Latest News

Interior Department Invests Over $5.5 Million for Wildfire Resilience in Utah

Date: September 23, 2022

The Department of the Interior announced that it has invested over $5.5 million in fiscal year 2022 funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to advance wildfire resilience work and support fuels management projects in Utah on 24,490 acres of land across the state.

This is part of $103 million allocated by the department earlier this year to reduce wildfire risk, mitigate impacts and rehabilitate burned areas, according to a news release. The additional funding will help complete fuels treatments on nearly 2 million acres nationwide this fiscal year, a substantial increase over the prior year.

"As climate change drives harsher heat waves, more volatile weather, and record drought conditions, we are seeing wildfire seasons turn to wildfire years, threatening communities, businesses, wildlife and the environment," said Deputy Secretary Tommy Beaudreau. "Through President Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we are investing in Utah communities, advancing wildfire resilience work across the country, improving resources for the heroic firefighting workforce, and reducing the risk of wildfire." Read more.


Salt Lake, Boise Leaders Consider Restoring Passenger Rail Line

Date: September 23, 2022

Salt Lake City and Boise leaders are currently working on a plan to restore a large portion of an old passenger rail line, providing new service from Salt Lake City to an area just northwest of Boise in the near future, ksltv.com reports.

The two cities submitted a statement of interest to the Federal Railroad Administration earlier this month, according to Bre Brush, the transportation advisor for the Boise Mayor's Office, in a presentation to the Boise City Council. But there are plenty of stops along the way before the idea comes to fruition.

“This is still very preliminary," Salt Lake City transportation director Jon Larsen stated. "It's exciting to be having these sorts of conversations and it's exciting that … people are interested in knowing about these conversations, but we still have a long way to go before we're running passenger rail between Salt Lake and Boise." Read more.


USU Extension 4-H Sparks STEM Education Among Rural Youth

Date: September 23, 2022

Young people in rural areas often do not have the same access to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education as youth in suburban areas of the country, according to the Hechinger Report, a national educational newsroom.

With a population of around 7,000, Kane County, Utah, is undoubtedly rural, but the USU Extension 4-H youth development program has established a thriving STEM program, Utah State Today reports. With only 1,300 students in grades K-12 and where all the elementary schools receive financial assistance as Title 1 schools, 80% of students in the district participate in computer science and coding education before they reach middle school. The 4-H program, in partnership with the Kane County School District, has accomplished this significant level of STEM education engagement in just six years.

Elizabeth Davis, extension professor over 4-H in Kane County, and Angie Reidhead, 4-H program coordinator, work together for the program's success. Their goal is to engage the future workforce early in life and provide opportunities for students to develop the necessary skills, including computer science and leadership, to prepare for the evolving work environment. Read more.

Utah Commission Adopts a More Energy-Efficient Building Code

Date: August 17, 2022

Utah is required to update its residential building code every six years. The public hearing hosted by the Utah Uniform Building Code Commission revolved around the adoption of the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code recommendations for new commercial and residential buildings, KUER 90.1 reports.

IECC's big suggestions include installing more ceiling and wall insulation in new construction, strategically placing windows and doors in areas that retain heat and updating HVAC and duct systems to maximize energy savings.

The commission made amendments to the recommendations, including reducing the amount of insulation proposed and maintaining the same testing regulations for duct systems. It also opted not to test mechanical ventilation systems in new homes.

The commission approved their amended version of the code and sent it off to the Utah Legislature's Business and Labor Interim Committee for approval. If approved, lawmakers will vote on the code during the 2023 legislative session. Read more.


What is the Plan for Utah Lake?

Date: August 17, 2022

A gravel path stretches out south from the Lindon Marina, tracing a wobbly line along the eastern shore of Utah Lake. Calm waters reflect the saw-toothed silhouettes of the Wasatch Range, framed by rust-colored reeds and the feeling that — even though you are very much in the middle of a valley filled with ribbons of highways, dense housing and hundreds of thousands of people — you're among nature.

In the coming decades, this serene place could be disrupted by the din of one of the largest development projects in Utah history, according to a Deseret News article. If Lake Restorations Solutions, a Utah-based business, has its way, 60 dredgers could soon be digging into the lake, scooping up enough mud to fill 300,000 Olympic swimming pools. According to an application received by the US Army Corps of Engineers earlier this year, this lakebed mud would then be chiseled into artificial islands, which would cover one-fifth of Utah Lake's surface. A sprawling subdivision connected by roadways and bridges would rise as hundreds of thousands of people move into newly built homes. Read more.


Utah Eligible for Over $5M for Mining Land Reclamation

Date: August 17, 2022

The Department of the Interior announced that Utah is eligible to receive over $5 million in funding for projects dedicated to reclaiming abandoned mine lands, the Standard-Examiner reports.

The $5,769,000 comes from nearly $725 million made available to 22 states and the Navajo Nation by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act with the intent of creating more economic opportunities in coal communities across the nation.

"Through this program, we are investing in coal communities through job creation — including for current and former coal workers — and economic revitalization, all while addressing harmful environmental impacts from these legacy developments," Secretary Deb Haaland said in a press release. "We encourage all eligible states and Tribes to apply for this funding so we can reduce hazardous pollution and toxic water levels that continue to impact our communities."

Abandoned mine land reclamation projects include closing potentially dangerous mine shafts, reclaiming unstable slopes, preventing releases of harmful gases, treating acid mine drainage and restoring water supplies damaged by mining. Read more.


NSPE's Job Board is your one-stop resource for professional engineering employment. Whether you are on the hunt for your next career move or looking for today's top engineering leaders and talent, you will find it here.

NSPE provides the tools PEs need to keep current in the profession and advance their careers.

Featured Job
Site Development Project Manager/Team Leader
Salt Lake City, UT

Find more job openings or reach the right employees on the NSPE Job Board.

UDOT Seeks Input on Rural Transportation Planning

Date: July 20, 2022

The Utah Department of Transportation wants the public's input to contribute ideas on how to address transportation needs as part of the state's Long-Range Rural Transportation Plan for rural areas throughout Utah.

