Projects to Watch 2017-07-03T11:36:28+00:00

These projects (or events) have caught the eye of the media and the public.

Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge (HKZM)
Tappan Zee Bridge Replacement
Flint Water Crisis
Bertha and the Alaska Way Viaduct
Oroville Dam
Interstate 69 in Indiana

Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge (HKZM)

The Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macau Bridge (also known as HKZM) is a design-build project that will span some 31 miles across the Pearl River Delta. When completed, its series of bridges, man-made islands, roads and tunnels will be the longest cross-sea combined highway in the world, connecting Hong Kong with Macau. The design-builder, China Communications Construction Company,  broke ground in 2009 with a promise to finish the project by 2016 at an estimated cost of $10.6 billion. Delays have ensued, however, including a shifting artificial island, a scandal over faked concrete tests, and environmental litigation. Nine workers have died on the job and up to 600 more have been injured – and reported costs have climbed to $11.4 billion. The media has reported the project could open as late as 2021.

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Tappan Zee Bridge Replacement (New York)

A twin cable-stayed bridge being built to replace the current Tappan Zee Bridge across the Hudson River that took decades to get approved by government officials. Construction began in 2013 as a design-build project. The replacement is expected to open in 2018 at a cost of at least $4 billion.

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Flint Water Crisis (Michigan)

Flint, Michigan was once the home of General Motors’ largest auto plant. Its water quality has always been poor, but in 2015 it was revealed that the city’s aging pipe system was corroding and sloughing dangerous levels of lead into the water. As of May 2017, lawsuits against the government for hundreds of millions of dollars were pending, and four government officials have been charged with felonies related to the crisis.

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Bertha and Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement (Seattle, Washington)

This $3.2 billion Seattle project is actually a collection of 32 individual projects that launched in 2010 to replace an outdated section of State Route 99. The most famous part is the 2-mile-long tunnel dug by the “Bertha” drill, which started burrowing into the Seattle soil in summer 2013. After a two-year delay to diagnose and repair technical troubles with the drill, Bertha finished tunneling on April 4, 2017. State and local government officials estimate the entire project will be completed in 2023.

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Oroville Dam (California)

On February 7, 2017, the bottom of the Oroville Dam’s concrete spillway ruptured, forcing crews to work day and night for weeks to fight more damage to the structure. Meanwhile 188,000 residents were evacuated in case one of the world’s tallest earthen dams collapsed. The crews reinforced sections of the spillway so that it could be reopened without compromising the dam itself. What was left, however, was a 770-foot structure that needed about $275 million in essential repairs before the next winter’s rain, plus more work in 2018. Kiewit Corp. of Omaha, Neb., is the contractor tasked with fixing the dam’s main spillway and an emergency spillway that also was damaged. The company said it will have up to 500 workers on-site by August and plans to work 20 hours a day, six days week, to get as much work as possible done this summer.

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Interstate 69 (Indiana)

I-69 Development Partners originally bid $325 million to win the highway project, which runs approximately 27 miles between Bloomington, Ind. and Martinsville, Ind. The group, led by Isolux Infrastructure Netherlands, was to arrange its own financing to design and build the project. In return, the state would make annual payments of nearly $22 million for the group to operate and maintain the highway for 35 years after its completion. Construction in 2014 started four months late, however, amid reports of delays to design, documentation and permits. At one point, the lead contractor fell behind paying its subcontractor, which sparked more delays. The project’s bond rating went from B- to CCC- before the state, after failing to find more investors, took over the project in 2017, nearly a year after its originally-predicted October 2016 opening. The project’s completion date has been pushed back to August 2018.

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