Saturday, July 19, 2008

Big Dig Boston

Radhe Krishna 19-07-08

Big Dig (Boston, Massachusetts)


The Big Dig is the unofficial name of the Central Artery/Tunnel Project (CA/T), a megaproject that rerouted the Central Artery (Interstate 93), the chief controlled-access highway through the heart of Boston, Massachusetts, into a 3.5 mile (5.6 km) tunnel under the city. The project also included the construction of the Ted Williams Tunnel (extending Interstate 90 to Logan International Airport), the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Memorial Bridge over the Charles River, and the Rose Kennedy Greenway in the space vacated by the previous I-93 elevated roadway. Initially, the plan was also to include a rail connection between Boston's two major train terminals. The project concluded on December 31, 2007, when the partnership between program manager Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff and the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority ended.[1]

Contents

[hide]
  • 1 Overview
  • 2 Historical background
  • 3 Early planning
  • 4 Obstacles
  • 5 Construction phase
  • 6 Final phases
  • 7 Mitigation projects
  • 8 Impact on traffic
  • 9 Problems
  • 10 See also
  • 11 References
  • 12 External links

    Overview

    The project was initiated because of chronic congestion on the Central Artery (I-93), an elevated six-lane highway through the center of downtown Boston, which was, in the words of Pete Sigmund, "like a funnel full of slowly-moving, or stopped, cars (and swearing motorists)."[2]

    In 1959, the 1.5-mile-long (2.4 km) road section carried approximately 75,000 vehicles a day, but by the 1990s, this had grown to 190,000 vehicles a day. Traffic jams of 16 hours were predicted for 2010.[3]

    The project was officially handed over to the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority at the end of 2007.

    The Big Dig has been the most expensive highway project in the U.S.[5] Although the project was estimated at $2.8 billion in 1985 (in 1982 dollars, US$6.0 billion adjusted for inflation as of 2006),[6] over $14.6 billion ($8.08 billion in 1982 dollars)[6] had been spent in federal and state tax dollars as of 2006.[7] At the beginning of the project, Congressman Barney Frank asked, "Rather than lower the expressway, wouldn't it be cheaper to raise the city?" The project has incurred criminal arrests,[8][9] escalating costs, death, leaks, and charges of poor execution and use of substandard materials. The Massachusetts Attorney General is demanding contractors refund taxpayers $108 million for "shoddy work."[10] On January 23, 2008, it was reported that Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff, the consortium that oversaw the project, would pay $407 million in restitution for its poor oversight of subcontractors (some of whom committed outright fraud), as well as primary responsibility in the death of a motorist. However, despite admitting to poor oversight and negligence as part of the settlement,[11] the firm is not barred from bidding for future government contracts. Several smaller companies agreed to pay a combined sum of approximately $51 million.[12]

    The Massachusetts Turnpike Authority (MTA), which had little experience in managing an undertaking of the scope and magnitude of the CA/T Project, hired a joint venture of Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff to provide preliminary designs, manage design consultants and construction contractors, track the project's cost and schedule, advise MTA on project decisions, and (in some instances) act as the MTA's representative. Eventually, MTA combined some of its employees with Bechtel/Parsons employees in an integrated project organization. This was intended to make management more efficient, but it hindered MTA's ability to independently oversee Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff because MTA and Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff had effectively become partners in the project.[13]

    Litigation against Bechtel and others in the death of a motorist remains pending, as of January 2008.

    Historical background

    Boston's historically tangled streets were laid out long before the advent of the automobile. By the mid-20th century, car traffic in the inner city was extremely congested, with north-south trips especially so. Commissioner of Public Works William Callahan advanced plans for an elevated expressway which eventually was constructed (1951-59) between the downtown area and the waterfront. The Central Artery (known officially as the John F. Fitzgerald Expressway) displaced thousands of residents and businesses and physically divided the historical connection between the downtown and market areas and the waterfront. Governor John Volpe interceded in the 1950s to send the last section of the Central Artery underground, through the Dewey Square (or "South Station") Tunnel, but while traffic moved somewhat better the other problems remained.

    Built before strict federal Interstate Highway standards were developed during the Eisenhower administration, the expressway was plagued by tight turns, an excessive number of entrances and exits, entrance ramps without merge lanes, and continually escalating vehicular loads. Local businesses again wanted relief, historians sought a reuniting of the waterfront with the city, and nearby residents desired removal of this "Green Monster". (Its matte green paint prompted Thomas Menino to call it Boston’s "other Green Monster". The original Green Monster is Fenway Park's left field wall.[14]) MIT engineers Bill Reynolds and future state Secretary of Transportation Frederick P. Salvucci envisioned moving the whole expressway underground.

    Early planning

    The project was conceived in the 1970s by the Boston Transportation Planning Review to replace the rusting elevated six-lane Central Artery. The expressway separated downtown from the waterfront, and was increasingly choked with bumper-to-bumper traffic. Business leaders were more concerned about access to Logan Airport, and pushed instead for a third harbor tunnel. In their second terms, Michael Dukakis (governor) and Fred Salvucci (secretary of transportation) came up with the strategy of tying the two projects together—thereby combining the project that the business community supported with the project that they and the City of Boston supported.[citation needed]

    Planning for the Big Dig as a project officially began in 1982, with environmental impact studies starting in 1983. After years of extensive lobbying for federal dollars, a 1987 public works bill appropriating funding for the Big Dig was passed by U.S. Congress, but it was subsequently vetoed by President Ronald Reagan as being too expensive. When Congress overrode his veto, the project had its green light and ground was first broken in 1991

    Obstacles

    In addition to these political and financial difficulties, the project faced several environmental and engineering obstacles.

    The downtown area through which the tunnels were to be dug was largely landfill, and included existing subway lines as well as innumerable pipes and utility lines that would have to be replaced or moved. Tunnel workers encountered many unexpected geological and archaeological barriers, ranging from glacial debris to foundations of buried houses and a number of sunken ships lying within the reclaimed land.