This planning process is an opportunity to shape decisions regarding Utah's rural transportation system needs for the next 25 to 30 years, according to a news release. UDOT has been meeting with rural communities, counties, and other agencies to discuss future needs along the state highway system. A variety of rural state roads in need of transportation improvements have been identified, and the department is asking the public to share their ideas on how to help improve Utah's roadway network. Some ideas may include adding travel or passing lanes, improving intersections, adding bike lanes or sidewalks, providing transit service, increasing signage, extending paved trails, and more.

The public is encouraged to visit the project website to share comments in the following ways:

  • Provide ideas on the comment map. The map details state roads that are in need of transportation improvements and the planning team is interested in specific ideas of how to solve these needs.
  • Respond to a quick survey about the planning goals.
  • The public may also email the project team (planning@utah.gov) or call the project hotline (385-360-1900).

Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Save Utah's Great Salt Lake

Date: July 20, 2022

US Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) recently introduced the Great Salt Lake Recovery Act, legislation to study historic drought conditions and protect the long-term health of the Great Salt Lake in Utah. Earlier this month, the lake dropped to its lowest level on record for the second time in a year, posing a threat to the state's environment and economy, according to a news release.

This legislation builds on conservation actions taken by the Utah legislature in the 2022 legislative session, including the designation of $40 million for the Great Salt Lake watershed enhancement program. Representatives Chris Stewart (R-UT) and Burgess Owens (R-UT) introduced companion legislation in the US House.

The legislation seeks to build on Utah's efforts to address the historic drought conditions of the Great Salt Lake and other saline lakes in the Great Basin by doing the following:

  • Authorizing the US Army Corps of Engineers to carry out a program to monitor and assess the water availability and conditions of saline lakes in the Great Basin, including the Great Salt Lake, in order to help inform management and conservation activities for these ecosystems. The Corps will coordinate with relevant federal and state agencies, tribes, local governments, and nonprofits to implement the program. The bill authorizes $10,000,000 for this program.
  • Authorizing a feasibility study on addressing drought conditions in the Great Salt Lake, which may include an identification of any potential technologies—including pipelines, coastal desalination plants, and canal reinforcement—capable of redirecting water sources and necessary permitting to redirect water sources across state borders.

Utah Has Plans for Electrifying Its Scenic Highways

Date: July 20, 2022

Travis Van Orden has watched the trickle become a stream. The owner of the Broken Spur Inn and Steakhouse in the southern Utah tourist town of Torrey was one of the early adopters of Tesla’s nationwide electric vehicle charging network six years ago, according to a The Salt Lake Tribune article.

The process took a year before Tesla approved his application and installed the chargers at his hotel. And it worked well during the early years. "It was one car a week, or two cars," Van Orden said. "Now it's three or four or five cars fighting over my three chargers."

The same upward trend is happening at other hot spots. Growing numbers of tourists need more than the charge that Utah's stunning beauty provides.

In 2020, Utah legislators passed HB259, which directed the Utah Department of Transportation to plan a statewide electric vehicle charging network that would be funded under the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure program. Federal funding requires charging stations at least every 50 miles, although there is a mechanism for exceptions.

Utah's main freeways (Interstates 15 and 80) are in good shape, but the next step down—particularly the major tourism routes—are thin. UDOT says the state needs about 42 more charging stations on highways, including those connecting Utah's national parks and other tourist destinations. Read more.

NSPE-UT Continuing Education Conference Success

Date: June 16, 2022

NSPE-UT was happy again to hold our annual Continuing Education Conference for Utah PEs in May. The free event was able to reach almost 160 attendees, counting both in-person and virtual attendees, which is an increase of about 50% over our last in-person event in 2019. The hybrid format allowed many PEs to attend in areas not local to the Wasatch Front.

A big thank you to our sponsors and partner—the University of Utah College of Engineering, GoEngineer, the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing, and especially to our presenters, who shared timely and helpful knowledge and information on a range of topics of interest to engineers.


DOE Confirms $504 Million Loan for Utah Hydrogen Energy Storage Hub

Date: June 16, 2022

The Advanced Clean Energy Storage Project, claimed as the largest green hydrogen storage hub planned globally, will get $504.4 million loan funding from the US Department of Energy (DOE), according to an Energy Storage News report.

The DOE's Loan Programs Office said that it has closed on the half-billion-dollar loan guarantee for the planned facility in Utah, which will combine 220MW of alkali electrolysers with storage capacity in vast salt caverns with 4.5-million-barrel capacity.

The Loan Programs Office, which reopened in the early weeks of President Joe Biden's term with solar industry veteran Jigar Shah at the helm, offered the loan in late April this year, after inviting the project's co-development partners Mitsubishi Power Americas and Magnum Development to apply, just under a year before that in May 2021.

While the initial invite had said up to $595 million could be on the table, it appears the figure settled on is nearly a hundred million dollars less for the very long-duration – or seasonal – energy storage plant.

Project information from Mitsubishi Power Americas said the hub would take excess renewable energy from sources including wind, solar, geothermal and hydroelectric. Read more.


Utah Women in STEM Careers Slowly Increasing

Date: June 16, 2022

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Utah ranked in the top 10 states for tech job growth, net tech employment concentration, and net tech employment gains in 2020. In addition, Salt Lake City is ranked as the second-best city in the country for professional opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math.

Yet despite the statewide opportunities, Salt Lake was ranked only 43rd among other metro areas for "STEM-friendliness," a metric that considers the gender disparity in STEM field occupations and degrees, according to a Utah State Today article. Nationally and locally, fewer women obtain STEM-related college degrees and work in STEM-related professions, and once employed they leave these careers at disproportionate rates compared to men, leaving that portion of the workforce predominately male.

The Utah Women & Leadership Project released a research paper in 2016 on Utah Women and STEM. A new 2022 report updates and compares data on three areas featured in the earlier report: current STEM employment data, possible reasons for the STEM gender gap, and ongoing efforts to increase diverse participation and success in STEM fields. Read more.


Program Demonstrates Alternative Vehicle Use in Southern Utah

Date: June 16, 2022

Alternatives to fuel-driven vehicles may soon be on the road as Washington County and five counties in Southern Utah explore the Drive Clean Rural USA program opportunities, according to a St George News report.

