The International Information Center for Structural Engineers

Monday, 20 January 2014 12:45

Hudson Yards Redevelopment Project Underway

Related Companies and Oxford Properties Group officially broke ground on the Hudson Yards redevelopment in New York City in December 2012.  The West Side Yard, commonly referred to as Hudson Yards, opened in 1987 and is located on the West Side of Manhattan between West 30th street, West 33rd street, 10th street, and 12th street.  The rail yard stores commuter trains that operate through Penn Station.  The first phase of the plan to redevelop the 26-acre plot of land is building a platform over the eastern side of the yard to seal off the current train storage area.  This part of the project will begin this month.  The platform will take two and a half years to finish and cost $750 million.  It will take 300 caissons weighing between 4 and 60 tons, as well as 25,000 tons of steel and 14,000 cubic yards of concrete to complete the platform.  Once finished, two new skyscrapers will be able to be built on the platform.

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts unveiled on Wednesday the new Comcast Innovation and Technology Center that will be built in downtown Philadeliphia. The 59-story tower will cost around $1.2 billion to build, and it will be home to 4,000 Comcast employees primarily focused on software development and business services.  The skyscraper will also house the area’s local NBC and Telemundo affiliates.  The 1.5 million square foot building will be a joint venture between Comcast and Liberty Property Trust with Comcast controlling 80% of the venture.  The company’s current home, the 58-story Comcast Center also located in Philadelphia, was finished in 2008 and it is currently the 17th tallest building in the United States and the tallest American building outside of New York and Chicago.  Daniel Safarik, editor at the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, believes it is likely that the new Comcast tower will surpass the Comcast Center as the largest American building outside of New York and Chicago.

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A video went viral over the past few days showing a Raleigh, North Carolina condo under construction collapsing during a windstorm.  Toll Brothers, the company constructing the Brier Creek condominium building, is now saying that the building was not complete enough to withstand the wind gusts.  When the building collapsed on Saturday, it was not yet in compliance with the Raleigh building codes, which require structures to be able to withstand wind gusts up to either 90 or 100 miles per hour.  The largest wind gust measured at Raleigh-Durham International Airport during the storm was 86 miles per hour.  Meteorologists are trying to determine if that makes the gust the strongest or second strongest ever recorded in the area.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014 00:00

Bayonne Bridge to be Raised

The existing Bayonne Bridge connecting Bayonne, New Jersey and Staten Island, New York will undergo an amazing feat of engineering.  The road bed will be raised while the existing road is still open to traffic.  The purpose of the project is to provide more clearance for shipping vessels traveling along the Kill von Kull strait. Currently the bridge has a clearance of 151 feet, which is one of the lowest in the United States. After construction the bridge will be 215 feet above the water. The span runs across the busiest shipping channel on the east coast of the United States, and approximately 30 percent of shipping vessels from Maine to Florida pass under the bridge.  Due to the delay of the Panama Canal expansion project, the 2015 old road bed removal date will match up well with the opening of the new, wider canal.  The canal opening is expected to increase the average size of ships around the world (height and width), and many ports in the United States are expanding to accommodate the newer shipping vessels.

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Tuesday, 14 January 2014 00:00

Video: Double Crane Collapse in Venezuela

The video below shows two cranes collapsing while attempting to move a 60-ton truss beam during the construction of a train station in Caracas, Venezuela.  The two crane operators survived the fall but were injured during the incident occurring on December 6th.  According to El Universal, a Caracas newspaper, the crane operators were attempting a dangerous maneuver, but one of them shouted that he was “doing an excellent job” immediately before the collapse.  The construction company responsible is currently investigating the cause of the incident.  The two five axle all terrain cranes were 100 ton Liebherr LTM1100-5 models, and the collapse was reportedly caused by one of the crane’s outriggers sinking into the ground and destabilizing the crane.  The crane that fell down the access shaft crashed into a diesel storage tank causing a leak that shut down the adjacent road for a few hours.

The icy temperatures sweeping across the United States have caused foundation work on the new Tappan Zee Bridge to come to a halt.  The frozen areas of the Hudson River in New York are preventing tug boats from being able to move around safely.  Project leaders are not sure how long the delays will last, but the forecast for the next week looks promising with every day’s high temperature well above freezing.  As soon as the large chunks of ice floating in the Hudson River melt, workers can get back to installing piles to support the bridge.  The project schedule includes a two-month period each year where crews will not be able to work on the Tappan Zee Bridge due to weather restrictions.  As a result, this delay is not expected to affect completing the bridge by 2018, and construction is continuing to move forward on land.

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The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey are hoping to pick a group of winning bidders for the La Guardia airport replacement this spring.  New York Governor Andrew Cuomo addressed the outdated, undersized airport in his State of the State address on Wednesday.  He cited the fact that La Guardia is currently ranked the worst airport in America as the main reason the Port Authority needs to finally award a contract to redesign the existing terminal.  He even mentioned that he would like to take political ownership of the project to ensure it gets completed.