Two of the largest cities in the West are scheduled to see one of the largest installations of faster speed wideband technology later this year.
Verizon Wireless has announced that it is targeting Phoenix and Denver among a select list of some thirty cities to receive a technology that promises to be up to one hundred times faster than current wireless speed technology.
The New York-based Verizon, the single largest provider of wireless telecommunications in the country, has already launched its 5G services in Chicago and Minneapolis.
In a statement, Andy Choi, a spokesperson for Verizon, said “Life on 5G will move faster than the blink of an eye, and the uses are limitless. From autonomous vehicles, smart medical procedures, the boundaries of 5G are only limited by our imagination.”
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey said the new technology will “strengthen Arizona’s wireless infrastructure and help keep Arizona at the forefront of technological innovation.”
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock also hailed the news from Verizon, saying the installation of the ultra-wideband service is going to “put us on the leading edge of this new technology and will be a big boost to our residents and businesses once it’s rolled out here.”
By Garry Boulard
Members of the American Society of Civil Engineers have announced plans to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the completion of the historic Transcontinental Railroad next month in Sacramento.
The two-day event will focus on the actual building of the 1,912-mile railroad line that connected by track Omaha, Nebraska with the San Francisco Bay.
The project took six years to complete, between 1863 and 1869, and to this day is regarded as one of the greatest construction and engineering triumphs in U.S. history.
Civil engineer and scholar Raymond Paul Giroux is scheduled to speak at the upcoming Sacramento event. According to a publication called ASCE News, Giroux will emphasize in his talk not only the extraordinary work that went into building the railroad, but the planning and engineering that led to its completion.
In an interview with the publication, Giroux said while there remains “some casual understanding of the complexity of the effort required to plan the route,” he does not feel that “most published historical accounts of the route planning really do it justice.”
Giroux notes that the available documentation of the project indicates that “civil engineers took into consideration social and political factors as well as technical feasibility and financial viability of differing route options.”
Those engineers also analyzed the bridge, tunnel, and track construction costs before the work was launched.
Giroux contends that the lesson for today’s civil engineers is one that emphasizes the importance of understanding an entire project from the planning and design phase all the way through to construction.
He adds that those earlier engineers were only able to see the Transcontinental Railroad through to completion by the use of “extemporaneous temporary structures and work-around solutions to advance the railroad, while permanent solutions could be developed off of the critical path.”
The ASCE Transcontinental Railroad event is scheduled to take place between May 5 and 6 at the Sheraton Grand Sacramento Hotel.
By Garry Boulard
Five new ski trails, along with a new high-speed lift, are set for construction at the Eldora Mountain Resort in northern Colorado.
The project, to be built on land belonging to the Roosevelt National Forest, has now won the approval of the U.S. Forest Service.
Eldora officials had earlier said they also wanted to implement a series of site improvements on the north side of the resort, but decided to abandon those plans due to worries about the impact on an adjacent wildlife corridor.
Located in northern Colorado, some 47 miles to the west of Denver, the popular resort was opened in the early 1960s and is known for its glade skiing offerings and multi-line trails.
The U.S. Forest Service approval will give to the resort the opportunity to build on 62 acres.
The expansion project is part of a larger master development plan announced eight years ago that has since seen the building of three new runs, among other features.
The latest expansion will include 27 acres of trails, along with 35 acres of tree and glade skiing space, and a new high-speed lift.
In announcing the approval of the resort’s expansion plans, Monte Williams, a supervisor with the Forest Service, said that approval was the result of interested parties fashioning a plan that “will satisfy both the ski area’s growth and economic objectives as well as the community’s environmental concerns.”
Exactly when the work on the expansion project will begin has not yet been announced.
By Garry Boulard
A company wants to repurpose a vacant one-story warehouse structure in El Paso’s lower valley area, transforming the site into a new medical waste facility.
The Amarillo, Texas-based Medcare Environmental Solutions says that facility would be used for the treatment of biohazardous medical waste brought in from such sources as area hospitals, laboratories, and veterinarian offices.