    The project received approval from state environmental agencies in 1991, after satisfying concerns including release of toxins by the excavation and the possibility of disrupting the homes of millions of rats, causing them to roam the streets of Boston in search of new housing. By the time the federal environmental clearances were delivered in 1994,[17] the process had taken some seven years, during which time inflation greatly increased the project's original cost estimates.[citation needed]

    Reworking such a busy corridor without seriously restricting traffic flow required a number of state-of-the-art construction techniques. Because the old elevated highway (which remained in operation throughout the construction process) rested on pylons located throughout the designated dig area, engineers first utilized slurry wall techniques to create 120 ft.-deep concrete walls upon which the highway could rest. These concrete walls also stabilized the sides of the site, preventing cave-ins during the excavation process.

    The multilane interstates also had to pass under South Station's 7 tracks which carried over 40,000 commuters and 400 trains per day. In order to avoid multiple relocations of the train lines while the tunnelling advanced, as had been initially planned, a specially designed jack was constructed in order to support the ground and tracks to allow the excavation to take place below. Ground freezing was also implemented in order to help stabilize the surrounding ground as the tunnel was excavated. This was the largest tunnelling project undertaken beneath railway lines anywhere in the world. The ground freezing enabled safer, more efficient excavation, and also assisted in environmental issues, as less contaminated fill needed to be exported than if a traditional cut and cover method had been applied.[18]

    Other challenges included an existing subway tunnel crossing the path of the underground highway. In order to build slurry walls past this tunnel, it was necessary to dig beneath the tunnel and build an underground concrete bridge to support the tunnel's weight.

    Construction phase

    The project was managed by the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, with design and construction supervised by a joint venture of Bechtel Corporation and Parsons Brinckerhoff. Due to the enormous size of the project—too large for any company to undertake alone—the design and construction of the Big Dig were broken up into dozens of smaller subprojects with well-defined interfaces between contractors. Major heavy-construction contractors on the project included Jay Cashman, Modern Continental, Obayashi Corporation, Perini Corporation, Peter Kiewit Sons' Incorporated, J.F. White, and the Slattery division of Skanska USA. (Of those, Modern Continental was awarded the greatest gross value of contracts, joint ventures included.)

    The nature of the Charles River crossing had been a source of major controversy throughout the design phase of the project. Many environmental advocates preferred a river crossing entirely in tunnels, but this, along with 27 other plans, was rejected as too costly. Finally, with a deadline looming to begin construction on a separate project that would connect the Tobin Bridge to the Charles River crossing, Salvucci overrode the objections and chose a variant of the plan known as "Scheme Z". This plan was considered to be reasonably cost-effective, but had the drawback of requiring highway ramps stacked up as high as 100 feet (30 m) immediately adjacent to the Charles River. The city of Cambridge objected to the visual impact of the chosen Charles River crossing design. It sued to revoke the project's environmental certificate and forced the project to redesign the river crossing again.

    Swiss Engineer Christian Menn took over the design of the bridge. He suggested a sleek, modern, cable-stayed bridge that would carry 10 lanes of traffic. The plan was accepted and construction began on the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Memorial Bridge. The bridge employed an asymmetrical design and a hybrid of steel and concrete was used to construct it. It was the first bridge in the country to employ this method and it is the widest cable-stayed bridge in the world.[2]

    Meanwhile, construction continued on the Tobin Bridge approach. By the time all parties agreed on the I-93 design, construction of the Tobin connector (today known as the "City Square Tunnel" for a Charlestown area it bypasses) was far along, significantly adding to the cost of constructing the U.S. Route 1 interchange and retrofitting the tunnel.

    Boston blue clay and other soils extracted from the path of the tunnel were used to cap many local landfills, fill in the Granite Rail Quarry in Quincy, and restore the surface of Spectacle Island in the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area.

    The Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Memorial Bridge, designed by Swiss designer Christian Menn, is the terminus of the project, connecting the underground highway with I-93 and U.S. 1. The distinctive cable-stayed bridge is supported by two forked towers connected to the span by cables and girders.

    The Storrow Drive Connector, a companion bridge to the Zakim, began carrying traffic from I-93 to Storrow Drive in 1999. The project had been under consideration for years, but was opposed by the wealthy residents of the Beacon Hill neighborhood. However, it finally was accepted because it would funnel traffic bound for Storrow Drive and downtown Boston away from the mainline roadway.[19] The Connector ultimately used a pair of ramps that had been constructed for Interstate 695, enabling the mainline I-93 to carry more traffic that would have used I-695 under the original Master Plan.

    When construction began, the project cost, including the Charles River crossing, was estimated at $5.8 billion. Eventual cost overruns were so high that the chairman of the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, James Kerasiotes, was fired in 2000. His replacement had to commit to an $8.55 billion cap on federal contributions. Total expenses eventually passed $15 billion. Interest brought this cost to $21.93 billion.

    Engineering methods and details

    Several unusual engineering challenges arose during the project, requiring unusual solutions and methods to address them.

    At the beginning of the project, engineers had to figure out the safest way to build the tunnel without endangering the existing elevated highway above. Eventually, they created horizontal braces as wide as the tunnel, then cut away the elevated highway's struts, and lowered it onto the new braces.

    Final phases

    On January 17, 2003, the opening ceremony was held for the I-90 Connector Tunnel, extending the Massachusetts Turnpike (Interstate 90) east into the Ted Williams Tunnel, and onwards to Logan Airport. The Ted Williams tunnel had been completed and in limited use for commercial traffic and high-occupancy vehicles since late 1995. The westbound lanes opened on the afternoon of January 18 and the eastbound lanes on January 19.

    Traffic before the "Big Dig"
    Traffic before the "Big Dig"

    The next phase, moving the elevated Interstate 93 underground, was completed in two stages: northbound lanes opened in March 2003 and southbound lanes (in a temporary configuration) on December 20, 2003. A tunnel underneath Leverett Circle connecting eastbound Storrow Drive to I-93 North and the Tobin Bridge opened December 19, 2004, easing congestion at the circle. All southbound lanes of I-93 opened to traffic on March 5, 2005, including the left lane of the Zakim Bridge, and all of the refurbished Dewey Square Tunnel.

    Traffic after the "Big Dig" opened completely
    Traffic after the "Big Dig" opened completely

    By the end of December 2004, 95% of the Big Dig was completed. Major construction remained on the surface, including construction of final ramp configurations in the North End and in the South Bay interchange, and reconstruction of the surface streets.

