The International Information Center for Structural Engineers

Monday, 06 January 2014 00:00

Panama Canal Expansion May Face Delays

Spanish construction company Sacyr Vallehermoso announced Wednesday that the Panama Canal Authority has 21 days to pay for the nearly $1.6 billion in cost overruns on the canal expansion project.  Pananma’s President, Ricardo Martinelli, tweeted that he will reject the company’s ultimatum, and he plans to travel to Spain on Thursday to demand that Sacyr and Impregilo (Italian construction company) honor the original terms of the contract.  If the two sides cannot reach an agreement by January 20, the canal expansion contract states that the two parties must head to a Paris-based arbitration court.

The Kentucky and Ohio Departments of Transportation announced that toll revenue would be required to fund the design and construction of a new Brent Spence Bridge. Current estimates place the cost of a new bridge at $3.57 billion.  The current Brent Spence Bridge is a double-decker cantilever truss bride that crosses the Ohio River.  It allows residents of Northern Kentucky to commute to Cincinnati, Ohio and vice versa.  The bridge was opened in 1963 and was designed to carry 85,000 vehicles per day.  As of 2007, 155,000 cars cross the bridge each day, and about 65% of the cars travel from Kentucky to Ohio.  In 2011, large pieces of concrete fell from the upper deck of the bridge onto the lower level, and the bridge was closed down for a day to repair the damage.  While it currently is considered to be structurally safe, many residents of Ohio and Kentucky have lost faith in the functionality of the original bridge.  As a result, the two states departments of transportation are currently studying the bridge to determine if it will be better to replace or rehabilitate the Brent Spence Bridge.

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Monday, 30 December 2013 11:30

Florida SunRail Phase 1 Almost Completed

Phase 1 of the Central Florida SunRail project is almost finished and service on the route will begin once all 12 stations are completed.  Construction began on the 32-mile route connecting Volusia County to Orlando in January 2012.  The rail line is expected to cost $615 million to construct and $432 million to buy the right of way and tracks.  The federal government, the state of Florida, and the three counties that the rail line passes through are financing SunRail.  The federal government is paying for half of the project through a federal transit “New Starts” grant, and the state of Florida and the counties will each par for 25% of the project.  SunRail was originally approved in July 2007, and it took over four years to plan the route and receive funding.  This period included a six-month freeze on all contracts and a legislative review ordered by Florida Governor Rick Scott.

Thursday, 26 December 2013 13:58

New Tech Company Headquarters Built in 2013

Many technology firms started designing and building ornate headquarters from the ground up this past year. These companies are straying from the normal office building and designing them to enhance performance in the workplace. NPR details several companies’ new designs, including Apple, Google and Amazon. Click here to listen about the futuristic buildings.

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We are pleased to announce the 78th issue of our newsletter!

Monday, 23 December 2013 13:10

Apollo Theater Ceiling Collapse Injures 80

A portion of the Apollo Theater ceiling collapsed Thursday night during a show and 80 people were injured including seven people who were seriously injuries.  The theater is located in London and opened over a century ago in 1901.  A 33 by 33 foot section of the roof collapsed during a performance of “The Curious Incident of the Dog in Nighttime.” Officials estimate there were 720 people seeing the show at the time of the incident and say that many more people could have been injured.  Part of the theater balconies also fell when the ceiling caved in.

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Thursday, 19 December 2013 13:46

Bay Bridge Fix Complete

The $25 million fix for the broken rods on the Bay Bridge’s east span was finally finished last week.  After only being in place for two weeks in March, 32 of the 96 galvanized steel rods used to hold down large seismic stabilizers on the east span snapped.  Caltrans determined the failure was caused by hydrogen that was able to penetrate the rods when they were standing in hydrogen rain-rich rainwater over a five-year period.