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Gilmerton Bridge Replacement Highlighted in Video
Posted by Tasha Weiss on July 23, 2014 at 5:43 PM.

gilmerton-bridge-video.jpgBridge engineering firm Modjeski and Masters has released a video detailing the replacement of the Henry G. Gilmerton Bridge in Chesapeake, Va. The video provides behind-the-scenes insight from the perspectives of the project team and stakeholders.


One of five critical bridges in the Hampton Roads region of Virginia, the Gilmerton Bridge is an essential hub for more than one million vehicular and marine travelers each month. The original bascule span’s 11-ft clearance made it the most frequently opened bridge in Hampton Roads with 7,500 openings per year.


The bridge needed to be replaced to accommodate future growth in an area with increasing traffic. It is predicted the new vertical lift bridge – built using accelerated bridge construction methods – will reduce bridge openings by 40%.

The city and U.S. Coast Guard required the new bridge to be built on the exact same alignment due to the geometry of the river and close proximity of a nearby railroad bridge. The 335-ft long, 85-ft wide lift span was erected on falsework up river and floated in place early last year – an operation considered to be the “crown jewel” for a project that had been in development for nearly 15 years.


The final lift bridge used a total of 5,000 tons of structural steel and 650 tons of miscellaneous steel. Banker Steel (an AISC/NSBA member and AISC certified fabricator) was the steel fabricator for the project and WSP Mountain Enterprises, Inc. (an AISC member) was the steel detailer.


You can read more about the Gilmerton Bridge replacement project in the January 2013 issue of MSC.

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Stability Conference Call for Abstracts
Posted by Tasha Weiss on July 22, 2014 at 11:33 AM.

Abstracts are now being accepted for the 2015 SSRC Annual Stability Conference, March 24-27 in Nashville, Tenn. The conference is held in conjunction with NASCC: The Steel Conference.


Researchers are encouraged to submit an abstract summarizing ongoing or recently completed research on stability of metal structures, or metal-concrete composite structures.


Click here for detailed information on submitting an abstract.


Click here to submit your abstract and complete the online form.


Abstracts are due by 5 p.m. (CDT) on September 2, 2014. This due date is firm and no late submissions will be accepted due to the tight schedule required for the final program.


The program Committee will make the final program selections based on the applicability of the subject, evaluation of the abstract, available space in the program and assurance that the author will attend the conference to present his/her paper. Notification of acceptance will be made the week of September 8, 2014. Full papers must be submitted by January 12, 2015.


For more information or questions about submitting abstracts, contact Janet Cummins, or 312.670.7015.


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Jeff Carlson Joins NSBA as Western Regional Director
Posted by Tasha Weiss on July 17, 2014 at 2:21 PM.

The Nationjeff-carlson-headshot_300.jpgal Steel Bridge Alliance welcomes Jeff Carlson, P.E., as its Western Regional Director. Carlson is responsible for working with state DOTs, bridge design consultants and construction professionals in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming and providing technical and project assistance and communicating the many advantages - from design flexibility to cost savings - that structural steel brings to bridge projects.


“Jeff’s background adds another dimension and a fresh perspective to the NSBA team,” said Bill McEleney, NSBA’s managing director. “His experience dealing directly with owners will surely be appreciated by our DOT colleagues as we work to better quantify the life-cycle advantages of steel bridges.”


Carlson brings more than a decade of project management and engineering experience to NSBA. Most recently he was a financial analyst and project manager for Omni Development Corporation in Denver, where he was responsible for managing real estate redevelopment projects which included overseeing several construction professionals, providing financial recommendations and developing budgets for presentation to the owner. Prior to that, he was a research analyst for Cornerstone Real Estate Advisors in Hartford, Conn. Before entering the real estate market, he worked for six years as a professional engineer and project manager for Martin/Martin Consulting Engineers in Lakewood, Colo.


He earned a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Denver, a Master of Science in Structural Engineering degree from the University of Texas at Austin and a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering degree from Colorado State University.


Carlson resides in Englewood, Colo., and can be reached at 720.440.3011 or To view a map of NSBA staff’s territories, visit the NSBA website homepage (

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Connection Design Webinar Series
Posted by Tasha Weiss on July 16, 2014 at 9:00 AM.

AISC is offering a four-part webinar series “Fundamentals of Connection Design” beginning on July 31. The series provides an in-depth look at the essentials of connection design.


The first two sessions in the series will focus on fundamental concepts while the last two will concentrate on shear connections. Examples will be presented to demonstrate the concepts discussed.


Each 1.5-hour webinar will begin at 1:30 p.m. EDT:


Session 1: July 31 - Fundamental Concepts, Part I
This live webinar provides an overview of basic connection types including tension, compression, framing and moment connections. Classification of beam-to-column connections will be discussed, followed by a review of limit states in the load path. Bolt related limit states and detailing will be reviewed with discussions on different types of bolts and bolt connections, bolt installation, bolt shear strength and combined shear plus tension strength. Basic weld related limit states will also be reviewed.


