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Steel Structure Trivia: The Gateway Arch
Posted by Tasha Weiss on March 29, 2013 at 9:59 AM.


Here’s MSC’s special NASCC Steel Structure Trivia question! The Gateway Arch alongside the Mississippi River in St. Louis is the tallest of the country’s national monuments (at 630 ft) and is truly visually inspiring. The arch celebrates the beauty of structural steel, as well as the U.S. spirit of westward expansion from the mid-1800s. Completed in October 1965, the arch was built using how many tons of stainless steel? Photo: David Preston/Gateway Arch Riverfront


The Gateway Arch was built using 900 tons of stainless steel. Congratulations to our winners: Christopher Cichon of Sargent & Lundy, Chicago; Clifford Slaven of J. R. Hoe & Sons, Inc., Middlesboro, Ky.; and Fred Brown. They’ve all won complimentary full registration to NASCC: The Steel Conference in St. Louis, April 17-19, at America’s Center Convention Complex.


You can read about the steel fabrication for the Arch on the National Park Service website.


For more information about The Steel Conference, visit


See you in St. Louis!


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Win Free NASCC Registration with MSC’s Steel Structure Trivia!
Posted by Tasha Weiss on March 28, 2013 at 9:43 AM.

Earlier this month, AISC offered the opportunity to win free admission to this year’s NASCC: The Steel Conference with its Facebook and Twitter pages. If you missed the contest or didn’t win, you have another chance to win free registration to the conference with MSC!


Tomorrow morning, as part of MSC’s monthly Steel Structure Trivia contest on our website in the Steel in the News section, we’ll post a photo and associated trivia question at exactly 10 a.m. CDT about a steel structure located in St. Louis - which is where The Steel Conference is taking place, April 17-19, at America’s Center Convention Complex.


The first three people to email the correct answer to will receive a complimentary full registration certificate to the conference, which includes admission to all technical sessions, the exhibition hall and Welcome Reception, keynote address and the T.R. Higgins Award Lecture. It also includes admission to all Structural Stability Research Council sessions, all Technology in Steel Construction Conference sessions and the full Bridge Track.


Rules and how to enter:


  • In your email submission to, you must include: your first and last name and your answer to the trivia question. The deadline to submit your guess is noon (CDT) on Monday, April 1.


  • The answer to the trivia question will be revealed in the Steel Structure Trivia post in the afternoon on April 1 with the winners’ names. You may win the contest only one time.


  • Complimentary registration for the conference does not include travel or hotel expenses, or admittance to the short courses, tours, boxed lunches or the Conference Dinner: A Night at City Museum. Attendees may register for these events for an additional cost through the registration website at


  • The complimentary registration certificate is non-transferable and cannot be used to credit attendees who are already registered for the conference. No refunds will be given.


For more information about The Steel Conference, visit


Good luck! See you in St. Louis!

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Construction Employment Increases in Almost Half of U.S. Metro Areas
Posted by Tasha Weiss on March 25, 2013 at 5:44 PM.

Construction employment increased in 145 out of 339 U.S. metropolitan areas between January 2012 and January 2013, declined in 141 and was stagnant in 53, according to a new analysis of federal employment data released last week by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC).


Association officials noted that after years of declining construction employment, contractors in some metro areas are beginning to worry about the availability of skilled workers now that they have resumed hiring.


“Not only are a slight plurality of metro areas adding construction jobs, but those areas appear to be adding jobs at a faster rate than places where construction employment continues to decline,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Considering the already-released national construction employment figures for February, we are likely to see more metro areas adding jobs in the next report.”


Pascagoula, Miss. added the highest percentage of new construction jobs (45%, 1,500 jobs) followed by Brownsville-Harlingen, Texas (19%, 600 jobs); Cheyenne, Wyo. (19%, 500 jobs) and Haverhill-North Andover-Amesbury, Mass.-N.H. (18%, 600 jobs). Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas (10,100 jobs, 10%) added the most jobs. Other areas adding a large number of jobs included Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, Calif. (9,600 jobs, 9%); Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, Texas (8,700 jobs, 5%) and Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale, Ariz. (6,000 jobs, 7%).