    The final ramp downtown—exit 20B from I-93 south to Albany Street—opened January 13, 2006.[21]

    In 2006, the two Interstate 93 tunnels were dedicated as the Thomas "Tip" O'Neill Tunnel, after the former Democratic speaker of the House of Representatives from Massachusetts who pushed to have the Big Dig funded by the federal government.

  • http://www.roadtraffic-technology.com/projects/big_dig/

    Big Dig, Central Artery / Tunnel Project, Boston, MA, USA

    The Big Dig in Boston, Massachusetts, US, is a massive road infrastructure project which was undertaken to improve the flow of traffic, alleviating chronic congestion across Boston and the surrounding commuter areas, and to replace the outmoded elevated Central Artery road that effectively split the city in half, alienating the North End and Waterfront neighbourhoods from the economic life of the city.

    The Central Artery / Tunnel Project (CA/T), undertaken by the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, commenced in 1991. The majority of the project was completed by the middle of 2005 at an estimated cost of $14.625bn (the budget has overrun from the initial estimates of $7.7bn). The Big Dig has proved to be one of the most technically-challenging infrastructure developments ever undertaken in the US and has consisted of two major projects:

  • Existing Central Artery, an elevated six-lane highway, replaced by an extended subterranean highway, and a 14-lane two bridge crossing of the Charles River at the northern end
  • Extension of the Massachusetts Turnpike (Interstate 90) from its former end, south of downtown Boston, through a tunnel (Ted Williams Tunnel) under South Boston and Boston Harbor to Logan Airport

THE CENTRAL ARTERY

The elevated Central Artery (Interstate 93) was built in 1953 and opened in 1959 with six lanes to comfortably accommodate 75,000 vehicles a day. However, it has regularly carried in excess of 200,000 vehicles a day. As a result, central Boston was subjected to traffic jams for more than ten hours a day (a waste of over $500m per year on fuel burnt by idling engines and late deliveries).

The elevated highway was demolished, freeing up 29 acres for attractive boulevards and parks and been replaced by an eight- to ten-lane underground expressway which leads into a 14-lane, two-bridge crossing at the Charles River.

"The Big Dig has proved to be one of the most technically-challenging infrastructure developments ever undertaken in the US."

The road system was designed and constructed to accommodate 245,000 vehicles per day, the projected daily use by 2010.

The northbound Central Artery tunnel started to carry traffic in March 2003, while the southbound lanes were opened in December 2003, allowing for the completion of the largest of the Charles River bridges. Eight lanes were open (four northbound and four southbound) at the end of 2003, with the final two lanes opened in early 2005.

CHARLES RIVER BRIDGES

The larger of the two Charles River bridges, a ten-lane, cable-stayed hybrid bridge, is the widest ever built and the first to use an asymmetrical hybrid design (using steel and concrete). It has been named the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge. Built at a cost of $100m, it serves the underground Central Artery.

The bridge, providing a spectacular landmark gateway to the city, was opened in stages. Four lanes of I-93 northbound were opened to traffic in March 2003. Four lanes of I-93 southbound were opened in December 2003, while the remaining two lanes opened in early 2005.

With its graceful lines and 270ft towers, the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge succeeds in linking the past and future of Boston. Swiss bridge designer Christian Menn conceived the bridge to reflect, with its inverted Y-shaped towers, the shape of the Bunker Hill Monument in neighboring Charlestown. The bridge's cables are suggestive of a ship in full sail linking it to East Boston as a center of shipbuilding.

The bridge, at 1,432ft long, emerges from the underground Central Artery near the Fleet Center at Causeway Street, crossing the river to make connections with both I-93 and Route 1. The bridge is designed to carry ten lanes of traffic with eight lanes passing through the legs of the twin towers and two cantilevered on the east side. The cantilever portion, which will accommodate northbound traffic from the Sumner Tunnel and the North End, provides the bridge's unique, asymmetrical design. Girders, floor beams and two planes of cables support the bridge's 745ft-long, 183ft-wide main span. Steel floor beams, which support the main span, are extended out to support the cantilevered lanes.

The Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge is unique. In addition to being the widest cable-stayed bridge in the world, the bridge is the first 'hybrid' cable-stayed bridge in the US, using both steel and concrete in its frame. The main span consists of a steel box girder and steel floor beams, while the back spans contain post-tensioned concrete.

The smaller, four-lane Leverett Circle Connecter Bridge was opened to traffic in October 1999 at a total cost of $22.27m. This 830ft-long bridge connects the Leverett Circle area on the northwestern edge of downtown Boston with points north of the Charles River. Nine box girder sections, the largest in North America, were barged into place and raised into place by cranes or (in the main span) jacks.

The main span length is 380ft and the back span length is 225ft while the width is 76ft. The superstructure consists of single steel box girder, 18ft deep at the piers, 9ft deep at centre span, and a concrete bridge deck. The substructure consists of two water piers and two land bents, cast-in-place and supported on drilled shafts.

INTERSTATE 90 EXTENSION AND HIGHWAY INTERCHANGES

The Massachusetts Turnpike (I-90) Extension opened to traffic in January 2003. The I-90 now runs from Seattle, Washington, to Logan International Airport in East Boston. In Massachusetts, the MassPike now runs 138 miles from the New York border to Route 1A in East Boston.

As a result of the extension, the MassPike runs from its previous terminus at I-93 near South Station to the Fort Point Channel and South Boston before connecting to the Ted Williams Tunnel. Motorists from south and west of Boston have direct access to Logan Airport and Massachusetts' North Shore via I-90 eastbound. This direct, 3.5 mile route to the airport saves drivers as much as 45 minutes off the previous route.

The new I-90 interchange in South Boston also provides direct access to the center of a vital new development area for the Boston seaport, which features the newly opened Massachusetts Convention Center. One of the features of the project has been the relief of cross-town traffic congestion through better traffic distribution and an improved street system.

The construction of the I-90 Extension involved some of the most complicated and challenging engineering on the Central Artery / Tunnel Project. It required tunnel jacking, the construction of a casting basin for immersed tube tunnelling and cut-and-cover tunnel construction.

