Cottage Lane Students’ New NY K’NEX Bridge

Technology teacher Jacob Tanenbaum was as excited as his young students when project officials paid a second visit to Cottage Lane Elementary School.

“Fifth grade science has a unit of study on bridge design that teaches engineering science,” Tanenbaum said. “Doing engineering with them, and building the K’NEX bridge, has been a wonderful experience.”

Problem-solving for some future engineers/NNYB Outreach

Problem-solving for some future engineers/NNYB Outreach

And since he’d never seen K’NEX pieces, Tanenbaum learned along with them. The bridge model — which includes cars, bicycles and a kayak or two below the spans — is prominently displayed and has gotten much attention.

“My students were thrilled to be part of the project in their own way. It’s hands-on learning for them to figure out how to engineer a copy of the bridge,” Tanenbaum said.

K’NEX Bridge is at Nyack Outreach Center/NNYB Outreach

K’NEX Bridge is at Nyack Outreach Center/NNYB Outreach

“The New NY Bridge is a once in a lifetime project and we want it to inspire local students at all levels from graduate school and college down to elementary classrooms. The goal of our educational outreach effort at all levels is to use this historic infrastructure project to inspire the next generation of bridge builders here in New York.” — Brian Conybeare, Special Project Advisor to Governor Andrew Cuomo

Year two of project officials’ five-year Educational Outreach Program focuses on “A Solid Foundation.” Unveiled in October 2013, the program, interest quickly spread. Well, that might be an understatement.

Massive crane leaving CA for New York/Jacob Tanenbaum

Massive crane leaving CA for New York/Jacob Tanenbaum

“They brought in part of the rebar, which is the size of your arm. The kids were excited to see and touch it,” Tanenbaum said of the presentation, which focused on the concrete batch plants and how the foundations are being constructed.

Tanenbaum was bicycling on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge’s shared use path with the I Lift NY set out for New York last December. The kids tracked its six-week progress with a geography lesson or two thrown in for good measure.

Technology teacher Jacob Tanenbaum and the super crane

Technology teacher Jacob Tanenbaum and the super crane

New York State is considering adopting the Next Generation Science Standards. “The engineering standards especially are wonderful, and the kids have a real-life model in their neighborhood,” he said. And how!

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2014

The Fourth Estate, and then Some

Here on WordPress, I’ve developed a network of friends who blog as I do, each with our own style, format and content.

During my newsroom days, we said stories. With my resume, I mailed copies of articles or sent links to them. Journalists and reporters are often called content writers and content providers, one former editor told me. Why?

One friend left a news outlet when its management shifted from original reporting to templates requiring 300 words or less. Sounds like Mad Libs. Remember that game?

The skeleton story was there, and you’d ask friends for words — nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and so on — without telling them the topic of the story. The words they supplied were completely unrelated to the story you choose, and you collapsed into giggles as you read it with their contributions.

My point is: writing is not via cookie-cutter. I learned to add personal and/or historical insight about a subject when possible. Every story — even if previously told — is different the next time.

Matt, whose blog I follow, wrote about the keyboard today. I related to his post, and he related to my comment about it. He said, “26 letters, 10 numbers and a handful of symbols. That’s it. That’s all there is.”

We both know what infinite magic a keyboard can produce. And yes, I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2014

For U of Notre Dame Engineering Students, an Anticipated Visit to the New NY Bridge Site

Annual field trips introduce the University of Notre Dame’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences (CEEES) students to some of the largest and most innovative infrastructure design and construction projects underway nationwide.

Students observe first-hand the dire need to rebuild, not always repair, the failing systems, meet one-on-one with project and design engineers, explore available opportunities, and connect their classroom learning to field experience.

CEEES students at the project site, one of several stops during a five-day trip/Graduate student Andrew Bartolini

CEEES students at the project site, one of several stops during a five-day trip/Graduate student Andrew Bartolini

And like every well-planned excursion, they cover all bases, including fun.

