UNR Adds On to Make Earthquake Lab World's Largest
UNR's Earthquake Engineering Lab doesn't seem to do anything small. Downtown Reno streets were closed for hours Tuesday morning, as two huge steel structures made their way to the university. The huge steel bridge trusses, each weighing 23,000 pounds and close to 100 feet wide, lumbered along under 10 miles per hour...down 4th Street....to Valley Road....to Evans. After a close call at 6th Street while bumping over curbs, they moved down 9th, barely missing one campus building by less than an inch.
Watching nervously to the side was UNR Project Manager Scott Brown. He told us one massive truss missed the Davidson Math and Science Building by "About an inch, right around the corner there. I was looking for some touch-up paint, just in case."
After the 3-hour slow-motion stroll, the real work began. Slowly...gingerly....a careful crane operator taps the controls...the first huge truss lowers into place. They're hard to balance: one half is longer than the other. As Robert Foster of Clark & Sullivan Construction described it to us, "The short side is anchored and the large side is cantilevered over, so the engineers are pushing all the limits here."
Even before that, these two trusses were a huge challenge to make. Martin Iron Works put together pipes that they had to groove and fit and weld together, then fill the pipes with concrete to make them stronger.
The best news is that the trusses were designed by a UNR grad and built in Reno. Professor Ahmad Itani, Ph.D. of the UNR Civil Engineering Department told us, "It's really neat to see the people that have graduated, that are actually coming back to design these things."
The trusses will connect the two buildings as a walkway to take future seismologists to their earthquake lab addition. When the new building is finished by fall next year, Reno will be home to the premier earthquake testing lab. Professor Itani proudly told us, "That will take us way to the top, way to the top." Number 1 world earthquake testing lab? "Of course, of course."
Saturday, May 25 2013 2:16 AM EDT2013-05-25 06:16:04 GMT
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