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Addressing the problems of the nation’s aging underground infrastructure is a priority for many cities and sanitary sewer and water districts across North America. Though slowed by the economy, there is still a host of massive rehabilitation and construction projects under way or in planning stages with many more such efforts to come.

The North America Society for Trenchless Technology (NASTT) has released a schedule of its Trenchless Good Practices courses for the remainder of 2010 and into 2011. These programs benefit utility contractors and municipal organizations alike. NASTT educational and training programs cover a wide range of trenchless methods and are designed for experienced professionals, as well as newcomers to the industry.

McGraw-Hill Construction, part of The McGraw-Hill Companies, released its 2011 Construction Outlook, a mainstay in construction industry forecasting and business planning, which predicts an increase in overall U.S. construction starts for next year. The level of construction starts in 2011 is expected to advance 8 percent to $445.5 billion, following the 2 percent decline predicted for 2010.

The EPA has awarded $485,000 to the city of Topeka, KS, for improvements to its drinking water and sewer systems. The project is expected to be completed by the summer of 2012.

Pueblo West executive and Distribution Contractors Association Past President Keith R. Swerdfeger won the election for his second run at the Colorado State House of Representatives District 47 seat being vacated by Democrat Liane "Buffie" McFadyen.

Vermeer Corporation has announced staff realignments to best support the company’s global growth initiatives.

“We are excited about the realignment and how it will help Vermeer better serve our customers,” said Mary Andringa, president and chief executive officer for Vermeer Corporation. “Every segment within Vermeer is thinking globally and focusing on the four geographic regions where Vermeer has already invested in growth potential, including Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Latin America and Asia, as well as continued expansion in North America.”

VUEWorks Inc. and its channel partner Ruekert-Mielke Inc. of Waukesha, WI, announced that the city of Waukesha has selected its VUEWorks software for city-wide, GIS-integrated asset management. Waukesha plans to comprehensively track the condition and minimize failure risk of various assets, optimize expenditures and improve service delivery of its physical infrastructure.

As reported in The Mercury News, PG&E's costs related to the San Bruno, CA, gas-line explosion could climb to more than $1 billion, according to data the utility made public in November, fueling fears over how much of the tab its customers may end up paying.

Five leading off-road equipment industry associations have published a "frequently asked questions" (FAQ) report about Tier 4 technology – the next generation of clean diesel emissions standards established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the federal Clean Air Act. These standards apply to new diesel engines used in off-road equipment beginning in 2011.

Michels Pipeline Construction, a division of Brownsville, WI-based Michels Corp., has been awarded spreads 1-4 of TransCanada’s Keystone XL Gulf Coast Expansion Project.

Michels Pipeline Construction will install 371 miles of 36-inch pipe running from Payne County, OK, to Angelina County, TX. Michels Directional Crossings will also perform 19 directional drills required along the route.