Monthly Archives: July 2013

A first for New Zealand as pioneering river crossing lifts off

700LOWER HATEA BRIDGE_openfromside (2)

The spectacular NZ$32 million Lower Hatea Crossing in New Zealand has just been officially opened by Whangarei MP Phil Heatley, tribal elders and local dignitaries. Although the bridge has already been in use by the public for a month, the launch celebrations have helped showcase this exceptional project to the world. The occasion was marked by a powhiri – a Mauri welcoming ceremony – and a flotilla of boats.

A team of specialist engineering consultants has been instrumental in creating the bridge, which posed particular challenges because it traverses the PoheIsland landfill site and deep marine sediments that required solutions to unpredictable settlement. It is based on a traditional rolling bascule design, the first of its kind in New Zealand. At 265m long and 17m wide, it spans a tidal river estuary and is intended to reduce congestion in the city centre – carrying up to 8,000 vehicles per day – and improve access to Whangarei Heads and the airport. Its 25m wide lifting section is designed to allow yachts and other river traffic of taller than 7.5m to transit the bridge.

The eye-catching curved ‘J’ shapes featured on the section are an interpretation of the fishhook motif popular in Mauri culture, and the bridge is officially named Te Matau a Pohe – ‘the fishhook of the Pohe’. Martin Knight of Knight Architects who designed the bridge comments, “Function and form, engineering and architecture, are perfectly integrated and completely indivisible in this design.”


Client: Whangarei District Council
Structural Engineer: Peters & Cheung
Architect: Knight Architects
Mechanical, Hydraulic and Electrical Engineer: Eadon Consulting
Road Engineer: NCC Consulting Engineers ,
Lighting Design: Speirs & Major
Contractor: McConnell Dowell / Transfield

Gail Taylor

US Prepares Groundwork for Upgrading National Energy Infrastructure

us doe world infrastructure news copy

Extreme weather linked to climate change is putting US energy security at risk, according to the Energy Department (DOE). In response to this threat, DOE counsel Melanie Kenderdine announced last week that the White House will focus its first four-year inter-agency review of the US energy situation on infrastructure.

The Quadrennial Energy Review aims to bring all agencies involved in energy to the table, rather than leaving them to work in isolation as is currently the case. It is hoped that the resulting recommendations will then be consolidated into formal policy. Kenderdine identified China as the US’s main competitor in the global markets, saying that they had a first generation energy infrastructure where the US system is second and third generation.

Wide-spread drought leading to depleted water supplies and higher sea levels that intensify storms – such as Hurricane Sandy – pose a danger to an ageing system that needs shoring up against the elements. While the review seeks to encourage stakeholders to take action on this front, the whole subject of integrating more renewable energy into the grid is also very much on the agenda.

There are considerable challenges to face, not least the regulatory division of energy infrastructure. Because so much is governed by state and local governments, federal influence is currently very restricted and quality across the board is patchy. The review will seek to lay the foundations for positive change via a range of private sector incentives and closer state and federal collaboration.

According to US political publication The Hill, Kenderdine has also intimated that the plan would “emphasize research and development efforts in hopes of bringing advanced energy technologies to commercial scale” with the help of “finance analysts to develop incentives for the private sector”. She concluded that “we just need to bring down the costs of many of the new innovations in energy generation and use”.

Gail Taylor

Scale Lane Bridge on River Hull in full swing

700 hull montage

A new footbridge has opened to the public in Hull, North East England. The project’s aim is to boost development and regeneration in the areas to the east of the city centre as part of a wider masterplan. The innovative opening bridge, provides essential infrastructure to connect new development on the east bank of the River Hull to the city centre.

Now completed and open to the public, the new 1000 tonne pedestrian and cycle Scale Lane Bridge spans 57 metres. Its distinctive ‘whale’ form makes it an instant landmark, unique to Hull and its rich maritime heritage.  The innovative pivoting design allows members of the public to remain on the bridge while it opens and closes for river traffic – believed to be a world first.  Smaller vessels will be able to pass under the bridge without the need for rotation. The bridge remains in permanent contact with the west bank of the River Hull, allowing pedestrians and cyclists to exit the bridge during rotation should they wish.

700 hull interior

The primary structure consists of a steel spine, cantilevering approximately 35 metres from a three-dimensional Vierendeel girder ring that is approximately 16 metres in diameter, with a circular structure which houses a glazed bistro/restaurant space. The central structural spine leads onto a landscaped terrace with seating from where people can enjoy panoramic views. The structure is supported on wheels and incorporates a slew bearing to permit rotation, which is then supported on a tubular pile/concrete substructure. A 650 tonne concrete ballast located in the hub and walkways provides a counterbalance to the 37 metre long spine section.