The program is funded in part by the Department of Energy Vehicles Technology program. Utah is one of eight states chosen for the project, which involves county government and private fleet partners. The groups will receive free assistance from Utah Clean Cities once they commit to the program. The three-phase project will run through June 2024.

"The pilot project goes into rural communities to work with them to build out an advanced alternative transportation plan with the alternative fuels in Utah: propane, electric, natural gas, and possibly hydrogen," Tammie Bostick, Utah Clean Cities Coalition executive director, said.

According to the Utah Clean Cities website, the program assists local governments and organizations save money by transitioning vehicle fleets to clean fuels and advanced vehicle technologies. Large cities nationwide have many businesses, hospitals, schools, and local governments that have started the process. Read more.

Utah Water Projects Awarded $70 Million to Fix Aging System Issues

Date: May 18, 2022

The US Department of the Interior announced an additional $240 million in funding will go to aging water infrastructure in the West, including four projects in Utah, KUER reports.

This money comes from the bipartisan infrastructure bill President Joe Biden signed last November. The Bureau of Reclamation approved 46 projects across 11 states, and now applicants can decide if they want to accept the funding or not. The Utah projects were awarded around $70 million. Read more.


Governor Releases New State Energy Plan

Date: May 18, 2022

Governor Spencer J. Cox and the Utah Office of Energy Development (OED) released a new State Energy and Innovation Plan. Identifying six key commitments, the plan will serve as a guidepost for energy development in Utah, according to a news release. The plan lives on the OED’s website as an interactive story map.

“At the beginning of my administration, I released the One Utah Roadmap and directed the Utah Office of Energy Development to update the statewide energy plan,” said Governor Cox. “State code requires state energy policy to have adequate, reliable, affordable, sustainable, and clean energy resources and that’s precisely what this plan does. It’s crucial that we ensure Utah’s energy future is secure, innovative, and reliable in order to maintain our high quality of life and robust economy.”


Utah Signs New Wildfires Agreement

Date: May 18, 2022

Governor Cox and US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack signed a renewed Shared Stewardship agreement that reaffirms a mutual commitment to build relationships and coalitions needed to confront the wildfire crisis throughout the state of Utah, according to a news release.

Utah, the Forest Service, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) have substantially increased fuel reduction and forest health treatments in places where wildfire presents an immediate risk to communities and critical water resource since the signing of the original agreement in 2019. Over four years, partners successfully treated more than 54,000 acres, funding 31 projects with more than $20 million in state, federal, and partner funds.

Shared Stewardship is about jointly identifying priorities and combining resources to achieve cross-boundary outcomes using every available authority and tool to improve forest health. It encouraged the longstanding culture of cooperation between the state, Forest Service, and NRCS in addition to capitalizing on the shared belief that no singular agency can address the threat of the wildfire crisis.

Registration Open: NSPE-UT Continuing Education Conference

Date: April 20, 2022

Register now to earn continuing education hours toward licensure renewal by attending the upcoming NSPE-UT Continuing Education Conference on Saturday, May 14, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The conference will be held at the University of Utah Warnock Engineering Building in Salt Lake City.

This conference promises a great lineup of presenters and topics for those attending in-person and for the first time, it will also be broadcast virtually to registered attendees statewide. Attendance is free to all Utah PEs, including non-NSPE members. Access the agenda and register online.


New Laws Address Extreme Water Shortages

Date: April 20, 2022

As the state faces unprecedented drought, Governor Spencer Cox has signed into law a dozen measures that will help address water shortages. Nearly $450 million has been earmarked for water-related infrastructure, the Deseret News reports.

Some bills passed with help from other lawmakers, with the governor noting that the cooperation among legislators was unprecedented. One measure sponsored by Representative Val Iverson provides $250 million in grants for the metering of secondary water.

Cox recently declared a state of emergency in Utah; 99% of the state is in severe drought and 28 of Utah's largest 45 reservoirs are below 55% of available capacity.


Salt Lake City Could Get First "Innovation District"

Date: April 20, 2022

Thanks to a joint effort between the University of Utah and the Salt Lake Redevelopment Agency (RDA), the vision for Salt Lake City's Station Center Project is moving forward. This project aims to transform the heart of the Depot District into a hub of innovation, allowing a wide range of residents and businesses to live, work, and contribute ideas necessary for an "innovation district" to thrive, according to a Utah Business report.

With a focus on life sciences and community health, the new innovation district will build on the momentum from Mayor Erin Mendenhall's Tech Lake City initiative in order to bring both sides of the city together thanks to the project's location between 500 and 600 West and 200 and 400 South.

"We see [the project] as an opportunity to bridge the divide between the amazing research and commercialization work happening on the hill at the U and our west side communities," says Cara Lindsley, deputy director of the RDA. "Innovation and tech aren't always the most inclusive industries, but if we're intentional about making sure that all Salt Lake City residents benefit from the Station Center Innovation District, with educational and workforce development opportunities, real progress can be made."

May Continuing Education Conference

Date: March 14, 2022

Plan to earn continuing education hours toward licensure renewal by attending the upcoming Continuing Education Conference on Saturday, May 14. NSPE-Utah has partnered with the University of Utah Engineering Alumni Association and the Department of Occupational and Professional Licensing to deliver a great line-up of presenters and topics!

The conference will be held 8 a.m. to 5p.m. at the University of Utah Warnock Engineering Building (COVID restrictions permitting). In addition, plans are being made to broadcast the conference virtually to registered attendees statewide.

Attendance is free to all Utah PEs, including non-NSPE members. Look for registration information in the April issue of PE Matters and check the mail for your invitation.


ASPIRE Engineering Research Center Launches Electrified Roadway Demo

Date: March 14, 2022

Electreon, a provider of in-road wireless electric vehicle charging technology, and the Advancing Sustainability through Powered Infrastructure for Roadway Electrification (ASPIRE) have partnered to take on the nation's electrified transportation challenges to the widespread electrification of all vehicles, according to a Utah State Today report.