The facility would be open 24 hours with the biohazardous materials stored both inside the building and at the building site at 9119 Billy the Kid Street.
According to documents, the water used in the process of treating the biohazardous material would eventually be discarded into the city’s sewer system.
The more than 11,000 square foot building planned for the facility’s operation houses a 9,600 square foot warehouse space as well as nearly 1,500 square feet of office space.
The company has earlier stated that its use of innovative technology guarantees the disposal of waste in both an “environmentally safe and economical manner.”
The project has sparked concerns among nearby residents and community activists regarding safety issues, and whether wastewater from the facility could end up in the city’s water supply.
Currently under review by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the facility is required to secure the approval of the City of El Paso before becoming operational.
By Garry Boulard
A controversial proposal currently being debated in Congress that is designed to address a wide array of ecological and environmental issues is not well thought out, says a new report issued by a Washington-based think tank.
The Green New Deal, modeled after a series of economic stimulus programs enacted by President Franklin Roosevelt during the Great Depression, is proposing the creation of a 100 percent zero-emission energy grid for the U.S. within the next decade.
The program, as introduced earlier this year by New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey, would place a greater investment on high-speed rail systems and electric cars.
It is also calling for the retrofitting of all existing buildings in the U.S. as part of a larger goal of achieving maximum energy efficiency.
Now, an economist with the American Enterprise Institute is saying that the goal of attaining that 100 percent zero-emission state would most likely prove too costly and may create additional emissions due to backup generation.
The Green New Deal would “yield no benefits in its central energy, environment, and climate context, but it would impose very large economic costs,” says the report, The Green New Deal: Economics and Policy Analytics.
The report contends that it would cost at least $490 billion annually to enact the Green New Deal’s clean electricity goal, a goal that would require the use of over 115 million acres of land.
The total price tag for the program, say the report, would be in excess of $9 trillion, a figure that excludes the “costs of massive shifts in the transportation sector mandated by the Green New Deal, the costs of the building retrofit objectives, the costs of high-speed rail, and other policies.”
Authored by Benjamin Zycher, an energy and environmental policy expert at the AEI, the report additionally charges that if enacted, the Green New Deal will increase the “power of government over the ability of individuals and businesses to use their resources in ways that they deem appropriate.”
The Green New Deal proposal is currently under review in the House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources.
By Garry Boulard
A much-delayed proposal to build the latest and last combined racetrack and casino in New Mexico may be getting a second look in the wake of a new state Racing Commission membership team.
Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has announced the appointment of five new members to the five-person commission, noting in a statement that she had “every confidence they will ably regulate and promote the continued development of this industry.”
One of the most-publicized issues the new members will confront is the building of a new racino, a project that has been talked about for the most part of the last decade.
Due to existing compacts with Native American tribes in the state that are already operating their own casinos, only six racinos are allowed in the state.
Five of those racinos are up and running in Albuquerque, Farmington, Hobbs, Ruidoso, and Sunland Park.
Which new racino proposal is ultimately approved by the New Mexico Racing Commission and where it will be built is expected to be one of the first challenges to be taken up by the body.
There are already five racino proposals which have been submitted to the commission. Three of those proposals would see the racino built in the Clovis area, while the other two are calling for its construction in either Lordsburg or Tucumcari.
The previous membership of the commission hired a company last year to put together an independent review of those applications.
To what degree the new membership will be guided by that review is not known. The commission is scheduled to hold its first meeting on May 16.
It is thought that a new racino would encompass at least 300 acres, costing anywhere from $70 million to $80 million to build.
By Garry Boulard
Renovation work is set to launch early this summer on the famous Sheraton Grand Hotel in downtown Phoenix.
Located at the corner of 3rd and Van Buran streets, the 32-story hotel will get a complete updating of all of its one thousand guest rooms, as well as a redesigned lobby space.
Originally owned by the City of Phoenix, the hotel cost $350 million to build and was opened to the public in the fall of 2008.