“These trips to New York and New Orleans, and other areas, help students see the wide range of opportunities available to become innovative leaders and also help connect the classroom to the outside world,” CEEES Dept. Chairman Joannes J. Westerink explained.

A graduate of SUNY Buffalo and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Westerink co-developed an authoritative computer model for storm surge used by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the state of Louisiana to determine water levels due to hurricane surge and to design levee heights and alignments.

HDR/TZC structural engineer Michael Zarrella explains how the new design is safer and more efficient/Diane Westerink

HDR/TZC structural engineer Michael Zarrella explains how the new design is safer and more efficient/Diane Westerink

“We provided water levels the storm surge could reach” from models used in our labs to help predict how high the water/surge will be,” he said. “We’ve also gone to big oil facilities and mines in Texas. Trips are themed, and this year’s theme was East Coast Infrastructure: tunnels, bridges, and water.”

Within five busy days, Westerink, his wife Diane E. Westrerink, Coordinator of the Computational Hydraulics Laboratory at Notre Dame, and 60-plus juniors visited numerous infrastructure project sites and water systems.

While the piece de resistance was the New NY Bridge site, the group explored the Midtown Tunnel in Portsmouth, VA, the DC Water Filtration Plant, Tunnel Fabrication Yards in Sparrows Point, MD, the Bayonne Bridge, the Brooklyn Bridge, the World Trade Center site and memorial — and saw Notre Dame play Syracuse at the MetLife Stadium.

Environmental engineer Chris Coccaro details protective measures prior to and during construction/Diane Westerink

Environmental engineer Chris Coccaro details protective measures prior to and during construction/Diane Westerink

Citing the Bayonne Bridge, Joannes Westerink noted the challenge of the bridge project is how to keep the old bridge standing while building a new cable-stayed bridge without the centerpiece angling it. While the Chesapeake Bay prohibited a bridge because of the nearby naval yards, Westerink noted, “It’s interesting they (project officials) wouldn’t do a tunnel like that.”

If only he knew about the bridge vs. tunnel debates that ensued!

“They did a good job explaining environmental monitoring and resuspension, toxic sediments and marine life, placement of the piles,” he said. “Much of what we see is on the back end (planning), and we really enjoyed talking with those working on the front end of the project.”

Special project advisor Brian Conybeare explains TZC's financial commitments to the project/Diane Westerink

Special project advisor Brian Conybeare explains TZC’s financial commitments to the project/Diane Westerink

On design-build: “I like it. It’s really just a better cooperation, saves money, and forces the team into a certain budget. The level of cooperation is wonderful. We talk about this in our lecture series.”

If you want a high level of mobility in an economy that hums, he said, you need infrastructure, a healthy water supply, roads, and sewer system. “It’s all important, and you don’t realize what you have until you don’t have it.”

This is the ninth year Westerink has taken CEEES students on expanded field trips. “There’s a 20 to 30 percent growth rate in terms of job openings in the next decade, per the U.S. Department of Labor, a high demand. We need to get these kids into big projects and keep them focused on how the economy and the country serve one another.”

“The New NY Bridge is a once in a lifetime project and we want it to inspire local students at all levels from graduate school and college down to elementary classrooms. The goal of our educational outreach effort at all levels is to use this historic infrastructure project to inspire the next generation of bridge builders here in New York.” — Brian Conybeare, Special Project Advisor to Governor Andrew Cuomo

It’s important for civil and environmental engineers to see what’s applicable in the job market, to see why they’re learning what they are, the problems and challenges. “Our students are highly-trained before they’re employed and do internships during summers, or work in labs. Some work, some get their master degrees. Most eventually do, and some get PhD degrees.”

Curious about what goes on below the river's surface? Ask geotech engineer Tony Canale, MR, NYSTA/Diane Westerink

Curious about what goes on below the river’s surface? Ask geotech engineer Tony Canale, MR, NYSTA/Diane Westerink

On another note: Westerink said his students love the field trips. “New York has always been hospitable to us, and our students really want to help their country. They view it as profession where they’re helping people. You don’t think of the incredible infrastructure that helps us through the day.”

