Writings by Andrea Watts

Articles on sustainable forestry, agriculture, and other topics


Construction Project Profiles

Seattle’s New $28M Locomotive Facility Picks Up Steam

Construction Equipment Guide
May 8, 2018

With the piling work completed for the new Amtrak locomotive service facility, crews are now pouring its concrete foundation and installing the underground mechanical, electrical and utilities. Although the project is only 38 percent complete, construction is ahead of schedule.

“We’re scheduled to turn over the building to Amtrak at the end of next January,” said Cody Glasgow, project manager of PCL Construction. Read more…


MassDOT’s $317M Whittier Bridge/I-95 Improvement Project in Final Phase

Construction Equipment Guide
March 15, 2018

The five-year Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) Whittier Bridge/I-95 Improvement project is now in its final six months. With the construction of the new Whittier Bridge complete, crews are removing the old bridge’s foundations from the Merrimack River and paving the new lanes on I-95 within the project corridor.

“MassDOT is very pleased with the aesthetic look of the new bridges and the quality of the final product on the overall project, as well as the ability to open the new bridge and adjoining roadway section up to four lanes in each direction later this year,” said Ernie Monroe, the MassDOT resident engineer for the project. “Overall, the project is a success.”Read more…

Cellulose-Infused Concrete Is One Step Closer to Reality

Construction Equipment Guide
December 6, 2017

On a sunny summer day at Oregon State University, before an audience of researchers and representatives from the construction industry, a Knife River-owned ready-mix cement truck poured a batch of concrete. By all appearances the concrete looked similar to concrete poured at a construction site with one notable exception. This concrete had wood in it — more specifically cellulose nanocrystals (CNC). If this test batch of concrete yields the same strength and curing results in a real-world setting as has been found in the laboratory, CNC very likely could be a gamechanger for the concrete industry. Read more…

FWTA’s $1B TEXRail Project on Time

Construction Equipment Guide
October 10, 2017

With the construction of the rail line on schedule and the field testing of the first train set for late fall 2017, the Fort Worth Transportation Authority’s (FWTA) TEXRail commuter rail project is meeting its target goal of beginning service in late 2018. And if the project forecast’s hold true, an estimated 8,000 people per day will be riding the rails instead of driving cars when heading to downtown Fort Worth or to the Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) International Airport. Read more…

Hanford Site Receives Official Shutdown Order, Begins Demo

Construction Equipment Guide
September 26, 2017

In the west area of the Hanford Site’s Central Plateau, demolition is under way on a building that played a significant role in the United States’ weapons program history. From its production start in 1949 until its official shutdown in 1996, the Plutonium Finishing Plant (PFP) was responsible for producing two-thirds of Cold War-era’s plutonium. Once the official shutdown order was issued, the demolition of the building was certain but unlike other concrete and steel structures scheduled for demolition, excavators couldn’t just tear into the building. Read more…

Elliot Bay Seawall Project Nearing Completion

Construction Equipment Guide
March 20, 2017

After nearly three years of traffic and pedestrian detours throughout the city of Seattle’s historic waterfront, the Elliot Bay Seawall Project is nearing its anticipated completion in spring 2017. The project is a complete replacement from Yesler Way to Pine Street of the seawall’s early 20th-century design of old-growth timber beams that had protected the shoreline from the Puget Sound for nearly 70 years. Read more…

Decommissioning of SR 520 Floating Bridge on Schedule

Construction Equipment Guide
January 23, 2017

Since its opening in 1963, the state Route 520 Bridge provided Seattle and Eastside residents a shortcut across Lake Washington. By the 1990s, its 1950’s design couldn’t accommodate the increased number of vehicles crossing the lake, resulting in lengthy backups during rush hour. Discussion to replace the bridge began in 1997, and after nearly a decade of project designs and permit reviews, work commenced on a new SR 520 Bridge in August 2011. With the new bridge open to traffic in April 2016, decommissioning the old floating bridge is now under way. Read more…

New HQ for Idaho State Police’s District 5 Under Way

Construction Equipment Guide
October 26, 2016

The Idaho State Police’s District 5 is one of two districts that doesn’t have all its divisions combined into one facility, but not for long. Construction of a new 23,300 sq. ft. (2,165 sq m) facility in Pocatello, Idaho, is under way, and following its grand opening in May 2017, the district will be able to deliver improved service to the public and foster a more cohesive team environment for its staff. Read more…

Solvay’s Longview Expansion Nears October Completion

Construction Equipment Guide
September 28, 2016

The pulp and paper industry may be traditionally associated with the production of pulp from wood for use in newsprint and other paper products, but there is an emerging pulp market that Solvay Chemicals is looking to capitalize on, and it’s the reason behind their $22-million expansion of their hydrogen peroxide production plant in Longview, Wash. Read more…

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