14 May 2008The South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) has awarded seven contracts for the first phase of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement project, which will see 125.5 kilometres of highways in the highly urbanised province being upgraded at a cost of R11.5-billion.“Traffic in the Gauteng area has reached the stage where heavy congestion inhibits economic growth, leads to frustration and loss of productivity of road users, and damages the environment through excessive emissions,” said Sanral in a statement last week.These follow an earlier contract awarded for the upgrade of the N1 between the R21 interchange and Atterbury Interchange, east of Pretoria, where construction is currently well under way.Over the next 36 months, contractors appointed by Sanral will upgrade the N1 from Soweto to the N4 in Pretoria, the N3 from Alberton to Buccleuch, sections of the N12 south of Johannesburg, as well as the N12 from Gillooly’s interchange to the R21 to Boksburg.“The project is an example of co-operation through the various spheres of government, with involvement of Ekhuruleni (East Rand), Tshwane (Greater Pretoria) and Johannesburg metros, the provincial and national governments,” Sanral pointed out.Works ‘substantially’ complete for 2010While the highway upgrades have been prioritised to ensure substantial completion ahead of the 2010 Fifa World Cup, a temporary suspension in remaining works has been scheduled between 28 May and 14 July 2010, as not to disrupt traffic flow during the tournament.The project will involve the provision of additional lanes, interchange improvements and implementing an intelligent transport management system – which involves highway cameras, ramp metering and electronic signage.The newly upgraded highways will include high occupancy vehicle lanes, which can be integrated with routes used by bus rapid transport systems, buses, trains and taxis, to promote the use of public transport.Although disruption to traffic is to be expected during the construction phase, the agency is to make every attempt to minimise disruption, and to keep the maximum number of lanes open, particularly at peak hours.Bearing the safety of both road users and construction workers in mind, the agency is urging the public to drive carefully through construction sites that will be policed, adhere to temporary speed limits and not to slow down to look at construction activities.“The long-term benefits will more than compensate for the temporary inconvenience of construction activities and we appeal to the public to exercise extreme caution on the entire network during construction,” Sanral said.SAinfo reporter Would you like to use this article in your publicationor on your website?See: Using SAinfo material
Pot growers increasing loads on the gridAlthough legal, indoor marijuana growing operations in Oregon and Washington are becoming a headache for local utilities.In Seattle, more than 100 applications are pending for marijuana growing operations that collectively could lead to a 3% increase in the demand for electricity, which has local officials worrying about the chance for power outages, according to a post at UtilityDive.“In the theoretical sense, it could cause outages,” Robert Bonaccorso, a spokesman for Seattle City Light, said. “The main issue is just stressing the wires that supply the area so we would have to add capacity.”No disruptions have yet been reported in Seattle City and Light’s service territory. But in neighboring Oregon, Pacific Power says there have been seven blackouts from indoor growing operations since marijuana became legal over the summer. Those responsible face fines averaging $5,000.The problem is the intense light marijuana plants need when they are grown indoors. “What most people don’t realize is that growing marijuana is a very intense power use,” Roger Blank, director of safety for Pacific Power, said in a written statement. “From a power use standpoint, even a small operation of four plants with standard lights is like hooking up 29 refrigerators that run 24/7.” In Denver, where recreational marijuana also is legal, officials said 45% of the increase in electricity use is a result of demand by grow houses. Dutch solar bike path hits 1-year markAn experimental solar bike path outside the city of Amsterdam has ended its first year of operation by producing as much electricity as planners had estimated as a best case scenario, raising hopes that similar roadway projects could one day be an important source of electricity.The project, built by a consortium called SolaRoad in the community of Krommenie, produced 9800 kilowatt hours of electricity in its first year, which SolaRoad said would be enough to power three Dutch households with electricity.The 230-foot-long bike path, is made from prefabricated concrete modules 2.5 meters by 3.5 meters (roughly 8 feet by 11 1/2 feet). Among the technical challenges designers faced was making a translucent surface that would allow sunlight to reach the photovoltaic cells and yet be robust enough to stand up to constant bike traffic, and an occasional car.The bike path was very expensive, the equivalent of $3.75 million, according to an article posted at Fast Company, but designers say the concept holds promise. “This could be a breakthrough in the field of sustainable energy supply,” SolaRoad’s website says.In the Netherlands alone, there are some 140,000 kilometers of roads, said one project planner, more than all of the nation’s rooftops combined. “If we can put panels in a road which is there anyway, then we can get that function and lots of green energy without disturbing the landscape or taking extra space,” researcher Sten de Wit said. Up to 100 turbines would be built in waters off the coast of Massachusetts. Other companies want to develop wind farms in the same general area. (Photo: Jannis Andrija Schnitzer via Flickr)Offshore wind farm proposedDenmark-based DONG Energy wants to build a wind farm off the coast of Massachusetts that could grow to a capacity of 1,000 megawatts. The Boston Globe reports