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Ivan Viest, Ph.D., Composite Construction Expert
Posted by Tasha Weiss on February 15, 2012 at 12:22 PM.

ivan_viest.jpgIvan M. Viest, 89, of Bethlehem, Pa., died Saturday, February 11, 2012 at Kirkland Village, Bethlehem. He served for four decades on the AISC Specification Committee. In 2004 he received an AISC Special Achievement Award honoring his pioneering research and development work on composite design.


Viest was born October 10, 1922 in Bratislavia, Slovakia, the son of Ivan G. Viest and Maria Zacharova. He immigrated to the U.S. in 1946, after completing his civil engineering studies at the Slovak Technical University in Bratislava. He was a Rotary Scholar at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta. In 1948, he joined the faculty at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana where he completed his doctoral studies in 1951. There he met his wife, Barbara K. Stevenson, in 1952 as she was completing her studies in chemistry at the university. They were married in May 1953.


Viest left the University of Illinois in 1957 to become a bridge engineer at the American Association of State Highway Officials (AASHO). He joined Bethlehem Steel in 1961 as a structural engineer in its new Sales Engineering Division, where he attained the position of assistant manager in 1974 and worked until his retirement in 1983.


Viest was a recognized expert in the area of composite construction, which led to the publication of his first book in 1958. He served as Bethlehem Steel’s representative on the AISI Engineering Subcommittee that initiated significant research in steel structures, particularly for earthquake resistance. He became a member of the AISC Specification Committee in 1961 and served in that capacity for 40 years.


His achievements resulted in his election to the National Academy of Engineering in 1978 and to becoming a Distinguished Member of the American Society of Civil Engineers in 1980. He was awarded a doctor honoris causa from Technical University of Kosice in 2002 in the Slovak Republic. Upon his retirement from Bethlehem Steel, Viest opened a private consulting practice. He devoted significant time writing histories, such as the 75 years of the Engineering Foundation which he co-authored in 1991 with historian Lance Metz. As editor-in-chief, he also provided the overall coordination of the book Composite Construction-Design for Buildings, published by McGraw-Hill in cooperation with ASCE in 1997.


He wrote his autobiography, An Immigrant’s Story, in 2006. He also developed the English translation of his uncle General Rudolf M. Viest’s handwritten diaries, which chronicled his time in exile in London during World War II. General Viest was a member of the Czechoslovakia government and became a commander of the Army in Slovakia in 1944. He was captured by the Germans in 1944 and died in Berlin in 1945. Both are texts are available at


In addition to his involvement in engineering and interest in history, Viest was an avid sportsman and traveler. He was preceded in death by his wife, Barbara, who died on January 24, 2012, and his older sister, Zora, who died in Slovakia in 2002. He is survived by his younger sister, Tatiana Maria Simkova, and several nieces and nephews in Slovakia.

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Have You Added Steel Profiles to Your ‘Playlist’?
Posted by Tasha Weiss on February 14, 2012 at 2:50 PM.

Ok, we understand you may prefer listening to your favorite tunes during your daily commute. But what better way to gain inspiration on a work day or down time than to delve into fascinating conversations with leading experts in the steel design and construction industry? More than a than a year ago AISC launched its series of free monthly podcasts, “Steel Profiles,” and if you haven’t tuned in yet, you’re missing a valuable and enjoyable resource on topics relevant to what you do.



At your convenience you can listen to these discussions with your favorite steel experts, hosted by AISC staffer Margaret Matthew, and learn interesting and useful tidbits that you likely won’t hear anywhere else. For example, listen to this short excerpt by “The Father of LRFD,” Ted Galambos, P.E., Ph.D., to hear his top piece of advice to engineering students.


