Cleanup Milestones Reached On Huge Tennessee Ash Spill

More than three million cu yards of coal ash have been excavated from the site of a 2008 spill at the Tennessee Valley Authority's Kingston, Tenn., powerplant, the utility said last month. The ash will be permanently stored on-site in a 240-acre reinforced-containment cell surrounded by an earthquake-resistant retaining wall tied 70 ft deep into bedrock. The wall, designed by Stantec, is being built by contractor GUBMK, Louisville. Workers are placing a liner over the containment cell, which will be capped. Work should be completed by late 2014.

About 5.4 million cu yards of ash spilled from a containment cell across 300 acres and into the Clinch River. About half the ash went to an Alabama landfill, and about 500,000 cu yards remain in the river and will be monitored. TVA has disposed of 6.5 million cu yards of material at a cost of more than $1.1 billion. The project is slated to finish by 2015.

Alabama County Files Plan To Exit Bankruptcy in 2013

Jefferson County, Ala., filed a plan on June 30 to exit its bankruptcy by the end of this year after negotiating to accept major cuts and formulating a two-step rate increase for customers. The $4.2-billion debt was fueled by a major sewer expansion, the result of a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency consent agreement. The project ballooned from $3.2 billion after cost overruns, bribery and corruption brought fines or jail sentences for 26 businesses and individuals. If the bankruptcy plan is approved, customers face 7.41% annual rate hikes for four years and 3.49% annual hikes after that.

Washington DOT Investigates Damaged Anchor Cable

A construction vessel building a new floating bridge in Seattle may be responsible for damaging an anchor cable on the current state Route 520 floating bridge in Lake Washington, requiring a $200,000 repair. The damage was found during a routine check on June 25, three weeks after the last all-clear inspection. Dave McCormick, Washington State Dept. of Transportation regional administrator, said, "Something impacted this cable close to the bridge, causing it to break." WashDOT is filing a report with the U.S. Coast Guard and will continue its investigation to find the responsible party and seek reimbursement for repairs.

Funding Collapses for $3.6B Columbia River Crossing

Funding problems have brought down a planned 10-lane, $3.6-billion project for a Pacific Northwest Interstate 5 bridge that included a replacement span over the Columbia River, connecting Portland, Ore., with Vancouver, Wash. Washington state lawmakers failed to pass a $10-billion transportation package as part of a new two-year budget, which included funding to keep the Columbia River Crossing project going. In light of this, Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber (D) scrapped the project, a decade-old plan that had nearly 100 employees working on it and already cost $170 million.

Israel Pushes Work Forward On Major Jerusalem Rail Lines

Israel Railways has issued an international tender for a 70,000-sq-meter underground station that will be at the Jerusalem terminus of a $2-billion high-speed-rail line from Tel Aviv. The station will be 80 m underground, have four platforms and will include commercial space. The new line is scheduled to begin operating at the end of 2017. Separately, a regional commission has approved a $300-million initial budget to extend the city's 13.9-kilometer light-rail line by an additional 3.5 km. Other extensions now in planning will bring the line to a total of 36.2 km.