Photo By Tudor Van Hampton/ENR Related Links: Rebuilding Chicago's Wacker Drive: Giant concrete pour meets milestone The rebuild of Chicago’s historic Wacker Drive—this time, the double-decker road’s nearly 60-year-old north-south section—is in full swing. On May 10, Chicago-based contractor James McHugh Construction Co. reached a major milestone on the $300-million project when it poured 1,500 cu yd of concrete over a 10-hour period to complete a section of mainline deck. Composed of 13 in. of reinforced post-tensioned, high-performance concrete with a 2-in. latex overlay, the deck sits on a rebuilt concrete structure that is designed to last 100 years. Local
As an expected 120,000 visitors began packing into the Las Vegas Convention Center, this year’s CONEXPO-CON/AGG exhibition kicked off with a universal question in mind: Will the current economic recovery stick? Photo By Tom Sawyer Construction industry attendees expressed hope that the recession is fading. Photo Courtesy Of Tony Illia Caterpillar’s new truck model was unveiled at the opening of the 2011 CONEXPO in Las Vegas “All the focus is on CONEXPO as investors look to see whether the pending recovery on the U.S. construction equipment is real,” said Credit Suisse analyst Jamie Cook in an investor note. Machinery manufacturers
Uncertainty over reauthorization of a federal transportation bill could curtail future concrete consumption, said attendees at the World of Concrete show held last month in Las Vegas. A protracted wait time for a new bill creates long-term budgeting uncertainty for municipalities that could result in smaller, less ambitious projects. Photo: Tudor Van Hampton For ENR Vendors showed wares in Las Vegas, as experts noted that renewal of the highway bill is needed to bring back the lagging cement market. Photo: Tudor Van Hampton For ENR Related Links: World of Concrete 2011: Around the Exhibit Hall “We’re hearing that we could
A long-running trade dispute between the U.S. and Canada over lumber pricing has flared up again. U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said on Jan. 18 that he is seeking binding arbitration to settle a disagreement between the two countries over the pricing of British Columbia timber. Lumber produced from that timber is a key component in the construction of single-family housing. To try to resolve lumber-pricing disagreements that stretched back 20 years, the U.S. and Canada in 2006 signed a Softwood Lumber Agreement (SLA). The pact set a price threshold at which limits would cease on Canadian lumber exports. A
A somber but resilient mood permeated this year’s World of Concrete expo, held on Jan. 18-21 in Las Vegas, where thin crowds circulated amid a kiosk-filled convention floor. Contractors looked for innovative ways to prepare for an economic recovery, while budget-conscious construction solutions dominated exhibitor offerings. “We’re focusing on our ability to reuse equipment in different applications, rather than buying anew from job to job,” said Andrew Mair, chief executive officer of Doka USA Ltd., a Little Ferry, N.J.-based concrete formwork provider. “We’re also showcasing our Frami Xlife product, which is light enough to be [handled] without a crane, saving
The American Concrete Institute is seeking comments by Jan. 17 on the 2011 update of its standard ACI 318, Building Code Requirements for Structural Concrete and Commentary. Among other additions, the draft includes new design requirements for adhesive anchors and enhanced reinforcement detailing requirements for seismic applications. The document also contains new test methods for sulfate resistance and new requirements for detailing circular column ties. The draft ACI 318-11 can be downloaded at www.concrete.org/pubs/standaction.asp.
The Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute, concerned about an ominous pattern of spandrel-ledge-punching sheer failures in lab tests of double-tee spandrel-beam assemblies commonly found in parking garages, plans to spend approximately $200,000 to further investigate the situation. During tests on torsion design of loadbearing spandrel beams, punching sheer failures in spandrel ledges occurred at loads substantially less than those predicted by PCI Handbook design equations, according to the institute. No failures have been reported from the field, says PCI. The group, which plans to foot two-thirds of the bill for research costs, is seeking funding from other sources.
Railroad maintenance crews in the U.K. have been using sprayed polymer to strengthen track ballast for about a decade. One contractor now aims to go one step further and use strengthened ballast as a non-intrusive reinforcement for some of the country’s 25,000 aging brick-and-stone arch bridges. Balfour Beatty Rail Ltd., Redhill, is offering a method to treat a bridge and its polymer-coated ballast as a composite structure. The resulting enhanced strength of the arch can eliminate the need for concrete or steel reinforcement, says Andy Curzon, BBR’s head of technical services. The technique, called XiSPAN, would preserve the appearance of
Researchers in Northern Ireland report promising results from a demonstration project that used rods made with basalt fibers to reinforce a 22-meter-long concrete-deck section of a $1.5-million replacement bridge in County Fermanagh. The mineral material, which resists corrosion and has twice the tensile strength of steel, is not yet accredited for structural use in the U.K. In addition to testing the basalt-fiber-reinforced polymer (BFRP), the project is a demonstration of compressive membrane analysis in deck design, says Susan Taylor, a senior structural-engineering lecturer at Queen’s University, Belfast, which secured a $160,000 grant from the U.K. Dept. for Transport for the
China continued its investment in Africa’s infrastructure—and in South Africa’s deep need for cement—when a Chinese cement maker formed a partnership to build a plant with two South African companies. Jidong Development Group, the largest cement producer in northern China, has signed a partnership with South Africa’s leading black-women-owned company, Women Investment Portfolio Holdings Limited (WIPHOLD), and with limestone mining firm Continental Cement. The deal is for construction of a new $218-million cement plant in Limpopo, the northernmost province of South Africa. The venture for the 2,500-tons-a-day cement facility also involves the China-Africa Development Fund (CAF Fund), a leading Chinese