Why can't they?? (re:construction projects)...

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by todd s, Mar 7, 2005.

  1. todd s

    todd s Lead Actor

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    I was just reading in my morning paper how this bridge in a nearby town has taken over 4 years to build. It was supposed to have been done in 2 years. It made me think how long construction projects take now days. I mean the entire New Jersey Turnpike took 2 years to build. They couldn't even run the wiring for the eezee pass system in that amount of time. I wonder what is causing these delays in construction? Is it Unions, Laywers, Enviromental laws or all of the above? It made me think of the documentary I saw on the building of Hoover Dam. It was built in a relatively short amount of time. I doubt that would happen today.
     
  2. BrianB

    BrianB Producer

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    The more you're willing to pay, the faster construction goes.
     
  3. Mort Corey

    Mort Corey Supporting Actor

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    I wonder if they ever finished the "Big Dig" in Boston?

    A local road project was halted as the City wanted the contractor to initially dig up and re-pave the entire roadway (about a mile and a half) Around Xmas they decided they wanted the contractor to pave the road for a parade then dig it up and re-pave it per the contract afterwards...for no extra money.

    All of the above.

    Mort
     
  4. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

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    That's my guess.
     
  5. Grant B

    Grant B Producer

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    Yes all those ugly things take time but consider these:
    Little things like less people dying. The Golden Gate Bridge was one of the 1st to use safety nets etc. It also slowed down construction

    Consider building a house in the 1950s. You could knock off one of those track homes in a few days. Now it takes that long it figure out what kind of cables you want your house wired with.

    The US has doubled in population since WWII - the more congested the harder it is to build. Many times work has to stop during the peak commute hours.

    Little things like terrorism (and how to prevent it)were never considered till recently.

    The original freeway system in Boston that the 'Big Dig' was designed to fix saved alot of time by declaring Eminent Domain over the property in the way and paying homeowners $1(!!!!!) for their property. You could then sue the state later for the rest (if you weren't homeless and bankcrupt that is)
    Generally that is frowned upon now days no matter how quick it is.
     
  6. Jason L.

    Jason L. Second Unit

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    Unions.
    Unions.
    Unions.
    Unions.
    Unions.
    Unions.
    Unions.
    Unions.

    Haven't you been watching the Sopranos? Tony's crew just sits around in lawn chairs at the construction site all day long.
     
  7. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Producer
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    Money
    Money
    Money
    Money
    Money
    Money

    Contractors
    Contractors

    Subcontractors

    If you are willing to pay a greedy capitalist pig enough money he or she will get it built in a big hurry. Hand a contractor a big enough pile of dough and watch him scurry.

    Other factors:

    Bribery for inspectors and other important municipal or federal people. If the bribe's not big enough watch the timetable go into slow mode.

    Regulatory and environmental clearances (oops, more bribery required).

    Project redesigns due to incompetently performed work during the initial design stages, probably because the contractor hired the cheapest design people he could find....("oh, you say you have a degree from Winnebago U.....can you start tomorrow?").


    I figure if people can bash unions I can bash contractors. After all, everybody knows that Contractors are all f$^&ing crooks. Right?
    [​IMG]
     
  8. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    It is basically finished, except for rerouting some of the roads that were rerouted for construction and dismantling and renovation of the old elevated highway. Traffic in some places is greatly improved (a trip to/from Logan Airport is 10 times faster), some places are fairly improved (going S->N through the city is much better, N->S better, but not much).

    Now for the bad news - It was multiple billions (yes BILLIONS) of dollars over budget, it leaks, they still only have 2 exits open out of the tunnel and for some reason you are still routed through Chinatown in order to get anywhere (Just kidding on the last one. It only seems like every time I go into the city, the place I want to go that day has the easiest access rerouted through Chinatown).[​IMG]
     
  9. chris_everett

    chris_everett Second Unit

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    Much tougher environmental and zoning laws. A major construction project can take years just to be approved.

    Tougher inspection laws. You have to stop many times in a project to get things approved.

    Tougher safety regulations.

    Oddly, I remember in the 80's it could take a year for somebody to build a house, and now it takes a few weeks. If that.
     
  10. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    It's fast, but not that fast. My house has been under consruction since mid JAN and they're about ready to drywall, however I signed the paperwork in SEPTEMBER of last year, so it takes awhile to stage.
     
  11. ChristopherDAC

    ChristopherDAC Producer

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    Inefficiency.

    It's all about inefficiency. The insane tangle of corporate and government regulations, repeated design changes, and just plain bad design ideas is partly to blame. Of course also there are things like the Big Dig which were not good ideas to begin with, being foisted upon the public with so much attendant confusion that they physically have to take a long time and cost immense sums. Then there is a kind of stupidity which does not deserve to be called bad engineering, like what caused the brand-new Charles de Gaulle Airport terminal to collapse completely, or the Hartford Coliseum collapse which narrowly missed killing over 10 000 people, or the great Quebec City bridge collapse of 1907... less spectacular examples of this result in massive project delays. Labour slowdowns, as obvious as they are, are generally the smallest factor.
     