Electreon's in-motion (dynamic) wireless charging technology will be installed in ASPIRE's research test track in North Logan, Utah, in summer 2022 to showcase the company's technology for the first time in North America. The demonstration will consist of 50 meters of dynamic in-road wireless charging hardware installed in Utah State University's test track. Corresponding vehicle-side charging hardware will be installed on the Kenworth truck, and power management and charging communication systems will also be included.

This site will function as a live demonstration facility for departments of transportation, other government officials, current and potential industry partners, as well as Electreon's potential and prospective partners and clients to experience in-motion wireless charging as the technology moves to market deployment in the US.

Aspire Roadway Utah

Credit: ASPIRE


Dominion Energy Utah Launches Program to Reduce Carbon Footprint

Date: March 14, 2022

Dominion Energy customers in Utah can now sign up for CarbonRight, a new and affordable way to significantly reduce their carbon footprint. The program will allow customers to offset carbon emissions from natural gas use in their home or business by supporting projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to a news release.

The program is voluntary and available to all residential customers, businesses, government buildings, and schools. To participate, customers may purchase carbon offsets in $5 blocks on their monthly bill. A typical residential customer can offset their entire carbon footprint, achieving "net zero" carbon emissions from their natural gas usage, by purchasing one $5 block a month, or $60 a year.

The carbon offsets offered through the program come from projects that reduce landfill carbon emissions in Utah and Missouri, as well as a forest management project in Minnesota that captures emissions from the environment. The offsets are independently certified through a rigorous and transparent process to ensure they meet the highest standards.

Save the Date! Continuing Education Conference at the University of Utah

Date: February 16, 2022

The Utah Society of Professional Engineers Board, the University of Utah Engineering Alumni Association, and the Department of Occupational and Professional Licensing are partnering to hold the annual Continuing Education Conference on Saturday, May 14 (COVID restrictions permitting).

This year promises a great line-up of presenters and topics! Many of you have probably attended this event in the past and know that it is a great opportunity to learn and earn continuing education hours toward license renewal. All Utah PEs, including non-NSPE members, are invited to participate in the free event. Look for more information in the March issue of PE Matters.


Does Utah Need a $270 Million Bridge Across Lake Powell?

Date: February 16, 2022

No bridges cross Lake Powell for roughly 90 miles between the Glen Canyon Dam in Arizona and Hite at the upstream end of the reservoir. For years, the Utah Department of Transportation operated a ferry between Halls Crossing and Bullfrog in the middle of Lake Powell. Because of record low reservoir levels and other issues, the ferry is not operational, The Salt Lake Tribune reports.

Representative Phil Lyman (R-Blanding) believes it's time to replace the ferry with a more reliable alternative. At a subcommittee hearing held at the Utah Capitol earlier this month, Lyman requested lawmakers approve $2 million for an engineering study of a large bridge to cross rugged canyon terrain near the ferry site.

"Right now," Lyman said, "90% of Lake Powell is in Utah but 90% of the traffic is flowing to Arizona because Arizona has so many more services there for Lake Powell. Bullfrog and Halls Crossing could be a world-class resort if we could connect the dots."

The proposal would carry a hefty price tag, however: approximately $270 million, according to preliminary estimates.


Utah Should Keep Its Engineering Momentum Going

Date: February 16, 2022

In a Desert News opinion column, Utah Valley University President Astrid Tuminez shares why she believes substantive investments and the right strategic partnerships will allow Utah to shape itself into a game-changer in the modern economy.

In the early 2000s, then-Utah Governor Michael O. Leavitt identified a major challenge for our state. Too many of Utah's startups were migrating to Silicon Valley for adequate talent and venture capital. Leavitt envisioned a high-tech economy thriving in Utah. To create a road map for his vision, he reached out to Silicon Valley industry leaders and met John Warnock, University of Utah alumnus and cofounder of Adobe Systems, who shared that the key to a high-tech economy was investing in engineering education.

In 2001, the Utah State Legislature passed SB61, or the Engineering Initiative, as a long-term collaboration between state government, higher education and industry leaders to facilitate a surge in engineering and computer science degrees. Now, nearly two decades since the bill was passed, Utah's higher education system has more than doubled its annual output of engineering and computer science graduates.

At Utah Valley University, we have nearly tripled our engineering students from 366 in 2001 to almost 1,100 in 2021, and computer science majors increased from 104 to 1,010 in the same timeframe. From 2010-2020, tech-related employment in Utah expanded from 46,000 to more than 118,000, and the state's GDP has grown from $70 billion to $168 billion.

Read more.


NSPE Career Center

Date: February 16, 2022

NSPE's Job Board is your one-stop resource for professional engineering employment. Whether you are on the hunt for your next career move or looking for today's top engineering leaders and talent, you will find it here.

NSPE provides the tools PEs need to keep current in the profession and advance their careers.

Featured Jobs
Transportation Director
Park City, UT

Mechanical Engineer

Find more job openings or reach the right employees on the NSPE Job Board.

Summit Addresses Decreasing Health, Size of the Great Salt Lake

Date: January 19, 2022

Novel concerns about the Great Salt Lake’s demise have arisen among Utah lawmakers, the Salt Lake Tribune reported. The lake’s water level dipped to a 175-year low last fall and worries about its health have spurred action. A bipartisan summit was held in December to discuss possible solutions.

The slow shrinkage of the lake had largely been ignored until recently, when it became a bipartisan concern. Upstream river diversions and drought are the causes. The lake is seen as being crucial to tourism and resident health and happiness in Utah. The summit was attended by politicians, scientists, and agency staff; they focused on policy changes and investments that would allow more to water to reach the terminal lake, according to the Tribune.


Biden’s Infrastructure Plan Allocates Millions for Bridge Repairs in Utah

Date: January 19, 2022

Under President Biden’s infrastructure plan that infuses $26.5 billion into bridge repair across the US, Utah will receive $225 million. The funds will come over five years via the Federal Highway Administration. Aside from making much-needed repairs, a major goal of the funding is to help bridges withstand the effects of climate change by modernizing them, FHWA Administrator Stephanie Pollack said.

