Getting supersized prefabricated steel modules to the Kearl oil-sands project in Alberta is proving to be the toughest part of the job for Canada’s Imperial Oil and ExxonMobil Canada. The evidence is in Lewiston, Idaho. Photo: Courtesy Imperial Oil Photo: Courtesy Imperial Oil Equipment modules, right, shipped from South Korea are parked in Idaho, more than 1,300 miles from their destination in northern Alberta’s oil fields. As part of the companies’ $8-billion construction project to produce as much as 345,000 barrels per day of oil roughly 45 miles north of Fort McMurray, Alberta, Imperial Oil sourced 207 prefabricated specialized bitumen
While the Washington Dept. of Transportation won’t open the detailed bids for downtown Seattle’s Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement project until mid-December, Gov. Chris Gregoire (D) nudged the long-awaited 56-ft-dia, 2-mi-long bored tunnel one step closer to reality, when she announced on Oct. 29 that both teams submitting bids that day were at or below WSDOT’s estimate of $1.09 billion.
Cutting a 55-in.-dia. hole into concrete is hardly rocket science in construction, but when the hole is being cut into the concrete shell of a huge underground tank that has been storing highly radioactive plutonium waste for more than 60 years, that action could be the equivalent of a space-shuttle trip into the unknown. Photo Courtesy of WRPS Matt Landon, a project engineer for WRPS, the cleanup contractor at the Hanford nuclear-waste site in Washington state, measures the progress of a concrete cutting tool during a test on a simulated underground waste-tank dome. Photo Courtesy of WRPS Employees of WRPS
Cutting a 55-in.-dia. opening into concrete is hardly rocket science. But when it’s the concrete shell of a huge underground tank that’s been storing highly-radioactive plutonium waste for more than 60 years, the cutaway could be a doorway to the unknown. Photo: Courtesy of WRPS Matt Landon, a contractor engineer at Hanford, measures the progress of a concrete cutting tool during a test on a simulated underground waste tank dome. Related Links: Video: Closing the Radioactive Spent Fuel K Basins at Hanford At month’s end, however, a U.S. Dept. of Energy contractor’s crew at the Hanford nuclear waste cleanup site
While the Washington Dept. of Transportation won't open the detailed bids for downtown Seattle’s Alaska Way Viaduct replacement project until mid-December, Gov. Chris Gregoire (D) nudged the long-awaited 56-ft-dia, two-mile-long bored tunnel one step closer to reality, when she announced on Oct. 29 that both teams submitting bids that day were at or below WSDOT’s estimate of $1.09 billion. The viaduct, which runs along Elliott Bay on state Route 99 in downtown Seattle, is nearly 60 years old. The 1989 Loma Prieta and 2001 Nisqually earthquakes pointed to the road’s seismic vulnerability. WSDOT spent $14.5 million in emergency repairs but
To expedite removal of a key radioactive threat close to the Columbia River, the U.S. Energy Dept. hopes to dismantle a long-dormant nuclear reactor at the Hanford nuclear-waste site in Washington state with robotic technology instead of “cocooning” the structure for long-term storage, as has been done with five similar structures at the site. The multistory, 50,000-sq-ft K-East Reactor, which houses 240,000 graphite blocks that make up the reactor core, is a special case because of soil contamination around and under the structure, says Tom Teynor, DOE project director for the reactor. The agency and its contractors are testing new
For the first time, secondary treatment of wastewater in Victoria, British Columbia, could become a reality. Image: Courtesy of Victoria’s Capital Regional District. The city’s new plant, rendered above, rejects the premise that secondary wastewater treatment is unnecessary because the water turbulence in the Juan de Fuca Strait dilutes discharged effluent. The minister of environment for the province of British Columbia approved the Capital Regional District’s (CRD) Core Area Liquid Waste Management Plan in August. Andy Orr, communications manager for the district, says a request for proposals on a new $738-million wastewater treatment facility will go out this fall. Construction
Voters across the Northwest will decide several important bond initiatives on November 2nd. These include Washington�s $505-million bond for energy-efficient school retrofits, Oregon�s general obligation bonds and Alaska�s $400-million school bond. Washington Washington voters will decide on Referendum Bill 52, which authorizes $505 million in bonds to finance construction and repair projects increasing energy efficiency in public schools and higher education buildings. To earn the money, competitive grants are weighted heavily on the project’s energy savings. If approved, the state would expand the collection of sales tax on bottled water to help pay for a portion of the bonds and
As accelerated bridge construction (ABC) catches on quickly in the United States—particularly in Utah—a former Federal Highway Administration engineer now at the Oregon Dept. of Transportation wants to create national standards for the practice. Rapid bridge replacement method may get standards. Benjamin Tang, ODOT’s bridge preservation managing engineer, says readily available criteria adaptable nationwide can help bridge owners establish when ABC construction makes sense. “We are trying to create something that addresses some of the criteria used by the owners to make choices that will result in the best selection,” he says. “Putting quantifiable data, when available, into the model
Construction of a 700-ft-long footbridge�cantilevered out on 20 steel beams and clinging to the side of a canyon in North Vancouver, British Columbia�has been an adrenaline-pumping building project that, when finished, will leave tourists breathless. Visitors to the Capilano Suspension Bridge & Park will be able to view the surrounding Canadian rainforest from a galvanized steel walkway with a 20-in.-wide timber deck, which is suspended 300 ft above the canyon floor and attached to a granite cliff face up to 20 ft away. Photo: Capilano The timber bridge is anchored into the rock face with steel plates. Photo: Capilano The
COVID-19 prevented this year’s group of national Top 20 Under 40 winners from meeting in person to share ideas for tackling key construction challenges, but the virtual voices of these visionaries came through loud and clear.