Construction Team:

Engineers:                      Alan Baxter Associates
Architects:                       McDowell+Benedetti
Contractors:                    Qualter Hall
Landscape architects :   Grontmij
Public art;                       Nayan Kulkami
Lighting designer:          Sutton Vane Associates


Gail Taylor

UK Government Green Light for New Biomass Plant at Blyth


Hertfordshire-based renewables firm RES has been given permission to construct a wood-fuelled biomass plant in Northumberland’s Blyth Estuary.

The North Blyth Biomass Power Station, to sit at Battleship Wharf, will produce up to 100MW of low carbon energy – enough to power 170,000 households annually. It is the first such development handled by RES, and will cost in the region of £250m.

RES Project Manager Chris Lawson stated: “We will continue to work with local residents and business, as we move towards starting construction next year. We also look forward to engaging with local people on the Community Benefit Fund that the project will bring.”

Lawson continued: “Sustainably sourced biomass has an important role to play as part of a balanced energy mix, enhancing energy security and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

Constituting a “Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project”, the North Blyth plant has endured prolonged scrutiny from the government, local councils, environmental and business statutory bodies and a wide range of stakeholders. Consultations between RES and local community members have been held extensively over the past four years.

Construction on the plant is scheduled to start in 2014, and is expected to last for two and a half years.

Richard Greenan

Written By admin 
July 26, 2013 16:56 pm
Posted In Biomass, ENERGY

Otis to build one of London Underground’s longest escalators

Preparations at the base level for the 50m Otis escalator at the Western Ticket Hall..

Preparations at the base level for the 50m Otis escalator at the Western Ticket Hall..

Preparations are well underway for the installation of one of London Underground’s longest escalators at the Western Ticket Hall, Tottenham Court Road Station. This major installation is part of the £190m contract Otis won to equip more than 100 escalators for the London Underground network, including 57 escalators for the new Crossrail stations in central London.

The longest escalator on the London Tube system is at Angel on the Northern line at 60metres.

Illustration of Otis escalator currently being manufactured in mainland Europe

Illustration of Otis escalator currently being manufactured in mainland Europe

“The Western Ticket Hall escalators will be amongst the highest rise in Crossrail and throughout the whole network and will be installed into the new Tottenham Court Station at the corner of Dean Street and Oxford Street. Each escalator will be over 50 metres in total length – due to their size they will first be fully assembled in our Otis European facility before being split for transportation and then reassembled at their final location.”   Lindsay Harvey, President United Kingdom, Central and East Europe Area, Otis

The Otis/Crossrail deal Includes a 30 year maintenance contract; the installation of the new escalators for the tube network is scheduled to start in early 2013, with work commencing from 2014 at the Crossrail stations.

According to TfL, each of the 428 escalators across the London Underground network operate intensively for 20 hours a day and need to be built to last.

Otis are currently installing new energy-saving elevators in the Empire State Building New York, replacing the original units installed by them in 1930s.

Written By admin 
July 26, 2013 15:58 pm
Posted In Metro, TRANSPORT

Melting Ice Means Shipping News for the Arctic


Global warming is an old adversary, but now melting ice in the Arctic is starting to cause a new headache for conservationists fighting to preserve a region that is uniquely important to global biodiversity. The reason is that as the ice clears, a new, shorter shipping route between Europe and Asia is opening up, dramatically reducing journey times and shipping costs. The melt is also set to make the area’s rich mineral reserves more available to the world. All of which could have a major impact on the environment and the thirty or more indigenous peoples who live there.

The increase in shipping passing through the region is steep. Two years ago, permission was granted for just four ships to sail the entire route between Europe and Asia via the Arctic. In 2012, this figure rose to 47 ships. In 2013, 204 ships are expected to gain permission, and by 2030 it is predicted that about one-third of all shipping between Asia and Europe will take this route. It is also expected that within the next five years, the route will be navigable for eight months a year. The Russians, followed by the Chinese, are showing the most interest in the new route. This makes sense as the Russian Arctic is already the most developed in the region in terms of tapping natural resources. The Americans, however, have warned of issues around national security and safe transit that will need to be addressed.

With an abundance of mineral wealth including oil, natural gas, nickel, copper, coal, gold, uranium, iron, tungsten and diamonds all set to become easier to exploit, the potential for conflict is obvious. The Arctic has no single government but the Arctic Council – an intergovernmental forum – works to promote co-operation between Canada, Denmark/Greenland, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russian Federation, Sweden, the United States, and the indigenous peoples. A daunting task, especially when the voices of the environmentalists are added to the mix.

Gail Taylor

Written By admin 
July 26, 2013 12:55 pm
Posted In Ports, TRANSPORT

Skanska is Awarded Brazilian Power Plant Contract


Construction group Skanska has won a £47m contract for the expansion of a thermal power plant in Brazil.

Working for a confidential client, Skanska will manage facility construction, electromechanical installations and commissioning, civil works and procurement.

Work is scheduled to start immediately and the project is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2014.