At the time of its opening, a reporter for the Arizona Republic who spent a night at the luxurious property, lauded its “plush pillows, the oversized gym, the restaurant, the Internet café; the lap pool, you name it.”
Also planned for the hotel’s upcoming renovation is the building of a new coffee bar, studio rooms, open community-style seating allowing for guests to work, and a new combined restaurant and bar.
The hotel was purchased last year from the city by Marriott International for $255 million. At the time of that transaction, Marriott said upcoming upgrades and renovations to the building would be designed to “transform the property into a cutting-edge model for the Sheraton brand.”
That work is expected to be completed sometime early next year.
By Garry Boulard
Plans have been announced for the opening of some nine hundred new 7-Eleven outlets between now and the end of the year.
The plan, as designed by the Dallas-based convenience store giant, folds into a larger corporation goal of adding as many as 20,000 additional locations within the next eight years.
With around 67,500 stores currently in operation, the 7-Eleven company has been looking for new and innovative ways to maintain its market presence.
Last month 7-Eleven announced it was opening a handful of what it is calling its “lab stores,” a new kind of format that will include bars with wine and beer on tap, restaurants, and coffee shops.
The first Lab Store has already opened in Dallas, with others expected to be inaugurated soon in Washington and San Diego.
In Taiwan, 7-Eleven has introduced a larger store concept that sells everything from clothing to household supplies, and books.
Now the world’s largest convenience retailer, 7-Eleven’s stores typically measure anywhere from 1,000 to 4,500 square feet. Those stores are often built as entirely new stand-alone structures, but are also opened in renovated existing retail space.
The company has additionally solidified its retail position with the recent purchase of more than one thousand convenience stores belonging to the Sunoco company.
According to industry sources, the pace of newly opened 7-Eleven properties works out to an additional store being opened somewhere in the world every three and a half hours.
Where the new nine hundred stores will be built and opened has not yet been announced.
By Garry Boulard
A new gymnasium is in the works, along with the construction of a community school, as a result of Department of the Interior funding secured for two projects located in New Mexico.
That funding amounts to $24 million, which will target the replacement of a gym at the Pine Hill School in Pine Hill, and the complete rebuilding of a combined elementary and middle school in Bloomfield.
In a statement, New Mexico Senator Tom Udall, as part of the full New Mexico Congressional delegation which helped to get the Interior Department funding, said the completion of the projects will “help make sure Native students in New Mexico have a safe, welcoming environment to learn.”
Representative Xochitl Torres Small said the funding will be applied directly to “making long overdue improvements to Pine Hill School and the Dzilth-Na-O-Dith Hle Community Grant School, helping to increase the quality of education and the quality of the educational experiences at both.”
Of the $24 million, $9 million will go for the Pine Hill School gymnasium work, while just over $15 million targets the rebuilding of the Dzilth-Na-O-Dith Hle Community School.
The Pine Hill School is located in the Ramah Navajo Indian reservation on the western side of the state. With more than 300 students it, has been the subject of previous Interior Department investigations regarding its condition.
The Dzilth-Na-Dith-Hle school, with an enrollment of around 250 students, is located on the Navajo Nation reservation in northwest New Mexico.
By Garry Boulard
Broadband construction in Boulder, Colorado is expected to greatly accelerate in the near future due to a Boulder City Council funding decision.
That body has unanimously approved spending around $2.5 million for what are known as key fiber laterals designed to fill in the gaps within a larger broadband infrastructure network.
The council earlier approved the issuance of up to $15 million in debt to build the basics of a citywide broadband network.
The implementation plan, as announced last year by city officials, would in particular emphasize making broadband available to underserved and low-income neighborhoods in Boulder.
That 2018 council decision came on the heels of a city-sponsored survey indicating that up to 90 percent of respondents said they supported the idea of a city-owned and operated internet service.
Altogether, some 60 miles of broadband infrastructure will be constructed in Boulder.
It is thought that it will ultimately cost around $140 million to build out a full broadband network as envisioned by Boulder leaders. The city has said the construction project will move along as funding makes itself available.
Design work on the network is already underway.
By Garry Boulard
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