The overall theme of this month’s newsletter is Structures. The Structural Engineering Institute (SEI) Boston Chapter is the featured technical institute, the biennial structural lecture series recently concluded, and this issue offers several structural-themed articles. There are, however, several other important items that I would like to highlight including the first Charles C. Ladd Memorial Lecture and developments at the national level on transportation funding.
The US House of Representatives has officially approved the Surface Transportation Reauthorization & Reform (STRR) Act of 2015, a six-year bipartisan bill that will provide flat-level funding. The $325 billion bill was approved by a vote of 363-64. A last-minute amendment was added to STRR that secured an additional $40 billion in revenue from an unused Federal Reserve account. This means that even though this bill is funded for six years, it does not increase highway and transit funding over current amounts. This bill must now be reconciled with the Senate’s DRIVE Act in a conference committee. It is hoped that a compromise bill will emerge and be passed by November 20, which is the date that the short-term extension expires. A concern is that the bill will only continue the status quo and not increase funding levels needed to address infrastructure needs.
The funding gap is growing and our aging infrastructure needs greater investment. To find out more about the condition of our infrastructure and the cost to consumers, read ASCE’s Report Card for America’s Infrastructure and ASCE’s Failure to Act Report. Also consider becoming involved with the BSCES Government Affairs & Professional Practice Committee (contact AnaCristina Fragoso or Bill Lyons) and sign up for ASCE’s Key Contacts Program. Also mark your calendars for ASCE’s Legislative Fly-In on March 15-16, 2016 in Washington, DC and Engineers and Land Surveyors Day at the Massachusetts State House on Tuesday, May 10, 2016. These programs offer a unique opportunity to meet with elected officials to discuss matters important to the engineering profession including transportation funding.
BSCES is excited to sponsor the first Charles C. Ladd Memorial Lecture on Monday, November 16. John T. Germaine, ScD, of Tufts University will discuss the SHANSEP concept which was developed by Charles Ladd and Roger Foott. Professor Germaine will discuss the results of an experimental program that has resulted in modifications to the SHANSEP equation. For more information, click here.
Another geotechnical event is being sponsored by the Southeastern Massachusetts Committee. Representatives from Geopier Foundation Company, Inc. and Design/Build Geotechnical, LLC will discuss aggregate pier ground support systems. This event is geared to geotechnical, structural, and civil engineers, as well as others who wish to learn more about design considerations and construction techniques for these systems. For more information, click here.
The Transportation & Development Institute Boston Chapter of BSCES is also pleased to sponsor a roundabout webinar on Wednesday, November 18th. This is a great opportunity for you and your colleagues to learn more about design, outreach, and maintenance considerations. Unlimited viewers are allowed for each registered seat. For more information, click here.
There are two Massport related events in December. On December 1st, the Coasts, Oceans, Ports & Rivers Institute and the Environmental & Water Resources Institute Boston Chapters will co-sponsor a lecture by Robbin Peach, MPA, MA, program manager of resiliency at Massport. She will discuss how Massport makes its assets more resilient to flooding. The second event is co-sponsored by the Transportation & Development Institute Boston Chapter and the Younger Member Group. This event will allow participants to experience a flight simulation experience and will take place in a facility that mimics the control tower with full animation. For more information about these events, click here.
The Environmental & Water Resources Institute Boston Chapter will also sponsor a HEC-RAS 2D & GRASS GIS Hydraulic Modeling workshops on December 8th and 15th. Karen Madsen, PE and Derek Etkin, PE will be the speakers. For more information, click here.
I also wish to highlight two other Younger Member Group events. The group will be hosting a holiday party on December 10th and they are currently organizing their Holiday Meal Drive through the Greater Boston Food Bank. Every $20 donated equates to five nutritious Thanksgiving meals. During this season of giving, please consider making a donation. The deadline is November 26th. You can donate by clicking here.
The BSCES Public Awareness & Outreach Committee is also seeking mentors for the Model Bridge Competition, which is recently underway, and Future City Competition on January 16th. For more information on volunteering opportunities or becoming part of the BSCES Public Awareness & Outreach Committee, please contact Olivia Richards.
The SEI Boston Chapter has continued their long standing tradition of sponsoring the biennial lecture series. As in previous years, this was another successful series. Wicked Fast Bridge Construction proved to be a popular topic and BSCES thanks the superb speakers, who made this event successful, as well as Peter Keeping and the SEI Boston Chapter committee members, who planned every detail of the event. It is no surprise that last year the SEI Boston Chapter was awarded the best Structural Institute nationally by ASCE.
BSCES also just submitted its application for the 2015 ASCE Outstanding Section/Branch Nomination (Very Large Section). This application includes several categories and requires in-depth documentation of all of our activities, events, publications, advocacy, outreach, etc. We have been fortunate to have received this award three of the past four years. This is a testament to our volunteers and to our committees, institute chapters and technical groups. Special thanks to Awards Committee Chair Bruce Jacobs for coordinating and completing this application.
In closing, I would like to thank all of our corporate sponsors, particularly this month’s featured sponsor, Louis Berger. We are grateful to Louis Berger’s long-time support of BSCES and encourage you to read their feature article about MassDOT Route 128/Interstate 95 Add-A-Lane Westwood-Dedham-Needham, MA written by Larry Cash, PE, from MassDOT and Malek Al-Khatib, PE, and Daniel Deng, PE, from Louis Berger. This is consistent with the overall theme of this month’s newsletter, Structures, and I urge you learn more about BSCES’ Structural Engineering Institute which is chaired by Peter Keeping of HNTB. You can read his article about the committee on page X or contact him if you wish to become involved with the committee here. I also want to wish all of you a very happy Thanksgiving.
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