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Round up


lBidders for Italy's 3.3km main span Messina bridge have been given an extra two months to put together their tenders (NCEI last month). Client Stretto di Messina has responded to industry demand and extended the deadline from 13 July to 15 September.

Many major companies had requested an extension to give them more time to organise their bids, said a Stretto di Messina spokesman. It is hoped the bid extension will help maximise competition and ensure that the best companies enter. The new deadline is not expected to delay start of construction, the spokesman said.

lPlans for a $7.7bn upgrade of navigation on the Mississippi River have been presented at a US congressional hearing. The US Army Corps of Engineers has proposed large scale navigation improvement and ecosystem restoration for the Upper Mississippi River-Illinois Waterway system. It is requesting initial funding of $1.8bn for navigation improvements and $1.46bn for ecosystem restoration. The project has generated debate, with some opposition to the major works included in the project, such as new locks.

The Mississippi River is key to keeping the farms of the Midwest profitable, a representative of the Department of Agriculture told the hearing. The Corps has been studying the navigation needs of the system for 15 years at a cost of more than $70M, nearly half of which has been for environmental studies.

lPublic consultation has started in Hong Kong on the $2.5bn second stage of a scheme to clean up Victoria Harbour. The first stage of treatment was commissioned in 2001, but sewage generated on the northern and western sides of Hong Kong Island is still discharged virtually untreated into the harbour. The preferred option for the second stage will see all sewage conveyed to Stonecutters Island for chemical treatment and disinfection followed by biological processing. The work will involve extending the deep tunnel collection network and chemical treatment facility provided in the first stage as well as constructing a biological treatment plant.

lOne of the most challenging road projects in New South Wales, Australia, has started on site. The $33M Lawrence Hargrave Drive Bridge is a 665m long structure, following the line of a cliff to provide access along the coast.

Lawrence Hargrave Drive is one of the most scenic roads in the state and a major tourist attraction, but a 900m section of the road has a long history of rock falls and embankment failure. A major repair project was announced last year following an independent report that concluded that the falls posed an 'intolerable risk' to public safety. The new bridge will be made up of a 445m long balanced cantilever bridge and a 220m incrementally-built structure. It is expected to open in early 2006.

lFrench consultant Thales has won contracts to develop urban transport network plans for cities in Algeria, Vietnam and Indonesia. Traffic is reaching saturation in Algiers and Thales is working with Canada's Dessau-Soprin to develop a better balance of transport modes. The work in the Vietnam is aimed at increasing the use of public transport in the city of Hanoi where motorbikes have supplanted bicycles as the prime means of transport in the recent years. Thales will be looking into the development of a network of trams and buses. The Indonesian study concerns the province of Java. It is due for completion in the second quarter of 2005 and a budget of $400M is planned for the financing of the adopted projects.

lIndia's Konkan Railway Corporation (KRC) is implementing a range of measures to improve safety in cuttings along its 760km route. A system for detecting boulders falling onto the tracks has already prevented eight serious accidents. KRC is also embarking on a major programme to install anti-collision devices. The software is undergoing final quality testing prior to a commissioning period.

Connecting inclinometers to anti-collision devices will enable the system to warn locomotives directly of imminent cutting failures.

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