The International Information Center for Structural Engineers

Six years after California voters approved a $9.9 billion bond act to help finance a high-speed rail line between that eventually will carry riders from San Francisco to Los Angeles. California Governor Jerry Brown and other officials led a ceremony in downtown Fresno on Tuesday to mark the start of construction for the project. Instead of picking up shovels and scooping a pile of dirt like many groundbreaking ceremonies, the Governor instead decided to sign a ceremonial steel rail. Although the ceremonial start to construction took place on Tuesday, major construction is still likely weeks away. According to High-Speed Rail Authority board chairman Dan Richard, “We are entering a period of sustained construction on the nation’s first high-speed rail system for the next five years in the Central Valley, and in the decade beyond that, we will be building across California.”  The first segment will cost $6 billion and be completed in 2018.  It will connect Merced to Bakersfield.

Additional Info

  • Date occured Tuesday, 06 January 2015
Tuesday, 04 November 2014 11:20

Bay Bridge Deficit Expected

According to the latest projections, the new Bay Bridge eastern span will be completed $35 million over budget. Caltrans is shifting funds from other bride projects from around the state to make up the deficit. The new Bay Bridge eastern span connecting San Francisco and Oakland, California opened in September of last year.  Caltrans has been optimistic throughout the duration of the project that the completed bridge would cost less than the $6.4 billion price tag. That figure includes $900 million for cost over runs and contingencies. However, it is estimated that there is still $110 million of unfinished work left to complete the eastern span and Caltrans expects their original estimate of $100 million to tear down the old span to be lower than the actual cost. Taking into account the remaining work that needs to be done as well as cost overruns, Caltrans expects to have a $35 million deficit when the bridge is completed.

Additional Info

  • Date occured Tuesday, 04 November 2014

The creators of the Bay Bridge’s “Bay Lights” have until the end of the year to raise $4 million to keep their changing light display from coming to an end. The Bay Lights have been around since March of 2013 and are operating on a two-year permit. The system was privately funded and cost $8 million to install. They are made up of 25,000 LED lights that are attached to 300 cables on one side of the bridge’s western span. Artist Leo Villareal programmed the lights to constantly change patterns from dusk until dawn each night.

Additional Info

  • Date occured Friday, 24 October 2014

In a controversial move last week, San Francisco placed warning signs on buildings that violate San Francisco’s seismic safety laws. The large signs, written in multiple languages and displaying drawings of destroyed buildings, were posted on and around buildings to notify potential occupants that the building’s owners have not retrofitted the structure. While many agree that something must be done to convince building owners to upgrade unsafe structures, some feel that publicly “shaming” the buildings and its owners is not the smartest way to achieve the city’s goal. Berkeley tried something similar to what San Francisco is doing back in 2005. They placed warning signs on at-risk buildings and required owners to send letters to their tenants about the building being in danger if an earthquake hit.  Of the 239 buildings targeted by Berkeley, 100 owners voluntarily retrofitted their structures while the city had to pass a law to get the other 139 buildings retrofitted. San Francisco is going further than any other California city has in the past to notify the public by placing larger signs on more buildings.

Additional Info

  • Date occured Thursday, 18 September 2014

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake struck the Napa Valley region on Sunday and injured at least 172 people. The earthquake left many cracked roads, damaged buildings, and broken wine bottles. The earthquake was the largest to hit the California Bay Area since the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. Safety inspectors have been working around the clock to check on the health of the area’s infrastructure. 

Additional Info

  • Date occured Monday, 25 August 2014

Santa Clara’s city council unanimously approved the $6.5 billion City Place Santa Clara mixed-use development on Tuesday. The project will be built next to the San Fransisco 49ers new stadium, Levi’s Stadium, and will be constructed over the next 10 to 20 years. The approval from the city council allows Steven Ross’s development firm Related to begin the final planning phase. Santa Clara officials are excited by the development and look forward to getting a new downtown area after the city’s previous downtown was torn down in the 1950s and 60s.

Additional Info

  • Date occured Tuesday, 08 July 2014
Wednesday, 07 May 2014 12:12

All Lanes Reopen After I-15 Bridge Fire

Officials reopened southbound lanes of Interstate 15 in Hesperia, California on Wednesday morning after an overpass fire closed down the freeway for more than 24 hours. The northbound lanes were reopened on Tuesday around 5:30 pm. The fire caused 20-mile long backups in either direction on Monday along the popular route between Southern California and Las Vegas. Firefighters and crews worked around the clock to clear the debris from collapsed bridge to reopen the interstate.

Additional Info

  • Date occured Monday, 05 May 2014

The California High-Speed Rail Authority has invited five companies to submit bids for the second contract to build part of the state’s high-speed rail line. The winning bidder will be expected to complete a 65-mile stretch of the line from southern Fresno to the Tulare-Kern county line. The Request for Proposal issued Thursday for Construction Package 2-3 (CP 2-3) states that each company’s proposal must be submitted by September 2 of this year. The California High-Speed Rail Authority is using a design-build contract for the project and will chose the winning bid in November.

Additional Info

  • Date occured Thursday, 03 April 2014

Two California state agencies announced actions last Friday that will help advance the California high-speed rail project. The state Water Resources Control Board announced they had approved an environmental permit that will allow construction to begin on a 24-mile stretch of track between Madera and Fresno. The state Public Works board also announced resolutions declaring a public need to condemn nine properties in downtown Fresno that the California High Speed Rail Authority needs for right of way for the project. 

Additional Info

  • Date occured Friday, 14 March 2014
Thursday, 23 January 2014 01:40

Construction to Start on Los Angeles Hotel

Construction will start February 15th on the Wilshire Grand Hotel development in Los Angeles, California. When built, the 1,110-foot hotel will be the tallest structure in the western United States. Pouring the concrete for the building’s foundation will be the first step in constructing the hotel. The contractors plan to pour the whole foundation, 21,000 cubic yards of concrete, continuously over three days. This will break the Guinness World Record for the longest continuous concrete pour. It will take 2,120 truckloads of concrete and will weigh 82 million pounds.

Additional Info

  • Date occured Wednesday, 22 January 2014
Page 2 of 3