The project also included five major interchanges to connect the new roads and the existing regional highway system. These are located at Logan Airport, South Boston, Massachusetts Avenue, the Tobin Bridge, and in South Boston where the Central Artery meets the turnpike extension.

At the Southern end of the underground highway the I-90 / I-93 interchange has been rebuilt on six levels to connect with the new Central Artery and the turnpike extension through South Boston. This interchange carries a total of 28 routes to and from Logan Airport and to the East.

"The road system was designed and constructed to accommodate 245,000 vehicles per day, the projected daily use by 2010."

By the end of December 2004 over 95% of the Big Dig project was completed. Some major construction remained on the surface, including construction of final ramp configurations in the North End and in the South Bay interchange, and reconstruction of the surface streets.

There were many impact-mitigation projects (transit, pedestrian, bicycle, and parks) also remaining but a lot of these were being considered for suspension due to overrun on the budget. The final ramp downtown (exit 20B from I-93 south to Albany Street) opened 13 January 2006.

In 2006, the two Interstate 93 tunnels were dedicated as the Thomas P. O'Neill Jr. Tunnel, after the former Democratic speaker of the House of Representatives from Massachusetts who campaigned for the Big Dig to be funded by the federal government.

TED WILLIAMS TUNNEL

The four-lane Ted Williams Tunnel forms part of the I-90 extension link. The $1.3bn tunnel was named after the legendary Boston Red Sox baseball player. It was the first major target of the Big Dig to be completed, opening to commercial traffic in December 1995.

Providing transport under the harbour, the underwater part of the Ted Williams Tunnel was built using 12 steel sections sunk in a trench to cover the 0.75 mile distance. The tunnel is now fully connected to all its major routes and has the capacity to double cross-harbor traffic.

TRAFFIC MONITORING AND INCIDENT RESPONSE

A highly advanced traffic monitoring and incident response system is in place to ensure the smooth operation of the road infrastructure. The CA/T's Operations Control Center (OCC) has one of the most advanced 'smart highway' systems in the world. The system uses a range of ITS devices. The OCC can monitor all of the traffic in the tunnels, ramps and highways constructed as part of the Big Dig as well as the majority of other roads and tunnels in Boston.

The equipment and facilities used by the OCC include more than 1,400 loop detectors to measure traffic density and identify and project traffic patterns, 430 CCTV cameras, 130 electronic message signboards, 300 lane control signals and carbon monoxide detectors.

The computer system has more than 35,000 data points from which to collect data to compile a detailed picture of traffic events. This enables the OCC to effectively manage traffic flow, incidents, ventilation, security, fire detection and emergency response.

CONSTRUCTION

The overall design and construction management for the Big Dig has been provided by a joint venture of Bechtel, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Quade and Douglas. The project included many subcontractors. Major heavy-construction contractors on the project included Jay Cashman, Modern Continental, Gannett Fleming Inc, Obayashi Corporation, Perini Corporation, Peter Kiewit Sons' Incorporated, J.F. White, and the Slattery division of Skanska USA (Modern Continental was awarded the largest value of contracts). Power Fastners provided an epoxy system to hold up concrete roof panels.

CONTROVERSY

The project has incurred criminal arrests, escalating costs, leaks, poor execution and use of substandard materials. The Massachusetts Attorney General demanded that the contractors refund taxpayers $108m for 'shoddy work'.

There were problems with the tunnel as far back as 2001. The Massachusetts Turnpike Authority was aware of many thousands of leaks in the ceiling and wall fissures causing extensive water damage to steel supports and fireproofing systems, and also overloading the drainage systems. An initial $10m contract, signed off as a cost overrun, was used to repair these leaks. Many of the leaks were found to be a result of contractors such as Modern Continental failing to remove gravel and other debris before pouring concrete.

On 15 September 2004, a major leak in the Interstate 93 north tunnel forced the closure of the tunnel while repairs were conducted. This incident also forced the Turnpike Authority to release previous information regarding prior leaks. A follow-up reported on 'extensive' leaks went on to state that the tunnels were riddled with more than 400 serious leaks.

CAUSES OF THE PROBLEMS

In June 2005 Massachusetts State Police were called in to search the offices of Aggregate Industries, the largest concrete supplier for the underground portions of the project. The police obtained evidence of fraudulent records that hid the poor quality of concrete delivered for the highway project. In May 2006, six executives of the company, including its general manager, were arrested and charged with fraud.

In March 2006 it was reported that Massachusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly planned to sue Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff and other companies for over $100m because of poor work on the project. Over 200 complaints were filed by the state of Massachusetts as a result of leaks, cost overruns, quality concerns, and safety violations.

BIG DIG CEILING COLLAPSE

"In July 2006 part of the ceiling collapsed in a tunnel segment under South Boston."

In July 2006 part of the ceiling collapsed in a tunnel segment under South Boston, connecting I-90 to the Ted Williams Tunnel. The collapse killed one person (Milena Del Valle) and contributed to the death of another(her husband). The car was partially crushed under at least four ceiling panels, each weighing 3t. At least 26t of concrete fell from the ceiling of one of the tunnels. A steel tieback that held a 40ft ceiling section over Interstate 90 eastbound had given way.

The accident was investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board and they concluded that the wrong type of epoxy system had been used to hold up concrete ceiling panels. The epoxy holding support anchors holding the panels slowly pulled away and eventually gave way. Power Fasteners Inc was charged with involuntary manslaughter and has agreed to pay the Del Valle family $6m. However, the case is far from over as Power Fastners are claiming that Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff should take a much bigger share of the blame.

The tunnel was closed as work went on to remove about 30 ceiling slabs in a 200ft section where the collapse occurred. The incident raised safety questions and closed part of the project for most of the summer of 2006. In September 2006, one eastbound lane of the connector tunnel was reopened to traffic. Following extensive inspections and repairs, Interstate 90 east and westbound lanes reopened in early January 2007.

BLAME AND REPARATION

In late January 2008 the conclusion of the 'Big Dig' court wrangling finally came to a partial conclusion. The contractors on the project have agreed to pay a sum of over $450m to cover the lawsuit against them for leaks and design flaws and also because of the tunnel roof collapse which cost two lives.

Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff (design and project management) will pay $407m and a number of smaller companies are due to pay a total of $51m between them. If there is any future problem (structural defect) then the state can claim up to $100m more from Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff but this would be decided by arbitration.



Radhe Krishna 19-07-08

http://www.cowi.com/menu/news/newsarchive/2005/Pages/thailandtohaveworldslongestroadbridge.aspx

Thailand to have world’s longest road bridge

In the wake of economic growth, very long road bridges are being built. A new 47 km bridge in Thailand is the fifth in a row of similar international projects in which COWI is involved From Copenhagen city centre to Hamlet’s castle in the north of Zealand some 47 km distant - that is how far the world’s longest road bridge will run over water. The bridge will span the Gulf of Thailand south-west of Bangkok, significantly improving the local infrastructure and reducing noise pollution for millions of inhabitants.

The link will enable motorists to drive straight across the gulf and continue above the houses on land, where the bridge will be built over the rooftops – the total structure will be 90 kilometres in length.

International road bridges

The bridge in Thailand is the fifth in a row of very long international road bridges in which COWI is involved.

In Kuwait COWI is currently carrying out pre-studies and designing a 32 km road bridge that will connect overpopulated Kuwait City with the Subiyah development area, and COWI is conducting pre-studies for a 42 km long ‘friendship bridge’ that will link Qatar and Bahrain.

Causeway solutions are popularity

In China construction is currently under way on a 32 km long bridge, Dong Hai, to an island off Shanghai where major new port facilities are projected.

COWI assisted in the early design phases to find the optimal concepts. Finally, COWI was involved in the 25 km long Saudi-Bahrain causeway connection between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. All these bridges come at a time when society is becoming richer and there is a growing need for faster, easier ways of getting from A to B.

Cities grow bigger

"Causeway solutions are growing in popularity,” explains Project Manager Pisit Karnjanarujivut of local company Arun Chaiseri Ltd (ACS) in Thailand.

“While traffic must of necessity follow population growth and economic growth, the option of building an extensive network of roads and motorways on land is becoming increasingly difficult as cities grow ever bigger. A causeway is sometimes the most viable solution to the problem."


Massive logistical task

COWI can apply to the Thailand project its extensive experience gained from projects such as the ├śresund Bridge linking Denmark and Sweden and the West Bridge of Denmark’s Great Belt bridge link. Building bridges across stretches of water presents very different challenges compared to building bridges on land.

"First and foremost, working at sea is a challenge in terms of the massive logistics operations involved and one which can be further exacerbated by the stormy seas and windy conditions that commonly occur,” explains COWI Department Manager Ejgil Veje.

“Sailing 20 km out to the middle of the bridge each day takes almost three hours. Therefore all structures are produced on land and sailed out by boat and crane. Finishing the concrete elements on land, where you can complete the work under virtual assembly line conditions, assures more durable structures.

The first foundations will be sunk in autumn 2005 and the bridge will be built in 100 metre stretches and completed in the next two-three years according to the present timetable.

Longest road tunnel

Radhe Krishna 19-07-08

http://www.yearbook.gov.hk/1998/ewww/14/1403/middle-middle.htm

Transport Infrastructure

Existing Road and Rail Network

At the end of 1998, Hong Kong had 1 865 kilometres of roads and 1 737 highway structures, three immersed-tube, cross-harbour tunnels, and eight road tunnels penetrating the hills of the territory. These facilities provide a comprehensive road network for Hong Kong.

The government owns six of the road tunnels - Lion Rock, Aberdeen, Airport, Shing Mun, Tseung Kwan O and Cheung Tsing - which are managed and operated by private companies under management contracts. Tolls are set and monitored by the government while the Airport Tunnel and Cheung Tsing Tunnel are free of charge.

The Lion Rock Tunnel, linking Kowloon and Sha Tin, began single-tube operation in 1967, with a second tube added in 1978. The 1.4-kilometre tunnel is the most heavily used government tunnel, with 95 000 vehicle trips daily. The toll was $6.

The Aberdeen Tunnel, opened in 1982, links the northern and southern parts of Hong Kong Island. It measures 1.9 kilometres and was used by 58 000 vehicles daily in 1998. The toll was $5.

The toll-free Airport Tunnel between Hung Hom and Kowloon Bay passes under the former site of Hong Kong International Airport at Kai Tak and was opened in 1982. It measures 1.3 kilometres and was used by 55 000 vehicles daily in 1998.

The Shing Mun Tunnel between Sha Tin and Tsuen Wan was opened in 1990 and measures 2.6 kilometres. An average of 54 000 vehicles each day paid the $5 toll in 1998.

The 900-metre Tseung Kwan O Tunnel, opened in 1990, links Kowloon and Tseung Kwan O new town. It was used by 55 000 vehicles daily in 1998. The toll was $3.

The toll-free, 1.6-kilometre Cheung Tsing Tunnel was opened in 1997 and links Kwai Chung and Tsing Yi. It was used by 90 000 vehicles daily in 1998.

The Cross-Harbour Tunnel, the Eastern Harbour Crossing, the Tate's Cairn Tunnel, the Western Harbour Crossing and the Tai Lam Tunnel were built by the private sector under 'build, Operate and Transfer' franchises.

The 1.9-kilometre Cross-Harbour Tunnel connects Causeway Bay on Hong Kong Island and Hung Hom in Kowloon. Opened in 1972, its daily patronage was 120 000 vehicles in 1998. It is one of the world's busiest four-lane road tunnels. The tolls, which included a government passage tax, ranged from $4 to $30 for different types of vehicles.

The Eastern Harbour Crossing was opened in 1989. It links Quarry Bay on Hong Kong Island and Cha Kwo Ling in Kowloon. A daily average of 71 000 vehicles used the two-kilometre tunnel in 1998. Tolls ranged from $8 to $45.

The Tate's Cairn Tunnel was opened to traffic in 1991, providing an additional direct road link between the north-eastern New Territories and Kowloon. At 3.9 kilometres, it is the longest road tunnel in Hong Kong. It was used by an average of 65 000 vehicles daily in 1998. Tolls ranged from $8 to $20.

