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Southern Nevada’s Freight Corridor Gets the Vegas Treatment – Transport Topics Online

LAS VEGAS Before dawn on weekdays Paul DeLong arrives downtown to lead his team of commercial drivers in transporting equipment back and forth at construction sites for a project aimed at improving the work lives of truckers like him. His crew averages eight trips per shift using as many as six Western Star trucks during these final months of the aptly named Project Neon.

The $1 billion project will widen Interstate 15 at the U.S .

95 interchange Spaghetti Bowl, commonly known for its bumper-to-bumper traffic and accidents.

Excavator on U.S .< />
<p>93″ src=”http://www.translogistics.net/posts/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/99d9treatment-excavator.jpg” /></p>
<p><span><em>Construction is ongoing near the Spaghetti Bowl. (Eugene Mulero/Transport Topics)</em></span></p>
<p>On a rare rainy afternoon on May 1, when Transport Topics caught up with DeLong and the construction crew with Kiewit Infrastructure West Co., a driver had taken an excavator with a magnet attachment from a yard at Bonanza Road and transported it to the Charleston Boulevard site, just a few miles from the heart of a city inundated with tourists, celebrities, street performers and the many locals who live here . All the while, the crew from Kiewit removed the remnants of a bridge that had been turned to rubble to make room for the road expansion.</p>
<p>For DeLong, owner of a local eponymous heavy-haul firm operating since the mid- 80s and a member of the Nevada Trucking Association, Project Neon is not the typical highway renovation.</p>
<p>The project will mark a better way to access the periphery of America s playground .</p>
<p>The much-needed boost for truckers will increase lane capacity at the state s southern premier freight corridor . Passing through it will be quicker, and safer.</p>
<p>As DeLong put it, Project Neon will hopefully eliminate the congestion getting through the Las Vegas area, north and south. </p>
<p>Project managers anticipate a reduction in congestion by 30% after completion, as well as a reduction in the average of three accidents daily . The reduction in truck traffic and travel delays will likely result in $110 million annual savings for the freight industry and motorists through increased productivity, the Nevada Department of Transportation estimates.</p>
<p>Project Neon, the largest public works project in state history, targets 3.7 miles on the interstate between Sahara Avenue and the interchange with the Spaghetti Bowl .</p>
<p>Sahara Avenue is about 2.5 miles north of the Strip, and the Spaghetti Bowl is the busiest stretch of highway in Nevada with some 25,000 lane changes hourly.</p>
<h3>Project Goals</h3>
<p>At the site about half a dozen construction workers with Kiewit donning hard hats were stationed at the Bonanza Road yard . A crew member used an excavator with a magnet attachment to asses debris from the demolished old roadway in order to access metal while another crew member collected rubble with a bulldozer for disposal, construction that will continue for nearly a year as ramps and miles of roadway have yet to be paved.</p>
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<p>The project will include high-occupancy vehicle lanes, and an intricate active traffic management system consisting of 42 massive electronic message boards . Nine boards have been installed with six already operational, said Susan Berkley, the project s public involvement coordinator .</p>
<p>The boards are designed to promote speed harmonization by alerting drivers of accidents and severe traffic or weather.</p>
<p>Fuel consumption would improve for freight haulers by reducing the amount of stop-and-go movement on the roadway . This could lead to fuel savings as high as 40%, city officials with the mayor s office estimate.</p>
<p>The project is funded primarily through state revenue bonds . The city contributed $75 million in locally obligated federal highway funds, according to project managers .</p>
<p>Construction kicked off nearly two years ago with completion projected for summer 2019 . And when it is finished each road meticulously in its place Project Neon will be its own salute to the local ethos: What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.</p>
<p>Truckers are anticipating the change considering traffic through the corridor is expected to double by 2035 . Several drivers familiar with I-15 said that it s a huge delay .</p>
<p>However, notwithstanding the congested bottlenecks, truckers gotta be safe out there, said Gragg Wilson of FedEx Freight.</p>
<h3>Better Access</h3>
<p>The Las Vegas metropolitan area is a shipping and freight hub demanding constant supplies of food, goods and services to maintain various industries.</p>
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A bulldozer at the Bonanza Road yard. (Eugene Mulero/Transport Topics)

Of the 300,000 vehicles on the Spaghetti Bowl every day, about 17,900 on I-15 are trucks . U.S .

