Structural News

Professor seeks to improve steel structures via geometrical cutouts

Blacksburg, Va. — While working as a structural engineer in California, Matthew Eatherton saw myriad ways the steel industry could break from century-old methods and delve into the then-burgeoning fields of subtractive and additive manufacturing — the later commonly referred to as 3D printing — and improve building performance. Now an assistant professor with Virginia Tech’s Charles E. Via Jr. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Eatherton will be using a five-year, $500,000 National Science Foundation CAREER Award to research how steel plates with carefully designed geometric patterns — or voids — cut into them can better withstand everyday loads and extreme events — high winds, blast or shock from an earthquake — than the standard solid steel plates currently used.

3-D model could help manage U.S. bridge maintenance crisis

Lincoln, Neb. — Nearly one out of every nine bridges in the United States is deemed structurally deficient and potentially dangerous, according to the Federal Highway Administration. It would cost an estimated $70 billion to catch up with the nation's backlog of nearly 70,000 bridges in need of repair. However, a University of Nebraska-Lincoln associate professor has developed a data management tool that could help officials monitor deteriorating bridges and prioritize their repair.

Idaho ‘lateral slide’ bridge project wins excellence award

Boise, Idaho — The project to replace the 83-year-old Lardo Bridge in McCall, open to traffic since November 2014, won a recent “Excellence in Concrete” award from the Intermountain Chapter of the American Concrete Institute. The bridge is located at the outlet to Payette Lake on the southwest shore. Ralph L. Wadsworth and Lochner used ITD's conceptual design to complete the bridge design and build the new bridge. The construction/design contract was $3.64 million.

Acting Maryland Transportation Secretary orders targeted inspections of bridges statewide

Hanover, Md. — Working to ensure motorist safety and alleviate concerns regarding the structural integrity of Maryland bridges, Acting Maryland Transportation Secretary Pete K. Rahn ordered the State Highway Administration (SHA) and Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) to immediately inspect all state-owned bridges of similar age and condition to the I-495/I-95 (Capital Beltway) bridge that is being repaired after a piece of concrete fell onto a car below driving along Suitland Road on Feb. 10. The statewide directive applies to 27 state-owned bridges — all built prior to 1969, have traffic underneath and are in similar condition to the Capital Beltway bridge.

MBMA 2014 Annual Report available

Cleveland — The Metal Building Manufacturers Association (MBMA) released its 2014 Annual Report, which highlights the technical research, sustainability innovations, industry advocacy, safety preparation and educational programs the association has undertaken over the past year. The report, titled First Choice, is a valuable resource for anyone involved in the low-rise commercial building market or who works with metal building systems.

G2 Crowd publishes Winter 2015 rankings of seven BIM platforms

Chicago — The first Grid report for building design and building information modeling (BIM) platforms, published by business software review site G2 Crowd, ranks seven products to help purchasers in their selections. The Winter 2015 report is based on more than 180 reviews written by business and engineering professionals.

ACI launches ACI University and new certificate program

Farmington Hills, Mich. — The American Concrete Institute (ACI) launched ACI University — a global, online learning resource, providing on-demand access to a wide range of topics on concrete materials, design, and construction, appealing to everyone from testing technicians to practicing engineers.

PCA forecasts oil price impact on 2015 construction

Skokie, Ill. — In addition to impacting the consumer, falling prices at the pump will influence U.S. construction in 2015. During remarks at the 2015 World of Concrete, Portland Cement Association (PCA) Chief Economist and Group Vice President Edward J. Sullivan announced that low oil prices are beneficial to U.S. economic growth and are expected to add 20 to 30 basis points to real GDP growth rates during 2015-2016.

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