Methane Leaks in Unita Basin Among the Nation’s Worst

Date: December 15, 2021

Up to 8% of the natural gas produced in Utah’s Uinta Basin escapes, leaking into the atmosphere, according to new research. This makes the site one of the nation’s major sources of methane emission, the Salt Lake Tribune reports. The gas is released via leaks from wells, pipelines, compressors, and processing facilities, according to monitoring data that was studied at the University of Utah. Last month, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed a rule that would greatly reduce methane and other harmful air pollution from sources in the oil and natural gas industry. The move would reduce 41 million tons of methane emissions from 2023 to 2035, the equivalent of 920 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, the EPA said.


Infrastructure Law Funds Bridge and Road Repair, Transportation Upgrades

Date: December 15, 2021

The federal bipartisan infrastructure law will pay to repair and rebuild roads and bridges in Utah with a focus on climate change mitigation, resilience, equity, and safety for all users, including cyclists and pedestrians. In Utah, there are 62 bridges and over 2,064 miles of highway in poor condition, according to the Department of Transportation. The state is expected to receive approximately $2.6 billion over five years in federal highway formula funding for highways and bridges.

In addition, $665 million over five years will be spent on improving public transportation in Utah. Funding will also cover modernization of freight rail, increased EV charging options, airport improvements, and other infrastructure updates.

Utah Using Pig Waste as Renewable Energy Source

Date: November 17, 2021

Wind, solar, geothermal, and energy from pig waste are helping to power Milford, Utah, cleanly, the Salt Lake Tribune reports. Large quantities of waste from a quarter of a million pigs on 26 local farms are helping to make the region greener.

Captured waste gasses are turned into “renewable natural gas” for home heating by Dominion Energy, which, like several other energy companies in Utah, has committed to net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Investing in renewable energy sources to offset carbon emissions is one way the utility is working toward that goal. According to the Tribune, “Geothermal development in the area goes back nearly 40 years, wind 10 years, and solar five years.”


New Highway Expected to Improve Traffic Patterns in Fast-Growing County

Date: November 17, 2021

A new highway connecting busy roads in Tooele County should significantly ease congestion, KSL reports. The Midvalley Highway, or state Route 179, is a 4.5-mile highway that connects state Route 138 with I-80, providing a new access point to Tooele County communities from I-80. It also allows many motorists to reach areas in the Tooele Valley without having to use state Route 36. The route opened in late October.

Utah is currently leading the nation in growth, and Tooele County was the fifth-fastest growing county based on percentage increase, according to the 2020 census.

Ending Gender Stigma in Engineering Is an Ongoing Effort

Date: October 19, 2021

A recent article in The Utah Statesman discusses the opinion that women in engineering programs continue to face gender stigmas that can cause many to drop out or leave the profession. The article quotes female Utah State University students who say they need to see more female role models in STEM fields. Additionally, they assert that male members of the profession must strive to recognize female professional engineers they work with as being qualified PEs and treat them as such.

Women can also help themselves succeed, the author says, by taking on leadership roles in the profession and joining engineering clubs and organizations in college.


New Contract Manufacturing Facility Coming to Salt Lake City

Date: October 19, 2021

Armada Nutrition plans to broaden its operation capacity with a new nutraceutical manufacturing facility in Salt Lake City, reports Food Engineering. The new facility will be 438,000 square feet and, together with its other plant in Tennessee, will be part of over 750,000 square feet of manufacturing space, making Armada one of the industry’s largest contract manufacturers in the US in terms of capacity and output.

Armada is a full-service product developer and manufacturer specializing in powder and capsule applications. The plant will be fully operational in the second quarter of 2022. Over time, it will bring 375-400 new jobs to the area, a company spokesperson said.

Utah Lake Clean-Up Proposal Stirs Debate

Date: September 10, 2021

A proposal to restore Utah Lake through dredging and one of the largest island-building projects ever attempted is meeting criticism despite the assurances of the project developer, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. The developer, Lake Restoration Solutions, believes dredging and building islands will clean the lake and restore miles of habitat. The organization’s CEO says private investors have committed to covering nearly all $6.4 billion in project costs, but he also wants the backing of government agencies.

On the other side, a BYU ecology professor says, “There is almost always disagreement in the scientific and [water] management community about what to do about big problems. I have talked to almost 100 experts from around the state and I have not met a single one who thinks this is a good idea.”


Anti-Licensing Forces Miss the Point

Date: September 10, 2021

Extreme anti-licensing bills have popped up in numerous states and are posing a threat to the rigorous and established professional standards followed by PEs, architects, and others who design and construct the built environment, according to an op-ed in The Hill.

Lawmakers calling for these extreme measures don’t differentiate between barbers and manicurists, for example, and PEs and architects, say Tom Smith, executive director of ASCE, and Michael Armstrong, CEO of NCARB. “In their absolutist free-market view, reflected in the language of their model legislation, a visit to a barbershop or beauty salon should be treated the same as designing a bridge or water treatment plant.”

The legislative proposals range from measures that would eliminate licensing entirely to so-called “Universal Licensing” bills that would require states to accept licenses from any state regardless of whether the out-of-state license had the same level of qualifications behind it.


Air Pollution Reaches Alarming Levels

Date: September 10, 2021

As Utah’s economy booms and its population grows, air quality in Salt Lake City has reached levels worse than those in New Delhi and Jakarta, reports the New York Times. Smoke from California’s wildfires, ground-level ozone pollution from power plants and cars, and dust storms originating in dried up lakebeds are all contributing factors. Another factor: diverting too much water from the Great Salt Lake, mainly for agriculture. Despite water concerns, the state’s “water consumption dwarfs that of many other states, including in other arid climates.”

Symposium Presenters Question Utah Lake Dredging Proposal

Date: August 11, 2021

Presenters at a recent “hastily convened” symposium said that Utah Lake can be restored without dredging, although others disagree, reports the Salt Lake Tribune. The symposium was organized by a BYU ecology professor and UVU colleagues who oppose proposals to create an “authority” to oversee the lake’s restoration and to sculpt the lakebed into island subdivisions to absorb Utah County’s meteoric growth.