95 along the same stretch is used by 2,000 trucks daily, according to NDOT . Commercial drivers travel to and from California s ports and southwest hubs to reach warehouses, storage facilities and construction sites .

Other truckers focus primarily on last-mile routes across the metropolitan area, and longhaul truckers rely on the corridor en route to states farther north or east.

With $95 billion of commerce traveling annually along the corridor, congestion leads to potential slowdowns in local and state economies . That concern prompted emphasis on freight for the project, explained Dale Keller, Project Neon s senior project manager.

We re not in the business anymore of moving vehicles . We re about moving people and goods .

So, that method and that model really applies to this Project Neon by creating different transportation choices that we have, Keller said . You ve seen out here our footprint: You can t get any wider, right ? It s very expensive .

So we re trying to find these other choices, other transportation solutions to implement that.

Infrastructure Week

Our reporters kicked off the week with a look at how some new ideas are playing out in Nevada.

Anything we can do to improve that efficiency and moving people and goods really has a bottom-line impact, added Tony Illia, a spokesman with the department.

The high volume of tourists visiting Sin City every week, coupled with the state s growing population, were catalysts for the project, explained Paul Moradkhan, vice president of government affairs at the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce . According to data presented by the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, the state experienced a 31.8% population growth rate from 2000 to 2010 . That was followed by a population growth of 8.5% from 2011 to 2016.

There s several key factors that always come up in this conversation .

It s congestion . It s travel of goods . It s safety, the creation of jobs, travel delays, Moradkhan said .

All those will be addressed with the construction, and reconfiguration of Project Neon.

Mayor Carolyn Goodman, a staunch supporter of Project Neon, boasts about her city s place as an exemplar for intermodal freight transportation . Las Vegas is part of a trend, with Newark, N.J., and Denver, among cities that have enhanced commercial transportation.

A Model

Mayor Carolyn Goodman

Goodman

Goodman noted those steady transportation enhancements have earned the city praise from peers at the U.S . Conference of Mayors .

Also, national leaders, such as former Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, had told officials to study Las Vegas modernization efforts . Foxx, formerly mayor of Charlotte, N.C., as secretary had championed the need for enhancing capacity along I-15 beyond the metropolitan area.

For Project Neon, the mayor s hope is similar to DeLong s . Basically, the goal of the project is to open up the clog of two lanes in each direction at the Spaghetti Bowl, she said during an interview on April 30 at her downtown office.

After Project Neon, attention will need to turn to other infrastructure needs, she cautioned .

The American Society of Civil Engineers graded the state s infrastructure a C-minus in 2014, calling for additional work to enhance mobility in urban and rural areas.

Every city in this country pretty much has the same issues every other city has . But, sadly, all of us have to go to the top of the mountain and look singularly at a prioritized list of what s the most important . The first one is safety, the mayor said, and right under that is the horrible condition of the infrastructure in this country .

And you gotta fix it.

Shipping firms look to volatile methanol as cleaner, cheaper …

By Reuters
Sunday, July 6, 2014 18:27 EDT

SINGAPORE (Reuters) Methanol, a fuel used to power light aircraft and racing cars, is being tried out as alternative for ships, highlighting its potential in an industry under pressure to cut emissions.

From next year, shipping firms will have to cut polluting sulphur emissions in vessels going to parts of Europe and North America, sparking a race for alternatives to standard diesel between fuel sources such as methanol and liquefied natural gas.

As well as being considered a green fuel, methanol is potentially cheaper and more plentiful than diesel or LNG.

