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The Infrastructure Show - Podcasts

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The Infrastructure Show - Podcasts

Professor Joseph Schofer, Thomas Herman, and Marion Sours

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The Infrastructure Show consists of monthly podcasts in which some of the nation’s top infrastructure experts discuss with host Professor Joseph Schofer of Northwestern University the condition of our infrastructure today, and what can be done about it. While many subjects are addressed, including repairs, upgrades and new construction, there is an emphasis on the topics of preventive and predictive maintenance, as well as “structural health monitoring” – a special focus of the Northwestern ...
 
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It’s the functionality of infrastructure that brings value, and when natural hazards disrupt that functionality, the costs can be high. This is a growing problem for transportation networks, which are being assaulted by wildfires, landslides, and floods with increasing frequency and severity. What does it take to keep a road network flowing when th…
 
Big infrastructure projects need big money, and larger projects rely on some kind of borrowing – using other people’s money for a period of time. To learn how infrastructure projects are financed through borrowing, we talk with Scott Trommer, Senior Director, Advisory Services US at WSP USA, a professional services firm specializing in, among other…
 
Electric power operates our homes and businesses, and it promises to be the future of mobility, as well. There is a constant need to match temporal and spatial variations in supply and demand for electricity across regions of the country. This need grows as we increase the share of electricity coming from renewable sources, particularly wind and so…
 
Building or replacing highway bridges quickly can save traffic delays by cutting on-site construction time. What are the design and construction strategies that make this possible? To answer this question we talk about Accelerated Bridge Construction (ABC) with Professor Atorod Azizinamini, who leads Florida International University’s USDOT-funded …
 
On January 1, 2021, a new life began for the century-old James A. Farley Post Office in Manhattan when it became the home of the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Train Hall serving Amtrak and Long Island Railroad passengers. Preserving the Beaux-Arts exterior of the McKim, Mead & White post office, architects created a 21st century interior space bridging N…
 
A national perspective on the condition and performance of our infrastructure is important for informing the dialog about investing in this system that is so important for supporting our society and economy. Every four years the American Society of Civil Engineers works with its volunteer members to produce a comprehensive report card on the state …
 
City streets do much more than just move traffic. They connect to our homes and businesses, supporting not just motor vehicles but pedestrian and bicycle traffic as well, and serving in the way of the ancient forum by proving spaces to shop, mingle, and play. Many large cities are diversifying the use of their streets by reconfiguring them to accom…
 
Railroads helped grow our nation, supporting settlement and economic growth from coast to coast. Today, the rail industry plays a central role in the most efficient freight and logistics system in the world. The 7 national, Class I railroads are well-known to most of us, but less visible yet no less significant in the U.S. freight industry are abou…
 
What’s the path forward for large cities once COVID-19 is controlled? Will workers and residents come back downtown? Will riders return to mass transit systems? How can we sustain them until then? Will the demand for private and public infrastructure rebound to attract investment and growth? Where will the money come from? To get some answers, we t…
 
Is the Internet a part of U.S. infrastructure? Although the physical infrastructure that carries the data is largely invisible, broadband Internet communication has become a backbone of our society and economy, carrying messages that support work, learning, purchasing, social connections, and medical services. Despite its centrality to daily life, …
 
River basins in the Midwestern U.S. are under growing threat from flooding driven by climate change. Within the flood control and protection portfolio of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is a large project to mitigate flood risk for the towns of Fargo, ND, and Moorhead, MN, its neighbor across the Red River. The design itself is informed by a large…
 
All tall structures are designed to sway in response to wind and earthquakes for reasons of efficiency and economy, but it is important to control that movement for the comfort of occupants. To learn about some of the technologies for managing the response of tall buildings to wind, we talk with Dr. Mark Nelson, who leads the Advanced Technology an…
 
Crossing the Piscataqua River at Portsmouth, N.H., the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge carries both road and rail traffic between Maine and New Hampshire. Its unique three-position vertical lift design accommodates recreational and less frequent commercial marine traffic, as well as occasional rail movements, in different ways to minimize delays to all u…
 
People began laying undersea cables to carry telegraph messages over 170 years ago. Today, modern submarine cables connect all continents except Antarctica, and even in the age of satellites, their importance in delivering global connectivity continues to grow. To help us understand the intricacies of these invisible links, we talk with Chris Carob…
 
Salt Lake City is replacing the landside infrastructure of its airport with a 21st century facility while airline operations continue. In fact, the slowdown in air travel due to the corona virus has presented airport management with an opportunity to accelerate construction and cut costs. To describe plans for the updated airport and how the pandem…
 
Rising sea level driven by climate change is threatening some coastal settlements with more frequent flooding and potential inundation. For some, the time may come to consider relocating to higher ground. This is a controversial and costly option, a difficult choice for communities and their leaders. In this podcast we talk with A.R. Siders, Assist…
 
When aging infrastructure needs repair or replacement, a primary challenge is finding the money. Bay City, Michigan, northwest of Detroit, faced this problem with two key bridges, and the community ultimately decided to sell the bridges to a private consortium that will pay for improvements and collect tolls to finance the projects. In this podcast…
 
Sometimes obsolete infrastructure can become a new asset. That’s Washington, D.C.’s plan for an unneeded highway bridge over the Anacostia River. The 11th Street Bridge Park, set for construction starting in 2021, will bring green and hard-surface open space, event venues, and new access to the river itself to the southeast sector of the District o…
 
Hampton Roads isn’t a road, but a body of water that links the James, Elizabeth and other rivers to the Atlantic Ocean. It is surrounded by Norfolk, Virginia Beach, and several other cities, and it’s the home of U.S. Naval sea and air operations and the Newport News shipyard. Several busy bridge-tunnel combinations span the 4-mile channel, and grow…
 
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