Skanska’s Latin American division is a leading contractor in the region, with revenues of around £822m and somewhere in the region of 13,000 employees.

The group focusses on engineering, construction, operation and maintenance for international energy, mining, oil and gas industries in the region.

Richard Greenan

Written By admin 
July 26, 2013 12:30 pm
Posted In ENERGY

Elon Musk set to Unveil Hyperloop Alpha Design

elon-musk world infrastructure news

Inventor and founder of SpaceX and Tesla Motors Elon Musk has promised to reveal the design for his revolutionary Hyperloop transport system by August 12. Musk has heralded Hyperloop as a “fifth mode” of transport, after planes, trains automobiles and boats.

Evasively describing it as a “cross between a Concorde and a rail gun and an air hockey table”, Musk maintains that Hyperloop could carry passengers from central LA to downtown San Francisco in under 30 minutes, a journey that would necessitate speeds of over 685 mph (1,102 km/h). The construction cost of this service, Musk claims, would be around $6b – ten times cheaper than the proposed high speed rail service covering the same route.

In an interview with PandoDaily in July 2012, Musk stated: “it would cost you much less than an air ticket or car, much less than any other mode of transport, because the fundamental energy cost is so much lower. And I think we could actually make it self-powering if you put solar panels on it … you generate more power than you would consume in the system. There’s a way to store the power so it would run 24/7 without using batteries.”

Talking to Bloomberg in September 2012, Musk said: “What you want is something that never crashes, that’s at least twice as fast as a plane, that’s solar powered and that leaves right when you arrive, so there is no waiting for a specific departure time … I’d like to talk to the governor and president about it, because the $60 billion bullet train they’re proposing in California would be the slowest bullet train in the world at the highest cost per mile. They’re going for records in all the wrong ways.”

So far Musk has revealed that Hyperloop’s “pod” would be around two metres in diameter, that it will not require rails and that it could hypothetically function above or below ground.

Richard Greenan

Royal HaskoningDHV Wins Saudi Public Transport Assignment at Dammam

Dammam Khobar Highway Tunnel world infrastructure news

Engineering and project management service provider Royal HaskoningDHV, in joint venture with Mshari Al-Shathri Engineering, has been appointed by the Saudi Arabia Ministry of Transport to prepare a feasibility study and preliminary design for Dammam’s first public transportation system. It is hoped the project will alleviate congestion and improve living conditions in the area.

Significant growth over recent years has seen the Dammam and Khobar urban area reach approximately two million people. A reliance on private cars has resulted in daily traffic jams, with complete gridlock predicted for the Dammam urban road network within a few years, if growth continues at this rate.

Dr. Abdul Aziz Al-Ohaly, the Undersecretary for Transport Affairs, states: “In order to improve mobility and to alleviate urban congestion, reduce noise and air pollution we realise that we need to encourage people to use public transport.”

The Project manager for Royal HaskoningDHV, Nils den Hartog, said: “Public transport is currently almost non-existent in this car-dominated city where petrol costs no more than 15 cents per litre. A key challenge of this project will be the successful introduction of such a system.”

The project entails a preliminary design and feasibility study for a 110km bus rapid transit network, 50km of light rail and 350km of feeder buses in the Dammam Metropolitan Area, which includes King Fahd International Airport. A multidisciplinary approach will include infrastructure design, urban integration, public transport planning, operation planning, procurement strategy and business case preparation.

The contract was awarded to a joint venture of Royal HaskoningDHV and local consultants Mshari Al-Shathri. Operating from Royal HaskoningDHV’s Saudi Arabian branch office SADECO, the project team will work closely with both the Municipality of Dammam and the Saudi Ministry of Transport.

Richard Greenan

Green light for Woolwich Crossrail station funding


Funding for Woolwich Crossrail station has been announced today, 25 July 2013. A statement from the House of Lords laid out the funding package, made up of a GLA grant with contributions from developers Berkeley Homes, and TfL.

Approval has been expected but the final go-ahead has been a long time coming with protracted negotiations dragging on between Greenwich Council, Berkeley Homes, TfL and the Department for Transport over financing the £100m station.

Greenwich Council leader Councillor Chris Roberts said: “This is an historic announcement. I cannot overstate just how important this is for Woolwich and the borough as a whole. It is absolutely critical in cementing the regeneration of this area and it will give our businesses, residents and investors the best possible opportunities for the future.”

Roberts continued, “it’s taken a huge effort, commitment and a very clear vision to bring Crossrail to Woolwich and I am very grateful to all of those who have worked with us to make sure this deal was secured.”

Woolwich Crossrail will serve up to 12 trains per hour during peak times when commissioned in 2018, providing a link between south east London and the Royal Docks with Canary Wharf, central London and beyond.

Written By admin 
July 25, 2013 13:44 pm
Posted In Metro, TRANSPORT