News and Events - "Industry News"

Welcome to our newsroom! Here you will find the latest information about our company, projects and people. Browse articles published by our engineers and scientists in national publications and conference proceedings, view our press releases and read through news coverage of Terracon.

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Terracon Earns 32nd Ranking in the ENR List of the Top 500 Design Firms

Engineering News-Record (ENR) announced the 2016 Top 500 Design Firms list naming Terracon number 32. This is up from number 35 in 2015 and 2014. ENR provides the engineering and construction news, analysis, commentary and data that construction industry professionals need to do their jobs more effectively. ENR reports on the top design firms, both architects and engineers, and the top construction companies as well as projects in the United States and around the world.

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Jim Wright Joins Terracon as the National Director of Safety and Health

OLATHE, Kan. — Terracon is pleased to introduce Jim Wright as its national director of safety and health. In this position, he will lead the corporate safety group in proactively partnering and collaborating with operations, working closely with all levels of leadership to support and anticipate safety needs, and help operations build and sustain an Incident and Injury-Free (IIF) workplace.

“We all go home safe to our families – that is everyone’s goal at Terracon. When I came here, I could immediately see the commitment to safety that the management team has,” Wright said. “I could also see that employees are embracing the safety culture. I have a passion for safety so it was important to me to find a company that shares that same commitment.”

Wright has more than 25 years of experience in safety management, programs, and compliance. Before joining Terracon, he served as compliance manager for safety, health, environmental, and quality for National Exploration, Wells and Pumps in Woodland, Calif. Wright has designed and implemented world-class safety systems for drilling operations in the U.S., Africa, Australia, Mexico, Canada, and South America.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Central Methodist College and a master’s degree in industrial hygiene from the University of Central Missouri. Wright is chairman of the National Groundwater Association’s Professional Development Safety Subcommittee and received the organization’s 2012 Safety Advocate Award.

Terracon is an employee-owned engineering consulting firm with more than 3,500 employees providing environmental, facilities, geotechnical, and materials services from more than 130 offices in 42 states nationwide. Terracon currently ranks 35th on Engineering News-Record’s list of Top 500 Design Firms. For additional information about Terracon, visit



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Underwater Transmission Line Moves Closer to Construction

Interior Dept. determination clears path for transmission project’s next step, an environmental review.

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New principles to guide green infrastructure decisions

Howard LaFever, a veteran environmental engineer, explains how communities can build and repair infrastructure in sustainable ways.

Audio File:

read more

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Natural Gas Boom Drives Pipeline Upgrades

Calls are rising for more domestic natural gas and crude-oil transmission infrastructure, but environmental and safety reviews are also mounting.

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27 airports in PA getting $12.6 million investment

Twenty-seven airports across Pennsylvania will improve facilities and enhance safety with a $12.6 million investment of federal and state funds, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett announced on May 1.

“More than 290,000 people in Pennsylvania rely on the aviation industry for jobs,” Governor Corbett said in a press release. “It’s vital to maintain investments in these airports so they can continue operating safely and are able to expand to meet business demands.”

The state portion of funding – $805,547 from PennDOT’s aviation development program – comes from the state’s jet fuel tax and leverages more than $743,047 in local matching funds.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is providing $11.8 million in grants through the block grant program, which is funded through taxes collected nationally on airline tickets, freight waybills, international departure fees, and the sale of aviation fuel. Airports receive up to 95 percent of eligible project costs for projects included in Pennsylvania’s 12-year transportation program.

Public-use airports in the state are eligible for the aviation development program. Airports eligible for the federal block grant program include: general aviation airports, designated reliever airports, and non-primary commercial airline airports (those with fewer than 10,000 annual passengers) that are part of the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems.

The state has 133 public-use airports and heliports and 15 airports have scheduled commercial service.

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EPA Rule To Curb Hydrofracking Emissions Draws Mixed Reactions

Oil and gas groups like rule’s 2015 compliance date but some environmentalists contend EPA conceded too much to industry.

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Senate Panel Seeks Hikes for Corps, DOE cleanup, House Committee Votes for Cuts

Senate appropriations panel approves fiscal 2013 bill with 1% boost for Corps civil works, tiny increase for DOE environmental cleanup. House committee recommends 4% cut for Corps, 2% reduction for DOE cleanup.

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EPA, DOE See Potential In Siting Wind And Solar Projects On Contaminated Land

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have developed and launched new tools designed to […]

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Take Two: House passes another SAFETEA-LU extension

The House of Representatives passed the Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2012, Part II, on April 18 by a vote of 293 to 127.

