Saudi Arabia unveils plans for the Rig tourism project | News


The Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia has announced plans for the Rig, a new tourism project.

Inspired by offshore oil platforms, the development will be located in the Arabian Gulf and will span a combined total area of more than 150,000 square meters.

When complete it will provide a multitude of hospitality offerings, adventures and aquatic sporting experiences.

The Rig is a project in the tourism and entertainment sector, one of key strategic sectors identified by the PIF, and is expected to be a significant value-add to the local economy.

Additionally, to ensure the sustainable preservation of the environment in the vicinity, the project will follow leading global standards and best practices, further supporting broader efforts on environmental protection.

This project is a unique tourism attraction, expected to attract tourists from around the world, while being especially popular with citizens and residents of the GCC countries in the region.

The Rig will feature a number of touristic attractions, including three hotels, world-class restaurants, helipads, and a range of adventurous activities, including extreme sports.

To support Saudi Arabia’s efforts to become a leading global tourist destination, PIF has established several major projects and companies in various regions within the country, including the Red Sea Development Company, Alsoudah Development Company and the Cruise Saudi Company.

Public Investment Fund

PIF is one of the largest sovereign wealth funds in the world, seeking to drive the economic transformation of Saudi Arabia for the benefit of its people while helping shape the future global economy.

The organisation is building a portfolio through investments in attractive, long-term opportunities across diverse industries and asset classes internationally, while unlocking new sectors at home.

These include the recent acquisition of Premier League football club, Newcastle United.





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Eden Project founder Smit welcomed at Expo 2020 | News


Tim Smit will take the mic at the World Majlis later, as part of the Climate & Biodiversity Week at Expo 2020 Dubai.

The world-renowned ecological expert will share his insights on advancing ecological protection via diplomacy, as part of the session titled Nature’s Game of Jenga: Getting Creative to Fight Biodiversity Loss.

The event will be held in collaboration with Switzerland on today from 16:00-18:00 in the Terra Auditorium.

Smit has been pivotal in developing Expo 2020’s Terra – The Sustainability Pavilion.

He is co-founder of the eco-attraction the Eden Project in the UK, which transformed a clay pit into the largest indoor rainforest in the world.

So far it has attracted more than 22 million people since it opened in 2001.

Smit said: “Eden is immensely proud to have been offered the opportunity to create marvellous things inside Terra with genius designer Tom Hennes of Thinc Design.

“We knew it would have to be brave and startling to capture the imagination of people from all over the world coming to be inspired and entertained.

“The Expo team deserve huge credit for encouraging the creatives to go for their shots, raising emotionally interesting and challenging questions, and ultimately asking all of us: how would we like to be remembered 100 years from now?

“In our view, this is the world’s first rock’n’roll science centre. Congratulations to all. We loved working on it and we look forward to this being just the start of something very special indeed.”

Eden Project’s work has expanded to other countries, including Costa Rica’s tropical forest.

Smit is also executive co-chair for Eden Project International, which aims to have an Eden Project on every habited continent by 2025.

He will be joined by professor Alexandre Roulin from the University of Lausanne, Switzerland.

In collaboration with Switzerland, the Maldives and the UK, the World Majlis kicks off its series of 52 conversations with four events, each featuring up to ten globally recognised thought-leaders and decision-makers, to answer the question: “What if we could do more to save the planet?”.

World Majlis guests will also speak about why humanity needs to reinvent its relationship with nature and how to do it; opportunities in engineering climate solutions through technological innovations; how to think of sustainability as an accessible opportunity for all; and the importance of empowering more women to address climate change.





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UArizona Research Project to Monitor Health of SpaceX Inspiration4 Crew Members


College of Medicine – Phoenix

Today

zenhausern and colleagues
From left to right: Frederic Zenhausern with Center for Applied NanoBioscience and Medicine researchers Jerome Lacombe, Ali Fattahi, Jian Gu; Kaitlyn Janssen, an Arizona State University undergraduate student studying biomedical engineering; Jasmine Devadhasan; and Alexander Summers.