Session 2: August 7 - Fundamental Concepts, Part II
This live webinar will discuss eccentric bolted and welded connections, direct loaded tension connections, block shear, the Whitmore Section and light bracing connections. Beam bearing plate design and column base plate design will be discussed. Design examples will be presented to demonstrate concepts discussed.


Session 3: August 21 - Shear Connections, Part I
This live webinar will provide an overview of various types of shear connections, including the advantages and disadvantages of each. Design considerations for shear connections, a review of limit states for block shear and flexural strength in coped beams, and shear end-plate and double angle connection design will also be discussed. Design examples will be presented to demonstrate the concepts discussed.


Session 4: August 28 - Shear Connections, Part II
This live webinar will cover single plate connection design, including both conventional and extended single plate connections. The differences between the two are contrasted in design examples. The design of single angle connections, stiffened and unstiffened seated connections will also be discussed. The presentation of stiffened seated connections will include discussion on a simplified approach.


This series offers two registration options: a 4-session package (only one continuing education certificate issued) or individual webinars (unlimited number of continuing education certificates issued per connection).


For registration details and pricing, visit


The series is an encore presentation of sessions 1-4 from AISC’s first Night School course, Fundamentals of Connection Design, and also serves as a precursor to the fall Night School course - Connection Design 2, which will begin September 22. To learn more about Night School, visit

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Steel Shots: Girder-Slab Project Tour
Posted by Tasha Weiss on July 14, 2014 at 2:11 PM.


The Circa 922 high-rise residential building is the first project in Chicago to use the Girder-Slab system (a registered trademark of Girder-Slab Technologies LLC) — a structural steel and precast hollow core structure — which provided open bays, architectural flexibility, low cost and a quick construction schedule. Photo: AISC


An 11-story, 157,000-sq.-ft steel residential high-rise known as Circa 922 is currently under construction in downtown Chicago. It’s the first project in the city to be built using the Girder-Slab system (a registered trademark of Girder-Slab Technologies LLC) — and AISC is offering a free site tour next Thursday, July 24.


Guests will learn how the Girder-Slab system provided the perfect solution for challenges faced by the project team. The event will begin at 11:30 a.m. at the Crowne Plaza Chicago Metro Downtown (733 West Madison Street), where guests will receive lunch and a brief presentation by leaders from the project team of Magnusson Klemencic Associates and Focus Construction Inc. Attendees will then walk to the Circa 922 project site for the tour, which will begin at 12:30 p.m.


The event is open to the first 100 participants who register. (Note that only guests with hardhats will be allowed on the tour.)


The project site tour and presentation is a sneak peek at the exciting type of SteelDay events scheduled to take place in Chicago and around the country on September 19. SteelDay is an annual event sponsored by AISC and hosted by its members and partners celebrating structural steel. Visit to learn more about hosting or attending an event. (More on SteelDay coming soon!)

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Chicago’s Clark St. Bridge Turns 85
Posted by Tasha Weiss on July 11, 2014 at 9:35 AM.

clark-street-bridge.jpg“Great Parade to Open Span, Hail New Era - Clark Bridge to Be Ready July 10” - that’s the headline from the Chicago Daily Tribune in June of 1929 before the Clark St. Bridge opened 85 years ago yesterday.


The parade consisted of 10 groups depicting the development of Chicago’s Clark St. from trail to modern city thoroughfare. Organized by local merchants, the parade was a celebration of the new steel bascule bridge and a show of appreciation to the Chicago Public Works Department for completing the bridge six months ahead of schedule. This was the last bridge built using pony trusses in the city’s downtown area.


The Clark St. Bridge is operated about 40 times each year for seasonal sailboat runs to and from Lake Michigan. Currently the south bank of the Chicago River between State and LaSalle streets is undergoing a transformation as the Chicago Riverwalk is being extended west. After the dust clears next spring it will be possible for pedestrians to walk underneath the bridge. There are many reasons to like Chicago’s Riverwalk, but for a bridge enthusiast the ability to watch a bridge rise above you is a special treat.


For more information about the Clark St. Bridge, contact Jim Phillips (who provided this commentary) at 312.540.0696, or visit his website, which features multimedia pages for all of the Chicago Loop bridges.

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New Format for Engineering Journal
Posted by Tasha Weiss on July 8, 2014 at 4:52 PM.

AISC’s Engineering Journal has replaced its digital edition browser with a single downloadable PDF file at The current issue of EJ will be available for download and viewing until the next issue is posted.


Articles for the complete collection of EJ will remain available individually in the searchable archives. Downloads of current and past articles in PDF format are free to AISC members and ePubs subscribers. Non-AISC members may subscribe to EJ at the AISC bookstore.


ej-q3.jpgThe third quarter 2014 issue of EJ is now available online at


This issue of EJ is the second of two issues with a special focus on the “simple for dead load–continuous for live load” — or SDCL — design concept. The premise behind the concept is that girders erected as simple spans can be made to function under live load as continuous spans by providing continuity with a unique field connection. In addition to covering research, the issue highlights a successful SDCL bridge project from the engineer’s perspective.





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Rethinking Architecture
Posted by Tasha Weiss on July 7, 2014 at 6:02 PM.

