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Betting on Green: DC Water’s Experiment with Green Stormwater Management

Managing and treating stormwater is a challenge to many cities. Building treatment plants with sufficient capacity to process large volumes of runoff that occur occasionally is not cost effective. The District of Columbia, facing a Federal consent decree to treat its stormwater, has been building subterranean storage tunnels but is now testing green treatment options that, if they work, could save much money in the long run. This experiment is funded with an unusual bonding arrangement in...

Duration: 00:26:25

Digging into the past: archeology helps move infrastructure forward

Almost every infrastructure system has its foundation in the earth, and the earth can hide interesting and important secrets from the past. This creates what is perhaps a surprising role for archeology in infrastructure construction. To anticipate, identify and preserve valued subsurface finds, many infrastructure agencies engage archeologists as full-time professionals or contractors. In this interview we learn about the archeology-infrastructure connection from James Robertson, who is...

Duration: 00:22:41

High Risers – Elevators and Building Design

Tall buildings mean vertical transportation, and elevators, the machines that do the heavy lifting for us, have made those buildings possible. Building height and elevator capabilities have evolved together, and new needs and concerns for sustainability are bringing about changes in elevators themselves. In this interview we talk with Thomas Leslie, who is Morrill Pickard Chilton Professor of Architecture at Iowa State University. He works on the integration of building sciences and arts,...

Duration: 00:19:14

Quenching the thirst of a megacity: New York City’s Water Supply System

Clean and plentiful water is essential for life. New York City has the largest municipal water system in the United States. More than 10 million people rely on this complex of reservoirs and aqueducts, some of which are more than a century and a half old. In this podcast we learn about the structure, history, and current state of the New York City water supply system from Kevin Bone, Professor and Director of the Institute for Sustainable Design at the Irwin S. Chanin School of...

Duration: 00:18:17

CREATE – Breaking the Railroad Bottleneck in Chicago

Chicago is the rail hub for the nation, served by six of seven Class I railroads that form the major interchange point for east-west rail traffic. Because of the large number of rail and road conflicts, Chicago is also the focal point for congestion and delays on the national rail network. To address this problem, in 2003 the railroads joined forces with federal, state and local governments to establish a partnership called CREATE, for the Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation...

Duration: 00:20:11

Funding for Surface Transportation Infrastructure – Success in Pennsylvania

Securing the money to maintain public infrastructure continues to be a top priority in the United States. The surface transportation system, roads, bridges, and public transportation facilities, need ongoing investment to assure that they meet economic and social needs. In January, 2017, the State of Pennsylvania increased its gas tax to become the highest in the nation, working under 2013 legislation that restructured the state’s approach to transportation funding. Since then Pennsylvania...

Duration: 00:15:41

ASCE's 2017 Infrastructure Report Card

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) is a strong advocate for infrastructure in the United States. Its quadrennial Infrastructure Report Card has brought us a comprehensive assessment of that infrastructure since 1992, and the picture has not been a pretty one. Reviewing 16 major types of infrastructure, the ASCE report card tells us how we’re doing and offers directions for essential improvements. In this interview we talk with Casey Dinges, Senior Managing Director of the ASCE,...

Duration: 00:18:14

Self-Propelled Modular Transporters

Big infrastructure projects often present the need to move very large objects, such as parts of chemical processing plants or even entire bridges. The capacity for moving massive components has grown to an impressive scale. In this podcast we talk with Jack Tol, Senior Sales Engineer with Mammoet, a company that provides solutions for lifting and moving large and heavy structures.

Duration: 00:15:00

Bringing Down Obsolete Infrastructure by Explosive Demolition

When infrastructure becomes obsolete, unsafe, or the need for it goes away, and when the space is better used for something new, that facility must be demolished. Structures are usually disassembled piece by piece, but sometimes controlled explosion may be more efficient or necessary. This process may be no less complex than building a structure anew. In this interview we talk with Mark Loizeaux, President of Controlled Demolition, who tells us about how explosives are used to remove...

Duration: 00:20:08

The importance of getting it right – errors in forecasting for large infrastructure projects

Forecasts of the costs and benefits of infrastructure projects are important for making informed investment decisions. However, there have been many instances of major cost overruns and unexpected low utilization of new facilities. To explore the nature and pattern of such prediction errors and what we can do to make more accurate predictions, we talk with, Dr. Martin Wachs, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Urban Planning at UCLA, formerly with the RAND Corporation and before that...