Intrigued? You can listen to the entire conversation and all 15 Steel Profiles podcasts at, where you’ll also find a new podcast on the first Friday of each month. The series is available for easy online streaming and downloading on AISC’s website and on iTunes (search “AISC Steel Profiles.” You can also click “subscribe” to have new episodes automatically downloaded for you for free - there may be a slight delay on new episode availability in iTunes - and if you’re using a mobile device, the “subscribe” option is not available).


The latest episode features a 30-minute interview with Lawrence A. Kloiber, P.E., consultant to LeJeune Steel Co. who also serves on the AISC Specification Committee. Listen to highlights from his 40-year career in the steel construction industry such as his work on monumental projects like the Minneapolis Convention Center, as well as his thoughts on the next big structural steel innovation. Listen now at

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The Next-Gen Bungee Cord
Posted by Tom Klemens on February 13, 2012 at 10:52 AM.

lr-1.jpgYou may not need this every day in the office, but where was it last weekend when you were trying to tie down the ladder on your luggage rack? And actually, who couldn’t think of a dozen more uses for the LoopRope?


It saves time - especially when securing unwieldy objects - and also increases safety. No more snap back when your bungee cord hook slips free and (whiz!) watch out there, Lucy! Military grade S-type stainless steel LoopClips with gates ensure positive attachment and also allow you attach LoopRopes end to end without worrying about their coming apart.


All kidding aside, the company website’s safety page offers a link to a chilling four-page “Bungee Cord Safety Analysis” which reports on laboratory measurments of “hook speed.” Did you know that if you stretch a 36-in. bungee cord an additional 18 in. then let go of the hook, it will snap back at about 45 mph or faster? That’s something to avoid, and this product can help by providing better connections.


Simple concept, cool tool. Here’s a link to a two-minute YouTube video overview:


For more information or to buy online, go to


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Steel Shots: Happy 90th Anniversary, Wells St. Bridge!
Posted by Tasha Weiss on February 10, 2012 at 1:18 PM.


Opened on February 11, 1922, the Wells Street Bridge spans the Chicago River, standing east of the Franklin Street Bridge and southeast of the Merchandise Mart. Connecting the Near North Side of the city with “The Loop,” this double decked bascule bridge carries three lanes of traffic south over the river with sidewalks on both sides of the street, and the upper deck serves as a track for two of Chicago Transit Authority’s ‘L’ train lines. (Click the photo to view an aerial shot of the bridge’s position amongst three other Chicago River bridge crossings - we’ll make it easy on you, it’s the second bridge from the background)  Photo: MSC


Tomorrow marks 90 years of service for Chicago’s Wells Street Bridge, the city’s seventh downtown bridge to join the nonagenarian club. The bridge continues to serve as a main pedestrian and transportation crossing structure over the Chicago River, connecting the north and south sides of the city.


wellspr-2.jpg“Making Way for a New Bridge” was the December 5, 1921 headline in the Chicago Daily Tribune, reporting a weekend effort to replace the existing double-decked swing bridge at N. Wells Street with a new bascule bridge. Trains were stopped at the old bridge at 8 p.m. that Friday night and resumed crossing on the new bridge at 7 a.m. Monday morning - after only 59 hours. The official dedication and opening of the bridge took place on February 11, 1922, and also signified the beginning of the bascule bridge era.


To minimize traffic problems during the project, it was important to maintain rail service during the six years the bridge was under construction. The leaves of the bascule were built in the raised position while the existing bridge stayed in service. When the new bridge was almost complete, the old swing bridge was rotated open, cut up, and floated away. The leaves were then lowered and the new bascule was completed. This construction technique was first developed at W. Lake Street eight years earlier and perfected at N. Wells Street.
The bridge house plaque summarizes the key players in the design and construction of the bridge. Hugh E. Young was the design engineer and Edward H. Bennett was the consulting architect.


During the 1920s the Wells Street Bridge was raised about 2,500 times per year. As commercial river traffic migrated to the Port of Illinois, the number of lifts declined. Today this bridge is raised about 40 times per year to accommodate the migration of sailboats to and from the harbors in Lake Michigan, and it carries approximately 8,500 pedestrians, 8,500 vehicles, and 400 trains each day.