Included in the extension is language to transfer the authority to approve the Keystone XL pipeline project from the Department of State to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

Under the provisions of the extension, FERC would be required to issue a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline within 30 days of receiving an application. If no action is taken, the application would be deemed approved after the 30-day period.

The bill formally known as (H.R. 4348) extends Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEALU) – the current highway bill – through Sept. 30, 2012. Part I of this extension (H.R 4281) was passed March 29 month just two days before it was set to expire March 31. (For the article “Uncharted Road Ahead,” which goes more in-depth on the short-term reauthorizations of SAFETEA-LU, click here.)

The original bill expired on Sept. 30, 2009. SAFETEA-LU’s predecessor, The Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), enacted on Aug. 10, 2005, underwent 12 extensions throughout a two-year period.

Toby Mack, president of Associated Equipment Distributors (AED), says that the uncertainty surrounding federal surface transportation programs has hurt construction contractors and suppliers.

“[It has] forced us to delay transportation improvements vital to the long-term health of the U.S. economy,” Mack said in a formal statement following the House vote. However, Mack says that AED “is pleased that the House has finally passed legislation to move the highway and transit reauthorization process forward.”

AED is calling for a multi-year bill that creates new user fees. The organization says this would “ensure the Highway Trust Fund’s long-term integrity [and would] increase investment to the levels necessary to improve the nation’s transportation system.”

However, since there is no clear idea of when a long-term reauthorization would be passed, Mack says AED believes a swift conference on H.R. 4348 and MAP-21, the Senate’s two-year highway bill, “is the best way to keep the reauthorization process moving forward and restore some near-term certainty to federal infrastructure programs.”

U.S. Rep. John J. Duncan, Jr. (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Highways and Transit Subcommittee, says this legislation will allow programs to continue through the fiscal year and provide predictability during the summer construction season.

“The environmental streamlining provisions would also eliminate duplication by providing a single system to review decisions,” Duncan says in a written statement. “It reduces bureaucratic delay by requiring concurrent, instead of consecutive, project reviews and setting deadlines for the completion of environmental reviews. These changes will cut the delivery process in half and save taxpayers a great deal of money.”

U.S. Rep. John L. Mica (R-Fla.), chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, says the bill contains no tax increases, earmarks, or new federal government programs, quipping that  it may “disappoint Democrats,” but the legislation “will help move the process forward in working to resolve differences with the Senate.”

In a press statement, Mica pounces on President Obama, noting that “when the President first sold the stimulus as an infrastructure bill, he failed to address the red tape that delays the approval of transportation projects. “Shovel-ready became a national joke because it takes so long to get the bureaucratic approvals for a project. This bill includes important provisions to significantly reduce the red tape that leaves projects and jobs behind.”

Mica also purports that the bill includes provisions to help ensure funds collected for the maintenance and improvement of our nation’s harbors are invested for that purpose. He also touts that the bill moves forward with the Keystone pipeline project.

“While the Administration meanders on developing any kind of real energy policy, this measure will help lower energy costs and create jobs for Americans, particularly important as gasoline prices continue to skyrocket because of the squeeze that the Obama Administration has put on production of our energy assets here at home,” Mica said.

The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) Dennis Slater also applauded the House action to pass its highway bill and move to conference with the Senate. “After many failed attempts, partisan politics were put aside and there was bipartisan support for this critical job-creating legislation,” Slater said.

Slater says that  coupled with the Keystone XL pipeline approval, “a final highway bill has the potential to jump start the construction industry across this country as we head into the construction season. Therefore, the timing of this legislation is critical.”

U.S. Congressman Jason Altmire (Pa.-04), a member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, voted in favor of the latest extension. Despite voting for the short-term extension, he says that it doesn’t eliminate the need for a long-term solution.

“Inaction by Congress to produce a long-term reauthorization of our surface transportation programs is not an option,” Altmire said in a written statement after the vote. Altmire says the area the economy of Western Pennsylvania, the area he represents in Congress, depends on solid infrastructure, but “our roads and bridges are crumbling.

“An extension of these programs immediately creates jobs and helps strengthen our infrastructure to meet our growing economic needs, but a long-term reauthorization is our goal,” Altmire said. “Western Pennsylvania is doing its part to reduce our dependence on foreign energy sources, but we cannot do it alone. The Keystone pipeline will create thousands of jobs, and is one of the most important economic investments we can make. The construction of the Keystone pipeline will lower the cost of fuel for millions of American families. This is a vital project and we must work to get construction underway.”