DailyDirt: A Long Time To Make Really Big Stuff…

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

In the software world, it’s widely known that throwing more people at a (delayed) project can make it take even longer to finish instead of speeding things up. (See Brooks’s Law) Maybe folks are learning how to cope with this management dilemma, but it looks like the solutions might involve throwing even more people AND more money to get projects to finish on time. The most practical answer, though, might be to come up with more realistic budgets and schedules. However, there are plenty of examples that practical proposals are not forthcoming. Here are just a few construction projects that have faced delays, and we may still have to wait a few years to see how they actually turn out.

If you’d like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!) Techdirt post via StumbleUpon.

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Comments on “DailyDirt: A Long Time To Make Really Big Stuff…”

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Andrew D. Todd (user link) says:

All The Things Which Are Involved in Building a Highway or a Railroad.

I have in front of me an old textbook of highway engineering (Leo J. Ritter and Radnor J. Paquette, Highway Engineering, 3rd. ed., 1967, 782 pp.), and I reproduce the table of contents with comments:

1. Introduction

2. Highway Administration (a brief tour of the public road agencies)

3. Highway Economics and Finance (stuff like cost-benefit analysis)

4. Highway Planning (market research, with emphasis on long-term prediction)

5. Geometric Design of Highways (translating desired horizontal and vertical acceleration into curve dimensions)

6. Highway Soil Engineering (a road is no better than its foundations, obviously)

7. Drainage and Drainage Structures (and if the soil is not kept dry, it will wash out from underneath)

8. Surveys and Plans (making a detailed map of the proposed route)

9. Contracts and Supervision

10. Earthwork Operations and Equipment
(everything up to this point is identical for railroads, “hyperloops,” or whatever)

11. Bituminous Materials

12. Flexible Pavement Design

13. Soil-Stabilized Roads (gravel roads, which are also the foundation for an ordinary railroad or a pipeline)

14. Macadam Roads (ditto)

15. Bituminous Surface Treatments (railroads sometimes insert a layer of asphalt to keep the soil dry, and to prevent the gravel ballast from commingling with the dirt underneath)

16. Road-Mix and Plant-Mix Surfaces

17. High-Type Bituminous Pavements

18. Design of Concrete Pavements

19. Construction of Concrete Pavements (but sooner or later, a really high speed railroad requires steel-reinforced concrete, like an airport runway)

20. Highway Maintenance

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