The largest job losses were in Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, Ill. (-3,500 jobs, -3%) and Detroit-Livonia-Dearborn, Mich. (-3,500 jobs, -19%); followed by Northern Virginia (-3,200 jobs, -5%); and Charleston, W.V. (-2,900 jobs, -20%). Charleston, W.V. lost the highest percentage. Other areas experiencing large percentage declines in construction employment included Atlantic City-Hammonton, N.J. (-19%, -1,000 jobs); Detroit-Livonia-Dearborn, Mich.; Kankakee-Bradley, Ill. (-18%, -200 jobs) and Akron, Ohio (-17%, -1,800 jobs).


Association officials also noted that many former construction workers have left for other industries or retired. They added that the industry’s dire conditions have deterred many graduates from pursuing careers in construction and as a result, the industry is likely to face a shortage of available skilled workers in some parts of the country if the industry continues to add jobs.


“Between the challenges of attracting new recruits and retaining out-of-work ones, there aren’t that many skilled workers waiting for a call-back in many parts of the country,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “If the industry continues to add jobs, it won’t be long before contractors in some parts of the country are scrambling to find enough skilled workers to meet demand.”


You can view construction employment figures by state and rank on AGC’s website.

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Steel Shots: Flying by Montreal
Posted by Tasha Weiss on March 25, 2013 at 9:58 AM.


Arup’s recent projects in Quebec include the Beauharnois Canal Bridge, a one-mile bridge that crosses the Beauharnois Canal and uses more than 10,000 tons of steel. It is one of two twin bridges constructed as part of the $1.5-billion Autoroute 30 project, a new 26-mile highway link intended to bypass Montreal and alleviate traffic congestion. Photo: Anthony J Branco


Arup, a global multidisciplinary engineering and consulting firm, has recently expanded its reach in Canada with a new office in Montreal, Quebec. Active in Canada since 2000 when it opened its Toronto location, Arup has had a presence in Montreal to deliver the design of the recently opened Autoroute 30. The office will be led by Associate Principals Martin Landry, QAA, and Douglas Balmer, and will deliver engineering and consulting services to the Quebec market.


“Our new Montreal office further establishes Arup’s commitment and investment in the Canadian market and increases our ability to provide the highest-quality service to clients in multiple market sectors,” said Andrew McAlpine, principal at Arup. “We are excited to formalize and expand our presence in this vibrant community. We have had a warm welcome here and experienced growing interest in what Arup offers.”



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U.S. Infrastructure Grade Bumps Up Slightly
Posted by Tasha Weiss on March 21, 2013 at 5:36 PM.

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has given the nation’s infrastructure a near failing grade of “D+” overall in its 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, released earlier this week. However, it shows slight progress from the “D” rating given in the last Report Card in 2009.


The Report Card provides the nation with expert advice from the civil engineering community about the condition of U.S. infrastructure. ASCE has produced four previous reports—in 1998, 2001, 2005 and 2009—as well as the Progress Report for America’s Infrastructure, which was released in 2003. These assessments have highlighted that America’s critical infrastructure—principally its roads, bridges, drinking water systems, mass transit systems, schools, and systems for delivering energy—may soon fail to meet society’s needs.


“Since 1998, ASCE felt an obligation to make a report on the state of infrastructure in the U.S. to show that we are not making the necessary investments to improve it and not even making some of the investments that we need to maintain what we have,” explained ASCE’s immediate past president, Andrew W. Herrmann, P.E., SECB, F.ASCE, chair of the Advisory Council of ASCE’s 2009 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure and member of the present Advisory Council that produced the 2013 Report Card. “We as civil engineering professionals feel that it is our obligation to point out to the White House, Congress and state and local legislators what is happening to the infrastructure in the U.S.”


Final grades were assigned based on capacity to meet future demand, condition, funding, future needs, operation and maintenance, public safety, resilience and innovation.