The two-kilometre Western Harbour Crossing is the first six-lane cross-harbour road tunnel in Hong Kong. Opened in 1997, it links Sai Ying Pun on Hong Kong Island and the West Kowloon Reclamation near Yau Ma Tei in Kowloon. It was used by an average of 33 000 vehicles daily in 1998. Tolls ranged from $15 to $95.

The Tai Lam Tunnel measures 3.8 kilometres and, together with the 6.3-kilometre Yuen Long Approach Road, forms the Route 3 (Country Park Section) which extends from Ting Kau to Au Tau. Opened in May 1998, it was used by an average of 29 000 vehicles daily in 1998. Tolls ranged from $10 to $60.

Besides the network of road tunnels and highways, railways also form a vital part of Hong Kong's transport network. Hong Kong's rail system comprises a heavily utilised urban railway (the Mass Transit Railway - MTR), a busy suburban railway (the Kowloon-Canton Railway - KCR), and the Light Rail (LR). There is also a tramway serving as a local distributor on the northern shore of the Hong Kong Island and a funicular tramway running between Central (Garden Road) and the Peak.

New Roads and Railways Opened in 1997/1998

The relocation of the airport to Chek Lap Kok and the development of the Tung Chung new town required additional road links between Lantau and the urban areas. A new expressway system comprising the North Lantau Highway, Lantau Link, Cheung Tsing Highway, Cheung Tsing Tunnel, Tsing Kwai Highway, West Kowloon Highway and Western Harbour Crossing, was opened to traffic in mid 1997. In May 1998, the expressway system was augmented by the completion of the Ting Kau Bridge and the Route 3 (Country Park Section), which provided easy access to the North-West New Territories.

The strategic expressway system to Lantau and North-West New Territories needs to be carefully managed to ensure smooth traffic flow. Route 3 (Country Park Section) is managed and operated by the private sector franchisee. The Tsing Ma Control Area (TMCA), a 17-kilometre expressway network comprising Tsing Kwai Highway, Cheung Tsing Tunnel, Cheung Tsing Highway, North-West Tsing Yi Interchange, Lantau Link, Ting Kau Bridge and part of North Lantau Highway, is operated and maintained by a private management contractor. TMCA is equipped with extensive traffic control and surveillance system. The system provides a high degree of automation to regulate traffic flows, to assist in dealing with incidents and to provide useful information to motorists.

A one-way toll collection arrangement is adopted for the TMCA. Vehicles travelling on the Lantau Link will be charged twice the single journey toll when they return from Lantau Island. The double toll ranges from $20 to $80.

The $34 billion Airport Railway is an integral part of the transport links to connect the urban areas with the new airport and the Tung Chung new town. It comprises two services-the Airport Express Line and the Tung Chung Line. They were completed and opened to the public on June 22 and July 6, 1998, respectively. The Airport Express Line (AEL) provides a dedicated express rail service for passengers to and from the new airport. Running at a maximum speed of 135 kilometres per hour, the AEL carried about 22 000 passengers each day in 1998 with a journey time of about 23 minutes. It is the world's first purpose-built railway serving an airport with in-town check-in facilities. The Tung Chung Line (TCL) provides commuter services between Tung Chung new town and the urban areas. The TCL carried 110 000 passengers daily in 1998 with interchange facilities with other MTR lines at Hong Kong and Lai King.

New Railway Projects

After the completion of airport related transport network, the government is embarking on the planning and implementation of five new railway projects. Total investment in these projects amounts to some $120 billion. They are:

The 30.5-kilometre West Rail (Phase I), that connects West Kowloon and Tuen Mun via Yuen Long. Construction started in October 1998 for completion by the end of 2003;

The 12.5-kilometre Tseung Kwan O Extension, that extends the MTR from Lam Tin to Tseung Kwan O. The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2002;

The 11.4-kilometre Ma On Shan to Tai Wai rail link, that connects the existing KCR Tai Wai station and Lee On in the Ma On Shan new town;

The 1.5-kilometre Tsim Sha Tsui (TST) Extension, that extends the KCR from the existing Hung Hom terminus to a new station in TST East. Construction is expected to start in 2000 for completion in 2004; and

The 7.5-kilometre Sheung Shui to Lok Ma Chau spur line, that will connect the KCR at Sheung Shui with a new passenger rail boundary crossing at Lok Ma Chau. The government has invited the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation to prepare detailed proposals for implementing the project, which is scheduled for completion in 2004.

The Second Railway Development Study

The Second Railway Development Study (RDS-2) began in March. It aims to formulate a clear, coherent and comprehensive strategy for the provision of an integrated and environmentally friendly rail system to sustain the economic, social, land and housing developments of Hong Kong in the years ahead. New projects to be examined in the RDS-2 include the West Rail (Phase II), the East Kowloon Line, a fourth cross-harbour rail link, the North Hong Kong Island Line, a second connection from the Ma On Shan railway to the urban areas and the West Hong Kong Island Line. The study will be completed in September 1999, with interim recommendations on the most urgent projects before then.

Road Projects Under Construction

The construction of the Hung Hom Bypass and Princess Margaret Road Link started in March 1996. This will connect Hung Hom and Tsim Sha Tsui East with a system of elevated roads linking with Princess Margaret Road and Chatham Road. Upon its completion in 1999, the strategic link will provide access to the developments in the Hung Hom Bay reclamation and relieve traffic congestion at the Cross-Harbour Tunnel approach road.

To improve the junction between Hiram's Highway and Clear Water Bay Road, the construction of Phase II of the Hiram's Highway improvement works started in January 1997 for completion in 2000. Phase III of the works in Nam Wai and Ho Chung is scheduled to start in early 1999 for completion in 2001.

Improvement works to Castle Peak Road from Siu Lam to So Kwun Tan started in February 1997 for completion in late 1999. To further improve the road network to the new airport, construction of the Tsing Yi North Coastal Road is scheduled to start in January 1999 for completion in 2002.

Planned Road Projects

To further expand and improve Hong Kong's road network to cope with traffic demand, several strategic road projects are currently under study and design.

The eight-kilometre section of Route 7 connecting Kennedy Town to Aberdeen will provide a much-needed linkage to the southern part of Hong Kong to support the strategic development of the area.