Under a $6.4 billion real estate proposal from Lake Restoration Solutions, which has won the backing of Utah lawmakers, the company would invest in various habitat restoration projects in exchange for title to lakebed. The company would deepen the lake and use the fill to create 28 square miles of islands, which would support residential and commercial development.

Presenters at the symposium said deepening the lake would not restore it. In fact, they said it would disrupt the lakebed’s ecological function and create temperature zones with cold water at the bottom, instead of the uniform temperature the water now sees. The BYU ecology professor who helped organize the symposium said, “I see almost no scenario where that wouldn’t increase the severity and risk of having these really bad water quality issues, particularly with the [reduced] oxygenation of the water.”


Opinion: Utah cities shouldn’t gamble on nuclear power

Date: August 11, 2021

In the Deseret News, the president of the Utah Taxpayers Association cautions municipalities about small modular nuclear power. “[T]he taxpayers and communities of Utah should not act as venture capitalists for risky bets,” he writes.


State Officials Unveil Plan for ‘Innovation Community’

Date: August 11, 2021

State officials have decided on a broad framework for 600-acre miniature city and innovation district, reports KUER. The development, known as The Point, is planned for the border between Salt Lake and Utah counties on the site of the Utah State Prison.

The development is expected to have housing for 15,000 people and seven districts, each with its own function. Housing, retail, and offices will make up about 60% of the area; a quarter will be for trails, parks, and open space; and the rest is slated for infrastructure and roads. Carless transportation to and within the site is also a major goal of the project.

The concept for The Point has been developed over three years, and a project timeline is unclear. The state prison isn’t scheduled to relocate until 2022 at the earliest.

Construction of New State Parks Planned

Date: July 21, 2021

Construction of Utah’s newest state park is expected to begin next year, and a second new state park is also being developed, according to KSL.com. The Utahraptor State Park will be located about 15 miles northwest of Moab, and Lost Creek is planned for an area near Croydon in Morgan County. Two campgrounds will be built at Utahraptor, along with restrooms and trailheads for the off-highway vehicle and mountain bike trail systems in the area. A construction start date has not yet been set for Lost Creek State Park, which will be in an area already popular for paddlecraft and fishing. The projects have been slated to receive $83 million.


New Innovation Network Aims High

Date: July 21, 2021

Business and education leaders in the Beehive State have unveiled a game plan to improve innovation in the state, speed the growth of high-wage jobs, and draw more talent to the region, the Salt Lake Tribune reports. The team behind the Wasatch Innovation Network includes business leaders from fast-growing sectors such as biotech, aerospace, advanced manufacturing, and artificial intelligence.

The network plans to build “lateral connections” among business mentors, venture capitalists, planners, and lobbyists across industries. Lobbying the state legislature and municipal governments is also in the network’s plans. Among the priority issues will be improving public and higher education in Utah, advancing transportation of all kinds, and pressing for tax incentives for businesses and new tools to recruit talented workers.

When Earthquakes Hit, Not All Utah Schools are Equal

Date: June 9, 2021

A Deseret News article calls attention to the engineering differences that helped some Utah school buildings withstand the 2020 Wasatch Front earthquake while others were significantly damaged. Following the 5.7 magnitude quake on March 18, a number of schools in the Granite District were damaged—West Lake STEM Junior High in West Valley City was deemed a “complete loss.” However, schools in the Salt Lake City School District, which had been retrofitting facilities for years, reported no damage.

The Wasatch Front Unreinforced Masonry Reduction Strategy report explains that disadvantaged and marginalized populations face a disproportionate danger. “While much has been done, a disparity exists between school districts with significant financial resources and those that are unable to overcome major obstacles in dealing with seismically deficient buildings, including a lack of viable funding mechanisms.”

The report also notes that the Wasatch Fault “poses one of the most catastrophic natural threat scenarios in the United States. The Wasatch Front has a 43% chance of a magnitude 6.75 or greater earthquake in the next 50 years, and experts project that such an event would be among the deadliest and costliest disasters in U.S. history.”


Advanced Composites Manufacturer Expands in Utah

Date: June 9, 2021

A leading manufacturer of advanced composites technology plans to build a flagship Center of Excellence for Research & Technology in Utah, reports Chemical Engineering. Hexcel Corp., of Stamford, Connecticut, manufactures carbon fiber, woven reinforcements, resins, prepregs, honeycomb, and additive manufactured parts for customers in commercial aerospace, space and defense, and industrial markets. The company says the center will add up to 150 new high-paying jobs in the next 12 years. West Valley City is home to Hexcel’s existing operations, including its largest high-performance carbon fiber manufacturing facility in the world. The facility employs about 600 people.

A recent article in Design News covered the expected growth in the advanced composites material market. Two areas for potential market growth are the wind energy sector and automotive battery enclosures. The article quotes Dr. R. Byron Pipes, executive director of the Indiana Manufacturing Institute at Purdue University: “These material systems provide weight savings that translate into energy savings and the CO2 reduction required to fight global warming. Further, the electrification of transportation systems demands more efficient, lightweight vehicles where a greater proportion of system weight is apportioned to contemporary battery technology.”

Road Project May Help Isolated Town

Date: May 12, 2021

An isolated town in southern Utah may gain a new connection to the state highway system if a $110 million project is built, reports the Salt Lake Tribune. Navajo Mountain, one of the most isolated communities in the Lower 48, has around 500 residents. They currently face lengthy drives to access basic services. While Monument Valley is only 45 miles from the community’s center, getting there requires a 120-mile drive. The Navajo Nation, Utah, and the federal government would likely need to provide financial support.

The project would have three phases, based on a draft proposal from Jones and DeMille Engineering: a $49 million dirt road connection between Navajo Mountain and Oljato; a $30.2 million dirt spur heading north across the San Juan River to connect to Highway 276 east of Halls Crossing; and the paving of both new roads.


Mass Timber Projects Come to SLC

Date: May 12, 2021

A Chicago company has proposed a 10-12 story mass timber building in Salt Lake City’s University Local Historic District, according to Building Salt Lake. The plan is for a mixed-use, all-studio project with townhomes. The company, Harbor Bay, is using a $144 million, 298-unit, nine-story (115 ft) mass timber building in Cleveland, called “Intro CLE,” as its model.

