Fluor and AECOM consortium to build multi-billion-dollar US-Canada bridge
A project to build a huge bridge between Detroit, US, and Windsor, Canada, has been awarded to a consortium of construction companies which includes Fluor Corporation and AECOM.
The Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority (WDBA), established by the Canadian government, selected the Bridging North America group to construct the Gordie Howe International Bridge ahead of two rival consortia.
While exact details of the financial value are yet to be announced, previous estimates indicate and approximate cost of $4bn. The project will be delivered through a public-private partnership and is expected to break ground this year.
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Terence Easton, President of Fluor’s infrastructure business, commented: “We are looking forward to partnering with WDBA to reach financial close later this year and ultimately deliver a durable, long-lasting, landmark bridge with a unique visual presence for the local community and international travellers.”
Other companies involved in the Bridging North America group include ACS Infrastructure Canada, Dragados Canada, RBC Dominion Securities, Carlos Fernandez Casado S.L/FHECOR Ingenieros Consultores, Moriyama and Teshima Architects, and Smith-Miller + Hawkinson Architects.
Dwight Duncan, Chair, WDBA Board of Directors, added: “This is an exciting time for WDBA and for communities on both sides of the border.
“The selection of Bridging North America as the Preferred Proponent is another step forward towards the start of construction of the Gordie Howe International Bridge – the largest infrastructure project along the Canada-US border and one which will stimulate the economies in Canada and the United States.”
The six-lane bridge will provide vital added capacity along what is the busiest US-Canada trade corridor and is expected to deliver enhanced border processing.
Once completed, it will also be the longest cable-stayed bridge in North America.
University of Dresden constructs carbon concrete building
The Technical University of Dresden, in partnership with German architecture firm Henn, is constructing the first building to be made out of concrete and carbon fibre, rather than traditional steel.
The combination of materials, known as, “carbon concrete” has the same structural strength as its steel-reinforced alternative but less concrete is used, according to researchers at the university.
The building, called “The Cube” is currently under construction at the University of Dresden’s campus in Germany, and is believed to be the first carbon concrete building in the world. Strengthening the concrete, the carbon fibre yarns are used to create a mesh into which the concrete is then poured.
Unlike steel, the mesh is rust-proof meaning that the lifespan of carbon concrete is longer than that of the more typical steel-reinforced concrete. This also allows the layers to be much thinner than steel.
The design and shape of The Cube
According to the companies, the flexibility of carbon fibre allows the walls to fold up and become a roof. In a statement talking about the building’s design elements, Hen said: “The design of The Cube reinterprets the fluid, textile nature of carbon fibres by seamlessly merging the ceiling and walls in a single form, suggesting a future architecture in which environmentally conscious design is paired with formal freedom and a radical rethinking of essential architectural elements.
"The wall and ceiling are no longer separate components but functionally merge into one another as an organic continuum.” Displayed as a showpiece for TU Dresden’s major project, backed by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, The Cube aims to explore the potential uses of carbon concrete in construction.
"Carbon concrete could contribute to more flexible and resource-saving construction processes, and switching to carbon concrete could reduce the CO2 emissions from construction by up to 50%," Henn said in a statement.
Bio-based carbon fibre under development to reduce carbon footprint
While carbon fibre may be lighter and stronger than steel, it has a much higher carbon footprint. Describing the material’s impact on the environment, Dr Erik Frank, Senior Carbon Scientist at the German Institute of Textile and Fibre Research Denkendorf (DITF), said it is “usually very bad.” To reduce the carbon footprint, Frank is finding ways to make carbon fibre out of lignin, a common plant-based substance found in the paper manufacturing industry.