Route 10 will run about 27.5 kilometres from Hong Kong Island to the North-West New Territories via North Lantau. Together with the planned Deep Bay Link, it will form part of the proposed crossing between Hong Kong and Shekou in Shenzhen. Route 10 will also relieve the traffic burden of the Lantau Link, and maintain road access to Lantau in the event that the Lantau Link has to be closed under inclement weather or emergencies.

Route 9 (section between Cheung Sha Wan and Sha Tin) will be a new 5.6-kilometre highway running from Sha Tin to West Kowloon. It will significantly alleviate traffic congestion at the Lion Rock Tunnel, Tate's Cairn Tunnel and Tai Po Road.

Other major new road projects under planning include the Central Kowloon Route between To Kwa Wan and Yau Ma Tei, the Central-Wan Chai Bypass and another section of Route 9 connecting Tsing Yi and Cheung Sha Wan.

Environmental Considerations

The environmental impact of new transport projects during both the construction and operation phases is carefully examined at the planning stage. Environmental mitigation measures, such as landscaping, artificial contouring of surrounding hillsides, the installation of noise barriers and noise insulation works are implemented where necessary to minimise the environmental impact of transport projects.

Road Opening Works

Besides serving as carriageways for vehicles and pedestrians, roads also accommodate various utility services, such as water and gas mains, sewers and electricity and telephone cables. To cope with the increasing demand for utility services and maintenance work, utility companies often have to excavate the carriageways and footpaths to lay more pipes, cables and ducts, and to carry out repair work. There were about 150 new road openings on each day in 1998. Road openings are co-ordinated and controlled by the Highways Department through a permit system, under which utility companies are required to carry out work to a required standard and within a time limit.

To co-ordinate work more effectively and to minimise traffic disruption the Highways Department holds monthly Road Opening Co-ordinating Committee meetings with the utility companies, the police and the Transport Department. A computerised utility management system was developed in 1997 to further improve co-ordination and minimise disturbance to road users.


Forest Parks (ZOO)

Missouri-history-museum-st-louis-forest-park.jpg

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Jewl-box-forest-park-saint-louis.jpg



Radhe Krishna 19-07-08

Forest Park (St. Louis)

http://stlouis.missouri.org/citygov/parks/forestpark/

This article is about the park in St. Louis, Missouri. For other places, see Forest Park.
Forest Park in St. Louis, Missouri, opened in 1876 and the former site of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition of 1904, (better known as "The World's Fair") is one of the large urban landscape parks created during the later 19th century, following the example of Central Park in New York City. At 1,293 acres (5.2 km²), Forest Park is over 50% larger than New York's Central Park (843 acres or 3.41 km²).
The park is located along the western edge of the City of St. Louis, though it is located nearly in the center of the entire metropolitan area. It is bordered by Skinker Boulevard and Washington University in St. Louis to the west, I-64/US-40 and Oakland Avenue to the south, Kingshighway Boulevard and Barnes-Jewish Hospital and the Washington University Medical Center to the east, and Lindell Boulevard to the north.
At one time the River des Peres ran openly through the park, but due to sanitary concerns it was moved into a wooden box underground shortly before the World's Fair.[1] However, as part of the park's "Master Plan", the river was brought back to the surface to link the park's lakes.[2]
Other major parks in the city of St. Louis include Tower Grove Park and Carondelet Park.
Contents
[hide]
1 Architects
2 Attractions
3 See also
4 References
5 External links
//
[edit] Architects
Type Municipal (St. Louis Parks Department)
Location St. Louis
Size 1,293 acres (5.2 km²)
Opened 1876
Operated by St. Louis Parks Department
Status Open all year

The park was dedicated June 24, 1876, and was originally four miles outside the St. Louis city limits.

Forest Park is one of St. Louis' most treasured resources.

Located in the heart of the city, it is the heart of our city.

Forest Park belongs to all St. Louisans.

Owned and operated by the City of St. Louis, Forest Park is one of 105 city parks under the jurisdiction of the Department of Parks, Recreation and Forestry.

Forest Park, officially opened to the public on June 24, 1876, is one of the largest urban parks in the United States. At 1,293 acres, it is approximately 500 acres larger than Central Park in New York.

In 1904, the Louisiana Purchase Exposition..The St. Louis World�s Fair...drew more than 20 million visitors from around the world to Forest Park.

Today it attracts more than 12 million visitors a year. It is more than a scenic backdrop to our city. It is an active participant and catalyst in the St. Louis community. Monuments, historic buildings, wildlife, waterways and landscapes combine to form a unique cultural institution that is vitally important to the entire St. Louis region. The park is recognized as an important gathering place where people of all ages, races and economic backgrounds can gather and mix in a positive way.

It is the home to the region�s major cultural institutions�the Zoo, Art Museum, History Museum, Science Center and the Muny Opera. It also serves as a sports center for golf, tennis, baseball, bicycling, boating, fishing, handball, ice skating, roller blading, jogging, rugby and more.

Forest Park is equally significant from a naturalistic perspective. In a city where 80% of the land has been developed for business, industry or residential uses, the park serves as a natural oasis for the city, an important source of green space, a respite for migrating birds, and an integrated ecosystem where humans and nature interact.

Forest Park is the soul of the city and its survival is essential to the future of the St. Louis region. The park has undergone a $100 million face-lift under the Forest Park Master Plan that has restored the glory to the park in time for us to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 1904 World�s Fair.


