South Carolina is in a tough spot. It needs about $700 million to fix its aging water system, $500 million a year to patch its roads, and who knows how much to deal with its bridges -- 20% of which were rated structurally deficient. And that was before the devastating floods. It's likely the state will look for federal funds to deal with the infrastructure that is now even more damaged, but that entails finding some money of its own to aid in the efforts.
Nearly 6.4 million people worked in the construction industry as of September, according to the Labor Department's initial data. The sector has added jobs for six consecutive months. Employment in the industry is at the highest level in six years, and the unemployment rate in the sector has dropped to 5.5%.
St. Louis wants to construct a $1 billion NFL stadium on the banks of the Mississippi River and hopes to land the $1.6 billion western headquarters project for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. The city is already in the middle of a $380 million project to reconstruct the area around the St. Louis Arch and is building the $695 million Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge, but believes the larger projects would help "leverage future development, combat crime and wipe out concentrated poverty," this article says.
Construction will start next month on a 743,000-square-foot office tower in San Francisco. The 43-story building is part of the $4.5 billion Transbay Transit Center redevelopment project. The pre-certified LEED Gold tower will have 14 sky decks, a three-story lobby and a parking deck.
The District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority has constructed a $470 million waste-to-energy facility that creates energy from sewage solids using thermal technology. The project at the Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant "embodies a shift from treating used water as waste to leveraging it as a resource," said DC Water CEO and General Manager George Hawkins.
Engineering companies are increasingly deploying drones to inspect construction projects in areas that present hazards to human inspectors on the ground. The unmanned vehicles, also deployed to examine cellphone towers and transmission lines, offer advantages over other airborne and satellite alternatives, providing high-resolution images at a small fraction of the cost of aircraft or satellites.
Large construction sites are turning to biometrics to prevent the risk of unauthorized access as work takes place. Construction projects don't get much bigger than at the 2012 Summer Olympics venues in London, where biometrics were used to ensure only authorized workers accessed the sites. Hand and facial recognition technology can also be used, which allows companies to reduce the likelihood of wage fraud. Security provider Allied Risk Management has been able to recoup almost $1 million for a single client using its construction site access control system, according to Kerry Madden, the company's administrator.
The $20.8 billion BP oil-spill settlement could fund about $6 billion in ecosystem and infrastructure projects along the Gulf Coast, according to estimates from Engineering News-Record. This article outlines the projects likely to benefit from the funds -- if the court approves the settlement.
Companies with safety management programs boast 66% better project quality and 71% lower injury rates, according to a survey conducted by McGraw-Hill Construction. For instance, Elzinga & Volkers has used its own Alive 365 safety program and training methods to achieve a streak of more than 3,000 days without lost-time work injuries. The company's program includes 30 hours of Occupational Health and Safety Administration training and additional courses on topics such as fall protection, scaffold safety and emergency action plan training.
Officials in Baltimore hope to replace the Baltimore and Potomac Tunnel, an aging two-track railroad tunnel along Amtrak's Northeast Corridor. A $60 million study is underway to look at options, which appear to be keeping the current tunnel open or developing a new network for about $4 billion.
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