A Grand Feat for Lower Manhattan

HAKS led the REI joint venture for this ambitious $40 million public works project that reconstructed water mains and utility infrastructure along Grand Street, from Broadway to Essex.  Subsurface challenges included active subways, non-functioning water main valves, active steam lines, underground building vaults extending into the street, and a high density of secondary electrical and communication lines.  Abandoned, heavily reinforced trolley track foundations also interfered with the work.  Continue Reading…

Drones Set to Take Off

Drone-4Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), popularly known as drones, were originally designed to carry out military missions that were deemed too dangerous for humans or for which manned aircraft were impractical. What we would recognize today as drones were jointly developed by Israel and the US during the 1980s and deployed against Iraq during the 1991 Gulf War, and have since become a staple of modern warfare and antiterrorism activities. However, due to ongoing improvements in technology and miniaturization and decreasing costs, the use of drones has since expanded far beyond the military sphere to many other applications, including science, recreation, aerial photography, product delivery, agriculture, law enforcement, surveillance, and even protecting elephants from poachers. Continue Reading…

Action Steps to Improve Your City

As we begin 2017, HAKS would like to share Curbed New York’s suggestions on initiatives we can launch to improve our cities.  We have culled a small number from the list; you can access them all at 101 Small Ways You Can Improve Your City. Continue Reading…

2017: The Year of the Commuter

As we prepare to ring in the new year, we would like to highlight some projects that will reshape area transportation and ease the way for thousands of commuters.  One improvement will be ready for use as early as January 1st, when the first phase of the Second Avenue Subway opens.  Others should be evident a little later in the year—emotive lighting on bridges and tunnels and the north span of the new Tappan Zee Bridge.  One change is already in place—remnants of a World Trade Center passageway dating to the 1970s.

The HAKS Family wishes you and yours a happy and healthy 2017. Safe travels.
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New Application for Mood Ring Technology

mood-ringThe mood ring, a popular fad in the late 1970s, is a specialized liquid crystal thermometer typically ornamented with a faux gemstone (usually made of quartz or glass). Temperature changes in the wearer’s finger cause the crystal to reflect different wavelengths of light, which change the color of the stone.  Green is considered normal or average, while blue is calm and relaxed and black is stressed and tense. Continue Reading…

Airborne Trains Traveling on Strings

Unitsky String Transport (UST) is a transportation system developed by Russian inventor Anatoly Unitsky as a railway consisting not of steel tracks bolted to ties but rather elevated high-tension concrete- and steel-enveloped wires strung between towers, thereby offering rails that can traverse uneven terrain, forests, or water without the prohibitively expensive infrastructure required by conventional transit systems. Furthermore, UST can traverse obstacles in a straight line, thereby obviating the need to circumnavigate impediments or build switchbacks and considerably reducing the distance between two points.

Unitsky began developing the concept back in 1977. His design uses high-tension steel wires inserted into a concrete-resin core and enveloped by steel shells and elevated from three to 30 meters from the ground (or potentially even higher, if the terrain necessitates it). While this might sound like a conventional ropeway (like a chairlift or the Roosevelt Island Tramway), it differs in its much higher cable tension with sag of less than an inch between support posts, allowing vehicles to travel along the wires with a minimum of drag and at speeds, according to Unitsky, of between 200 and 300 mph. “In fact,” according to newatlas.com, “it’s more accurate to look at a UST track more or less as a tiny pre-stressed concrete bridge, built for a fraction of the cost of a ground rail system or even a motorway.” Continue Reading…

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…

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…