Duration: 00:15:11

Cable Stayed Bridges

Cable stayed bridges have become increasingly common in the past few decade, and they seem to be the design of choice for modern bridges spanning 500 to as much as 2,000 feet. In this podcast we learn of the mechanics and the advantages of this architecturally appealing design from an expert in the field, Denny Pate, Senior Vice President and Principal Bridge Engineer with Figg Engineering in Tallahassee, Florida

Duration: 00:17:49

Vulnerability and Resilience of the U.S. power grid

A variety of natural and intentional events can disrupt components of the U.S. power grid, including large and small storms, vandalism, and cyber attacks. In this podcast, Thomas Overbye, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign describes the functioning of the grid, some of the risks it faces, its resilience, and mitigation actions for both grid operators and households.

Duration: 00:18:49

Lead Contamination of the Water Supply – the Flint, Michigan Story

Lead in the water supply is a serious threat to public health and a particular danger to children. Water supplies in many U.S. cities carry unacceptable lead concentrations because of the use of lead pipes, especially where protective water additives are not used. In this podcast we talk with Marc A. Edwards, professor in the Environmental and Water Resources Engineering group at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, who has been actively engaged in both testing municipal...

Duration: 00:20:28

Defending Against Storm Surges in the Houston-Galveston Area

The threat of damaging storm surges grows as sea levels rise and the frequency of severe storms increases. Some U.S. cities on the east and Gulf coasts are particularly vulnerable to storm surges. Houston is the fourth-largest city in the country, home to the nation’s largest refining and petrochemical complex, and it may be right behind Galveston in the path of the next big Gulf hurricane. This area has been hit hard by past hurricanes, which underscores the importance of protecting it....

Duration: 00:17:02

Drones for flood control infrastructure inspection in Denver

Unmanned aerial cameras – drones – are becoming a standard part of the infrastructure management toolkit. They are particularly useful for inspecting widely dispersed facilities in areas than can be difficult to navigate on the ground. Although there are important flight restrictions that preclude operations over populated areas, there is a growing set of applications in surveillance and inspection for large-scale infrastructure systems. In this discussion, Kevin Lewis of the Denver...

Duration: 00:13:48

State Route 520 Floating Bridge inSeattle

There are many floating bridges in use around the world, but the Seattle region has three large bridges of this design. The State Route 520 Bridge over Lake Washington, the Gov. Albert D. Rosellini Bridge, is the longest in the world. Heavily used and assaulted by wind and waves for more than five decades, this bridge has been replaced by a new facility. Here to tell us about this large and complex project is Julie Meredith, Washington State DOT Administrator of the SR 520 replacement...

Duration: 00:12:20

The Gateway Program – Breaking the Rail Bottleneck in the NortheastCorridor

The Gateway Program is a collaboration between Amtrak, the states of New York and New Jersey, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and the U.S. Department of Transportation to address the rail bottleneck between New Jersey and New York, the busiest rail passenger corridor in the U.S. At the core of this program is construction of new twin rail tunnels under the Hudson River. These will supplement the 108 year old existing rail tunnels, which were damaged during Hurricane Sandy in...

Duration: 00:20:35

Water for Life: The Quest for Quantity, Quality, Efficiency, and Equity- Part III, Water for a dry land: The impact of agricultural chemicals on municipal waterquality

Water needs for municipalities and agriculture can intersect and sometimes conflict. In this third interview in the series exploring some of the nation’s water challenges, we talk with Bill Stowe, General Manager of the Des Moines, Iowa, Water Works, who describes the problems that drainage of chemicals, principally nitrates, from nearby farms affects the quality of input waters and the treatment technologies and costs of potable water. Driven in part by substantial advances in...

Duration: 00:15:15

Water for Life: The Quest for Quantity, Quality, Efficiency, and Equity- Part II, Water for a dry land: New Desalination Plant for SanDiego

Water infrastructure issues are much in the news in the U.S. — not only in the West, where drought continues to take a high toll, but also in other parts of the country, where the water needs for municipalities, energy production, commercial interests, and agriculture intersect and sometimes conflict. In this interview, one in a series of three exploring some of the nation’s water challenges, we talk with Bob Yamada, Director of Water Resources for the San Diego County Water Authority,...

Duration: 00:14:58

Water for Life: The Quest for Quantity, Quality, Efficiency, and Equity - Part I , Using a Scare ResourceWisely

Water infrastructure issues are much in the news in the U.S. — not only in the West, where drought continues to take a high toll, but also in other parts of the country, where the water needs for municipalities, energy production, commercial interests, and agriculture intersect and sometimes conflict. In this interview, one in a series of three exploring some of the nation’s water challenges, we talk with Robert Glennon, Regents’ Professor and Morris K. Udall Professor of Law & Public...

Duration: 00:13:55

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