Construction Week: Denver Implosion Makes Way for Development; Compact Track Loaders Gain Share
Demolition Makes Way for $419-million Development
Crews from Dykon Blasting Corp., Tulsa, Okla., safely imploded an eight-story building in east Denver on Aug. 29. The early Saturday morning demolition of the former University of Colorado Biomedical Building makes way for a $419-million, mixed-use commercial development at the former site of the University of Colorado medical campus. Dykon filled the building with 170 charges, which leveled the structure within 30 seconds. The implosion saved nearly four months of manual demolition work at the site, said Frank Cannon, development director for Continuum Partners, the developer.
Feds Approve Transmission-Line Easement for Blythe Mesa
Construction of a 485-MW solar photovoltaic plant could begin as the Bureau of Land Management has approved a five-mile easement on public land for a 230-kV transmission line. The Blythe Mesa Solar Power Project, proposed by privately held, Los Angeles-based RRG Renewables, is to be built on 3,587 acres of private, formerly agricultural land near Blythe, Calif. It will interconnect with the Southern California Edison grid at its Colorado River Substation in Riverside County. BLM approval was required because the public land lies between those points. News reports peg the cost at $1.13 billion, but RRG did not return ENR’s requests for confirmation.
Guide Coming for the Repair of Older Concrete Structures
The American Concrete Institute plans to publish, in September, a guide to help engineers meet ACI’s first model code for the repair of older structural-concrete buildings. By early next year, ACI expects to release for public comment the draft of an updated version of the code, published in 2013. ACI 562-13 “Code Requirements for Evaluation, Repair and Rehabilitation of Concrete Buildings and Commentary” was written to establish rules for better performance of older concrete structures under repair that may not be able to meet current codes. It emphasizes performance-based design, sets the required minimum repair practices and, if followed, helps to achieve well-built and safe structures, says the model code-writing group.
Compact Track Loaders Scoop Up Market Share
Buoyed by an influx of new products, sales of rubber-tracked loaders in the U.S. are now approaching roughly the same volume as more traditional skid-steers, according to market research firm Manfredi & Associates. In in its most recent “Machinery Outlook” newsletter, the Medford, Ore.-based company estimates that U.S. sales volumes for compact track loaders (CTLs) in 2014 reached 35,000 units, compared to 37,000 units for skid-steers. Prior to last year, CTLs were considered more of a niche product. “The shift is somewhat remarkable given that the rubber-tracked machines cost 20% to 30% more than their rubber-tired counterparts” and that the track is more expensive to replace than tires, Manfredi notes. The top-five CTL leaders include Bobcat, with 29.9% market share, followed by Caterpillar (27.7%), Kubota (16.4%), Deere (11.2%), Takeuchi (5.4%).
Lomma Ordered to Victims of Crane Collapse
After what is believed to be the longest civil trial in Manhattan Supreme Court history, a jury found James Lomma, owner of Maspeth, N.Y.-based New York Crane & Equipment Corp., liable for the May 2008 crane collapse in New York City that killed Donald Leo, 30, and Ramadan Kurtaj, 27. The court ordered the crane magnate to pay the families of the victims a total of $96 million. The two men were killed when parts of a Lomma-owned 200-ft-tall tower crane operated by Leo fell to the ground during construction of a high-rise building at East 91st Street, crushing Kurtaj, a construction worker standing on the street below. While Lomma’s defense team alleged that Leo had caused the collapse by two-blocking—or causing the hook block to retract into the boom tip—the crane, lawyers for the family argued that the crash was caused by a defective turntable that Lomma sourced from China. The mechanic in charge of overseeing these repairs pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide in 2011, although Lomma, 69, was acquitted of all criminal charges in 2012.