San Antonio is celebrating its 300th anniversary in 2018, and the San Antonio Express-News is exploring various aspects of the city's history. One of those is San Antonio's geology and how it shaped the economy and culture of the region. It's location at the crossroads of the Edwards Plateau and the prairies and plains of Central and South Texas have made it a hub for farming, ranching, energy development, limestone quarrying, and, of course, cement manufacturing. The article traces the roots of each of these industries, and notes that the historic 1880 Alamo Portland and Roman Cement Company kiln, located at the Japanese Tea Gardens in Brackenridge Park (which originally served as the kiln's source of limestone for cement production), was the second cement plant built in the United States. Now the Balcones Escarpment is home to five cement plants between San Antonio and Austin, two within the city limits. It also notes that the quarries and cement plants have been integrated into the community fabric as productive and beautiful public spaces, as operations have progressed to new areas. Besides the Brackenridge Park site, Six Flags Fiesta Texas, the Alamo Quarry Market, the Quarry Golf Club, and the South Texas Area Regional Soccer Complex are all transformed quarries and cement facilities. For more information, see "Geology Guided San Antonio's History," by Brendan Gibbons, San Antonio Express-News, April 2,2017.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection has released two requests for proposal for U.S-Mexico border wall prototypes. The RFPs specify that the wall must resist a variety of "attacks," be climb and dig-resistant, and be aesthetically pleasing. One RFP specifies a concrete wall;, the other a wall composed of "see-through" materials. Proposals are due March 29th, and winners will be announced in late May.
Moody's has released a report, "Large Increase in US Infrastructure Spending Will Be Slow to Develop," that concludes that the Trump administration $1 Trillion infrastructure proposals will be slow to ramp up and result in limited increases in spending in the 2017 and 2018,"due to a number of political and practical constraints. This view was also reflected by the Portland Cement Association's chief economist, Ed Sullivan, at the Association's recent Spring meetings. For a summary of the Moody's report and a link to the download, go to ForConstructionPros.com, "Progress on Filling US Infrastructure Gap Likely to Be Slow Despite Calls to Action" (March 21, 2017)
Belknap Place in San Antonio, the oldest concrete street in Texas, received the American Concrete Pavement Association's Lifetime Pavement Recognition Award at its December 2016 annual meeting, held in Austin. Concrete Pavement Progress, ACPA's quarterly magazine, showcased this achievement in its Quarter 1, 2017 edition, noting that San Antonio's Al Siam Feredous, Sr. Engineer in the Department of Transportation and Capitol Improvements, accepted the award on behalf of the city. Concrete Pavement Progress had previously featured the street in its article "Texas Celebrates its First Concrete Pavement" in the Quarter 3, 2016 edition of Concrete Pavement Progress.
The American Society of Civil Engineers released its 2017 Infrastructure Report Card yesterday, and the U.S. scores an overall D+. The report card is issued every four years, and provides a comprehensive assessment of 16 infrastructure categories, using an A through F scale. The ASCE report card website states, "Our nation is at a crossroads. Deteriorating infrastructure is impeding our ability to compete in the thriving global economy, and improvements are necessary to ensure our country is built for the future." Visit ASCE's comprehensive website, http://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/, for the full report, or click on the above video for a summary.