• Maui proposes $44 million for water infrastructure projects

    Alan Arakawa, the mayor of Maui County, has proposed spending nearly $44 million on water infrastructure projects in 2012, a sharp increase of $20 million from current spending levels;the budget increases would go to the Department of Water Supply which has requested funding to undertake several critical infrastructure investments; the department would allocate $10 million to rehabilitate the Waikamoi flume, which is a critical source of water for Upcountry residents; the department also wants to spend $200,000 to improve water pipelines in Paia-Haiuku and $2.3 million for Wailuku-Kahului water source improvements; council members have balked at the large budget increases needed to pay for these projects

  • Massachusetts to spend record $1.2 billion on road and bridge projects

    This year Massachusetts is on track to spend a record $1.2 billion on state road and bridge projects, more than double what it spent in 2007; the state’s latest project is the repair of a structurally deficient bridge over Lake Lashaway and the reconstruction of a dam spillway near the bridge in the town of East Brookfield; the reconstruction of the bridge comes as part of a broader effort by Governor Deval Patrick to invest record amounts of funding in critical infrastructure repairs; last year, the Governor spent nearly a billion dollars on 400 road and bridge projects across the state; a recent study found that one in nine bridges in Massachusetts was in need of repair

  • Protecting Japan from tsunamis

    As Japan begins to rebuild after the massive 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami, engineers are beginning to analyze the destruction to learn how to better prepare for future natural disasters; one expert says that prior to the earthquake, more infrastructures spending, particularly for projects aimed at preventing the approaching tsunami, could have mitigated much of the damage; the tsunami easily overwhelmed one of the tallest and longest seawalls in Japan; officials will have to decide whether to reinvest in costly tsunami infrastructure or to relocate communities further from the ocean to minimize the numbers affected by such events

  • Record number of infrastructure funds raising money, worst results in years

    More private-equity infrastructure funds are seeking to raise money around the world than ever before, but with the increase in competition, funds are struggling to reach their funding goals; 131 unlisted infrastructure funds are seeking to raise a total of $92.1 billion; so far only two infrastructure funds reached their fundraising goals, raising a total of $600 million, the lowest amount in seven years; in the first quarter of 2010, seven funds met their goals raising a total of $7.5 billion dollars; infrastructure funds will likely become more popular as inflation rises but analysts expect funds to raise less money than in previous years

  • Waste ash from coal could save billions in repairing U.S. bridges and roads

    The more than 450 coal-burning electric power plants in the United States produce about 130 million tons of “flyash” each year; before air pollution laws, those fine particles of soot and dust flew up smokestacks and into the air; power plants now collect the ash; researchers say that coating concrete destined to rebuild America’s crumbling bridges and roadways with some of the millions of tons of that left-over ash could extend the life of those structures by decades, saving billions of dollars of taxpayer money

  • Senate proposes new $10 billion "infrastructure bank"

    Several U.S. Senators are pushing for the creation of a $10 billion “infrastructure bank” to spur investment in new infrastructure and to repair America’s rapidly aging roads, power grids, and bridges; the bill could attract as much as $640 billion in private investment over the next ten years; the Obama administration has proposed a similar plan; the bank would be self-sustaining as it is not allowed to finance more than 50 percent of a project’s costs; this bill faces an uncertain future given the current Congressional budget climate

  • Shift of Earth's magnetic north pole affects Tampa airport

    Magnetic changes in the core of the planet shift the Earth’s magnetic pole at nearly 40 miles a year toward Russia; as a result, Tampa, Florida, International Airport has closed its primary runway so it could be redesignated 19R/1L on aviation charts; it has been 18R/36L, indicating its alignment along the 180-degree approach from the north and the 360-degree approach from the south; the FAA required the runway designation change to account for the shift in the Earth’s magnetic pole

  • Recycled Haitian concrete safe, strong, cheap

    Nearly a year after the 7.0 magnitude earthquake, most of the damaged areas of Haiti are still in ruins; researchers find that concrete and other debris in Port-au-Prince could be safely and inexpensively recycled into strong new construction material which meets or exceeds the minimum strength standards used in the United States

  • China Looks to Invest in California's High Speed Rail

    China looks to add California’s extensive high-speed rail project to its resume; with experience in rail projects both at home and throughout Asia, China can also bring financing to the table as well as project expertise

  • Groundbreaking for $1.2 billion NSA Utah center

    Today is groundbreaking day for the Utah Data Center, a $1.2 billion project which will employ more than 10,000 people for its construction, and is thus seen as the salvation for the state’s beleaguered construction industry; the National Security Agency (NSA) will use the climate-controlled environment of its computerized core as a repository for information gathered by different branches of the country’s intelligence apparatus, hence the facility’s nickname, “The Spy Center.”

  • China, U.K. pursue major rail projects; U.S. does not

    Unlike almost every other developed nation, the United States has no national transportation strategy; the nation fails to raise taxes that are supposed to pay for roads and rails. Gasoline taxes, for example, cover only about 50 percent of road projects, much lower than in the past, according to recent Federal Highway Administration figures; once the U.S. recognizes that it needs diversified and integrated air, rail and road transportation, it could well end up importing the technologies, products and expertise it has failed to develop

  • Giving crowds a lift with spiral escalator

    A monorail-inspired design could help create the world’s first continuous spiral escalator; the spiral escalator could transport larger numbers of people than a lift in a vertical space too narrow for a traditional escalator; this could reduce the floor space needed in buildings for personal transporters and cut the cost of putting escalators into underground railway stations

  • Quake experiments may lead to sturdier buildings

    Johns Hopkins researchers will study how seismic forces affect mid-rise cold-formed steel buildings, up to nine stories high; the cold-formed steel pieces that are commonly used to frame low- and mid-rise buildings are made by bending about 1-millimeter-thick sheet metal, without heat, into structural shapes; these components are typically lighter and less expensive than traditional building systems and possess other advantages

  • Flood control projects in Las Vegas

    Las Vegas is the middle of the desert, and as other desert cities it falls victims to flash flooding during the rainy season; the city has launched a $30 million project to protect local roads and businesses from floods

  • Thirteen Georgia dams could be reclassified as high risk

    The number of dams designated high risk under Georgia’s Safe Dams Act could more than double in two counties in the state, but a backlog in state enforcement because of budget cuts could drag the reclassification process out years longer than scheduled