• Why the U.S. needs an infrastructure bank

    The U.S. aging infrastructure will eventually constrain economic growth; government alone can no longer finance all of the nation’s infrastructure requirements; a national infrastructure bank (NIB) could fill the gap; the NIB could attract private funds to co-invest in projects that pass rigorous cost-benefit tests, and that generate revenues through user fees or revenue guarantees from state and local governments; investors could choose which projects meet their investment criteria, and, in return, share in project risks that today fall solely on taxpayers

  • The 106-foot San Clemente to be torn down, largest dam removal in California

    California dam inspectors declared the San Clemente dam unsafe in 1991, at risk of collapse in a major earthquake; “In 1921, this dam was a marvel of engineering. It has fulfilled its purpose and its usefulness is behind us,” said Rob MacLean, president of the California American Water Co., which owns the dam

  • Flood-prone state road gets temporary fix

    A section of Route 12, just north of the village of Rodanthe, North Carolina, increasingly has become flood-prone over the past decade due in part to rapid beach erosion in the area; wind-driven waves from a slow-moving mid-November storm buckled and undermined approximately 800 ft of pavement, flattened 900 ft of 15-ft to 20-ft-high sand dunes, and damaged hundreds of sandbags placed by NCDOT following a 2007 storm event; the North Carolina Department of Transportation has decided to relocate 1,800-ft-long stretch of the highway

  • Levee statistics show their importance to U.S. economy

    Counties with levees account for only 28 percent of the U.S. counties and only 37 percent of the U.S. land area – but they contain 55 percent of the U.S. population, more than 156 million people; the total productivity for counties containing levees was nearly 3.3 times greater than it was in those without levees; the average annual income of residents was $1,500 more, and the rate of poverty was 2 percent lower

  • Security and building design: A decade of change and adaptation

    The cumulative influence of major building security-related events — the 1983 bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, the 1996, the destruction of the Khobar Towers in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, the Oklahoma City bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building happened in 1995, and the 2001 attack on the Twin Towers – have led architects and engineers to rethink building security

  • Dam in Massachusetts raises concerns in Eastern Connecticut

    The condition of 40-year old dam in Massachusetts is deteriorating fast, and communities downstream in Connecticut are worried; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is looking at ways to shore up the 560 feet long and 78 feet high dam

  • Large dams linked to more extreme weather patterns

    A new study looked at the magnitude of the biggest storms near 633 of the world’s largest dams before and after construction; they found that in many places the level of precipitation in the most extreme rainfall events grew by an average of 4 percent per year after a dam was built, with the relationship especially strong in semi-arid regions

  • Vertical evacuation:: Fleeing tsunamis by moving up, not out

    Stanford researchers who have studied the city have concluded that fleeing residents of a city hit by a tsunami would have a better chance of surviving the tsunami if instead of all attempting an evacuation, some could run to the nearest tall building to ride out the wave; this “vertical evacuation” could save thousands of lives, but only if the city’s buildings are reinforced to withstand both earthquakes and tsunamis.

  • Rise in sea levels forces drastic changes on Florida

    If sea levels rise by only two feet, Florida stands to lose almost 10 percent of its land area and the homes of 1.5 million people; the zone which is vulnerable to 27-inch rise in sea level includes residential real estate worth $130 billion, half of Florida’s beaches, two nuclear reactors, three prisons, 37 nursing homes, and much more; the Florida government is considering changes to building codes and other precautionary measures.

  • Rise in sea levels threatens California ports, infrastructure

    Scientists expect ocean levels to rise by at least 16 inches over the next 40 years, causing flooding and endangering facilities throughout the state of California; the California Climate Change Center has estimated that nearly half a million people, thousands of miles of roads and railways, and major ports, airports, power plants, and wastewater treatment plants are at risk; in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana region, sea level rise could expose $96.5 billion of infrastructure to damage.

  • Visualizing climate change in the Bay Area

    Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger unveils the CalAdapt Web site — a Web site developed by the California Energy Commission in conjunction with Google and the Stockholm Environment Institute; the site contains a Google Earth tour, narrated by Governor Schwarzenegger, of projected impacts of climate change on California, including snow pack loss, increased risk of fire, and sea level rises; CalAdapt’s unveiling coincided with the release of the “California Climate Adaptation Strategy,” which outlines recommendations for coping with climate change in urban planning, agriculture, water conservation, and other sectors.

  • New Orleans $1-billion flood defense revised

    To head off a possible $150-million to $300-million cost overrun on the $1-billion Gulf Intracoastal Waterway West Closure Complex in New Orleans, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has redesigned the waterway; trading off some “nice to haves” for necessities.

  • Appeals court rules dredging contractors not liable for Katrina flooding damage

    Private contractors involved in dredging the Mississippi River and outlet canals in and around New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina cannot be held liable for the storm’s damage; court rules that the dredging contractors qualify for government-contractor immunity

  • Climate change threatens Canada North's infrastructure

    Climate change is felt more acutely in the arctic, and a Canadian government’s report says that winter roads melting earlier in the spring could force communities to airlift supplies, while increased snowfall and changing ice conditions can add stress to buildings as well as energy and communications infrastructure

  • Judge: Corps' mismanagement doomed homes in New Orleans

    The judge’s 156-page decision could result in the federal government paying $700,000 in damages to three people and a business in those areas — but it also sets the stage for judgments worth billions of dollars against the government for damages suffered by as many as 100,000 other residents, businesses, and local governments in those areas who filed claims with the corps after Katrina