The bridges sector earned a small improvement, to a “C+” this year from a “C” in 2009. Nevertheless, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) estimates that to eliminate the nation’s bridge deficient backlog by 2028, about $20.5 billion would need to be invested annually; only $12.8 billion is currently being spent annually.


Michael F. Britt, senior vice president and director of project development at bridge engineering firm Modjeski and Masters commented, “Making infrastructure repair and maintenance a priority is our responsibility and obligation for today’s travelers and future generations alike. With one in nine of our nation’s bridges classified as structurally deficient, it is more important than ever that state and federal governments work together to solve the problem of transportation funding.”


“We are making strides in the right direction, with the number of bridges classified as structurally deficient and functionally obsolete declining—but there is still much work to be done,” he added.


You can view ASCE’s 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure at

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Thornton Tomasetti Grows Sustainability Practice
Posted by Tasha Weiss on March 21, 2013 at 9:34 AM.

One year since Thornton Tomasetti acquired Portland, Me.-based green building consulting firm Fore Solutions, the international engineering firm welcomes the addition of San Francisco Bay Area-based green building consultants, Simon & Associates, Inc., to its Building Sustainability Practice.


hubbardsimon.jpgBefore Thornton Tomasetti principal and head of its Building Sustainability Practice, Gunnar Hubbard, started Fore Solutions, and Lynn N. Simon started Simon & Associates, Hubbard and Simon shared office space as architects in California and later their two firms collaborated on Las Vegas City Center Block C. Simon joins Thornton Tomasetti as a senior vice president and head of the practice’s West Coast region, collaborating once again with Hubbard. Photo: (From left) Gunnar Hubbard & Lynn N. Simon


Simon is a LEED Fellow, a green building pioneer and leading authority in the industry. Her Bay Area team of green building consultants offers the practice new expertise in healthy building materials and LEED for Neighborhood Development, while providing expanded capability in green building project management and a wealth of experience in California’s green building market.


“Having a highly respected firm such as Simon & Associates join us significantly strengthens our leadership in the sustainability field,” said Hubbard.


For more information about Thornton Tomasetti’s Building Sustainability Practice, visit

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Call for Papers Extended to April 1 for Pacific Structural Steel Conference
Posted by Tasha Weiss on March 20, 2013 at 10:05 AM.

From performance-based design to stability analysis, the Pacific Structural Steel Conference (PSSC) covers all aspects of steel design and construction in Pacific Rim countries. PSSC 2013 will be held in Singapore from October 8-11.


If you’re interested in presenting at the conference, visit to learn about the abstract submission process. The deadline to submit abstracts has been extended to April 1.


(And if you haven’t registered yet for the 2013 NASCC: The Steel Conference, there’s still time! The Steel Conference, scheduled for April 17-19 in St. Louis, features more than 100 technical sessions and 200 exhibitors. To see the complete program and to register, visit

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Last Chance to Register for March 20 HSS Connections Webinar
Posted by Tasha Weiss on March 18, 2013 at 5:10 PM.

Need practical, up-to-date information on designing structures with HSS connections? AISC is offering a live webinar “HSS Connections,” which happens this Wednesday, March 20. You still have time to register! Registration will remain open until 11 p.m. (PST) tomorrow evening.


This webinar provides an overview of AISC Design Guide 24: Hollow Structural Section Connections and discusses several HSS connections including shear connections, moment connections, tension and compression connections and HSS-to-HSS truss connections.


The 1.5-hour webinar will begin at the following times, relative to time zone:


10:30 a.m. PDT
11:30 a.m. MDT
12:30 p.m. CDT
1:30 p.m. EDT


The cost of the webinar is $185 for AISC members, $285 for non-members and $155 for students and educators. (Fees are based on a per-site connection basis. Purchase one site connection and any number of members in your company or organization may view the webinar at that site connection. All attendees are eligible to receive CEUs/PDHs.)


