Civil engineers and other researchers working under a $90,000 National Science Foundation grant are studying the Great Inca Road of South America for clues to help modern society build roads, bridges and other infrastructure that last longer and have a less harmful impact on the environment. “Where modern engineers really try to tame the environment—cut through rock, move it out of the way—the Inca tried to work with the natural terrain,” says Christine Fiori, who teaches at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Va., and is the research team’s lead investigator. “It might take longer, but it lasts.” This
Arch dams, classically curved monoliths situated in narrow valleys, are not as common as other types of dams, such as embankment dams and gravity dams. ENR takes a look at some of the biggest arch dams in the world, both completed and under construction.