The Illinois Department of Transportation now uses 93% of its budget for maintenance instead of 73% a few years ago, but this means expansion and upgrade projects get a far smaller share of funding. The agency says the state needs to come up with a sustainable way to fund such projects rather than rely on piecemeal appropriations.
Recent flooding in Louisiana has prompted concern over whether enough construction workers will be available to help rebuild, but Ken Naquin, CEO of Louisiana Associated General Contractors, said the same concern existed but was never realized after Hurricane Katrina. Dozens of out-of-state contractors have filed to do business in Louisiana, and hundreds have asked about getting licensed.
Stantec surveyed all roads in New Orleans and found that two-thirds were rated in poor condition or worse. It could take $3.6 billion over a decade to make improvements, but the city has only $2 billion from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The 58-story Millennium Tower in San Francisco -- the heaviest concrete building on the West Coast -- now leans to the northwest, has sunk 10 inches since it was constructed in 2009 and may drop 2 feet more. Critics say building inspectors should have anticipated the problem, because they killed a nearby project in mid-construction in 2004 due to subsidence fears.
Toyota has donated $1 million to the Yellowstone Park Foundation to build the Yellowstone Youth Campus, a sustainable project to help educate children about conservation. The project will be the first building in the national park system to achieve the Living Building Challenge Certification.
Researchers are using robots and ultra-wide-band pulsed radar to inspect underground infrastructure for damage in Slidell, La. The technology was developed after the city asked Louisiana Tech University for help.
Workers topped out Brock Commons in Vancouver, Canada, in just 66 days, and the 18-story, concrete-core structure could be finished in the spring. It will be the tallest timber-framed building in the world.
ExxonMobil is selling its interest in a proposed Alaska LNG export terminal to the state, and other backers of the project may soon follow. A Wood Mackenzie report from last week referred to the project as "one of the least competitive on a cost of supply basis compared with other" proposed LNG export terminals worldwide.
When flooding threatens New York City's subway tunnels, giant plugs may be the answer. The inflatable plugs, developed by engineering firm ILC Dover in cooperation with the Department of Homeland Security, are made of interwoven Kevlar belts and waterproof fabric and can also stop the spread of dangerous gases and smoke.
Public-private partnerships are becoming a common way for universities to build student housing and other projects. P3s allow universities to transfer some of the risk associated with large projects to private parties and reduce the amount of debt an institution takes on.
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