Registrants will receive access to a PDF file of the presentation slides prior to the webinar, CEU/PDH certificates for all attendees upon completion of the live webinar (0.15 CEUs/1.5 PDHs) and complete instructions for accessing the live webinar.


To register for the live webinar and learn more about other upcoming AISC webinars, visit

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Steel Shots: The Picasso
Posted by Tasha Weiss on March 18, 2013 at 1:10 PM.


The Picasso — an untitled monumental steel sculpture in downtown Chicago — was created by the great artist himself and dedicated in 1967 in Daley Plaza as a gift to the people of the city. The 50-ft-tall, 160-ton public artwork is the focal point of the “Picasso and Chicago” exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago, which runs through May 12. The steel for the sculpture was donated by U.S. Steel and fabricated and assembled at its Gary, Ind., facility. Photos: AISC


Standing 50 ft tall and weighing more than 160 tons, the Chicago Picasso (often referred to as The Picasso) by the renowned Spanish artist, Pablo Picasso, in Daley Plaza downtown is one of the city’s most famous sculptures and well-known landmarks.


The steel sculpture was commissioned by the architects of the Richard J. Daley Center in 1963 and facilitated by architect William Hartmann of architectural firm Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill. Picasso worked on this commission for two years, combining and modifying sketches and motifs from some of his earlier works in the design of the sculpture. He completed a 42-in. tall maquette, or model, of the sculpture in 1965 and approved a final model of the sculpture the next year.


In the summer of 1967, thousands of people gathered in Daley Plaza to witness the unveiling and dedication of the city’s newest piece of public art. In his dedication letter, Picasso gave the sculpture as a gift to the people of Chicago, without ever explaining what the sculpture was intended to represent, according to the City of Chicago’s official website.


picasso-sculpture_construction_sitn.jpgBuilt of Cor-Ten steel, the same material as the exterior of the Daley Center, the sculpture was fabricated and assembled by the American Bridge Company division of U.S. Steel in Gary, Ind. The left photo (click on the image to enlarge) shows the sculpture under construction in 1965 at the steel plant. The photo, as well as the marquette and sketches of the sculpture, may be seen today at the “Picasso and Chicago” exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago, which runs through May 12.











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NSBA Curved Bridges Course Coming to Chicago
Posted by Tasha Weiss on March 13, 2013 at 4:05 PM.

Want to know how to apply the principles of LRFD (Load and Resistance Factor Design) to the design, fabrication and construction of skewed and horizontally curved steel bridges? The National Steel Bridge Alliance (NSBA) is offering a 2 1/2-day educational training course, “Design and Fabrication of Curved and Skewed Steel Bridges,” April 23-25 at the Renaissance Chicago Downtown Hotel. The course is being held during the second half of the National Highway Institute’s five-day course on LRFD and Analysis of Curved Steel Highway Bridges (Course No. FHWA-NHI-130095).


Intended to enhance a working knowledge of the AASHTO LRFD Specifications for structural and bridge engineers, the curriculum focuses primarily on design of skewed and horizontally curved steel I-girder bridges; the accompanying Reference Manual also includes design examples for horizontally curved steel box-girder bridges.


The course provides a combination of instructor-led discussions and workshop exercises and includes LRFD theory applied to design examples, as well as step-by-step LRFD design procedures for skewed and curved steel bridges.


Upon completion of the course, participants will receive a certificate from NHI for 1.6 CEUs and be able to:


  • Describe the bridge superstructure design, fabrication and construction process for skewed or horizontally curved steel I-girder superstructures and for horizontally curved steel box-girder superstructures in accordance with the AASHTO LRFD Specifications
  • Illustrate the application of the AASHTO LRFD Specifications to the design process for skewed and curved steel bridge superstructures, taking into account erection and construction
  • Demonstrate an understanding of design specification requirements for skewed and curved steel girder bridges through the completion of participant exercises and guided walkthroughs and the review of design examples
  • Successfully complete applicable Learning Outcome Assessments with a combined score of 70% or higher


Space for the course is limited! Visit NSBA’s website to register.

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