For more information about the Wells Street Bridge, contact Jim Phillips (who provided this commentary) at 312.540.0696 or visit the website at There you’ll find additional photos, project drawings, and videos about the bridge including a narrated tour. At the website’s left-hand column you’ll also see a list of multi-media pages for other Chicago Loop bridges.

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Another Reason to Sign Up for The Steel Conference
Posted by Tasha Weiss on February 9, 2012 at 11:45 AM.


For the first time, the World Steel Bridge Symposium joins NASCC: The Steel Conference, April 18-20, 2012, at the Gaylord Texan Convention Center near the Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport. By registering to attend this year’s NASCC, your registration fee gains you access to both conferences and more than 100 technical sessions, extensive tradeshow exhibits and valuable networking events. But that’s not all!


Sign up for the WSBS and you’ll receive a pre-commercial version of LRFD SIMON, a software solution for preliminary steel plate and box girder bridge design. Registered attendees will also receive a complimentary USB drive loaded with bridge design and construction resources including the Steel Bridge Design Handbook and its design examples.


You can view and download short descriptions of all conference sessions in the Advance Program. (See pages 8-11 for all WSBS sessions) Additional conference details are at


And remember that you can still save money on your NASCC registration by signing up early (the registration fee goes up each week). Register by midnight this Sunday and save $80 or more. What are you waiting for? Register now at

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Do You Ever Run Out of Bolts?
Posted by Ted Sheppard on February 8, 2012 at 1:20 PM.

Ted SheppardHow many jobs have you had where near the end you ran out of bolts of a certain length, or, simply ran out of bolts period? It is costly. You end up having a truck with 10 partially filled bolt containers, all with different lot numbers. And if you are working on a fully tensioned job, you will have to do a lot of pre-installation testing for a relatively small amount of bolts. You may also have been delayed in finishing due to availability and delivery schedules. Consequently, your customer will not be happy.

Bolt discipline is not easy unless you develop a system and follow it on every job from day one. Actually, it should start before you even get to the project site. Here are some tips on how to minimize coming up short on your projects:

  • Request bolt information from the fabricator in advance of shipment. You should request bolt summaries and point-to-point bolt lists. If “X” bolts are to be used, be sure that the entry information is on the erection diagrams. A rule of thumb is that the bolt should be entered from the clip side or the side of the thinnest exterior ply.
  • Make sure everyone has properly sized spud wrenches for the job. Make sure you have bolt bags available, not only for the bolters, but also for the raising gang. For distribution purposes you will need bolt baskets or some container that can hold bolts for several points at a time. 
  • Verify the training of the workers. Can they identify the components of a fastener assembly and are they familiar with the markings on bolt heads and nut faces? Are they aware of the hole sizes used for a given diameter of bolt? Do they know when washers are required? Can they determine the proper length of a bolt required by measuring the grip?
  • When you receive bolts, check the received material against the manifest. Check the manifest against the bolt summaries. Check for transit damage. Report all discrepancies as soon as possible. If replacement bolts are needed, get the ball rolling early in the game.
  • Record all lot numbers with bolt sizes (length and diameter) and quantities. Prepare fastener assemblies by lot combinations, if necessary, to be ready for the pre-installation verification testing. Have a sampling plan in place. Document the pre-installation verification testing. Request permission to re-use the pre-installation testing bolts in the structure (galvanized and A490 bolts may not be re-used under any
    circumstances). Verify that there are enough extra bolts by lot to perform the pre-installation verification testing. (Refer to the AISC Code of Standard Practice if the fabricator is not inclined to do so)
  • Determine if the rotational capacity test is required, and if it is, does it have to be done in the field?
    If it must be done and done in the field, prepare fastener assemblies for these tests and prepare forms for the documentation of the tests.