Additionally, a seven-story mass timber building is part of the Giv Group’s multiphase Project Open Development in Salt Lake City. The project is being called Utah’s first carbon neutral multifamily project.

Last November, ENR reported that 445 engineered wood projects completed or under construction, and 534 in design And the number of new mass-timber buildings in North America will double every two years.

Utah Mine Will Add to US Tellurium Supply

Date: April 21, 2021

Rio Tinto’s Kennecott mine plans to begin tellurium recovery operations later this year as a byproduct of copper smelting, reports AP. Tellurium is one of the least common elements on Earth and is used in photovoltaic solar cells. The company will invest $2.9 million to construct a new plant that will produce 20 tons per year. Michael Moats, professor of metallurgical engineering at the Missouri University of Science and Technology, said increasing the domestic supply of the mineral is critical for renewable energy and national defense efforts in the US. He also explained that 20 tons per year is significant, given that global production is about 500 tons per year. Currently, domestic production of tellurium is chiefly carried out at a mine in Amarillo, Texas.


Provo River Delta Project Aims for Restoration

Date: April 21, 2021

Construction of the 260-acre Provo River Delta project is underway, reports ABC4. The project, says Utah DWR, will restore the interface between the Lower Provo River and Utah Lake and help recover the June sucker, a fish species native to Utah Lake and not found naturally anywhere else in the world. A majority of the lower Provo River’s flow will be diverted out of the existing river channel and into a newly constructed system of braided channels and wetlands before eventually making its way into Utah Lake. Prep work began in March 2020 and excavation began in June 2020. The project has been in planning for more than 10 years.

Siemens Plans for Hydrogen Production, Storage at Utah Plant

Date: March 15, 2021

The Intermountain Generating Station in Delta, Utah, may soon become the center of a plan to integrate hydrogen production and storage, reports Power magazine. On March 1, Siemens announced that it would begin a conceptual design study as part of an initiative “to analyze the overall efficiency and reliability of CO2-free power supply involving large-scale production and storage of hydrogen.”

The project is an example of the rapidly developing hydrogen market. The plant’s two coal-fired units are being converted into an 840-MW combined cycle facility that will run initially on a mix of natural gas and hydrogen, and then ultimately operate on hydrogen alone. Black & Veatch Corp. is overseeing the conversion. The Intermountain plant provides electricity to customers in Utah and Southern California.


Work Begins on New Highway

Date: March 15, 2021

Construction is underway on the $750 million, 16-mile West Davis Corridor, according to the Standard Examiner. Work on the four-lane divided highway begins after more than a decade of study and preparation. Farmington Bay Constructors—a joint venture of Ames Construction, Wadsworth Brothers Construction, and Staker Parson Materials and Construction—was selected to design and build the new highway. The contract requires completion of the road by fall 2024.

The project was spurred by population growth in the area. According to UDOT, by 2040, the number of homes in western Davis and Weber counties will increase by 65%. This growth is expected to increase travel delays in this area by 62%, even with all other planned projects.

Legislators Propose New Agency to Protect Water Rights

Date: February 11, 2021

State legislators are pushing for the creation of a new agency designed to advance the state’s claims to water from the Colorado River, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. The proposed Colorado River Authority of Utah would have six members and a $9 million budget. According to House Speaker Brad Wilson, one of the bill’s sponsors, neighboring states that share the river’s flow have dedicated significant resources and expertise to preserve their water rights. The article reports that environmentalists believe the legislation is premised on the false idea that Utah is not receiving its full allotment of the Colorado’s flow, calling the proposed authority a “shadowy new government agency.”

At the same time, the Natural Resources Conservation Service reports that there is little chance that coming snowstorms will boost snowpack enough to improve the state’s drought conditions, according to the Deseret News. “There will be alarmingly low water supply conditions for this summer,” said an NRCS representative.


Utah Job Opportunities

Date: February 11, 2021

Senior Electrical Engineer and Senior Electrical Engineer
Doppelmayr USA, Inc.

Tenure-Track Civil & Environmental Engineering Faculty Position
Brigham Young University

Quality Engineer
Blackrock Microsystems, LLC.

Principal Construction Materials / Geotechnical Engineer
Wood

See other engineering job opportunities on the NSPE Job Board.

A Potential Electric Vehicle ‘Epicenter’?

Date: January 27, 2021

Utah State University, in a move to further its credentials in the development of electrified vehicles, is asking for the state’s help in updating and expanding its Electric Vehicle and Roadway building, reports the Deseret News. To improve the building and make space for a new research center for Advancing Sustainability through Powered Infrastructure for Roadway Electrification, USU is asking state higher education officials to allow the university to issue up to $9.2 million in revenue bonds. USU trustee and former Utah Senate President Wayne Niederhauser says, “Utah can be the epicenter” of electrified transportation nationally.


Pedestrian Bridge: It’s a Record

Date: January 27, 2021

The largest pedestrian bridge in the state was unveiled in Orem on January 14. The bridge, at 1,000 feet long and 15 feet wide, connects Utah Valley University with the UTA FrontRunner Orem Central Station. The $30.7 million bridge was built through a partnership with UVU, the Utah Department of Transportation, the Utah Transit Authority, Orem City, and the Utah State Legislature. The bridge, over I-15, contains 15,000 square feet of heated concrete to melt snow and ice in the winter, and a full-coverage roof to provide shelter from the elements. The walkway is lined with 125 lights and 18 security cameras.
 largest pedestrian bridge

Cities Balk at Cost of Nuclear Project

Date: December 16, 2020

“Several Southern Utah cities are putting financial limits on their involvement in a nuclear power project after other Utah cities pulled out,” reports the St. George News. The power plant’s location is planned for an Idaho National Laboratory site near Idaho Falls. Municipalities in Idaho, California, New Mexico, and Utah would receive the energy generated from the 12 small modular reactors that will make up the plant. Energy contracts are signed through the Utah Association of Municipal Power Systems.

