Fixing America’s Surface Transportation: A FAST Act for the 21st Century

Cedar Street Bridge over I-95In December 2015, a new surface transportation act was signed into law—the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act– providing long-term funding for surface transportation and allowing state and local governments to address critical highway and transit improvements. The $305 billion Act reauthorizes funding for federal highway and public transportation for fiscal years 2016-2020 and stabilizes the Highway Trust Fund during that five-year period. Continue Reading →

Building Technology into Protective Clothing

blog 1Accidents (unintentional injuries) are the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), 4,679 workers died on the job in 2014. OSHA mandates the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) on the work site, which includes face shields, safety glasses, hard hats, safety shoes, goggles, coveralls, gloves, vests, earplugs and respirators, based on the work environment. The next generation of PPE offers the means to monitor a worker’s vital signs, warn of oncoming traffic, display work instructions via augmented reality, and much more, thereby increasing safety, productivity and accuracy. Some of these garments are already on the market. Continue Reading →

ACE Mentor Program: Investing in the Future

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Bronx Design and Construction Academy Students

Some commitments have a ripple effect. Such is the case with the ACE Mentor Program, a not-for-profit organization where professionals mentor New York City high school students in preparation for careers in design and construction. HAKS has been a long-time supporter of the program, with individual employees volunteering as mentors. This year, we are proud to have formed our own mentoring team and are eager to share our industry knowledge with deserving students in the Greater New York City area. Continue Reading →

Carless Bridges Hit the Road

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An October 2015 article in The Atlantic examined the allure of carless bridges, citing innovative design possibilities, cheaper construction cost (millions instead of billions), and the overall movement to accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists. Pedestrian-only bridges are connecting neighborhoods across the country, while many motorist bridges under reconstruction are adding facilities for bicycles and pedestrians. Continue Reading →

Tracking Positive Train Control Implementation

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With a December 31st implementation deadline fast approaching, positive train control (PTC) has recently been in the news, as railroads try to meet a deadline that may not be realistically possible.

PTC is a safety overlay utilizing computers, transponders, and GPS to stop or slow a train automatically before certain types of accidents occur, thereby overriding operator error. A properly functioning PTC system must be able to determine the precise location, direction, and speed of trains; warn train operators of potential problems; and take immediate action if the operator does not respond to warnings. PTC is capable of preventing train-to-train collisions, over-speed derailments, unauthorized incursion into work zones and train movement through switches left in the wrong position. Continue Reading →

Self-Healing Materials: Reinventing Nature

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“Smart concrete” is on the horizon

This past June, the Fifth International Conference on Self-Healing Materials took place in Durham, North Carolina. The conference attracts a diverse group of top scientists and engineers from around the world to discuss advances in this fascinating field that are based on the healing properties of the human body. Since its first edition in 2007, the mission of this conference has been to provide a high-level international platform for this rapidly developing field. The developments in self-healing materials are such that many are starting to take notice, due to the impact that this would have not only in the industry, but for personal items such as sports equipment, cell phones and even nail polish. Continue Reading →

HAKS Launches 2015-2016 M/W/DBE Mentoring Program

Prompted by the success of our first two mentoring programs, HAKS is again offering its voluntary mentoring program to M/W/DBE firms that have worked with us on various project(s) or are seeking to do so. The Program is designed to give M/W/DBE firms an edge in the market by providing them with key planning, marketing and financial management information derived from HAKS’ experience in growing a successful MBE firm. Beginning Thursday, October 8, 2015, monthly noon-time meetings will be held at our 40 Wall Street headquarters every second Thursday of the month through June 2016. Continue Reading →

For HAKS’ Summer Interns — The Future Is Now

Intern-1From mid-May through the end of August, HAKS holds its annual Internship Program in which we provide deserving youth with the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in an office environment.

This year, we have a heavy intern presence, comprising of both high school and college students. In addition to hiring interns directly from colleges since 2005, HAKS has been partnering with the New York City School Construction Authority (SCA) Summer Internship Program (SIP) to assist in the recruitment of high school students. We have continued our commitment and volunteered as hosts every year since then. The SCA offers paid six-week internships through SIP, which matches interns to available positions based on their career interests and skills. HAKS is one of the firms chosen to serve as intern host for the 2015 program season. The majority of interns go on to pursue careers in architecture, engineering, business, and information technology. These students participate in staff meetings and on-the-job training and are assigned program supervisors who monitor their performance through bi-weekly meetings between the interns and their supervisors. Interns who successfully complete the six-week program receive high school credit. Continue Reading →

A Milestone for the Americans with Disabilities Act

On July 26, 1990, President George H. W. Bush signed into law one of America’s most comprehensive pieces of civil rights legislation—the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This landmark legislation has reducedada25-logo-horiz-300-1 barriers, changed perceptions, and increased participation in community life for millions of Americans. The ADA prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, and transportation.

To be protected by the ADA, one must have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, be a person who has a history or record of such an impairment, or a person who is perceived by others as having such an impairment. It should be remembered that whether a condition is visible or not, it still can result in substantial limitations. Continue Reading →

DC Water Tunnels for Clean Rivers

Contributed by Zaw Soeoo

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Anacostia River Tunnel ISCT Excavation

The District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water) distributes drinking water and collects and treats wastewater for more than 600,000 residential, commercial and governmental customers in the District of Columbia. As part of this mission, DC Water operates the Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant (BPAWWTP), the largest such facility in the world. The Authority’s $2.6 billion long-term control plan for combined sewer overflows (CSOs), known as the DC Clean Rivers Project, captures CSOs and conveys them to the BPAWWTP for treatment. The Clean Rivers Project is comprised of a system of 20 miles of 23-foot-diameter tunnels at depths from 50 to 160 feet. HAKS is a member of the consultant construction management (CCM) team providing inspection services, including tunnel and near-surface construction, for both the Anacostia River and Blue Plains design-build tunnel projects. Giant tunnel boring machines (TBMs) are being used to bore the underground structures that form DC Water’s solution to CSOs. Continue Reading →