Repeat all of the above steps for each shipment of bolts that you receive. After you a receive shipment, proceed with the following tips:

  • After a shipment is received, put bolt cans or kegs in a storage location that is protected from the elements. Do not open a keg until that particular size is needed. Replace lids on cans after bolts have been removed.
  • Make sure the connectors have the correct bolts to put in place when hanging the iron.
    (Remember the bolt bags mentioned above?) Mark points in advance so that the bolters know what bolt goes where. Put bolts in bolt baskets or other containers so that there will be bolts for several points in the
    same area. Do not leave bolt baskets with bolts in them when it starts to rain or if a dust storm hits the job.
  • Near the end of the day, have someone police the area and pick up dropped bolts.
    Inspect these for damaged threads and clean and lubricate the threads where necessary. Do not leave the splines from TC bolts lying around on the iron. Pick up the splines from the ground or decked floors, and dispose of them.
  • If several bolt cans or kegs have been opened for a few days, check the lubrication and make sure that the bolts are in good shape. TC bolts can only be lubricated by the manufacturer or under its supervision. Normal lost bolt counts should be covered by the excess provided by the fabricator. If you have a system in place, there will be no wasted material and no original shortages from the supplier. It requires diligence and determination, but in the end, it will save you money.

Meet the MSC contributing editors.

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Twelve Honored for Exceptional Structural Steel Industry Achievements
Posted by Tasha Weiss on February 7, 2012 at 12:48 PM.

On April 18, AISC will recognize 12 prominent engineering, design, and education professionals at the 2012 NASCC: The Steel Conference in Dallas (April 18-20) for their exceptional contributions to the advancement of the structural steel design and construction industry.


Two of AISC’s highest honors, the Robert P. Stupp Award for Leadership Excellence and the J. Lloyd Kimbrough Award, are rarely given and will both be presented at the event. The Stupp Award gives special recognition to those who have provided unparalleled leadership in the steel construction industry, and the Kimbrough Award honors the preeminent engineers and architects who have made an outstanding contribution to the industry through their design work. Daniel DiMicco, chairman and chief executive officer of Nucor Corporation, is the recipient of the Stupp Award for his advocacy of domestic manufacturing jobs and championing technological advancements in steelmaking and environmental leadership. John Kulicki, P.E., Ph.D., chairman and chief executive officer of Modjeski and Masters, is the recipient of the Kimbrough Award for leading bridge design and analysis work for such notable structures as the long-span Second Blue Water Bridge between Port Huron, Mich., and Point Edward, Ontario, which won both a 1997 ASCE Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Award and a Prize Bridge Award by NSBA in 2000.


The Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to four individuals who have provided great service, over a sustained period of years, to AISC and the structural steel design/construction/academic community. Tom Ferrell of Ferrell Engineering is honored for his extensive connection design contributions to the AISC Specification and Manual; Louis Geschwindner for his distinguished 40-year career of service to the design community, which has culminated in his continuing service as professor emeritus of architectural engineering at the Pennsylvania State University. Previously an AISC vice president, he was responsible for leading the development of the 2005 AISC Specification for Structural Steel Buildings and the 13th Edition AISC Steel Construction Manual, as well as all other technical activities of the Institute. Today he serves on the AISC Committee on Specifications and chairs Task Committee 4, Member Design; James Malley of Degenkolb Engineers for his decades of contribution and leadership on the AISC Specifications Task Committee on Seismic Design. He was a key figure in helping AISC meet the challenges that followed the Northridge Earthquake, and his technical contributions helped form the foundation for the continued usefulness and success of steel in seismic design; Alexander Wilson, chair of the Steel Bridge Task Force, for his influence in the development of bridge materials specifications and the latest high-performance steel (HPS70W). He has served as this engineering generation’s key resource for metallurgical information on steel bridges and remains very active with NSBA members.


