Public Infrastructure

Strait of Messina Bridge: Construction Will Begin on the World’s Largest Suspension Bridge

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After centuries of consideration, a bridge to connect Sicily and the Italian peninsula is scheduled to begin construction in December.

For hundreds of years residents of mainland Italy and the island of Sicily have discussed the idea of a bridge that would connect the two bodies of land by spanning the Strait of Messina. However, because of the two-mile width of the strait, its depth, its current, and the fact that it frequently experiences tremors and earthquakes, a bridge seemed to be out of the question. Because of these issues, a ferry system was developed and used instead. Still, the idea of a bridge that could support both cars and trains seemed ideal for commuters.

Pelamis Wave Energy Converter: Renewable Energy from Ocean Waves

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The notion of harnessing energy from the sea has captured the human imagination for years. With interest in renewable energy at an all-time high, steps are being taken to turn this idea into a reality.

As the global need for renewable energy sources continues to surge, one innovative company has released technology that could have a major impact on utility and energy companies, as well as their customers, well into the future. The Pelamis Wave Energy Converter, made by Scottish company Pelamis Wave Power, is the first commercial machine that can generate electricity from offshore wave energy. Since the company first tested its prototype wave energy converter between 2004 and 2007 in Scotland, four additional Pelamis machines and two designs – the P1 and the second-generation P2 – have been created.

London 2012: The Infrastructure of Olympic Park

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From July 27, 2012 through September 9, 2012, millions of visitors are expected to converge in London, England, for the XXX Olympic Summer and Paralympic Games. Since receiving the winning bid in July of 2005, the London 2012 Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) and the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) have been hard at work preparing for the influx of activity that will occur on the 2.5 km2 Olympic site in East London.

Uncertainty Mounts: The Future of High-Speed Rail Development

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Mounting concerns over the U.S. federal budget deficit as well as a slower economy may have led some legislators to reconsider their support of President Barack Obama’s campaign to develop high-speed rail (HSR) systems across the United States. The Republican-led House of Representatives has clearly expressed its concerns with allocating government funds for high-speed rail development. The High-Speed Rail Strategic Plan released in April 2009 would have provided $8 billion for HSR development but this plan is now being questioned, and all of its budget money could potentially be cut.

The Hoover Dam Bypass: A Modern Engineering Marvel

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The Hoover Dam Bypass is being described as a remarkable, magnificent, impressive, spectacular, and monumental engineering feat. Completed in October 2010, this $240 million civil engineering project took nearly a decade of intensive planning and preparation, required coordinated efforts among a six-agency management consortium, and consisted of a three-prong emphasis on design, safety, and economic considerations.

Intelligent Transportation Systems

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American urbanites are showing little inclination to give up their cars in favor of alternative modes of transit. Nonetheless, a revolution in communication technologies is changing our transportation landscape. Traffic congestion on our highways continues to increase, and improving safety is always a priority, so to address these concerns, technological solutions known as Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) are being rapidly developed.

Just Say NO ..... to Detention Ponds

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Civil engineers design them, landscape architects loath them, developers wonder why we need them and municipal engineers often require them - I hate them. Retention and Detention ponds have become the standard for stormwater management on commercial and residential projects throughout most of the US. They were originally intended for flood control and were later incorporated into water quality requirements as well. They serve in their capacity to attenuate peak flows from new development reasonably well, but their usefulness stops there. Here are a few of the reasons that I'm not a fan of detention/retention ponds:

Green - So What's It Going to Cost Me?

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I have been advocating for and designing green infrastructure and LID solutions for a number of years now. In those years one of the most common things I hear is "So what's it going to cost me?". The assumption is always that it's going to cost more, and often they expect it to cost a lot more. Fortunately, its often less expensive rather than more expensive. This is especially the case with civil engineering (stormwater infrastructure, grading, parking lots, landscape design, etc.). Clients are naturally incredulous when I tell them that it's going to cost less, so their next statement is usually " Really!?, how much less?". In answering that question I have found that "well, that depends", doesn't always fly, so I have put together some general cost comparisons for several green vs traditional design elements.

BIM for Infrastructure

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Since the release of Autodesk’s 2012 product suites in April, Buildipedia’s BIM series (see Contractors Look to BIM to Streamline Construction and BIM: Bridging the Gap Between AEC and O&M) has been highlighting changes and upgrades to the software systems. Each year, Autodesk's line of products forges into new territory, and one of its most recent areas of development has been 3D modeling for infrastructure. Applying the same principles currently used in BIM on the scale of individual buildings, BIM for infrastructure expands that 3D vision outward, taking it to a new level – literally.

Form Traveller System Bridge Construction: Out-spanning Traditional Methods

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The use of form traveller systems offers significant cost savings for bridge construction projects throughout the world. We've partnered with Miguel Barreto from ConstruGomes of Portugal to highlight the key aspects of form traveller systems: how they offer cost advantages over traditional construction systems, in what situations they can best be utilized, and how they function.

Infrastructure at Work: Fehmarnbelt Fixed Link

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The Fehmarnbelt region of Europe includes parts of eastern Denmark, southern Sweden, and northern Germany. Over the past few years, discussion has increased on ways to permanently link those living in the 60,895 sq. km. (approx. 23,511.7 sq. mi.) region by the creation of a direct connection between continental Europe and Scandinavia, which would significantly reduce travel time for commuters. Construction of such a solution -- the Fehmarnbelt Fixed Link -- is set to begin in 2014, but, before it can, regional planners must decide whether a cable-stayed bridge or an immersed tunnel will best meet the needs of the region.

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