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Add Structure to Summer Fun
Posted by Alison Trost on July 6, 2010 at 8:54 AM.

ASCE’s Structural Engineering Institute (SEI) has a web page for kids that offers an assortment of resources about engineering designed especially for the younger crowd. (Of course, grown-ups can enjoy it, too.)

Visit the SEI Kids Page to play free games, enter building contests, find engineering-related TV shows for kids, and explore other engineering sites that cater to young people.

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Steel Shots: Lifting a Huge Steel Frame
Posted by Alison Trost on July 2, 2010 at 9:43 AM.

Steel Shots: Lifting a Huge Steel Frame
Crews widening the Huey P. Long Bridge in New Orleans used multiple barges and heavy duty jacks on June 19 to lift a huge steel structure 135 ft into place. The 2,650-ton bridge segment is larger than a football field - it’s 528 ft long! - and took a little more than 12 hours to lift. (Photo: Louisiana TIMED Managers and LaDOTD)


The Huey P. Long Bridge was opened to traffic in 1935 and has served the New Orleans area residents and visitors in the same capacity for almost 75 years. Widening the bridge is part of Louisiana’s $5 billion Transportation Infrastructure Model for Economic Development (TIMED) program, which includes two other major bridge projects and widening 536 miles of state highways.


The widening of the Huey P. Long bridge is being accomplished by adding new trusses to each side of the bridge. Because of the heavy traffic, both on the bridge and the river, an innovative plan was devised to erect the widening trusses span by span. (Great plan; very challenging!) The approach was described by the engineers at the World Steel Bridge Symposium last fall. Download their paper by clicking here.


To watch a time-lapse video of the lift, go to the Huey P. Long Bridge page, which also provides background on the bridge and the need for this widening.


A new 3-minute video posted on the project’s Facebook page on June 29 includes Louisiana DOT Interim Secretary Sherri LeBas, the engineer and the contractor talking about the project while the lift proceeds in the background.


To learn more about the lift from the project manager’s website, visit You also can stay up to date about the progress on the project by following hueypbridge on Twitter and Facebook

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OSHA Targets Shear Studs Again
Posted by Alison Trost on July 1, 2010 at 7:59 AM.

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has let it be known that it’s “back in the enforcement business,” according to a new report from the Steel Erectors Association of American (SEAA).


According to SEAA: “OSHA targeted the steel erection industry early on, announcing in Directive CPL 02-01-046 (effective September 30, 2009) the unilateral revocation of the long-standing de minimis violation standard relating to fully planked or decked floors or nets, and shop-installed shear connectors set forth in the Final Rule on Safety Standards for Steel Erection (“Final Rule”), 29 C.F.R. 1926.754 (b)(3) and 1926.754(c)(1).”


As originally published in 2001, the rule requires fully planked or decked floor or nets within two stories or 30 ft. (whichever is less) under any erection work performed in multistory structures. It also prohibits employers from using shop-installed shear connectors. “In 2000, [SEAA] obtained written confirmation from OSHA that the Agency considered violation of the decking/netting and use of shop-installed shear connectors to be de minimis – carrying no penalty – so long as employers required use of 100 percent fall arrest protection. In March 2002, OSHA issued a directive formally announcing the de minimis violation policy, to which it had already agreed during the rulemaking process.”


Unfortunately, late last year, and for no apparent reason, OSHA announced it was rescinding the de minimus violation policy. In response, in November of 2009 SEAA filed a lawsuit against OSHA in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. According to SEAA “the directive should be struck down due to OSHA’s unlawful action in ignoring its own statutory procedures that require notice and comment.” As a result of the lawsuit, in April 2010 OSHA cancelled their 2009 directive but still maintains that use of 100 percent fall protection “is not ordinarily a basis for considering a failure to comply.” OSHA also stated, however, that “compliance staff retain their normal discretion to determine, on a case by case basis, that violations are de minimis where there is no direct or immediate relationship to safety or health, and the employer’s use of personal fall protective systems at all times may be a factor in such a determination.”


SEAA believes this directive still is not acceptable and is continuing its lawsuit. To read the full story, please visit

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