New York's famous transportation icon, Grand Central Station (more properly Grand Central Terminal) celebrated the 100th anniversary of it's opening on February 2, 2013. This rail terminal is more than just a means of travelling from point A to B, but it is a romantic, and grandiose metaphor for the hustle and bustle of American life. While the structure is definitely a cultural and architectural monument, it is also an engineering marvel, a fact recognized in 2012 by ASCE when it named it a National Civil Engineering Historic Landmark.
While the centennial of the GCT is being celebrated, a new project is taking shape approximately 90 feet below the existing tracks. The East Side Access project (ESA) will provide a new connection from the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) to GCT. This project will help...
A municipal solid waste slide occurred several days ago in an environmentally sensitive area of Greece, near the National Water Park of Zakynthos, the main habitat of a protected sea turtle. The slide covered a structure where equipment for the gas collection system was housed. More info at Geoengineer.org. [Source: Geoengineer.org. Image: Geoengineer.org]
The Central Federal Lands (CFL) division of the FHWA has published a new manual on Geotechnical Asset Management. Here's the abstract:
The purpose of transportation asset management is to meet life-cycle performance goals (safety, mobility, preservation, economics, and environmental aspects) through the management of physical assets in the most cost-effective manner. Geotechnical asset management can be incorporated into the broader practice of transportation asset management. Currently, most agencies manage geotechnical features on the basis of "worstfirst" conditions, reacting to failures and incurring significant safety, mobility, environmental, and intangible costs. The goal of geotechnical asset management is to implement project planning and selection on the basis of "most-at-risk" for the asset class with consideration of collective and site specific risks throughout the life cycle. Geotechnical features that can affect the performance of a transportation system include retaining walls, unstable slopes, rockfall sites, embankments, and tunnels. These features can be treated as physical assets of the system and managed like other assets of the system. While not every geotechnical feature exists in agency, those that do can be combined into a single asset class to simplify asset management procedures. Although likely on the high end of expectation, some studies indicate a life-cycle cost savings of up to 60 to 80 percent after the implementation of geotechnical asset management. The geotechnical asset management plan should be based on agency performance goals and integrate risk and life-cycle analysis. It is important to note geotechnical asset management will only be successful when all features that create risk are included. Risk management allows for the probability and consequences of events to be evaluated, which is essential for the integration with agency performance goals. Federal Land Management Agencies can implement geotechnical asset management with a relatively modest investment and using existing resources to assess geotechnical features in a multi-tier, riskbased approach. There is an agency cost associated with inaction on geotechnical asset management.
Oil Search (PNG), Beach Energy (South Australia) and Carbon Energy (Queensland) have recently purchased ESdat Licences to better manage their environmental and laboratory data.
These companies join some of the major Energy Companies that have existing ESdat Licences, such as Origin Energy, Linc Energy and AGL. An extensive list of users can be found at http://esdat.net/Users.aspx
[Editor] Click through for the rest of the press release from EarthScience Information Systems (EScIS) [/Editor]
The foundation drilling equipment manufacturer Soilmec has released some new videos about the operator training that they had over the summer. Here's a video discussing the benefits of safety training for drill rig operators.
European geotechnical contractor Trevi SpA is preparing to set a new record for the deepest slurry wall ever constructed at 250 meters, which exceeds the previous record by 100 meters according to The New Civil Engineer. The company's new Tiger Hydromill has been tested and includes a monitoring system for tracking verticality of the construction. [Source: New Civil Engineer. Image: NCE]
The Mississippi Department of Transportation won a Bentley Be Inspired Award in late 2012 for their work to streamline their geotechnical data processes using gINT. Their work involved improving work flows for collection and processing of logs and lab testing data, incorporation of legacy data, and linking it all with GIS and Google Earth interfaces. [Editor] Disclosure: Bentley is a GeoPrac.net sponsor. [/Editor] [Source: Geoengineer.org. Image: Bentley Communities Blog]
Super Storm Sandy was the most recent reminder of the dangers posed to building foundations by storm surge, waves, scour and erosion. The January 2013 issue of Civil Engineering Magazine by the ASCE has a nice article describing some of the mechanisms for damaging shallow foundations and deep foundations and how design codes need to be used to mitigate those problems. [Source: Civil Engineering Magazine. Image: CE Mag]
An engineered slope reported to be 43 meters (141 ft) high that was stabilized by what appears to be tie-back anchors experienced a massive failure at the end of 2012. Dr. Dave Petley of the Landslide Blog made a few observations regarding the possible failure modes and also pointed out in a subsequent post some comments by a supposed 'expert'. But it seems virtually impossible to me to determine what caused this failure until more information comes out. [Source: The Landslide Blog. Image: The Landslide Blog]