In today’s construction news, learn about how millions of ticket buyers are expected to board trains by 2028 as construction on a $12 billion high-speed passenger rail line between Las Vegas and the Los Angeles region gets underway on Monday. On the other hand, a whole new business based on air conditioning has sprouted up in the span of a few short years. Still, the construction industry‘s use of 3D printing in the field is very much like the Wild West.

Construction on a High-speed Rail Connection Connecting Sin City and the City of Angels has Begun

Origiinal Source:  From Sin City to the City of Angels, building starts on high-speed rail line

A $12 billion high-speed passenger rail route connecting Las Vegas and Los Angeles will begin construction Monday, with officials expecting millions of ticket-buyers by 2028.

Brightline West plans to build 218 miles of track between a terminal south of the Las Vegas Strip and a Rancho Cucamonga, California, facility. Its sibling firm operates a fast train between Miami and Orlando in Florida. The median of Interstate 15 will be erected almost the entire way, with a station stop at Victorville, San Bernardino County.

Wes Edens, Brightline Holdings’ founder and chairman, dubbed it “the foundation for a new industry.”

Edens said Brightline will connect U.S. communities that are too close to fly but too distant to drive.

CEO Mike Reininger wants trains running by the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg will attend Monday’s groundbreaking. Brightline received $6.5 billion from the Biden administration, including $3 billion from federal infrastructure money and $2.5 billion in tax-exempt bonds. The corporation received government approval to offer $1 billion in identical bonds in 2020.

The nation’s first high-speed passenger rail line will reach 186 mph, comparable to Japan’s Shinkansen bullet trains.

Vegas to L.A. is mostly open with no convenient alternative to I-15. A commuter rail connection to downtown Los Angeles will host Brightline’s Southern California terminal.

Electric trains will reduce the four-hour Mojave Desert trip to two hours, according to the project outline. Forecasts are for 11 million one-way passengers each year, or 30,000 every day, at tickets below airline prices. Trains will have rest rooms, Wi-Fi, food and beverage services, and luggage check.

Southern Californians drive to Las Vegas. The train line is intended to reduce traffic on I-15, where drivers return from Las Vegas spend hours stuck in traffic.

With nearly 3 million residents, Las Vegas attracts over 40 million visitors annually. Harry Reid International Airport saw 57.6 million passengers in 2023, a record. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority reported that over 44,000 cars crossed the California-Nevada state line on I-15 daily in 2023.

Brightline Holdings runs the Miami-to-Orlando line with 125-mph trains. Service began in 2018 and expanded to Orlando International Airport in September. It runs 16 round-trips every day at $80 each for the 235-mile journey.

Amtrak’s Acela, which runs between Boston and Washington, D.C., can reach 150 mph while sharing tracks with freight and passenger service.

Recent proposals include high-speed passenger trains from Dallas to Houston, Atlanta to Charlotte, North Carolina, and Chicago to St. Louis. Most have been delayed.

In 2008, California voters approved a 500-mile train route between Los Angeles and San Francisco, but growing costs and routing disagreements have plagued it. California High-Speed Rail Authority’s 2022 business plan estimated a quadrupled cost to $105 billion.

US Army Corps of Engineers Megan Kreiger on Construction 3D Printing

Original Source: US Army Corps of Engineers’ Megan Kreiger on the State of Construction 3D Printing

Despite last year’s bleak forecasts about the additive manufacturing (AM) industry’s finances, we’re seeing the birth of a sector. Additive building shows that 3D printing is merely warming up.

In a few years, a seemingly infinite series of AC enterprises has become an industry. However, the building 3D printing environment remains a Wild West. We spoke to Megan Kreiger, Portfolio Manager of AC and the Department of Defense’s AC subject matter expert at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Engineer Research and Development Center, to better understand AC.

AC scaling up

After the AC industry starts to grow, the next stage is to set the standards and quality control needed to make construction 3D printing a viable technology. Kreiger believes that going beyond prototypes to mainstream adoption requires reliable statistics to support cost reductions and efficiency promises. Kreiger emphasizes real-world performance data, materials science, and norms and standards to ensure 3D printed structures’ structural integrity and longevity.