The Special Achievement Award will be presented to six individuals who have demonstrated notable achievements in structural steel design, construction, research or education, and have made a positive and substantial impact on the industry. Robert Conner, Ph.D., associate professor at Purdue University, is honored for his work on fatigue and fracture of steel bridge structures. He rewrote the AREMA and AASHTO fatigue specifications, and his field measurements are the basis for the double cycle counts in the fatigue of orthotropic bridges; Samuel Easterling, Ph.D., professor at Virginia Tech, for his research on composite construction and his contributions to AISC 360, Chapter I, Design of Composite Members; Eric Hines of LeMessurier Consultants for his innovative use of long-span steel truss framing and cast connections for the Wind Technology Testing Center in Charlestown, Mass; Keith Landwehr for his leadership in the AISC Certification Committee and significant contributions to quality certification, as well as his work on the 2010 AISC Specification including the development of Chapter N; Jim McMinimee, principal engineer, JMC Consulting, L.C., for his leadership and innovation in steel framing solutions for a self-propelled modular transportation system; John Parucki for his more than a decade of leadership and great work as National Head Judge for the ASCE/AISC Student Steel Bridge Competition.


View photos of all of the award winners in the February issue of MSC (pages 62-63), available now. (You can view past award winners by visiting


You also can catch these award winners in person at NASCC when you register to attend the conference at Time is running short to save on your registration! The conference registration fee is currently $380. That price goes up $10 each Monday between now and the conference, so don’t delay.

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Threat to Wreck Britain’s Forgotten Steel Heritage Looms
Posted by Tasha Weiss on February 6, 2012 at 2:38 PM.

Portland Works is one of the early metalworking facilities constructed in Great Britain, where the industrialization of today’s steel industry took root, grew and flourished. The modern era in steelmaking began with the introduction nearby, in the late 1850s, of British inventor Henry Bessemer’s process for producing large quantities of steel. Prior to that steel had been difficult and expensive to make and as a result was used only in small items, such as tools and cutlery. Portland Works, located in Sheffield, South Yorkshire UK, was built in 1877 to produce cutlery and was the first place in the world to manufacture stainless steel cutlery.


Today, this historic place of steel’s heritage and the future of its tenants are under threat from commercial development. Despite its need of major repairs and restoration, the building still operates as an important part of the industrial community and provider of local jobs, offering low-cost workshop space to small manufacturing businesses and independent artists and craftspeople. Instead of preserving the facility, the owners are looking to sell it with planning permission.


A gleam of hope for saving this historic steelmaking facility is the Portland Works project, a group of tenant and supporter volunteers who are working to protect and develop this community of creative and traditional industries by buying the building and running it as a social enterprise. Currently the group is in constructive negotiations with the owners to buy, manage and conserve Portland Works.


If you’re interested in donating to Portland Works’ purchase and restoration of the facility, you can learn more by visiting its donation page at  Alternatively, you can purchase shares in the project. Details are at, and the share offer deadline has been extended to June 2012.


You can view photos and videos of the building and Portland Works project at For more information about Portland Works, go to

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Steel Shots: California Bridge Gets a (Seismic) Makeover
Posted by Tasha Weiss on February 3, 2012 at 2:10 PM.


Adding steel cross braces to stiffen tall concrete piers made isolation bearings an effective seismic solution for the retrofit of the Antioch Toll Bridge in Northern California. Photo: Y.P. Kim


If you’re a bridge in California, you’re going to need your outfit updated every so often to prevent any damage to your apparel. The Antioch Toll Bridge in Northern California recently received a seismic makeover and is one of the last two toll bridges to be retrofitted in the northern part of the state.


The seismic retrofit of the bridge consisted of replacing the existing bearings at all 39 piers and at the abutments with seismic isolation bearings. In order to make the isolation bearings work effectively, it was also necessary to install steel bracing in the tall piers to make the pier portal frames stiffer. The 1,850 tons of steel for the retrofit was fabricated and prime painted by AISC member Brooklyn Iron Works, Inc., Spokane, Wash.


