Photo by Pat Cashin / MTA

A Signature Station Debuts

After 12 years of planning and construction, one of New York City's megaprojects is officially open. The Arup-led design features a 53-ft-dia glass oculus that rises 108 ft over an atrium and a stainless-steel "sky net." Measuring 144 ft x 140 ft at street level, the three-floor complex required nine construction contracts with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Capital Construction division, with Parsons Brinckerhoff and Bovis Lend Lease LLC also managing.

Chemical Maker Picks Illinois To Build $1.4B Fertilizer Plant

Cronus Chemicals has selected a 235-acre site in Tuscola, Ill., over a competing one in Iowa, for a $1.4-billion natural-gas-fired fertilizer plant, to take advantage of shale-gas supply. The plant, backed by Swedish and Turkish investors, will manufacture 800,000 tons per year of nitrogen-based urea and ammonia. Construction, set to start next spring, anticipates a 2,000-person labor force. Cronus cited proximity to gas pipelines and rail infrastructure in choosing the central Illinois site. The state is providing incentives, including $35 million in tax exemptions and $12.3 million for road improvements.

Groups Are Set To Sue TVA Over Plant Coal-Ash Leaks Into River

Environmental groups in Tennessee on Nov. 10 alerted the Tennessee Valley Authority of their intent to file a lawsuit under the federal Clean Water Act to stop what they claim is the utility's release of coal-ash pollutants from the Gallatin coal-fired powerplant in Tennessee into the Cumberland River and other surface- and groundwater sources. They claim Gallatin's coal-ash ponds hold some 55 years of waste in unlined, unprotected pits. The river provides drinking water for 1.2 million residents downstream.

Industry Jobless Rate Drops To Lowest Level in Seven Years

Construction's October unemployment rate fell to its lowest monthly level in nearly seven years, as the industry added 12,000 jobs, the U.S. Labor Dept. said on Nov. 7. Construction economists say the low jobless rate in an already tight labor market may signal new problems in finding enough workers in key jobs. The agency said construction's jobless rate declined to 6.4% last month, from 7% in September. It was a sharp drop from the 9% rate a year earlier and the lowest since the 6.2% level in November 2007.