Demolition of Estabrook Hall on UTK Campus

LandTech provided utility location, topographic surveying, planimetric surveying and mapping for the New Engineering Complex project on the University of Tennessee campus in Knoxville.

Construction for the project has already begun, beginning with demolition of the 120-year old Estabrook Hall (1898-2018). Below is a video posted by the University of Tennessee Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) showing demolition of Estabrook Hall, and a time laps video of the demolition posted on the New Engineering Complex Website.

For more information on the new Engineering Complex, visit the website here: New Engineering Complex Website

 

Dallas-Fort Worth Takes Step Towards Hyperloop Travel

According to a recent article in the Dallas Business Journal

The Dallas-Fort Worth Regional Transportation Council has thrown its support behind hyperloop technology that would zip passengers and cargo throughout the region and state at 700 miles per hour and green-lighted environmental and feasibility studies for the new transportation mode.

Hyperloop allows vehicles to travel at very high speeds with minimal aerodynamic resistance by operating in a low-pressure environment using magnetic levitation.

Below is a video from the manufacturer Virgin Hyperloop One. Very interesting technology.

 

 

Self-healing Concrete

Despite our best efforts, concrete will crack, requiring costly maintenance.

I found an article on self-healing concrete containing bacteria.  https://www.epo.org/learning-events/european-inventor/finalists/2015/jonkers.html

“As solid and reliable as concrete structures may seem, they share one common enemy: tension. Over time, concrete will crack and deteriorate. An invention by Delft University microbiologist Hendrik Jonkers offers an innovative approach to creating more stable concrete by adding limestone-producing bacteria to the mix. This self-healing bioconcrete aims to provide a cheap and sustainable solution, markedly improving the lifespan of buildings, bridges and roads.”

Below is a video about this unique concrete material.

 

Rethinking Funding for America’s Failing Highways

The Improve Act was recently passed in Tennessee in an effort to help fund transportation projects in the state.  https://www.tennessean.com/story/news/politics/2017/04/24/tennessee-gas-tax-increase-what-means-you/100839608/

Roadway and transportation funding has always been a politically sensitive issue. Additional taxes for transportation funding doesn’t always have public support. So, how can we fund the expensive task of designing, constructing and maintaining our transportation system?

In a recent article, Robert Poole discusses his new book “Rethinking America’s Highways”, making the argument that highways should be financed and operated similar to utilities.

Below are some excerpts from his article at https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/06/reform-americas-failing-highway-system-make-interstates-utilities/

“It’s not hard to see that there is something fundamentally wrong with the way we fund and manage the highways we all depend on. Highways are one of our basic public utilities — along with water, electricity, natural gas, telephones, etc. Yet we don’t have huge political battles over how to pay for those utilities. Every month you get a bill from your electric company, water company, phone company, and satellite or cable company. You pay for the specific services you used, and the money goes directly to the company that provided those services. None of that is true for highways.”

Many years ago, Milton Friedman put his finger on what was wrong. Highways, he wrote, are “a socialized industry, removed from the test of the market.” Compared with other utilities, that means that for highways:

  • There is no pricing;
  • Major investments are not financed via long-term revenue bonds;
  • Decisions on what gets built are made by politicians;
  • Proper maintenance gets what little funding is left over after legislators spend most of the budget on projects in their districts; and,
  • You are not a customer — just a “user.”

“In my new book, Rethinking America’s Highways, I make the case that because highways really are utilities, they need to be financed and operated as utilities, rather than as politicized, state-owned enterprises. That means each highway needs an owner. Highway customers should pay their highway bills directly to that owner, based on how much they use the roads and how damaging their vehicle is to the pavement. The owner should assess the need for new links or more lanes, and finance the construction by issuing long-term revenue bonds. Of course, as with any other major construction projects, they should have to comply with existing planning and environmental regulations.”

“This might sound like a libertarian fantasy, but it’s a model with a long history that stretches into the present day. Private turnpikes were the main inter-city roadways in 18th and 19th century Britain — and 19th century America. After WWII devastated Europe, three countries — France, Italy, and Spain — developed their major highway networks as investor-owned toll roads. Highways there remain very similar to our electric-utility franchises today. Companies bid for a long-term franchise to build and operate a particular highway, subject to the terms and conditions of a long-term contract called a “concession.” In the 1980s and ’90s, this model was embraced by the three largest metro areas in Australia as they sought to develop modern expressway systems. And by the dawn of our current century, private investment in long-term highway concessions was becoming common in most of the countries of Latin America, especially Brazil and Chile.”

It’s an interesting idea and article.

UT Engineering Building Construction Starting Summer 2018

LandTech prepared a topographic and utility location survey for the new Engineering building on the UT Campus.  Below is a portion of the mapping we prepared for this project:

ESB image

According to a recent WBIR news article, ground breaking for this project will begin this summer.

https://www-wbir-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/www.wbir.com/amp/article?section=news&subsection=local&headline=university-of-tennessee-construction-speeds-up-for-the-summer&contentId=51-558799117

According to Andy Powers, Director of Design Services for UT, they’ve budgeted for a lot more campus construction, including:

  • $1 billion for new construction
  • $50 million for classroom renovations
  • $50 million for facility infrastructure improvements
  • $25 million for campus beautification
  • $2 million for sustainability