Infrastructure News 01.11.12

Transportation Sector

. January 10, Providence Journal – (Rhode Island) I-95 bridge construction delayed over poor beams. Rhode Island transportation officials said a portion of the Pawtucket River Bridge that is still under construction must be dismantled because some beams are misaligned. The Providence Journal reports that contractors have removed portions of the main girders on both ends of the Interstate 95 bridge. Construction began in November 2010. A spokesman for the state department of transportation, said it is not clear how much of the bridge will have to be disassembled to correct the problem, how long it will take, how much it will cost, or who will pay for it. The bridge was to be open to traffic this spring. But the project fell behind schedule even before state inspectors found the alignment problem. Source: ruction_delayed_over_poor_beams/

. January 9, Houston Chronicle – (Texas) Flash flooding plagues Houston after heavy storms. A strong storm front with heavy rain raced through Houston, January 9, leaving behind so much water, it completely shut down Texas 288 at the South Loop. One tornado reportedly touched down near FM 1093 at FM 723, near the Grand Parkway and Mason Road earlier in the morning. Nickel-sized hail was reported at Highway 99 and Fry Road, and bigger hail was seen in Wharton County early in the day. More than a dozen freeway intersections were flooded. People in cars stalled in high water on roadways called 911 for rescue, said a Houston Fire Department assistant chief. Firefighters helped people get out of their cars and take them to safer areas. Flooded streets forced Metro to reroute some buses and the Metro Rail service in downtown was limited because of water on the tracks. Light rail service was limited to the downtown transit center and the Preston Station on Main Street. Several parking garages in the Texas Medical Center (TMC) in Houston were closed because of high water. and the loading docks and the valet parking at the neurosensory center of TMC’s Methodist Hospital were closed. Source: Houston-after-heavy-storms-2450155.php

. January 9, Abilene Reporter-News – (National) Pair of wrecks close I-20 in Mitchell County temporarily. Icy road conditions and limited visibility are believed to have played a role in two crashes on Interstate 20 in Mitchell County, Texas that led to the road being closed twice January 9. The interstate was closed in both directions for more than 4 hours following a crash involving several 18-wheelers and a few passenger vehicles near Westbrook, west of Colorado City, that occurred early in the morning, said a Texas Department Of Transportation (TxDOT) maintenance supervisor for Mitchell County. A second crash occurred in the afternoon, also near Westbrook, when a jack-knifed 18-wheeler forced the closure of the east-bound lanes. The road was reopened 30 minutes later. Rain began falling in western Mitchell County early January 9, and mixed with sleet and snow as the day progressed. Source: mitchell-county-temporarily/ For more stories, see items 5 and 41

Postal and Shipping Sector

. January 10, Milford Daily News – (Massachusetts) Milford police look for creator of ‘bottle bombs’. Police are still investigating a series of “bottle bombs” set off over the weekend of January 7, in Milford, Massachusetts. No one was hurt in the three incidents, but the deputy police chief said the bombs could have caused serious injuries if chemicals were sprayed in someone’s eyes or plastic was blown at a victim. Officers responded to explosions in yards on West and High streets and near a Highland Street mailbox, police said. Officers released pictures of a green plastic bottle that had exploded. Police believe the explosives were made with common household cleaning chemicals, designed to ignite in 45 to 60 seconds. But, if made improperly, an explosion may not happen until the bottle is unknowingly moved by someone. Source: for-creator-of-bottle-bombs

Emergency Services Sector

. January 10, Aiken Standard – (South Carolina) Patient tries to jump from medical helicopter. Authorities said a medical helicopter taking a patient to a Charleston, South Carolina hospital had to make an emergency landing after the patient fought with the crew and tried to leap from the aircraft. Colleton County Fire and Rescue said paramedics were called after the 26-year-old laborer jumped from an SUV going 70 mph on Interstate 95 late afternoon January 7. The man had several serious injuries, so paramedics called a medical helicopter. Authorities said while in the air, the man broke loose from the backboard and started fighting the crew. The pilot was able to land safely, and the man was put in a special sleeve that kept him from moving his arms and legs and an ambulance took him to the hospital. Source: 0331

