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TheStructuralEngineer.info

The Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system expansion project is a full year ahead of schedule due to a lack of rain over the last two years. The $3.2 billion project will extend the line by 16 miles from the San Francisco, California area to southern Freemont, Milpitas, and San Jose. The extension to Beerysea was supposed to be finished in 2018, but now Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) officials expect it to be completed by late 2017.

The DC Tower 1, located along the Danube River in Vienna, Austria, officially opened last week and became the country’s tallest building. Construction on the smaller DC Tower 2 will begin shortly and will be completed in two years. The two towers are part of the Donau City project that has been transforming the Donube riverfront in Vienna over the last 20 years.

One of the largest “spec” office building projects in the world recently broke ground in Houston, Texas. Houston-based international real estate company Hines is developing the 48-story, 756-foot skyscraper. The company announced their plan to build the tower, referred to as 609 Main at Texas, in 2011 and has since increased the size of the project. The building will be the 23rd skyscraper that Hines has built in downtown Houston.

Construction has finally begun on the 709-foot, 61-story skinny residential skyscraper located at 610 Lexington Avenue in Midtown Manhattan. The tower, originally proposed in 2005, was delayed due to the recession in 2007 and eventually put on an indefinite hold in 2009. In March 2012, developer RFR Holding LLC regained control of the site and announced their plans to complete the project.

The United States Department of Transportation released its biennial conditions and performance report last Friday. The report stated that all levels of the country’s government must spend between $123.7 billion and $145.9 billion per year to maintain and improve the conditions of the United State’s roads and bridges. The report analyzed data from 2010 and found that the U.S. spent roughly $100 billion on infrastructure that year including $12 billion provided by the stimulus package to help the economy during the recession. The U.S. DOT strongly encourages spending increases to avoid any further deterioration to the country’s roads and bridges.

The Colorado Department of Transportation finalized the state’s first public-private partnership contract last week. The contract allows private consortium Plenary Roads Denver to complete the second phase of the U.S. 36 Managed Lanes project. In addition to expanding and approving the existing highway between Denver and Boulder, Plenary Roads Denver will also be required to maintain the road for 50 years.

Material testing is about to get underway on the world’s next tallest building in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The Kingdom Tower will have an architectural height of 1,000 meters once finished, over 130 meters taller the current tallest building the Burj Khalifa. Thornton Tomasetti was hired as the structural engineering firm for skyscraper and the project is expected to cost $1.23 billion. The tower is the first phase of a the three phase Kingdom City development project. The total cost to build Kingdom City will be around $20 billion.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014 12:57

Thai Building Collapse Kills at Least 11

At least 11 workers died on Tuesday when a large concrete beam collapsed at a hospital construction site in Samut Prakan province in Thailand around 11:30 a.m. local time. Seven of the workers died at the scene and the other four died shortly after arriving at a local hospital. The accident also injured 18 other workers, some of whom are in critical condition. Rescue workers used sniffing dogs and heavy equipment to search through the rubble in order to help any survivors and find bodies that were buried. Rescue workers are confident that they have now found all 40 people who were at the job site when the beam collapsed.

Monday, 24 February 2014 13:01

Brent Spence Bridge Project at Crucial Point

Ohio Department of Transportation Director Jerry Wray announced on Friday that the Brent Spence Bridge project is at a crucial point.  Currently, the state of Ohio has legislation allowing for the bridge to be built by a public-private partnership. A similar bill is being considered in Kentucky at the moment, but the project cannot move forward if it is not passed. The new Brent Spence Bridge will cost an estimated $2.6 billion to remove the existing bridge and construct the new version. 

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx discussed the United State’s “massive infrastructure deficit”, in his speech yesterday, at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce transportation conference.  His goal is to create a long-term transportation bill by the end of the year.  He believes that “a one- or two-year Band-Aid won’t cut it this time.”  Foxx did not provide any details about the length of the bill or the amount of funding needed to avoid “crippling” the U.S. economy.