LLC. “But there’s no assurance it’s going to go on for any length of time.”

Why should you read this? News you can use. ENR, 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

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

BRIDGE RESCUE: S.C. acts on deficient bridge issue

“With any legislative program there are always some politics involved, and one of the things I tried to do is set up the packages starting in the northwest part of the state and I let packages going all the way down the coast,” Floyd, bridge maintenance engineer for SCDOT, told Roads & Bridges. “Now I am starting packages let in January in the upper part of the state and then I will work my way down again—that way everybody has something going on at the same time.

“Nobody can say, ‘Why are you working on the upper state and not the lower state.’”

Why should you read this? Interesting, proactive approach to an unglamorous issue. Roads & Bridges, November 2014

A Huge Success Story: Real-Time Monitoring A Hit Down Under

The site already includes a very busy railway corridor, a bus tunnel and a historic building. This required Watpac to provide assurances to the owners of those assets — Queensland Rail, TRANSLink and the South Bank Corporation, respectively — that the 12-month construction process would not damage them. With this in mind, the company needed a geospatial solution to monitor the work in real time, non-stop, from start to completion, and alert it to any deformation that could lead to a collapse and endanger lives — so that trains and busses could be stopped before they entered the hub and construction personnel could be evacuated in time.

Why should you read this? The realities of increasing litigation and improving monitoring technology more or less dictate that some sort of monitoring will be coming soon to your town. POB, January 2015

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