“This is about providing the community with robust tests and practices that will standardize the industry, not just creating regulation. These criteria ensure the structural integrity of our buildings. Kreiger stated there is a global paucity of such efforts, which we must address to meet community needs.

The Unified Facilities Criteria (UFC) on Additively Constructed Concrete, established with ERDC-CERL’s experience, provides a framework for innovation through validation testing.  Following this, the ASTM/ISO standard (ISO ASTM 52939:2022) established additive construction regulations, norms, and guidelines. ERDC-CERL and NIST held a workshop (Additive Construction: Path to Standardization) to plan the development of these codes, standards, and guidelines.  The event promoted open communication and aligned the research community on major themes, standards goals, and future steps to compare data instead of stand-alone.

This also highlighted “There’s not enough data” in the 123 Forum: Should 3D printing be codified and ACI seminars on Structural performance of additively built concrete.  This workshop brought ASTM, ACI, and ICC together. This encouraged ASTM to work on new guidelines, such as ACI ITG-12 Code Requirements Construction of Additively Constructed Walls and ICC 1150 Standard for 3D Automated Construction Technology for 3D Concrete Walls, and launched the NIST Additive Construction by Extrusion (ACE) Consortium.

ERDC, ERCWERX, and Army Materiel Command hosted the Additive Construction: DoD Path to Adoption workshop, where stakeholders across the Joint force promoted a fundamental understanding of additive construction, discussed opportunities and limitations, and began developing a DoD roadmap for additive construction technology integration.

However, unproven assumptions about these structures and technologies’ performance and behavior have been the biggest impediment. Since the oldest printed construction, Andrey Rudenko’s 2014 Minnesota castle, is the only long-term data point, printed structures’ endurance is unclear.

Kreiger advocates an academic-private-government collaboration to improve testing and data validation. Academics can provide rigorous testing and data, but they lack full-sized machines. The private sector can print and benefit from the test data, while the government can keep the 3rd party neutral to ensure unbiased and public-beneficial developments.

Beginning of AC Industry

Public entities are sponsoring advanced manufacturing at record levels. All 3D printing should benefit from this, but AC has great potential in infrastructure, cheap housing, defense, and humanitarian aid/disaster relief. While doing so, businesses help the industry.

“In recent years, we’ve had enough funding to work with different partners and advance in ways we hadn’t before. Funding has allowed us to engage in codes and standards to advance the field, Kreiger said. “Interest has changed in recent years. Mostly because private sector has opened up more. The NIST event brought together people from rival organizations to discuss the field’s strengths and weaknesses. It was the first time we had more communications across the field where people weren’t simply trying to benefit themselves but understood that a rising tide lifts all boats.

AC may be a real and valuable technology, so public investment and business openness are more than lip service compared to previous hoopla. Due of material scarcity, skilled labor shortages, and escalating costs, Kreiger said alternate construction methods are becoming more viable. She believes AC’s main benefits are manpower and injury reduction, less physical strain on workers, logistical and cost efficiency through local materials, energy efficiency, innovative design potential, and the ability to modernize construction while assessing performance in extreme conditions.

As research on the structural resilience of these buildings against weapons attacks and natural disasters develops, these benefits correspond with military modernization aims and have broader ramifications. Kreiger concluded that this holistic approach to building saves lives and allows for innovative applications and field efficiencies.

It’s no surprise that ERDC is pushing AC technology and the standards and quality control framework that will unite the industry. In so much of its research and development for building 3D printing, the U.S. military is employing the dual use principle, which could have even greater peacetime benefits than during wartime.

Summary of today’s construction news

In simple terms, a 500-mile train line between Los Angeles and San Francisco was authorized by California voters in 2008, but the project has been plagued by increasing costs and conflicts over its routing. The California High-Speed Rail Authority predicted in their business plan for 2022 that the cost would have increased by more than 100%, reaching $105 billion.

On the other hand, it is obvious that ERDC is contributing to the advancement of AC’s state-of-the-art as well as the industry’s standards and quality control framework. By focusing its R&D efforts on 3D printing for building materials, the United States military is putting the dual use principle into practice, which might have even more far-reaching implications outside of conflict.