Seven Utah cities, however, have withdrawn from the project: Heber, Logan, Bountiful, Beaver, Lehi, Murray and Kaysville. Now, the remaining cities want protection from escalating costs. The city of Santa Clara, for example, is willing to spend $397,200 this year. The city’s public works director said he doesn’t want the cost to go higher after the other municipalities dropped out. If the cost increased, he added, “I would bring it back to the council, and they would determine whether they wanted to stay in the project or not.”


Ogden Steps Up Water Conservation

Date: December 16, 2020

To deal with an increasing population and a strained water supply, Ogden is aiming to reduce its current per capita water usage of 193 gallons per day to 175 gallons per day by 2065, reports the Standard-Examiner. The city’s goal is to meet residents’ water needs without having to build additional infrastructure. To meet that goal, the city plans to fix old infrastructure, detect leaks in the water system, implement public information campaigns, and provide conservation incentives to residents.

Engineering a Geothermal Reservoir

Date: November 18, 2020

Researchers in Beaver County have started drilling one of two deep deviated wells in an attempt to determine if there is a technologically and commercially viable way to tap geothermal power from an engineered, human-made reservoir, according to the Deseret News. Funded by the US Energy Department, the project is unique due to well’s steeper angle. The upper part of the well will be drilled vertically through approximately 4,700 feet of  sediments, at which point it will penetrate into hard crystalline granite. At about 6,000 feet, the well will be gradually steered at a 5-degree angle for each 100 feet until it reaches an inclination of 65 degrees from its vertical point.


Regulators Release EIS for Proposed Railway

Date: November 18, 2020

Federal regulators say that an oil-hauling rail line in northeastern Utah would harm 10,000 acres of wildlife habitat, reports the Salt Lake Tribune. The Uinta Basin Railway is proposed by seven counties (Carbon, Daggett, Duchesne, Emery, San Juan, Sevier, and Uintah) that want to connect to the national rail network and encourage economic development in the area. Public comment deadline on the Surface Transportation Board’s environmental impact statement is December 14.


UDOT Tests Connected Vehicle Technology

Date: October 28, 2020

A UDOT pilot project to improve highway safety through the use of connected-vehicle technology is moving to a second phase, according to Government Technology. “The project will involve outfitting more vehicles — namely UDOT fleets, but also other vehicles from other public-sector agencies — with onboard technology that can connect to roadside units” the article says. UDOT is carrying out the project in partnership with Panasonic Corp. of North America.


Solar Projects Threaten Rural Way of Life

Date: October 28, 2020

The hamlet of Fairfield in Utah County is gaining popularity, but not the type its residents like. Three major solar projects are proposed within its boundaries or nearby, raising concern that its rural quality of life will suffer, reports the Salt Lake Tribune. Two of the projects, proposed by NextEra Energy Resources, would each occupy about 1,300 acres of rangelands owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The third project, proposed by Sandy-based Enyo Renewable Energy, would take up 200 acres within Fairfield and the rest in Eagle Mountain and unincorporated Utah County. Some feel they have a no-win situation in which the land is used for either solar farms or subdivisions.

NTSB Report and NSPE's Action on this Issue

Date: December 11, 2019

Recently, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) sent letters to the governors of 31 states named in its final report on the Merrimack Valley gas pipeline explosions, including Utah. The letter requests an end to the engineering license exemption for gas pipeline operators in these states, and asks for governors to provide an update to the NTSB with in 90 days.

When the NTSB began its investigation of the Merrimack Valley gas pipeline explosions, investigative staff reached out to NSPE seeking information about licensing exemptions. Through a series of conversations and emails, NSPE shared report data, information on the licensing process and requirements, and its Position Statement on licensing exemptions. Consequently, NSPE was successful in getting the NTSB to adopt a policy of addressing and eliminating engineering license exemptions within the gas pipeline industry.

NSPE’s national staff continues to be in conversation with NTSB staff, and will continue to share updates as they happen. We are happy to support state efforts at eliminating this exemption.

Read the full report from NTSB.

NTSB Report and Recommendations

Pipeline explosionA BURNED-OUT MASSACHUSETTS HOME AFTER THE GAS EXPLOSIONS
CREDIT: NTSB

NTSB has released an abstract of its forthcoming final report on the fatal Merrimack Valley pipeline explosion from September of last year. Final revisions are being made to the report, but in the report’s synopsis/executive summary, NTSB states that “requiring a licensed professional engineer to stamp plans would illustrate that the plans had been approved by an accredited professional with the requisite skills, knowledge, and experience to provide a comprehensive review.” Acknowledging the importance of the role of the PE in preventing an event like this from occurring, NTSB recommends the elimination of the licensing exemption on natural gas pipeline projects in the 31 states that have the exemption in place, including the state of Utah.

Read the synopsis of the report.


2018 Continuing Education Conference

Date: May 5, 2018

NSPE Executive Director, Mark Golden, CAE, F.ASAE, visited the Utah Society of Professional Engineers for the 2018 Continuing Education Conference at the University of Utah on May 5, 2018.

Kudos to Brad Allen, Eric Anderson & Jason Foulger for putting together the 2018 Continuing Education Conference at the University of Utah. Honored to be a presenter and meet so many members.

@mjgolden May 5
Kudos to Brad Allen, Eric Anderson & Jason Foulger for putting together the 2018 Continuing Education Conference at the University of Utah. Honored to be a presenter and meet so many members. USPE and @NSPE unity in action!

Kudos to Brad Allen, Eric Anderson & Jason Foulger for putting together the 2018 Continuing Education Conference at the University of Utah. Honored to be a presenter and meet so many members.

@mjgolden May 5
Kudos to Brad Allen, Eric Anderson & Jason Foulger for putting together the 2018 Continuing Education Conference at the University of Utah. Honored to be a presenter and meet so many members. USPE and @NSPE unity in action!

USPE membership could not have been more welcoming or excited. Thanks, Utah. Utah and @NSPE - strong and united!

@mjgolden May 5
USPE membership could not have been more welcoming or excited. Thanks, Utah. Utah and @NSPE - strong and united!