The main structure is 8,650-ft long with 40 spans arching over San Joaquin River. The midsection of the bridge rises as high as 147 ft to allow for ship passage. The superstructure consists of two weathering steel plate girders that are continuous over the piers. The girders are in excellent condition, having formed the expected uniform protective outer coating with no degradation in structural capacity.


The Antioch Toll Bridge was constructed in 1978, so the lessons learned from the San Fernando Earthquake of 1971 were implemented in the original design. For this reason, the bridge was long considered to have sufficient earthquake resistant features and deemed safe. However, reevaluating the bridge based on on the latest seismic design criteria and an extensive geotechnical investigation, Caltrans concluded that the bridge needed to be retrofitted.


The seismic retrofit based on isolating the superstructure was a simple but effective solution. Implementing this scheme by adding steel cross braces to the concrete pier frames was an ideal match. Shop fabricated segments of the steel braces were field assembled with bolted connections and the bracing was easily integrated to the existing concrete frame by connecting the two different elements through a cast-in-place concrete pedestal.


Due to steel’s light weight, the additional weight of the bracing could be accommodated within the capacity of the existing foundation. Not requiring a foundation retrofit meant big savings in the construction cost and also minimized the disturbance to the sensitive environment.


You can read more about the seismic retrofit of the Antioch Toll Bridge in the February issue of MSC, available now.

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Huey P. Long Bridge Named Historic Landmark
Posted by Tasha Weiss on February 2, 2012 at 12:08 PM.

The Huey P. Long Bridge, which crosses the Mississippi River in New Orleans, has been named a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). The designation makes this steel structure one of fewer than 250 ASCE landmarks in the world including the Eiffel Tower, the Panama Canal and the U.S. Capitol Building. You can find a full list of appointed landmarks on the ASCE website at, all illustrating the creativity and innovative spirit of civil engineers.


The Huey P. Long Bridge is now in the final phase of a $1.2 billion widening project. When completed in 2013, the expanded bridge will have an additional travel lane and inside and outside shoulders to each side of the bridge. The total width will more than double the current driving surface to 43 ft wide. The project also includes construction of new elevated bridge approaches and ramps, as well as new intersections with traffic signals at Bridge City Avenue and Jefferson Highway. huey-p-winning-photo.jpg


(Click on the thumbnail photo to view one of our previous news posts with links to more photos and information about the Huey P. Long Bridge widening project.)


“The ASCE is nationally recognizing what civil engineers in New Orleans have always known,” said New Orleans ASCE President Malay Ghose Hajra, Ph.D., P.E. “The design and construction of the Huey P. Long Bridge was a groundbreaking achievement for our country and the world. We are extremely proud to have played a role in getting this historic recognition for this historic bridge.”


Design of the bridge began in 1926 and at that time, engineers had only limited tools for measuring and calculating, unlike today. They designed the bridge for safety and strength to deal with difficult, sandy soil conditions. It was the first Mississippi River Bridge in New Orleans when it opened in 1935 and the longest railroad bridge in the world for about 15 years. Prior to the bridge being built, railroad cars had to be ferried across the river.


Louisiana Governor Huey P. Long was responsible for the addition of driving lanes for automobiles during construction of the bridge, which began in 1932. He provided the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad with $7 million to build the two narrow lanes in each direction. The lanes were adequate for the types of vehicles and limited traffic of the time, but are not wide enough by current standards.


“Huey Long prided himself on forward-thinking and well-designed infrastructure projects,” said Russell Long Mosely, the great-grandson of Huey P. Long. “Although completed in 1935, the Huey P. Long Bridge in New Orleans remains structurally sound. It serves millions of motorists each year and remains one of the longest and highest railroad bridges in the United States. The family of Huey Long is delighted that this bridge has been designated as a Civil Engineering Landmark.”

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