PHOTO COURTESY OF Trey Cambern 2011 / HNTB Corporation
Steel arch is put in place on new Lake Champlain Bridge.



900-Ton Lift Tops Off Bridge Job

A crucial New York-Vermont link is in the home stretch after the successful installation of a 405-ft-long, 85-ft-tall, 45-ft-wide tied steel-arch main span over Lake Champlain on Aug. 28. Under a $70-million fast-track contract, Flatiron Constructors lifted the 900-ton piece into place with a strand jack system supported by barges. Now more than 80% complete, the new crossing will replace an old bridge that was abruptly shut down in 2009 because of safety concerns.

Alternative Energy

DOE Puts $43 Million in Wind

The U.S. Dept. of Energy has awarded $43 million to 41 projects to help speed the development of offshore wind power. DOE has set a goal for the U.S. to produce 54 gigawatts of offshore wind power by 2030. Currently, there are no offshore wind turbines producing electricity for the grid. The DOE grants, announced on Sept. 8, will help advance wind-turbine design for offshore wind.

Nuclear Waste

Explosion Shakes French Plant

A Sept. 12 explosion at a nuclear-waste reprocessing facility in southern France killed one worker and injured four others. The explosion occurred in a furnace used for melting low-level radioactive waste at the Centraco facility—owned by Socodei, a subsidiary of French utility EDF—near the town of Orange. The facility was not damaged. The French Nuclear Safety Authority has confirmed there was no release of radiation due to the accident. The authority said it would conduct inspections to determine the reasons for the blast. Socodei says the furnace that exploded went into service in 1999.


Calatrava Departs Airport Job In Denver Over Funding Level

Spanish architect-engineer Santiago Calatrava pulled out of a Denver International Airport terminal redevelopment and transit-station design project on Sept. 7, citing funding uncertainties and “an unrealistic schedule.” The move ends a two-year design relationship between the airport and Calatrava's firm, Festina Lente, New York City. DIA hired Calatrava to upgrade its South Terminal with a new commuter rail station. The firm offered a proposal at an estimated cost of $650 million, but airport officials were forced to reduce it to under $500 million. The new plan features a conventional rail bridge that eliminates many of Calatrava's signature design elements. The airport plans to move forward using some of the Festina Lente designs, but there is some uncertainty about whether Calatrava will dispute DIA's rights to use the work.


Second Firm Is Found Liable For Toxic River in New Jersey

A second chemical firm in two months has been held responsible for toxic wastes discharged into the lower Passaic River near the Diamond Alkali Superfund site in Newark, N.J. Superior Court Judge Sebastian Lombardi ruled on Sept. 12 that Tierra Solutions is liable under state law for past and future cleanup costs. In July, Lombardi ruled that Occidental Chemical is also liable for site cleanup. Pesticides and herbicides were produced there from 1951 to 1969. A 2012 trial is set to decide the firms' financial obligations. Work began in August to remove 200,000 cu yd of contaminants. Starting next spring, about 40,000 cu yd of dioxin-laden sediment will be removed. The cleanup cost is estimated to be between $1 billion to $4 billion.