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Monday, March 2, 2009

Structural engineers’ role in improving the sustainability of our nation’s infrastructure

Structural engineers’ role in improving the sustainability of our nation’s infrastructure
Sandeep P. Mathur, P.E., SECB, M.ASCE

Large parts of our nation's transportation network are in need of repair, rehabilitation, restoration, or replacement, demanding massive amounts of resources. In the transportation design arena, structural engineers have a dominant voice in the selection of the form, type, and location of various elements of the infrastructure network, and thus, can exert greater influence in improving the sustainability aspects of these elements. Several aspects of design are discussed below.

Context-sensitive solutions—Structural engineers are encouraged to participate actively in context-sensitive design efforts and develop application of criteria and standards so that roads and bridges can better fit in their context. Context-sensitive solutions (CSS) is a collaborative, interdisciplinary approach that involves key stakeholders to develop a transportation facility that considers the total context within which a project will exist. Some of the areas for structural engineers to utilize the CSS methodology may include the following:

  • specify use of locally available materials;
  • consider during design phase the function of streets and roads relative to their context in terms of access, speed, and mobility for all users;
  • improve the compatibility of roads and bridges with the environment by using vegetation, finishes, and other features that accentuate and improve esthetic appeal for users both on and off the roadway, while providing environmentally friendly surroundings; and
  • select alignments, bridge skews, and pier locations to minimize footprint and environmental disturbance.
...continue reading....http://www.gostructural.com/article.asp?id=3573

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