The International Information Center for Structural Engineers

Last week Professor Wang Mengshu from Beijing Jiaotang University’s tunnel and underground engineering research center revealed that China is considering building a high-speed train that would travel between China and the United States. The rail line is being referred to as the China-Russia-Canada-America line. The train, averaging 350 kilometers per hour throughout the 13,000 km trip, would arrive in the United States from Beijing in less than two days. While Professor Wang Mengshu, also an academic at the Chinese Academy of Engineering, believes the technology exists to build the world’s largest underwater tunnel necessary to complete the line, many question whether the Chinese government supports the proposal or has the funds to complete the project.

Seattle Tunnel Partners will begin digging a 120-foot deep pit this week to reach the front side of tunnel boring machine Bertha. The machine is the world’s largest tunneling machine, and it has been stuck underneath Seattle’s downtown waterfront since December 6, 2013. Bertha was built specifically for the Washington State Department of Transportation to work on the $3.1 billion Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Tunnel project. The machine completed a little over 1,000 feet of the expected 9,000-foot tunnel before getting stuck.

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Amtrak CEO Joe Boardman recently stated that the two rail tunnels under the Hudson River in New York have less than 20 years left in their life expectancy before they need to be shut down. He states that he does not know the exact amount of time Amtrak has before the century-old tunnels need to close, but it could be less than 20 years. New tunnels will take approximately 7 to 9 years to complete once the project is officially agreed upon. Boardman would like to quickly resume planning for the multi-billion dollar tunnel replacements.

Thursday, 08 May 2014 12:37

Tilt! Set To Open to Public on Saturday

Chicago’s newest tourist attraction is set to open to the public on Saturday. Tilt! is part of the newly redesigned John Hancock observatory, referred to as 360 Chicago for its panoramic views of the city. Visitors will be able to spend 75 seconds leaning up against the 94th floor windows as they tilt outward up to a 30-degree angle. The attraction will compete with the Willis Tower’s retractable glass boxes for the most nerve wrecking view of the city. The Skydeck boxes opened in July 2009 and they allow people to walk a few feet out of the skyscraper and look directly down at the street below. Tilt! is unlike any other tourist attraction in the world as it allows people to go from standing inside the skyscraper to leaning out over the street below and back. Most other observation deck attractions around the world are stationary and usually retract only to be cleaned or during bad weather.

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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.

A 73-story skyscraper will become London’s tallest residential building if it receives approval from the Tower Hamlets Council.  The 250-meter, 73-story skinny skyscraper will take the record from St. George Wharf Tower once completed (181 meters, 50-story). Foster and Partners submitted their planning application in April and expects to begin construction on the building and surrounding development by 2015.

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The Chernobyl nuclear disaster occurred 28 years ago on April 28, 1986. Construction is now underway on the New Safe Confinement shield, a movable structure that will cover Chernobyl’s Reactor 4 to protect the area from radiation. In the past, engineers had not been able to design a permanent way to contain the site’s radiation levels should the aging shelter collapse. The 32,000-ton arch being built will last for 100 years. The final stage of cleanup will begin once the shield is slid into place.