  12. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    The Big Dig was a fantastic idea to begin with and is mostly successful. Considering it replaced an elevated highway that was outdated the day it opened back in the mid-fifties and had to handle 4-5 times it's rated traffic capacity in the 90's, the Big Dig was needed, wanted and necessary. The cost is more due to corruption and partisanship than any fault in the design. The leaks that are showing up are being investigated, but as a native of Mass, I predict with some certainty they will be found to result from material, labor or time deficiencies rather than design.

    Trust me, anyone who drove the 1-2 hour trip from Route 3 to Logan Airport which now takes 10 minutes or the 1-2 hour trip to the North Shore which now takes 1/2 an hour praises the Big Dig, overruns or not. As soon as the parks are built where the old Central Artery was, more and more native Bostonians will learn to appreciate it also (they tend to be jaded after living for 12 years with big holes in the ground).
     
  13. Mort Corey

    Mort Corey Supporting Actor

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    IIRC, the Big Dig actually ended up less expensive than the LA subway (that goes almost nowhere and almost nobody rides anyway)

    Mort
     
  14. chris_everett

    chris_everett Second Unit

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    Well, this varies with any number of factors, but from what I've heard around here, builders want to complete spec homes in about 5 weeks.
     
  15. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    Only if the LA subway cost over 17 Billion dollars. Yes, that's 17 BILLION! Original estimates were for around 2.5 billion, but what's a 700% overrun between friends...
     
  16. Dan D.

    Dan D. Stunt Coordinator

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    Have to agree with Jeff, the Big Dig was an excellent idea to begin with. In fact, when the original Central Artery (the elevated highway though the heart of the city replaced by the Big Dig tunnels) was built in the 50's, the designers realized what a horrible mistake they were making and redesigned the last third of the highway (the southern end) as a tunnel. Portions of that are actually incorporated into the new Big Dig tunnels.

    Something to keep in mind about the Big Dig is the scope of the project. It was the largest civil engineering project in the world, since replaced by China's Three Gorges Dam I believe. A tunnel had to be dug through the heart of the city, underneath skyscrapers and threading itself though the country's oldest subway system. Much of the path followed the old Central Artery, but that elevated highway as well as the subway systems had to remain in action. Some of the ground was landfill (as is much of Boston) and some of the tunnels passed under water. Technologies literally needed to be invented to deal with the challenges. Soft soil was actually frozen to keep walls from collapsing during excavation. People (myself included) bitched about surface street detours and potholes, but when you stop and consider what went on, it's really amazing. Yes, the project took longer and cost more than expected. The corruption part of that is being looked at now (gee, corruption between construction and politicians... who would have thought?), but the project was always expected to run at least 10 years. Realistically, a forecast for a project of this size and length is never going to be accurate, there are just too many variables.

    So far, I'm pretty pleased with the results. As Jeff mentioned, getting to the airport is fantastically easy now. My favorite part is just walking around the streets that used to be in the shadow of the nasty elevated highway
     
  17. ChristopherDAC

    ChristopherDAC Producer

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    I'm sorry, but I cannot call routing all the highway traffic in New England through the heart of an XVIII century city an "excellent idea". The fact that it was already that way does not excuse the planners for perpetuating such a monstrous state of affairs!
     
  18. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    What are you talking about? "Through the heart" of what city? Do you even know what the Big Dig did? The traffic is not routed through the "heart" of the city, it is far, far underneath the city in 8 lanes of traffic. Besides, most of the "traffic in New England" is routed through 95 or the Mass Pike, both of which converge and continue far outside the city on Rt. 128 (95 North/93 South) to points north (Vermont, NH, Maine) or south (RI or CT). Unless you are coming from the Cape or the South Shore, there is no need to go through the Big Dig to get to the rest of New England and even then it is only to points north. Trust me, unless you are from south of Boston on Rt 3 and heading north, you don't go anywhere near the city to get to the rest of NE.

    I have to ask, have you ever even been to Boston? The Dig was to alleviate the travel to/from the South and North Shores into Boston and to help people get to the Airport easier. It had nothing to do with routing "New England" traffic.

    You obviously have never travelled either the old Central Artery or the Big Dig, or you would not be talking about it like this.
     
  19. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    only 8 lanes? 4 each way? Is the enough to handle current traffic, let alone future?

    I25 here in denver is like 10 lanes or more in spots, and denver is a lot smaller than boston.
     
  20. Dan D.

    Dan D. Stunt Coordinator

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    Those 10 lanes are above ground, not in a tunnel under skyscrapers, through subway lines and yards from an ocean. There are limitations to what can be done. Plus, while Denver itself might be smaller, you guys have far more land to work with. It's easier for Denver to spread out as it grows or buildings are displaced. Your airport is a good example. Isn't it about 10 miles from the highway exit to the terminal?
     

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