Time may be running out for 2016, but the industry is still humming with activity. The work to go on and schedules kept, but it is also a time for recognition, transition and charity.
We’ve put some of that together for you in what is likely the last Roundup blog in 2016.
See you again in 2017.
Toys for Needy Tots
The Arizona Builders Alliance Community Service Board is sponsoring a toy drive.
ABA will purchase toys through a wholesaler; all donations are due by Dec. 19. People can make a monetary, tax-deductible donation with credit cards, checks or cash.  
South Mountain Freeway Gets OK from 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
A federal appeals court has refused to issue an emergency order to stop construction of the $1.9 billion South Mountain Freeway in Phoenix.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal’s action Monday means construction can continue while the court considers the appeal. Work began in September with improvements to the I-10/Loop 202 interchange that includes extending Loop 202 high-occupancy vehicle lanes and widening the shoulders to Pecos Road near 48th Street. Construction of the mainline freeway is scheduled to begin in early 2017. The project is a public-private-partnership that includes Fluor, Granite Construction, Ames Construction, Parsons Brinckerhoff, DBi Services, AZTEC Engineering, Stanley Consultant, Kleinfelder Group, and AMEC Environmental & Infrastructure, Inc.
The new freeway will connect with I-10 on opposite sides of Phoenix, providing an alternative to driving on I-10 through central Phoenix.
The project is being challenged by opponents who include the Gila River Indian Community, along with a coalition of environmental and community groups.
A federal judge ruled in August that government agencies complied with federal law in advancing the project, and the judge in October denied a motion for an injunction to halt construction.
It’s the fourth time courts have rejected attempts to halt construction, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.
Healey To Head Phoenix Chapter of NAWIC
The benefits administrator with Sundt Construction Inc. has been named the 2016-2017 president of the Greater Phoenix Chapter of the National Association of Women in Construction.
Melanie Healey previously served as the NAWIC’s vice president, and will now lead the nonprofit’s board of directors as members work to ensure the organization’s mission of enhancing the success of women in the construction industry.
Along with providing education and a network of like-minded individuals for support, the NAWIC Greater Phoenix Chapter offers scholarships to women pursuing construction-related certificates and degrees in higher education in Arizona, jobsite tours of local and national projects, and educational events on a local, regional and national level.
Healey, a Sundt employee since 2012, has been in human resources and administration for more than 15 years. Her career history includes aerospace, chemical plating, tattoo and behavioral health.
A graduate of The Art Institute of Phoenix and Grand Canyon University, Healey is also a mental health and autism awareness advocate.
Henderson Goes LED
The city of Henderson, Nev., is working with McKinstry to replace more than 6,200 light fixtures across the city with energy-saving LEDs.
According to the city and contractor McKinstry, the LEDs will pay for themselves after seven years.
The new LED light fixtures will save the city nearly $365,000 in annual utility costs, improve public lighting and last for more than 20 years before needing to be replaced, according to the city.
City Architect Mark Hobaica says, “Now, in addition to having one of the best park systems in the country, the city of Henderson will also have one of the most efficient.”
In 2015, the city hired McKinstry to audit all the lights across the city and develop a project to replace them with modern LED fixtures.
The project also qualifies for more than $100,000 in utility incentives, in addition to $240,000 in expected annual operational savings and the $365,000 in McKinstry-guaranteed utility savings.  Construction will begin this month and is expected to be complete by April 2017.
ASU works on road improvement
Most would agree that U.S. roads are in desperate need of a revamp – and researchers at Arizona State University are looking into transportation infrastructure that lasts longer, costs less and protects the environment as well as human safety.
The university’s National Center of Excellence on Sustainable Materials and Renewable Technologies (SMART) Innovations at ASU recently released some information on emerging materials and tools they are researching.
SMART Director Kamil Kaloush and his colleagues test and recommend improvements to pavement and transportation infrastructure performance. Right now, Kaloush and his team are focusing on rubberized asphalt, sustainable cement and bride sensors.
ASU engineering professor Narayanan Neithalath is also developing new materials for transportation infrastructure. Some of his research focuses on longer-lasting concrete and cement for roads, bridges, tunnels and dams. But he is also working on fiber-optic sensors to enhance corrosion detection on bridges, that are coated with chemicals that react with pavement. That functionality allows engineers to measure markers of deterioration and the presence of chlorides and sulfates.
“For example, if you’re putting a lot of salt on your bridge and it starts to go through and corrode the steel, my fiber-optic sensors will tell me how much salt is inside the concrete,” Neithalath says.
About 40% of federal highways and major roads in the U.S. are not considered to be in good condition. Nearly 70,000 of the nation’s bridges are considered structurally deficient, while more than 98,000 are functionally obsolete, according to the Federal Highway Administration.