Space flight is not just for astronauts and rocket scientists anymore. SpaceX Inspiration4, the world’s first all-civilian mission, will make the dream of orbiting Earth come true for a crew of civilians on Sept. 15. Researchers with the Center for Applied NanoBioscience and Medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix, led by center director Frederic Zenhausern, will provide the first in-flight testing of multiple biomarkers of stress, inflammation and immunity measured in a zero-gravity environment to monitor the health of the four-member crew.  

The essential task of protecting humans from exposure to hazards is critical to the prospect of future deep space exploration. Zenhausern and his team developed a novel technology that will monitor crew members’ stress, inflammation and immune levels during space flight through a blood droplet from a fingerstick or a saliva sample.

“Our development of advanced molecular diagnostics for multipurpose indications of emerging infectious diseases, health performance or risks of environmental exposure must benefit all populations where possible,” Zenhausern said. “This Inspiration4 mission shares some operational requirements similar to a consumer health product to be performed at home or in low-resources settings, which must be easy to use, minimally invasive, rapid and low cost.”

VeriFAST device
A VeriFAST device.

The Vertical Integrated Flow Assay System Technology, known as VeriFAST, uses blood or saliva deposited onto a device to perform rapid assessments of physiological or molecular effects on humans. The system provides precise measurements, including multiplex molecular diagnostics, to detect possible radiation exposure. The devices have nanoporous membranes printed with arrays of reagents arranged in rows. When the assessments are completed, the spots in the array change color, providing visual results within minutes.

Zenhausern and his team designed the VeriFAST platform to assess a full range of biomarkers, from proteins to genes. While the Inspiration4 mission will take less than a week to complete, it will provide a unique opportunity to apply the VeriFAST platform to help researchers study the molecular and physiological levels in the human body under extreme zero-gravity conditions. One of the biomarkers measured by VeriFAST is the C-reactive protein. The level of that protein in blood has long been used as a diagnostic marker of inflammatory response, including the response occurring in cancer. This biomedical data will offer valuable insights and help inform the measures necessary to protect future astronaut crews in orbit during longer missions.

Zero gravity, confinement and radiation experienced during space flight can have significant health consequences. Space radiation is risky to the human body, potentially causing damage to the DNA in cells. Radiation exposure may occur during deep-space missions and can increase the risk of long-term health consequences such as cancer. Adverse effects to the central nervous and cardiovascular systems may also occur.  It is difficult to determine remotely the health consequences on the tissues and cells of crew members.

“As civilian space travel becomes more frequent and accessible, the university is well positioned to lead in the important, emerging field of aerospace biomedicine,” said Elizabeth “Betsy” Cantwell, the university’s senior vice president for research and innovation. “The new knowledge Dr. Zenhausern’s group will create through SpaceX Inspiration4 is really the tip of the iceberg toward a better understanding of in-flight health.”

The Translational Research Institute for Space Health, known as TRISH, funded the project, which is part of a research complement to be conducted during the multi-day journey. The Inspiration4 crew, commanded by Jared Isaacman, founder and CEO of Shift4 Payments, will contribute to the space biomedical community by participating in important scientific research during the mission. Inspiration4’s goal is to inspire humanity and to advance cancer research through collaboration with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

If the VeriFAST platform is validated by the Inspiration4 crew, it could provide a valuable blood and saliva analysis system to support the health and performance of future space crews. The biomedical samples collected during the Inspiration4 mission will become part of a biobank used for future collaborations by research teams at SpaceX, TRISH and the UArizona College of Medicine – Phoenix.

“Innovation and problem solving to improve health are at the core of what we do. That impact has been felt in Arizona, around the world and now for those in space,” said Dr. Guy Reed, dean of the UArizona College of Medicine – Phoenix. “This collaboration with TRISH, SpaceX and the ANBM Center creates synergies that will help to protect humans against radiation injury and other hazards that they encounter during space travel. It will fuel the development of new therapies and preventive strategies for crew members and patients here on Earth and beyond.”