“The idea of rethinking your space is essential for a city today,” said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel in his keynote address at the 2014 AIA Convention in Chicago last month (at which AISC was an exhibitor).


Emanuel shared top keynote billing with two prominent Chicago designers—architect Jeanne Gang and artist Theaster Gates—and talked about next year’s inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial (an international forum for the exploration of new ideas in architecture) as well as the city’s position as an influential leader in architecture.


“People from around the world are now migrating back to cities,” the mayor said. “In the same way that 100 years ago Chicago was at the epicenter of modern architecture, we are now at the epicenter of rethinking livable, sustainable and beautiful cities—and your work is essential to think through that effort.”


The idea of ‘rethinking’ architecture seemed to be a running theme throughout the AIA show, which attracted nearly 20,000 attendees this year, according to show organizers.


During the show, AIA announced the availability of its “AIA Foresight Report,” which highlights key trends in the architecture marketplace and their impact on business and growth. One key trend is that design firms are exploring alternative ways to attract and retain key talent, including flexible work plans (hours and location) that allow for better work-life balance, improved work environments, profit sharing programs, fringe benefits and ongoing education. Another key finding was that crowdfunding and crowdsourcing signal major changes in the role of users and clients in the design process. The report also points out that more than half of design firm leaders in North America expect growth for the next year, and the  Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates nearly 19,000 architecture jobs will be added to the U.S. economy between 2012 and 2022, which represents a greater-than-average growth rate of 17%.


AIA also announced the release of seven updated documents in the AIA Contract Documents Design-Build family. These documents are among the most frequently used documents of the entire AIA portfolio and are preferred by the industry at large for use on commercial design-build projects.


“These updated design-build documents strengthen the relationship between the owner and design-builder by fostering greater collaboration and increased communication between the parties,” said Deborah DeBernard, the AIA’s vice president and general manager of AIA Contract Documents.


2014-aia-show-booth.jpgThe main focus of the AISC’s booth was curved steel (click on the image to enlarge), which had architects reimagining their designs with the flexibility and creativity that steel brings to a project. A wide-flange curved steel sculpture provided by AISC member Chicago Metal Rolled Products was a big draw, spurring questions about how steel can be bent. And the AISC-sponsored session “Innovative Applications in Architecturally Exposed Structural Steel (AESS)” was packed with attendees. Terri Meyer Boake, professor at the School of Architecture at the University of Waterloo, Cambridge, Ontario, Canada, talked about the many advantages of AESS, such as how it eliminates the need for cover systems due to its modern aesthetic.


You can find information about curved steel and AESS on AISC’s website or by contacting AISC’s Steel Solutions Center at 866.ASK.AISC or


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Steel Shots: Campus Revival
Posted by Tasha Weiss on July 7, 2014 at 8:45 AM.

The Cowles Hall structural rehabilitation project at Elmira College in Elmira, N.Y., reinforces old with new. Photo: Elmira College


Cowles Hall is at the center of Elmira College’s campus. But at one point it was the entire campus.


The facility was built in 1855 when the college was founded in Elmira, N.Y. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it served as the sole facility for the all-female college (which has been coeducational since 1969), functioning as a student dormitory, dining hall, classroom space and library; it was later named after Dr. Augustus Cowles, the College’s first president.


In 2010, Elmira College, which now has nearly 1,200 students, commissioned an extensive $29 million stabilization and restoration of Cowles Hall, which had been out of use for nearly 20 years. The project was completed in two parts: 1) stabilization of the foundation and construction of a shell in preparation for interior demolition and 2) rebuilding the interior floor by floor.


In addition to the critical structural rehabilitation, rebuilding the interior meant restoring the building’s main level to its original function as a public campus space. This included a new four-story, 3,345-sq.-ft chapel in the east wing and a lounge, offices and conference room in the west wing, all connected by an octagonal central Remembrance Hall reception area. The upper three floors were prepared as flex space for a future nursing school.


To learn more about the project, read the article in the current July issue of MSC.

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Project Plan Room App
Posted by Tasha Weiss on July 3, 2014 at 10:31 AM.

dexter-chaney-project-plan-room-app-image.jpgDexter + Chaney, providers of Spectrum Construction Software, has unveiled its new Project Plan Room mobile app (click on image to enlarge). The app allows users to distribute construction documents, communicate data and relay project information in real time to employees’ and subcontractors’ mobile devices on the jobsite. It follows the recently-released Payroll Time Entry app as the second mobile app offered by the company.
The Project Plan Room app was designed to increase efficiency and collaboration between field staff and the office. It synchronizes with Spectrum’s Plan Room application, providing project team members access to the latest versions of plans, specifications, drawings and other documents. Users can also zoom in on documents for more details or a closer look at drawings and sketches.
The app works online or offline, with no dependency on an Internet connection in order to operate or view documents. Once an Internet connection is established, synchronizing with Spectrum for updates or new document versions is a one-tap function.
The Project Plan Room app was developed for Android, Apple, and Windows Surface tablets and is currently available from the online app stores.

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