But it is trickier to handle than some fuels, such as diesel, due to its lower flashpoint the temperature where it vaporizes and could ignite so needs care to prevent fires.

Compared with LNG as an alternative shipping fuel we see methanol in an early stage of development, said Thomas Wybierek, a shipping analyst at Norddeutsche Landesbank.

Methanol is currently more costly than diesel and less efficient to burn, though prices could come down as new projects to produce it come on stream.

South Korean and Japanese shipyards recently won the first orders for ships running on methanol. Engines, using 95 percent methanol and 5 percent diesel, are being developed and should be delivered in mid-2015, said engine builder MAN Diesel & Turbo.

From a risk perspective I can t see that methanol has any drawbacks as compared to LNG, said Joanne Ellis at Swedish maritime transport consultant SSPA, which is working on one of two research programs looking at methanol as a marine fuel.

Methanol can be stored in existing tanks on ships and since it is not kept under pressure will not expand and explode in the way LNG could, she said.

Because LNG is super-chilled it also needs special tanks and could freeze ship equipment or cause injuries if it leaked.

Draft safety guidelines should be finalised this year for ships powered by fuels with low flashpoints such as methanol, the U.N. s International Maritime Organisation (IMO) said.

RACE WITH LNG

There are about 50 LNG-fuelled ships operating globally, excluding dual-fuel LNG carriers. This will double with around 55 LNG-fuelled ships on order as firms in emission control areas opt to use LNG to comply with tougher IMO rules on emissions.But a lack of LNG refueling infrastructure at ports and the tanks needed to store it on ships, taking up space for cargo, are obstacles to its wider use, some experts say.

On the other hand, methanol can be stored in existing fuel tanks and transported to port by road tanker. It is usually produced from natural gas, though can also be made from biomass, carbon dioxide and even household rubbish.

Total methanol demand was 66 million tonnes in 2013, data from consultancy Jim Jordan and Associates showed, while demand for marine diesel was 372 million tonnes, according to OW Bunker, a supplier of the fuel.Shipping firms will have to cut emissions of sulphur dioxide in emission control areas in Europe and North America from the current 1 percent to 0.1 percent from next year under IMO rules.

Global IMO curbs will lower emissions to 0.5 per cent in 2020 or 2025 from the existing 3.5 percent.The controls have led shipping firms to consider alternative fuels as methanol, which is sulphur free and has low levels of nitrogen oxide, as well as low-sulphur diesel and LNG.Methanol is cheaper than LNG, which costs between $900 and $1,100 a tonne, including port and storage costs, according to maritime services consultant Poten & Partners.

Methanol is priced at $460-$560 per tonne, but twice as much needs to be burnt to generate the same energy as marine diesel, said Michael Teusch, business development manager at Danish catalysts firm Haldor Topsoe. Marine diesel costs about $600 a tonne, though with low sulphur it is much more expensive.

TANKERS AND FERRIES

Japan s Minaminippon Shipbuilding Co., and South Korea s Hyundai Mipo Dockyards Ltd are building seven methanol-fuelled tankers due to be completed in 2016.

Three of the vessels, costing $140 million in total, will be owned by Japan s Mitsui OSK Lines, the company said.

The ships have been chartered by Canada s Waterfront Shipping Company, a subsidiary of Methanex Corporation, the world s top supplier of methanol.

There is also a trial, partly financed by the European Commission, starting early next year using methanol to help power a ferry. If successful a fleet of methanol-powered ferries could be operating in Europe and Scandinavia by 2020.

George Cambanis, who heads Deloitte s Global Shipping and ports group, said that the host of players involved in various biodiesel projects for ships from engine manufacturers to ship safety classification society Lloyd s Register meant methanol was likely to be used more in the future.

How soon the future comes is anybody s guess, he added.

(Editing by Ed Davies)

Image from AFP

Reuters

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US Cargo Ship Launches To ISS On First Resupply Mission

Orbital Sciences Corporation’s Antares rocket launched from Pad 0A at the Wallops Flight Facility, Va. to send the company’s Cygnus cargo ship on a its first supply mission to the International Space Station.