A version of this article originally appeared on the College of Medicine – Phoenix website: https://phoenixmed.arizona.edu/spacex



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UArizona Research Project to Monitor Health of SpaceX Inspiration4 Crew Members During Mission


College Researchers Designed Novel Molecular Diagnostics Technology to Monitor the Health of Four Crew Members during First All-Civilian Mission to Orbit

SpaceX Inspiration4 LogoSpace flight is not just for astronauts and rocket scientists anymore. SpaceX Inspiration4, the world’s first all-civilian mission, will make the dream of orbiting the Earth come true for a crew of civilians September 15. Researchers with the Center for Applied NanoBioscience and Medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix, led by Frederic Zenhausern, PhD, MBA, will provide the first in-flight testing of multiple biomarkers of stress, inflammation and immunity measured in a zero gravity environment to monitor the health of the four-member crew.

The essential task of protecting humans from exposure to these hazards is critical to the prospect of future deep space exploration. Dr. Zenhausern and his team developed a novel technology that will monitor crew members’ response to measure stress, inflammation and immune levels during space flight through a blood droplet from a simple fingerstick or a saliva sample.

“Our development of advanced molecular diagnostics for multi-purpose indications of emerging infectious diseases, health performance or risks of environmental exposure must benefit all populations where possible,” said Dr. Zenhausern, director of the Center for Applied NanoBioscience and Medicine. “This Inspiration4 mission shares some operational requirements similar to a consumer health product to be performed at home or in low resources settings — which must be easy to use, minimally invasive, rapid and low cost.”

The VIFAS Technology
The VIFAS Technology

The Vertical Integrated Flow Assay System (VIFAS) technology uses blood or saliva deposited onto a test strip to perform rapid assessments of radiobiological effects on humans. The system provides precise measurements, including multiplex molecular diagnostics, to possible radiation exposure. The test strips have nanoporous membranes printed with arrays of reagents arranged in rows. When the assessments are completed, the spots in the array change color providing visual results within minutes.

Zenhausern and his team designed the VIFAS technology to assess a full range of biomarkers, from proteins to genes. While the Inspiration4 mission will take less than a week to complete, it will provide a unique opportunity to apply the VIFAS technology to help researchers study the molecular and physiological levels in the human body under extreme zero gravity conditions. This biomedical data will offer valuable insights and help inform the measures necessary to protect future astronaut crews in orbit during longer missions. 

Zero gravity and radiation experienced during space flight can have significant health consequences. Space radiation is risky to the human body, potentially causing damage to the DNA in cells. Radiation exposure may occur during deep-space missions and can increase the risk of long-term health consequences, such as cancer. Adverse effects to the central nervous and cardiovascular systems may also occur. It is difficult to determine remotely the health consequences on the tissues and cells of crew members.

Ali Fattahi, PhD, Works with the VIFAS Technology
Ali Fattahi, PhD, Works with the VIFAS Technology

“As civilian space travel becomes more frequent and accessible, the university is well positioned to lead in the important, emerging field of aerospace biomedicine,” said Elizabeth “Betsy” Cantwell, PhD, the university’s senior vice president for Research and Innovation. “The new knowledge Dr. Zenhausern’s group will create through SpaceX Inspiration4 is really the tip of the iceberg toward a better understanding of in-flight health.”

The Translational Research Institute for Space Health (TRISH) funded the project, which is part of a research complement to be conducted during the multi-day journey. The Inspiration4 crew, commanded by Jared Isaacman, founder and CEO of Shift4 Payments, will contribute to the space biomedical community by participating in important scientific research during the mission.

If the VIFAS platform is validated by the Inspiration4 crew, it could provide a valuable blood and saliva analysis system to support the health and performance of future space crews. The biomedical samples collected during the Inspiration4 mission will become part of a biobank used for future collaborations by research teams at SpaceX, TRISH and the UArizona College of Medicine – Phoenix.

