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27 April, Global: Podcasts focus on engineers working during the pandemic

Every day in April, ASCE Plot Points is calling a different civil engineer from around the world to find out how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting their life, their community, their work and the civil engineering profession. Catch up here:

24 April, UK: Toll operators feel the pain

A number of toll operators are planning to seek government funding when travel restrictions are lifted. Cash payments have been suspended on a number of crossings including the Humber Bridge and Clifton Suspension Bridge. On some they have been eliminated completely, such as on the Tamar Bridge. 

17 April, USA: Quiet roads allow bridge project to start early

Work to replace the Grist Mill Bridge in Hampden, Maine, has been brought forward to take advantage of the reduced vehicle traffic on local roads. Demolition had originally been scheduled start once the school year had ended. Maine Department of Transportation's contractor for the US$8.9 million scheme is T Buck Construction. The original structure consists of three bridges built on top of one another, with the most recent one dating to approximately 1950. The project also includes reconstruction of a stretch of Route 1A.

17 April, USA: Input sought on safety hazards arising from pandemic

The US arm of structural safety body Cross is seeking reports on new hazards arising from the Covid-19 pandemic. More details here.

15 April, Panama and Costa Rica: Work on Sixaola Binational Bridge resumes

The Ministry of Health of Panama has authorised work to restart this week on its new link with Costa Rica. All Panama’s public works had been suspended by national decree on 26 March as a result of the pandemic. The last two spans over the Sixaola River are scheduled to be launched in the course of the next few weeks. Protective measures are reported to be in place for all site workers.

10 April, Italy: Safety measures in place at work sites in Italy

Salini Impregilo has released a video enumerating its enhanced health and saftey policies to mitigate against COVID-19, including at the construction site of the replacement Polcevera Viaduct:


7 April, Global:  New tool seeks to aid public consultation during pandemic

Aecom has launched a web-based tool to allow clients to continue driving public engagement with their project during the coronavirus pandemic. Read more here.

7 April, Global: Representative body for consulting engineers releases COVID-19 guidance

The International Federation of Consulting Engineers has released a guidance document titled, FIDIC Guidance for Global Consulting Engineering Businesses. The purpose of the document is to "provide some guidance to FIDIC member associations and consulting engineering firms to survive the crisis and to thrive beyond it". The full document can be found here.

3 April, UK: Engineering firm unveils new ventilator system 

Responding to the UK Government’s call to manufacturers to support the provision of critical care equipment to the NHS, JFD – part of engineering services company James Fisher and Sons – today unveiled its patented InVicto ventilator.

The producted has been fully tested and is ready to be manufactured and distributed to take pressure off intensive care units across the world. The ventilator uses up to 90% less oxygen than others on the market, according to a company press release, and the design aligns with UK Government recommendations based on clinical experiences in China and Italy.

1 April, Canada: Rainbow of colour illuminates Quebec bridge

The new Samuel de Champlain bridge has been lit up in an array of colour as a symbol of hope amid the current crisis. The bridge glowed brightly for the first time on Sunday evening as Quebecers, alongside many communities across the world, have embraced the ça va bien aller” (it’s going to be okay) movement, which is represented by a rainbow. The bridge is lit using Lumenbeam luminaires, which create a continuous and dynamic line of light along the structure.

31 March, UK: Trade body publishes guidance on contractual issues caused by coronavirus

BuildUK has released a document providing guidance on how the construction sector can deal with the impact of COVID-19 on contracts. As part of the this, BuildUK, one of the UK's largest trade bodies for the building sector, has advised that an audit of current contracts is undertaken now, since the coronavirus is likely to mean that more time is needed to fulfil contractual obligations. Rising costs, labour and materials shortages, and reduced profitability are other potential issues the organisation has flagged. 

The document, titled Guidance on Contractual Issues Caused by Coronavirus, can be found here

31 March, USA: Petition seeks bridge closures to keep tourists out

A petition has been started by someone in the Cape Cod peninsula in Massachusetts, USA, seeking for bridges to be closed to stop the spread of Covid-19. The person is asking for the bridges to be used only by year-round residents, medical personnel and trucks delivering essential supplies.  “While we love our tourists and summer residents this is not the time to come to the cape, out [sic] hospital can’t handle it,” said the petition.

30 March, USA: Florida bridge lit up in support of frontline workers

The John Ringling Causeway Bridge, visible from Sarasota Memorial Hospital, has been lit up in the colours of the US flag as a sign of support for those working on the frontline in the battle with coronavirus. “Aside from the reminder that we Americans can overcome anything — I’d like the colors to also symbolise our community’s thanks and appreciation for our local first responders (red), our essential workforce members (white), and of course our medical professionals (blue) battling on the front lines of this pandemic,” Sarasota City Commissioner Hagen Brody, who had made the request to the Florida Department of Transportation a week ago, told local media.

27 March, Canada: Pedestrian bridge operators take steps to maintain ‘social distancing’

A pedestrian bridge in Saskatoon, Canada, has been closed to help prevent people coming into close contact with one another during the COVID-19 pandemic. The city decided to close the CP Pedestrian Bridge as it is not wide enough to practise social distancing - keeping a distance of at least 2m from others.  

27 March, UK: Clifton Suspension Bridge goes contactless

Toll payments in cash are no longer accepted on the famous suspension bridge that was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Other COVID-19-related measures introduced on the 156-year-old structure include a one-way pedestrian system on the footways and the closure of the visitor centre.

27 March, USA: International Bridge Conference postponed

The 37th edition of the IBC scheduled for 8-11 June in Pittsburgh, USA has been postponed. New dates will be announced here.

27 March, USA: Illinois bridge shutdown to go ahead despite pandemic

The closure of the Murray Baker Bridge over the Illinois River is set to take place as planned on 29 March, when workers will close east- and west-bound lanes. The single cantilever bridge will reopen on 1 November, following a US$42-million refurbishment project that will include the laying of a new deck and repainting. Several measures will be taken to reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus, with workers being asked to avoid tool sharing, use disposable hand towels and change work clothes before or immediately after arriving home.

25 March, Canada: Sid Buckwold Bridge rehabilitation delayed

The last phase of the US$10.6 million Sid Buckwold Bridge rehabilitation project in the city of Saskatoon, Canada has been halted for two weeks. "After careful consideration, our partners at Allan Construction have decided to defer the Sid Buckwold Bridge construction project until Monday, April 6, barring any further unforeseen circumstances," a press release from the city said.

24 March, UK: Trade body publishes guidance on protecting workforce

According to a Site Operating Procedures document created by BuildUK, one of the largest trade bodies representing the UK’s construction and building sector, "sites operating during the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic need to ensure they are protecting their workforce and minimising the risk of spread of infection," adding, "If an activity cannot be undertaken safely due to a lack of suitably qualified personnel being available or social distancing being implemented, it should not take place."

The full guidance can be found here.

23 March, USA: Construction stops on interstate bridge

Work on the new Interstate 74 bridge has been stopped after a worker for the contractor tested positive for COVID-19, according to a statement by Iowa Department of Transportation. The US$322-million Mississippi River crossing is set to connect Moline, Illinois, and Bettendorf, Iowa, but it is not clear to what extent the closure will affect the project timeline, with the bridge scheduled for completion in 2021. Contractor, Lunda Construction Company, currently expects to resume construction on 30 March. 

17 March, USA: Pennsylvania halts all bridge construction

Pennsylvania is the first US state to halt road and bridge construction in response to the COVID-19 crisis, with the state Department of Transportation and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission ordering contractors to stop work on ongoing projects for two weeks as of midnight.