You can be sure a return trip is planned!

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2014

Technical Curiosity vs. Bicycle Path Anticipation

They’re curious, energetic, and eager to learn — and some of them aspire to be engineers. How better to show Westchester Community College students where their careers can soar than by inviting the state’s biggest project to their school?

Special project advisor Brian Conybeare talks about the cable-stayed bridge's shared use path/NNYB Outreach

Special project advisor Brian Conybeare talks about the cable-stayed bridge’s shared use path/NNYB Outreach

“We were a generic group, college freshman who live in the county,” Success Team advisor Lori Murphy explained. “They (students) lie in the county, and the bridge will impact them.”

The six-year-old group “exposes students to new ideas, careers, and experiences on and off-campus,” Murphy said. “It’s about service to the community and service to the school, which was bringing project officials to WCC.”

“The New NY Bridge is a once in a lifetime project and we want it to inspire local students at all levels from graduate school and college down to elementary classrooms. The goal of our educational outreach effort at all levels is to use this historic infrastructure project to inspire the next generation of bridge builders here in New York.” — Brian Conybeare, Special Project Advisor to Governor Andrew Cuomo

 Murphy, who lives on Long Island and hadn’t seen the bridge’s progress, was pleased with the presentation and its attendance.

Special project advisor Brian Conybeare learned about WCC students' varied interest in the new bridge/NNYB Outreach

Special project advisor Brian Conybeare learned about WCC students’ varied interest in the new bridge/NNYB Outreach

“I was a little unsure who would come since it was during common hour (Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.), when there were no classes,” Murphy said. “Brian and (Public Outreach Administrator) Andy (O’Rourke) were willing to come even if they had five students.”

Success Team member Luis Blanco felt the presentation was very well designed. “It was interesting that, apart from being a really impressive engineering project when finished, the bridge effort is also trying to help the local community while it’s being constructed.”

Engineering Club advisor Kary Ioannou, P .E., said his students were very interested in the project, especially since “they’re trying to figure out where they’ll work when they graduate.”

While they were excited to learn about the nuts and bolts, the nitty-gritty of how the bridge will be built, Murphy said, “My students wanted to know about the path, that they could bicycle across the new bridge, and the viewing platforms.”

Courtesy New York State Thruway Authority

Courtesy New York State Thruway Authority

Ioannou’s involvement with the bridge project goes back to his days as Greenburgh Town Engineer. “I’m excited about it, too, and what they’re doing, and about their approach.”

His prior work in the private sector introduced Iaonnou to design-build. “It’s great to see the bridge being built, and jobs being created. My students were looking at jobs that are available and are positive about finding work.”

WCC’s two engineering programs — engineering science, from which students transfer to a four-year degree program, and engineering technology (covering civil, mechanical, and electrical), a two-year curriculum that prepares them for work — enroll part and full-time students.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2014

No Meeting Plans Yet w/South Nyack Residents

Three weeks until Daylight Saving Time ends, and we move the clock back one hour. Three months until year three begins for Tappan Zee Constructors, LLC (TZC). The countdown began on January 18, 2013. And 13 days until Halloween.

awesome sky

I missed this awesome sky yesterday, captured by the EarthCam® construction camera (7:15 a.m.) in Upper Grandview. Time for me to start checking it again.

While last month brought super crane watch, October signifies time marked by something not happening. Weeks ago, I wrote about a second family in South Nyack selling its home after the state changed its mind about including six homes in the bridge project’s eminent domain.

I told you it’s game on — waiting game, that is. South Nyack residents want to know what will happen, and when. I’m waiting, too. No date yet, I was told.

awesome again

What is predictable are shortened days, and the sun’s awesome splashes of color (this, at 7:30 a.m. today) that appear slightly later each morning.

The project’s timetable is also predictable.

At 24 percent completed, and with 65 percent of the piling is in, it’s now “going vertical,” TZC president Darrell Waters said two weeks ago when Governor Cuomo was in Piermont to greet the I Lift NY. “By end of year, you will start to see main span pylons coming out of the foundations.”

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2014

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