. January 10, Augusta Chronicle – (Georgia) Man arrested for entering Athens jail. Authorities with the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office in Athens, Georgia are investigating how an apparently disturbed man got into a secure area of the jail January 7, by pretending to be a police officer. The man entered a bond hearing room just before the judge arrived; He then made racist statements about a sheriff, and later threatened to arrest a sheriff’s deputy, according to sheriff’s records. The records were submitted January 10 by sheriff’s officials to Athens-Clarke County Magistrate Court, along with other jail documents. The man was charged with impersonating a police officer, criminal trespass, and disorderly conduct, according to jail records. After the Athens Banner-Herald obtained the jail records, a spokesman for the sheriff said a serious lapse in security allowed the man into the jail. The man was allowed into the hearing room after he told a deputy he was a retired police officer who had permission from the sheriff and a judge to observe a bond hearing, according to the deputy’s statement. Source: jail?v=1326190984

. January 9, Emergency Management – (New York) New York City completes major 911 system overhaul. New York City (NYC) officials announced the week of January 2 the completion of a major 911 system overhaul — the first major communications integration within the “cellphone era,” according to city officials. For the first time in New York City’s history, officials said, the 911 emergency call takers from the NYC police and fire departments and the Emergency Medical Dispatch services are now all located on the same floor of the Public Safety Answering Center in Brooklyn and are operating on the same technology. The system is capable of handling 50,000 calls per hour — more than nine times the peak hourly call volume that took place during the September 11th attacks, and more than 40 times than the average daily call volume. New York City receives more than 11 million 911 calls each year. With the new system, call takers can now see on-screen maps of a caller’s location. The upgraded system also has critical redundancy to NYC’s emergency communications infrastructure. The system upgrade, called the Emergency Communications Transformation Program, started in 2004. Officials said it will help improve and streamline data sharing among public safety agencies. Additional upgrades were also made to NYC’s emergency telephone and radio networks. Source: 911-System-Overhaul.html

. January 9, WKBT 8 La Crosse – (Wisconsin) 911 outage linked to CenturyLink. Some people who tried to make 911 calls the evening of January 8 in the La Crosse, Wisconsin-area likely did not have their call go through. A technical problem caused another widespread outage in the area. It lasted at least 2 hours. It was the second time in just 6 months that a widespread 911 outage has occurred. The latest outage impacted almost all cell phone users in La Crosse, Monroe, Jackson, and Tremepealeau Counties. The director of the La Crosse County Public Safety Communications Center said some people with home phone service were also impacted. The problem was traced back to CenturyLink’s router site in Black River Falls. A CenturyLink spokesperson said a back-up system failed to kick in during the outage. Source: /326/7681364/-/yfmdeq/-/

. January 5, Threatpost – (Maryland) Losing the cops in a foot chase? There’s an app for that. Law enforcement officials in Maryland issued a warning about the increasing use of smartphones and Web-based services to listen in on law enforcement radio transmissions. Gang members, officials warn, are using smart phone apps to get a jump on enforcement efforts and, in at least one case, to evade capture during a foot chase. The warning, from the Maryland Coordination and Analysis Center (MCAC) is titled “Criminal Use of Police Scanner Apps.” It describes several recent “contacts with criminal gang members” within Maryland during which “law enforcement agency (personnel) has heard their radio transmissions broadcast over a suspect’s smart phone.” In one instance, “officers pursuing a suspect on foot overheard the suspect listening to the pursuing officers’ radio transmission over a smart phone” with a 3- second delay. Gang members and associates are using mobile applications and radio enthusiast Web sites to find and monitor secure channels used by law enforcement over the Internet. Source:

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