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AASHTO education campaign highlights Highway Trust Fund needs

Washington, D.C. — As Congress considers how to replenish the Highway Trust Fund, the association representing state transportation agency chiefs is launching a multimedia campaign that calls on lawmakers to “think big” and focus on long-term investment needs rather than short-term fixes. The “Nation at a Crossroads” campaign from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials urges policymakers to consider what is achievable in remaking transportation to aid our quality of life and commerce, rather than patch problem areas with funding levels that are too low to keep pace.

Michael Baker International chairman recognized for dedication to helping at-risk youth

Pittsburgh, Pa. — The National Guard Youth Foundation (NGYF) presented Thomas J. Campbell, chairman of the board of directors at Michael Baker International, with its ChalleNGe Champion Award at the Foundation’s 10th annual ChalleNGe Champions Gala. Campbell currently serves as a board member and treasurer for the NGYF, but received the award for his longstanding commitment to the Foundation and the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program, one of the nation’s most successful initiatives for helping teenagers who have dropped out of school.

CCL completes post-tensioning work on 21-storey BLVD apartment block

Washington, D.C. — Specialist engineering solutions provider CCL has completed post-tensioning work on a 450-unit apartment block with an underground car park and bus garage near Washington. The BLVD apartment block along with the bus garage and car park, which has space for 3,500 vehicles, forms part of the redevelopment of Reston Station, which is on the line connecting central Washington and Dulles Airport, in Virginia.

Seven Generations Architecture & Engineering receives MDOT DBE certification

Kalamazoo, Mich. — Seven Generations Architecture & Engineering, LLC, (7GenAE) a building solutions firm offering architecture, engineering and construction services, received certification as a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) through the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) for engineering consulting services. 7GenAE was founded in 2012 and is a Tribally-Owned, 8(a), Small Disadvantaged, HUBZone and DBE business that is wholly owned by Mno-Bmadsen, the economic development enterprise chartered by the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians.

Stronger construction standards can reduce tornado destruction

Oklahoma City — “The devastation and damage to homes and businesses caused by tornadoes can and should be reduced by better construction methods,” said Tim Reinhold, Ph.D., chief engineer and senior vice president of research, Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS). Reinhold presented several new recommendations to reduce tornado damage through stronger construction practices during his presentation at the National Tornado Summit in Oklahoma City. He went so far as to call on home buyers to demand safer homes in tornado-prone areas, especially manufactured homes.

Year-end construction backlog drops 1 percent

Washington, D.C. — According to Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), the Construction Backlog Indicator (CBI) for the fourth quarter of 2014 declined 0.1 months, or 1 percent. Despite the quarter-over-quarter decline, backlog ended the year at 8.7 months, which is still 4.4 percent higher than one year ago.

JQ’s new projects track market growth in Lubbock, Texas

Lubbock, Texas — The Lubbock office of JQ is capitalizing on the city’s growth with new projects, according to principal Natalie Harvill, P.E., LEED AP. Says Harvill, “With a growth rate projected to be more than 40 percent over the next decade, our Lubbock office has been very active, proposing on new projects.”

New desalination technology could answer drought woes

Arcata, Calif. — Could desalination be the answer to California’s drought? As parts of the state become drier, scientists are looking at ways to turn seawater into drinkable water. Desalination has made headlines in recent months as a possible solution to the state’s water shortage. But in addition to being expensive, its byproduct — salty brine — can harm marine life once it’s reintroduced into the ocean. A team of researchers from Humboldt State University and the University of Southern California is hoping to address those concerns with a new process called Reverse Osmosis-Pressure Retarded Osmosis (RO-PRO).

Preventing explosive spalling of concrete in tunnel fires

When fire breaks out in a tunnel, the ensuing heat has little possibility of escaping. Temperatures rise rapidly to over 1,000 degrees Celsius. The heat that develops causes the concrete to spall explosively, weakening the structural integrity of the tunnel. This can be prevented by adding polypropylene fibers to the concrete. But what exactly happens inside the concrete? Engineers at the Technische Universität München (TUM) have found a way to measure this.

Alta Environmental contracted to monitor Port of Long Beach stormwater

Long Beach, Calif. — The Port of Long Beach (POLB) awarded a multi-year, $1,010,000 contract to Alta Environmental. Under this contract, Alta will help the Port and Port Tenants comply with the new California Industrial General Storm Water Permit (IGP) by implementing a stormwater monitoring program at 22 sites throughout the port complex. Alta will also provide strategic consulting, design and implementation, and an analysis of its findings, as part of the contract.

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