Maximillian G. Kern designed the Park's original
. Kern also designed parks at the Compton Hill and Chain of Rocks Reservoir.[3]
George Kessler who designed many urban parks throughout Texas and the Midwest created a new master design for the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair.
A popular myth says that Frederick Law Olmsted designed the park, fair grounds and Washington University campus. Kessler had worked briefly for Olmsted as a Central Park gardener when he was in his 20s. Furthering this confusion is that Olmstead was involved with Forest Park (Queens) in New York. Olmsted died in 1903 - a year before the fair. Olmsted however did create the master plan in 1897 for renovations to the Missouri Botanical Garden a few miles to the southeast of the park.[1]. Those plans were only partially implemented (construction of the two ponds).
[edit] Attractions


Missouri History Museum in Forest Park
Saint Louis Zoological Park
The Muny, The Municipal Opera Association of St. Louis
St. Louis Science Center (including the McDonnell Planetarium)
Saint Louis Art Museum
Jewel Box
Boathouse Restaurant and boat rentals
Steinberg Skating rink
Missouri History Museum
World's Fair Pavilion
Turtle Playground
Dwight Davis Tennis Center
Softball, Baseball, and Soccer Fields
Archery Range
Bike and Running Paths
Triple A Golf and Tennis Club
Norman Probstein Community Golf Course
The Great Forest Park Balloon Race
Pace Series
[edit] See also
Central West End
Forest Park-DeBaliviere MetroLink station

Forest Park
Forest Park can refer to any one of a number of places, many of them urban forests:
Towns and villages
Forest Park, Bracknell Forest, Berkshire, UK
Forest Park, Georgia, USA
Forest Park, Illinois, USA
Forest Park, Ohio, USA, a city in Hamilton county
Forest Park, Ottawa County, Ohio, USA, an unincorporated community
Forest Park, Oklahoma, USA
Forest Park, Ontario, Canada
Parks
Forest Park (St. Louis), Missouri, USA
Ards Forest Park, Donegal, Republic of Ireland
Forest Park (Everett), Washington, USA
Forest Park (Minsk), Belarus
Forest Park (Queens), New York City, USA
Forest Park (Portland), Oregon, USA
Forest Park (Springfield), Massachusetts, USA

Neighborhoods
Forest Park (Baltimore), Maryland, USA
Forest Park (Columbus), Ohio, USA
Forest Park, Portland, Oregon, USA
Forest Park (Bracknell), Berkshire, UK
Churches
Forest Park Baptist Church, Joplin, Missouri, USA
Cemeteries
Forest Park Cemetery, Brunswick, New York, USA
Public schools
Forest Park High School (Maryland), Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Forest Park High School (Virginia), Prince William County, Virginia, USA
Forest Park High School (Forest Park, Georgia), USA
Forest Park High School (Crystal Falls, Michigan), USA

Dark Knight English movie



Radhe Krishna 19-07-08.

I have seen this movie here in AMC 12 theatre at St. Louis Missouri on 18-07-08 morning show. The grading has come on 19-07-08 and given below.

Review: The Dark Knight Is Exceptional

Grading a film like The Dark Knight is tough because it's immediately clear that Christopher Nolan is much, much smarter than your average filmmaker. Judging him, and criticizing what is clearly a masterwork, leads to all sorts of dangerous self-evaluation. Would I have said, "Ah, well, Michelangelo's David could have been a little more defined," or "Sure, Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet was nice, but what about that silly second-act pacing?"

No, I don't think I would have. I think I probably would have sat back and enjoyed a genius at work. On those rare days, you've just got to smile.

But the question comes all the time, "Well, who are you to judge anything?" Usually, the answer is "I'm just an average fella, trying to make my little way in the world." But in this case I don't know who anyone is to knock a film like The Dark Knight. The scope of the thing, the beauty of the monster, the complexity and terror of the piece -- well, these aren't elements defined by a genre and so they defy singular judgment. We're talking about something bigger here. Nolan is tackling the social issues of our day and he's doing it with a guy in a bat suit. Think of the craziness of that statement, the manic joy encapsulated in an act so brazen. Why is he doing it? I suppose for the same reason Stevie Wonder plays the piano. Because it feels good to be this good at anything.

The film starts with a gritty Joker robbery. Man, is it a pretty opening scene. I caught this one in IMAX and it feels bigger and grander than anything I've seen in that format, partly because they filmed six scenes in 24-frames-per-second glory. To compare the film to Batman Begins, I would say that this one is much larger in scope. In 2005 we saw an origin story -- an excellent one, mind you, but an origin story all the same. The film was forced to establish tone and characters, and because of that, they could only aim so high. I love that story. But I'd marry Dark Knight (sorry, hon).

So then, what are these high-minded and impressive themes I keep slathering all over? To what does Dark Knight dedicate its two-and-a-half-hour running time to? Oh, little issues like what holds the fabric of society together. And do you have to become a monster to kill a monster? How close are we to the edge of chaos in our daily lives? Just for fun they get into the role of surveillance in a free society and the Achilles Heel of Democracy (hint: the people). It is a little strange that it takes Christopher Nolan, Christian Bale, and a "comic book" movie to tackle issues that mortal directors shy away from. It's an interesting commentary on our culture that the nation's introspection is coming from what we'd normally dismissively call "entertainment."

Heath Ledger as The JokerThe Joker, Heath Ledger, is Sofa King great here. For the first hour the film builds and builds until finally it's as if you're a hostage. The last 90 minutes jab at you with menace and dread, with a tone that wouldn't have been possible to establish without Ledger. Before the movie I thought Heath would be the sentimental favorite to win an Oscar. Now I don't see how you can logically choose anyone else. The man owns this film in the same way De Niro owned Raging Bull. He devours the part and the part IS the film, full and complete. Ledger's Joker is terrifying because he makes decent points upon occasion and you never know his true motivation for wanting to tear everything down. He's smart, driven, and fully lethal. I don't know, it feels like there might be a larger lesson there too. Ahem.

There are specific criticisms you can make about The Dark Knight ... much in the same way you'd fill out a survey while recovering from a Coast Guard Rescue. Batman's voice was distracting at times ("um, when I was being given CPR he wasn't very gentle!") and there are maybe two rough edits. I ended up liking Katie Holmes better than Maggie G. ("What, the Coast Guard didn't save my BOAT??") -- a choice I admit is a personal one. Whew. I'm already exhausted trying to think what didn't go right here; so admirable was the effort that it feels dirty to complain. I just want Christopher Nolan to keep making movies. I'm willing to start some sort of fund if necessary.

A scene plays out in the middle of The Dark Knight, actually in three scenes, interwoven to deliver maximum tension. This triptych is elegant, flowing, and damn purty, with life and death hanging in the balance. It goes on for a few minutes, building and building, layer upon layer of emotion and evocation. It's something to behold, this dance, this dark and sinister mental toying. You know there are consequences coming, just as you know that no art form can remain taut indefinitely.

But somewhere in there you think to yourself, "I never want this to end." And you wonder what that says about where we're all at, and when in the world things got so serious on us.

Grade: A+