The International Information Center for Structural Engineers

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.

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The city of Santa Monica, California will spend $100,000 over the next year identifying steel, concrete, and wood-frame buildings that would be vulnerable to an earthquake. If investigators determine that a building is at risk, the owners of the building must retrofit the structure to comply with current building codes. A timeframe for when building owners must complete the retrofits has not been announced.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014 13:16

10 Dead in South Korean Auditorium Collapse

Ten people died and over 100 were injured on Monday night when the roof of the auditorium building at the Mauna Ocean Resort in Gyeongju, South Korea collapsed. Nine of the ten fatalities were students, and the other was a worker for the company organizing the school event. Officials believe the heavy snowfall in the area likely caused the roof to collapse, but a full investigation has been ordered.

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Texas Central Railway President Robert Eckels discussed some of the preliminary details for a high-speed rail line between Dallas and Houston last week. The high-speed passenger rail system would take 90 minutes to go from one end of the line to the other, saving passengers around two hours compared to driving between the two cities. Texas Central Railway is a private consortium that is promoting the project. Unlike many other high-speed rail projects across the country, the project in Texas would not receive any federal or state money to build the project. This includes not being eligible for the part of the $8 billion federal grant created in 2009 to promote high-speed rail in the country. The Texas DOT received part of that funding when the grant was created. The project will cost roughly $10 billion, and it will be financed through private funding.

Developer Land Securities and Canary Wharf Group submitted a plan on Wednesday to fix the “Death Ray” coming from sunlight bouncing off the Walkie Talkie building. The 160-meter, 34-story office building located at 20 Fenchurch Street in London is currently under construction. Last fall, the skyscraper briefly became a tourist destination due to the car-melting light beam cast by the tower. The beam reached temperatures as high as 110 degrees Celsius in September, and it melted parts of parked cars and even set fire to a doormat at a barbershop. Temporary scaffolding was erected across the street to prevent the sun’s rays from causing damage to nearby buildings and pedestrians, and all parking spots were fenced off so no other cars would be melted.

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Plans were revealed today for a new 209-meter, 52-storey skyscraper in Auckland, New Zealand. The tower will be referred to as the NDG Auckland Centre, named after the New Development Group owned by Shanghai businessman Nuru Ding. Once finished, the NDG Auckland Centre will be the largest building in New Zealand and the second tallest structure in the country behind the Sky Tower. The $350 million skyscraper will feature residential space, a hotel, shopping centre, restaurants, cinema, and sky decks. Auckland residents will also look forward to using the building’s 6-storey underground parking structure.