Thanks to a quick-thinking bridge construction crew, a nearby crane and a brave man in a harness, a woman’s life was saved after the boat she and her husband were in slipped over a dam and left her trapped in a raging boil.
Three students of engineering, water management and environmental science are winners in a new international competition for proposals to advance sustainability in coastal cities. The competition targeted upcoming water-resources professionals and was part of the run-up to an “H209” symposium to be held Sept. 9-10 at Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, N.J. The event is a forum for water-management professionals and coincides with joint Dutch and New York celebrations of the 400th anniversary of the explorer Henry Hudson’s landfall in New York. The winners survived two rounds of competition and will present their papers on Sept. 9. First prize
As stormwater runoff from streets and parking lots becomes an ever-more sensitive environmental issue, eliminating it altogether with pervious pavement can be an elegant solution. Two projects now under way in Connecticut and Minnesota have facilities owners, municipal officials and the paving sector taking notice. One involves a parking lot at a university committed to cutting its impervious surfaces by half. The other is a public road in Minnesota, where a city engineer insists he is not experimenting; he is just applying a best-fit solution to a 50-year-old problem. Both applications share one thing in common: they are engineered to
Researchers working with the National Aeronautics and Science Administration, with the help of twin satellites whose sole purpose was to collect data on the Earth’s water storage, have found dangerous groundwater loss in three northwestern states of India. Image: NASA The pair of GRACE satellites, released into orbit in August 2002, transmitted monthly observation in groundwater changes to the Center for Space Research at the University of Texas at Austin. Photo: NASA After six years of monitoring northwestern India, the GRACE satellite mission revealed a 109 cu-km loss of groundwater supplies. Related Links: Renderings of 231st St. Station Scientists concluded
Virtual design and construction is gaining ground in the utilities markets because of its ability to speed large-scale planning and development of energy projects. Though current applications on projects have just begun to touch the full potential of the approach, experienced users are enthusiastic about the financial benefits of debugging a project by building it first on the computer. Photo: Mortenson Mortenson uses VDC to layer environmental data, old-stump locations and grading plans for wind farm-site optimization. Photo: Bentley Bentley’s Substation V8i aids distribution planners with data modeling. Related Links: Digital-Modeling Veterans Want Data for Life Cycles Building Information Modeling
A case challenging the patentability of business methods will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court in December. The outcome may rock innovators and inventors in the construction industry. Bilski v. Doll is Bernard Bilski’s last appeal. Doll is John Doll, acting director of the U.S. patent office, which has rejected Bilski’s patent for a method to hedge risks in commodities trading. The case would normally be a far cry from construction, except the language of the most recent rejection, by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in October, added a new bar for any business-method patent
Makers of portable navigation devices continue to add features to attract buyers. Now, there may be appeal within the construction industry for a wireless backup camera that is becoming almost standard equipment on many commercial vehicles. Photo: Andrew G. Wright / ENR Video appears when reverse gear is engaged. Related Links: Latest Product Snapshot Nextar, La Verne, Calif., considered the construction market as one potential target when it developed and recently began selling the I4-BC GPS. Manufactured in China, the device is attracting interest with its camera fixed on the rear license-plate frame. The camera’s view automatically displaces the GPS
Crane operator Joe Lowe and general laborer Jason Oglesbee saved a woman from drowning in the Des Moines River on June 30 after current pulled a boat over a low-head dam. A crew from Cramer & Associates Inc., Grimes, Iowa, constructing a steel-arch pedestrian bridge just upstream of the dam, leapt into action when rescuers could not reach Patricia Ralph-Neely, 67, who was trapped in the swirling boil for about 25 minutes. Her husband, Alan, 62, drowned. Photo: AP/Wideworld Laborer Jason Oglesbee is lowered via crane to the boil to save Patricia Ralph-Neely, who was in a boat as it
Hoping to quickly stake out digital territory, some construction industry firms are trying out the newest social media tools. After the initial rush of enthusiasm, they soon realize signing up for everything all at once may not exactly pay off. Eventually they were able to glean from their early experiences a thoughtful approach to these rapidly populating applications. Photo: HOK HOK brought bloggers from its international offices to its St. Louis headquarters for hands-on training. Todd Andrlik, vice president of marketing and public relations at Leopardo Companies, Hoffman Estates, Ill., says industry firms should consider why social media works, what
Florida Dept. of Transportation investigators are assessing damage to the Pensacola Bay Bridge, which sustained multiple impacts from two construction barges unmoored by Hurricane Sally’s storm-driven waves on Sept. 15.