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NCE’s hot topics: US earthquake, international stage collapses and Shell oil spill

NCE’s hot topics this week include the far east and Latin America, Highways Agency exclusive news, lessons from French infrastructure and High Speed 2 scrutiny.

US earthquake

A 5.8 magnitude earthquake in Virginia on Tuesday caused damage to a number of landmark structures further up the US east coast in Washington DC.

The Washington Monument, Washington National Cathedral and Smithsonian Institution’s Smithsonian Castle were notable casualties, with engineers still assessing the damage caused and the repair work needed.

International stage collapses

Temporary stage structures dramatically collapsed just days apart at the Indiana State Fair in the US and the Pukkelpop festival in Belgium, leaving 11 people dead and many more injured.

The incidents left engineers asking questions about the design of temporary structures and what lessons should be learned.

Shell oil spill

The Shell oil spill in the North Sea continued until Friday, when divers closed two relief valves and stopped the flow of oil. Shell is now working to identify the location of the original leak, and to devise a strategy for removing residual oil within the damaged flowline.

Investigations into the incident will be undertaken by both the government and by Shell itself.

News analysis

This week, NCE’s news team brought you analysis of more of the biggest stories in civil engineering.

Mark Hansford wrote on the resilience of civil engineering contractors, who see staff as assets on which to build future business.

While 10% of the total civil engineering consultant workforce was cut in 2010, following on from a 7.4% cull in 2009, civils contractors have actually spent 2010/11 recruiting engineers, he wrote.

  • Read the analysis here.

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