that the collection of as many as 100 wind turbines would be built 15 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard. The total capacity would be twice that of the proposed Cape Wind project in Nantucket Sound, but also farther out to sea.The company has both the experience and the expertise to pull off the project, its North American general manager told The Globe, but it faces a lengthy permitting process at both the state and federal level, including an environmental review of plans for bringing power lines ashore. Once permits are in hand, it would take about three years to build the wind farm, with the first 30 to 35 turbines in service by early in the next decade.Cape Wind faced withering criticism, but DONG may have an easier time of it. “It’s absolutely a better plan,” said Audra Parker, president of the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound. “We find these areas far more superior.”DONG has secured approval for a lease from the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, but has not yet filed any applications for the project. The company has annual revenues of $11 billion and said it would be able to finance the project without outside investors. The project would be called Bay State Wind.Two other companies are interested in developing wind projects in the same patch of ocean. Deepwater Wind has leases nearby and wants to build 200 turbines with a rated capacity of 1,200 megawatts. OffshoreMW of Princeton, New Jersey, also has a lease in the area but says that it is too early to release details of its plan. Meanwhile, Cape Wind, which lost two potential buyers of the power from its proposed wind farm, hopes to keep its 130-turbine project alive. Net-metering under review in half of all statesNet-metering policies were altered or under review in 27 states in the third quarter of the year, one result of a rapid growth in grid-tied solar installations, a report by Greentech Media said.Citing a study by the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center, the web site said that the trend is due in part to solar’s success. Utilities in several states at or close to their net-metering caps.“This has been another incredible year of growth in distributed solar thanks to rapidly falling costs and policies like net metering,” Benjamin Inskeep, an analyst at the center, told Greentech Media’s Julia Pyper. “However, some states are tapping on the brakes for solar by undermining this key policy or adding new fees and charges on solar customers. This comes at a time when federal incentives for solar are set to expire at the end of next year, while fossil fuel subsidies remain in place.”In the last quarter, ongoing or decided rate cases involving 26 utilities in 18 states included requests for increase in fixed charges of at least 10%, the report said. The average increase was 70%. Fourteen utilities in 10 states had pending or decided proposals for new charges on net-metered solar customers, an increase from six utilities in five states in the previous quarter.“Utilities are waking up to the potential threat that distributed solar has on their existing business models,” Inskeep said.
Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari is at the receiving end of the ire of political parties, which have demanded an increase in financial relief to nearly one crore rain-affected farmers in Maharashtra. On a day the Supreme Court criticised the State government for not implementing the previously announced assistance for the rain-hit Sangli and Kolhapur regions, the Shiv Sena, Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on Monday demanded that the norms set by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) be expanded to give more help to farmers. By the end of the day, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had joined the chorus for a hike in compensation, along with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which demanded the relief amount be matched to the ₹50,000 given by the Delhi government. Sources in the Governor’s office said the package announced last week is already beyond what is recommended by the NDRF norms. The Governor on Saturday announced ₹8,000 per hectare up to two hectares for agricultural Kharif crops and ₹18,000 per hectare up to two hectares for horticulture/ perennial crops. This is a hike from the ₹6,800 per hectare suggested for agricultural Kharif crops, and an increase in the upper limit in all categories from ₹16,800 to ₹18,000. “The declared amount is already hiked and there is little margin for more improvement,” an official from the Governor’s office said. The Shiv Sena has demanded that the amount be hiked to ₹25,000 per hectare. The party held a protest outside Parliament on Monday, while an editorial in its mouthpiece, Saamana, criticised the Governor for the “low” amount. The Congress and NCP, too, have demanded compensation of more than ₹20,000. The AAP has gone a step ahead. Preeti Sharma Menon, national executive member of the party, said, “The Governor has announced ₹8,000 and ₹18,000 per hectare for Kharif crops and horticulture crops respectively, which is a pittance when compared to ₹50,000 per hectare, the highest in the country awarded by the AAP government in Delhi. The AAP demands that given the large-scale devastation of the Kharif crops due to unseasonal rain, the government declare ₹50,000 per acre as compensation for farmers immediately.”Senior officials said the assessment of the crop damage took time due to the model code of conduct being in place for the Assembly elections. This after aA Cabinet sub-committee headed by the then chief minister Devendra Fadnavis had approved ₹10,000 crore to provide immediate assistance to farmers. But the decision could not be formalised with the imposition of President’s Rule. According to an official estimate, major damage has been to corn, millet, and cotton crops. Senior officials said the overall relief package is worth near ₹8,000 crore to cover crop damage spread over 89 lakh hectares in Vidarbha, Marathwada, and parts of western Maharashtra.
