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AEC TECH NEWS: Applying for a waiver under the new drone rules

The Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) new small drone rule effective August 29 — formally known as Part 107 — allows for some expanded operations based on technology mitigations if you can make the safety case for a waiver of some provisions. Operators can apply for waivers to operate at night, beyond line of sight, above 400 feet and other specific types of operation.

Structural, regulatory, and human error were factors in Washington highway bridge collapse

When an important bridge collapsed on Interstate 5 near Mount Vernon, Washington in 2013, questions were raised about how such a catastrophic failure could occur. A new analysis by a team of civil engineering faculty at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign outlines the many factors that led to the collapse, as well as steps that transportation departments can take to prevent such accidents on other bridges of similar design.

Retractable roof debuts at U.S. Open

When the U.S. Open begins this week at Arthur Ashe Stadium, there will be more than athletic prowess on display. A new retractable roof, part of the nine-year masterplan to reimagine the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens, N.Y., will make its debut over the 23,771-seat stadium.

Post-Olympics in Rio: Review of major changes allowed by the tunneling industry

The Olympic Games in the “Cidade Maravilhosa” may have come to an end, but even after the effervescence of such an event, it is now obvious that Rio has risen as a vibrant global metropolis. According to the International Tunnelling and Underground Space Association (ITA), it is time for the tunneling industry to review and highlight projects that were part of the Olympics success.

TxDOT plans for $70 billion to fund transportation projects over next 10 years

The Texas Transportation Commission approved the 2017 Unified Transportation Program with $70 billion worth of projects to help the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) meet the state’s growing transportation demands. The plan is the largest of its kind in the agency’s history that addresses capacity, maintenance and safety needs around state.

FHWA updates Hydraulic Engineering Circular (HEC 17)

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Office of Bridges and Structures, working with the Office of the Natural Environment and the Resource Center, recently published HEC 17 Highways in the River Environment: Extreme Events, Risk and Resilience. The updated circular is a major and significant update that provides technical guidance and methods for assessing the nexus of riverine and transportation as it relates to floods, floodplain policies, extreme events, climate change, risks, and resilience.

GDOT’s signal software update to make traffic ‘smart’

Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) in partnership with Intelight, Inc. announced the deployment of state-of-the-art “smart” signals at 1,000 intersections throughout Georgia. The project is part of a statewide upgrade which converts traffic lights in Georgia to an up-to-the-second traffic signal controller technology.

University of Georgia’s new civil engineering program earns accreditation

The University of Georgia College of Engineering’s undergraduate degree program in civil engineering has earned its initial accreditation from the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, the recognized global accreditor of college and university programs in applied science, computing, engineering and engineering technology.

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