Cygnus is delivering 1.5 tons of provisions and experiments to the Expedition 38 crewmembers living on the ISS. Upon its arrival at the station, Cygnus will be captured with the station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm and berthed to the Earth-facing port of the Harmony module, where it will remain for more than a month.

Dozens of new NASA investigations and other science experiments from across the country are headed to the station aboard Orbital Sciences Corp.’s Cygnus spacecraft as part of the agency’s commercial partnerships with U.S. aerospace companies.

The launch aboard Orbital’s Antares rocket took place from NASA’s Wallop’s Flight Facility in Virginia Thursday, at 1:07 p.m. EST.

The Orbital-1 mission began the company’s first contracted cargo delivery flight to the station through a $1.9 billion NASA Commercial Resupply Services contract. Orbital will fly at least eight cargo missions to the space station through 2016.

“Today’s launch demonstrates how our strategic investments in the American commercial spaceflight industry are helping create new jobs here at home and keep the United States the world leader in space exploration, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said. “American astronauts have been living and working continuously in space for the past 13 years on board the International Space Station, and we re once again sending them supplies launched from U.S. soil. In addition to the supplies, the passion and hard work of many researchers and students are being carried by Cygnus today. I congratulate Orbital and the NASA teams that made this resupply mission possible.”

The pressurized Cygnus can accommodate a variety of scientific payloads. The Orbital-1 mission is carrying 2,780 pounds of supplies to the station, not including the weight of packaging materials. This cargo includes vital science experiments, crew provisions, spare parts and other hardware. More than 10,000 students will be involved with 23 experiments they designed. One NASA experiment will study the decreased effectiveness of antibiotics during spaceflight. Another will examine how different fuel samples burn in microgravity, which could inform future design for spacecraft materials.

A portion of the space station had been designated a U.S. National Laboratory, managed by the Center for Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS). CASIS selects and funds new research to use the national lab’s unique microgravity environment to conduct experiments not possible on Earth. In one educational experiment selected by CASIS, students will compare how ants’ behavior differs in space and on Earth.

Small, relatively inexpensive satellites collectively referred to as CubeSats will provide a variety of technology demonstrations. They will be launched using the NanoRacks Smallsat Deployment Program from the station s Japanese Experiment Module (JEM) airlock. The NanoRacks CubeSats will be deployed with the JEM Small Satellite Orbital Deployer. ArduSat-2 is a CubeSat built and operated by NanoSatisfi of San Francisco, which will help determine potential commercial applications for CubeSat data collection and commercial off-the-shelf electronics. Testing sensors through this mini-satellite format may help lower the cost of applications that use low-Earth observation techniques.

Cygnus will be grappled at 6:02 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 12, by Expedition 38 Flight Engineer Michael Hopkins of NASA, who will use the station’s robotic arm to take hold of the spacecraft. Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency will support Hopkins in a backup position. Wakata will serve as the primary crew member to berth the spacecraft to the station. NASA’s Rick Mastracchio will support him in a backup position. The capsule is scheduled to depart the station in February and burn up during reentry in Earth s atmosphere.

Orbital Sciences is one of two companies that built and tested new cargo spacecraft under NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program. COTS was completed late last year with an Orbital Sciences demonstration mission to the space station. Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), the other company that partnered with NASA under COTS, also is providing commercial resupply services for the agency.

In addition to cargo flights, NASA’s commercial space partners are making progress toward a launch of astronauts from U.S. soil within the next three years.

The International Space Station is a convergence of science, technology and human innovation that demonstrates new technologies and makes research breakthroughs not possible on Earth. The space station has been continuously occupied since November 2000. In that time, it has been visited by more than 200 people and a variety of international and commercial spacecraft. The space station remains the springboard to NASA’s next great leap in exploration, including future missions to an asteroid and Mars.