An earthquake-detection system developed by the University of California Berkeley’s Seismological Laboratory performed well during the recent earthquake that struck the Napa Valley region on August 24. The system was able to produce a warning message 10 seconds before the magnitude-6 temblor struck. "It was definitely a great proof-positive that the system works just like we'd hoped," says Jennifer Strauss, the lab's external relations officer. "One of the things the Napa quake did show us is you need to make sure there are enough sensors," says Strauss. One member of the lab even stated the warning could have gone out 2.5 seconds earlier had the lab received more funding to install more sensors in the area. California unanimously passed a bill last year that would create a state-wide early detection system. Funding for such project, however, has yet to be found.
This past summer, a step forward was taken for the realization of the Trans-Afghan natural gas pipeline project, also known as TAPI. TAPI is an ambitious $7.5 billion project, that aims in trasferring natural gas from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan to Pakistan and India. Even though it has to overcome many obstacles due to the unstable political and economic conditions in the involved countries, TAPI can have major geopolitical effects in the area.
Skanska stopped work on the world’s tallest modular building last week over a dispute with the project’s developer Forest City Ratner. Skanska feels that the delays to the project have resulted from the modular designs for the buildings. They feel that Forest City Ratner should be held responsible for the cost overruns. Richard Kennedy, co-chief operating officer of Skanska USA, told the Wall Street Journal, “it [the design] just doesn’t work the way it was sold to work. It was represented to be a complete and buildable modular design,” he said. “That simply was not the case and that’s what we’ve been struggling with.” Forest City Ratner, however, stands by their design and believes the dispute is based on financial reasons.
SURE Architecture unveiled plans this week for a futuristic skyscraper that could house thousands of people and have its own ecosystem. The Endless City proposal has already won the Skyscrapers and SuperSkyscrapers Competition. The firm believes the skyscraper would be a great space saver for densely populated cities because it will allow them to expand upward instead of outward. Although still in the planning stage and without any guarantees it will ever be built, SURE has earmarked a plot of land just north of the City of London to build the vertical city. If completed, the Endless city could be as tall as 300 meters, close to London’s tallest building the Shard, and take up an area of 165,000 square meters.
The Minnesota Vikings announced last week that they plan to add $19.7 million to their contribution towards building a new stadium for the NFL team. Vikings Vice President Lester Bagley made the announcement at the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA) meeting in Minneapolis alongside John Wood with Mortenson Construction and MSFA chair Michele Kelm-Helgen. The additional funding means the Minnesota Vikings have now contributed $526 million towards the new facility which has a total price tag of over a billion dollars. Lester Bagley announced that the extra funding was to counter the rising price of steel and ensure all of the items from the original plan were built on time. There is roughly 7,000 tons of steel in the stadium’s external shell. The steel was budgeted at $4,800 per ton but is now costing closer to $6,000 per ton.
Construction is currently underway on the country’s first multi-modal bridge that bans private cars. Instead of carrying private vehicle traffic, the bridge will carry MAX light rail trains, Portland’s streetcar line, city busses, and pedestrian and bike traffic. The decision to ban cars was made mostly because there is not an existing roadway on either side of the bridge. City planners did not want to ruin the redevelopment occuring along the river by carving it up with a new freeway on both sides. The city looked into having the MAX trains travel on the existing Hawthorne Bridge, but decided against that option despite most likely being cheaper than building a new bridge. The bridge, known as the Tilikum Crossing, is being constructed in Portland, Oregon and will be completed next year. The bridge will open for one day in early August for the 19th annual Providence Bridge Pedal and Stride. It will then close again until its official opening on September 12th.
Chicago Ironworker Danny Drozd has spent 13 years working on various jobs around the city of Chicago including the Trump Tower, McCormick Place, and other skyscrapers. He realized he had a tough time explaining to his friends what an ironworker does so he decided to attach a GoPro to his helmet one day and show what them what his day at work is like at his newest project. Last week he posted the video to Youtube and it already has 300,000 views.