Second seed Karolina Pliskova survived a see-saw encounter against unheralded Russian Ekaterina Alexandrova to win 6-2 4-6 6-3 on Thursday and reach the French Open third round for the first time.Australian Open finalist last year, the Czech world number three looked to be cruising to victory after clinching the first set in 20 minutes.Pliskova, who has won two titles this season, inexplicably lost her rhythm in the second set and her unforced errors started to mount up as Alexandrova displayed her staying power in the baseline rallies.”I did not play my best tennis today, but I am happy I have finally reached the third round,” Pliskova told reporters. “Still not really happy with the way I was playing. I would say (I played) a little bit better than (in the) first round.””I feel like I can be more aggressive sometimes. I was playing too short so that’s why she was pushing me a little bit more.”The Russian world number 86 wasted a set point at 5-3 but made amends in the next game to level the match.Pliskova, though, was in no mood for any further drama. She broke midway through the third set and settled the contest on her second match point.”I know I can play better if I go deep in the tournament,” Pliskova added. “What I done even today it’s kind of special still. I have a chance.”
Juventus chief Fabio Paratici named Sporting Director of the Yearby Carlos Volcano10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveJuventus sports chief Fabio Paratici has collected an award at the Globe Soccer Awards.Paratici was named Best Sporting Director of the Year in Dubai.“I am very happy and it is a great honour to receive this award. I would like to thank the club and my staff,” said Paratici on the stage.“Juventus are a great club with an incredible history and I am happy and proud to work for this club.“I think Juventus are experiencing one of the best moments of its history. We’ve won so many titles in recent years, built a competitive squad and added Cristiano Ronaldo, so we must continue along this path.” About the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your say
About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Klopp snappy with Italian, English reporters after Liverpool defeatby Paul Vegasa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveLiverpool boss Jurgen Klopp was snappy with questions from both English and Italian reporters after their Champions League defeat at Napoli.Klopp admits he was unimpressed by claims that Napoli were superior and fresher.He rapped: “Tonight the questions are really a challenge, to be honest. I think the guy from Sky Italia asked me or told me Napoli was much better than us. I didn’t see that game, so I don’t know exactly where he was when the game happened. But now you say we were tired. Who had the cramps? Who was on the ground? Liverpool players or Napoli players? “After the 2-0 they looked fresher than us, after the 1-0 they looked fresher than us – that’s normal. You have a boost. But there was no fresher team on the pitch. There was no physical problem apart from the normal physical problems in a game like this, which is very intense [because] both teams fight hard and all that stuff. It’s not a physical problem tonight. We have to finish the situations off. “How everybody is in life, you need positive moments and you can run forever. We didn’t have really positive moments tonight. They obviously got the second air, so they could go again. That’s normal, but that was not the reason.”
REVEALED: Spurs were keen to keep new Napoli hero Llorenteby Carlos Volcanoa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveTottenham were prepared to hand Fernando Llorente a new deal this season – but delays allowed Napoli to snap him up, it has been revealed.Llorente already has three goals with Napoli and is fast proving a transfer coup.Gazzetta dello Sport says Llorente, having seen his contract expire, was informed by Spurs that a new deal would be tabled before the start of the season.But having learned it would be on reduced terms, the veteran started shopping himself around and was soon convinced after a series of phone calls with Napoli coach Carlo Ancelotti.With the Azzurri offering €5m-a-year and Spurs dithering, Llorente was persuaded to move to Naples.The former Juventus striker has made an instant impact and is already being celebrated across the national press. TagsTransfersAbout the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your say
About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Lawrenson can’t see Sheffield Utd stopping Liverpoolby Paul Vegasa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveLiverpool legend Mark Lawrenson can’t see Sheffield United stopping the Reds.The Blades host Liverpool today.Writing in his weekly BBC Sport predictions column on, Lawro claimed United would be hard pushed to pick up the three points against the Reds, and stated: “The Blades got a great win over Everton at Goodison Park last time out, but it is asking a lot for them to beat Liverpool too.Offering his opinion on how the Blades could trouble the Reds at the back, the former Liverpool man contended: “I like Chris Wilder’s team a lot, but I don’t really see them causing the Reds many problems – apart from at set-pieces – or keeping them quiet at the other end.”
NCAA.It appears we’re only a short time away from learning what kind of trouble North Carolina’s athletic department is in with the NCAA. According to InsideCarolina.com, the Tar Heels have received their Notice of Allegations from the NCAA, but won’t be releasing the details of the report until a later date. The NCAA re-opened its 2011 investigation into North Carolina’s athletic department in 2014. BREAKING: #UNC Notice of Allegations has arrived from NCAA. Story: http://t.co/tlCYi18qKg pic.twitter.com/e5YOogQb30— InsideCarolina (@InsideCarolina) May 22, 2015It’s probably time to start crossing your fingers and hoping for the best, North Carolina fans.
YouTube/SyracuseThe Syracuse Orange were hit by the NCAA with some rough sanctions this past offseason, but unlike last year, in 2015-2016, the team will be eligible for the NCAA Tournament. Of course, they’ll need to post a better record than 18-13 to make it happen.Friday, ahead of the team’s first game of the season, Syracuse released a hype video titled #CuseMode. It features highlights of the team’s preseason games this year. Check it out:Syracuse returns a number of key contributors from last year’s squad – including Trevor Cooney, Michael Gbinije, Kaleb Joseph and Tyler Roberson. It’ll be interesting to see if they can compete in the ultra-competitive ACC.