Seattle will be home to the first rail service over a floating bridge
Engineers are set to undertake the build of the world’s first rail service, which will be constructed over a floating bridge in a project costing $3.7 billion. If successful, the new infrastructure will connect the Mercer, Bellevue and Redmond, spanning 14 miles and ease daily congestion within the region, utilising the I-90 bridge across Lake Washington.
Building on a floating bridge will be a complex challenge for construction workers and engineers attached to the project. WSP, Balfour Beatty, SC Solutions, Inc., and the Transportation Technology Center, Inc are all working in collaboration to tackle the associated risks and provide world-class safety by providing key solutions.
John Sleavin, the Deputy Executive Director of Technical Oversight for Sound Transit has said: “The bridge goes up and down, also when the wind blows the bridge will go slightly north or south, because it’s on anchor cables much like a boat will kind of move around. And, then as traffic loads, the bridge will also move a little left and right.”
Engineers have since undertaken a number of trials in Colorado, such as running trains over constructed tracks by Balfour Beatty outside Colorado, which mimicked the same conditions as the proposed floating bridge structure. Jesse Engineering were also involved in the construction of the required track bridges.
The trials were successful and met each technical requirement, and incorporated extreme weather conditions and various factors which would impact on the safety of 50000 citizens who would come to utilise the bridge upon completion.
217,000 extra workers needed to meet COVID-19 recovery
As the construction industry’s recovery progresses, the Construction Industry Training Board’s (CITB) Construction Skills Network (CSN) forecasts have led the organisation to believe the industry will reach 2019 levels of output in 2022.
The CSN says there will be an increase in the number of construction workers in “most English regions” by 2025, with demands forecasted at a 1.7% rise for the East Midlands, and a 1.4% rise for the West Midlands.
Scotland and Wales are also predicted to see a surge in demand for construction workers with a total increase of 1.4% and 0.7% respectively. The North East is the only region to see a slight decline in workforce demand at -0.1%.
Wood and interior fit-out trades among the most desirable during COVID-19
According to CSN’s forecast, the trades that are the most wanted are those of wood and interior fit-outs, with both requiring around 5,500 workers per year. Other in-demand trades include technical staff and other construction professionals, requiring 5,150 workers each year, construction managers at 3,600, and the electrical installation trade, which requires 3,400 staff per year.
There is also expected to be demand for 7,850 non-construction, office-based professionals and technical and IT support staff each year. Steve Radley, Policy Director at CITB, said: “It’s great to see construction coming back so strongly and creating lots of job opportunities.
“We need to adopt new approaches to meet these growing skills needs and deliver these quickly. We are working closely with the government and FE to build better bridges between FE and work and make apprenticeships more flexible. We are also making significant investments in supporting work experience that make it easier for employers to bring in new blood.
“We must also make sure that we invest in the skills that will drive change and meet new and growing needs such as Net Zero emissions and Building Safety. We will be announcing plans soon to tackle specific skills and occupations such as leadership and management, digital skills, and skills related to energy efficiency”, he said.