“Innovation and problem-solving to improve health are at the core of what we do. That impact has been felt in Arizona, around the world and now for those in space,” said Guy Reed, MD, MS, dean of the UArizona College of Medicine – Phoenix. “This collaboration with TRISH, SpaceX and the Center for ANBM creates synergies that will help to protect humans against radiation injury and other hazards that they encounter during space travel. It will fuel the development of new therapies and preventive strategies for crew members and patients here on Earth and beyond.”



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Route 22 widening project is still on hold, but infrastructure bill could change that


There’s not enough money right now for the Route 22 widening project that would take the Lehigh Valley’s busiest traffic artery from two to three lanes.

But with the proposed federal infrastructure bill allotting $1 trillion in potential transportation dollars, local officials want to be prepared in case the money does become available.

It was almost two years ago when the Route 22 project, the biggest ticket item in the Valley, was put on hold indefinitely. Adding travel lanes was supposed to follow replacing the highway’s bridge over the Lehigh River and reconfiguring the interchanges at MacArthur Road and Fullerton Avenue.

The timing wasn’t because of a lack of traffic. That same year, Route 22 beat Interstate 78 as the busiest Lehigh Valley road. The stretch between Airport Road and the Lehigh River bridge hit 101,000 vehicles daily, according to PennDOT’s traffic volume maps.

Since then, the Lehigh Valley Transportation Study (LVTS) has moved ahead to finish preliminary engineering or risk losing that money as well. The study is also planning to replace the Fifth Street bridge in Whitehall Township. That bridge was torn down as part of the Fullerton Avenue interchange work.

Before the pandemic, officials said they would consider dividing the widening project into smaller pieces, so the lower-priced jobs would have a better chance of getting funding.

PennDOT Project Delivery Engineer Scott Vottero said Wednesday the project could probably be broken up into three pieces.

“We’re going to look and see if we can put this on the long range plan and see if we can find sources to do small pieces of the project,” Vottero said. The plan could wind up on the next Transportation Improvement Program, or TIP, which should start this fall.

Kufro said preliminary engineering has been ongoing and officials are close to having environmental clearances for the entire project.

“Final design and construction are not funded on the TIP,” Kufro said during Wednesday’s LVTS meeting.

“Yet,” added Rick Molchany, Lehigh County’s director of general services and a member of the LVTS.

Molchany said the Route 22 widening project is extremely important to the Lehigh Valley and he plans to bring it back to the table for funding.

Our journalism needs your support. Please subscribe today to lehighvalleylive.com.

Sarah Cassi may be reached at scassi@lehighvalleylive.com.



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Why Phuket’s ‘Sandbox’ pilot project matters to other islands in Asia


(CNN) — More than 10.5 million visitors in 2019. Over $13 million in international tourism income. Close to 90% of the local GDP.

It would be an understatement to say that tourism fuels Phuket’s economy.

Before the pandemic, the picturesque Thai island — known for its sun-soaked beaches, diverse dining scene and colorful nightlife — was ranked the 15th most-visited place in the world by UK-based market research company Euromonitor International.

That same year, Indonesia’s most popular island, Bali, welcomed almost 6.3 million visitors. Phu Quoc in Vietnam, 5.1 million. Malaysia’s Langkawi, 3.9 million. The Maldives, 1.67 million. And Boracay, in the Philippines, 1.6 million.

Tourism employs at least 15.3 million workers across Asia-Pacific, according to a report by the UN’s International Labour Organization.
So it should come as no surprise that Thailand’s Phuket “Sandbox” pilot project — which started welcoming fully vaccinated travelers for quarantine-free holidays on July 1 — has captured the region’s attention.
According to the rules, travelers need to spend at least 14 days on the island in a SHA+ accredited hotel before they’re able to travel into the rest of the country, but are allowed to travel freely on the island.
“Thailand is a massive economy in Asia, and everyone loves the ‘Land of Smiles’,” Phil Anthony, a Phuket-based wellness coach who runs travel consultancy RetreatAdvisor.com, tells CNN Travel.

“So if Thailand can show that we can handle things quite well — I think it will matter a great deal to the rest of Asia and perhaps pave the way for more of these sandbox models.”

Trouble in paradise

For Anthony, who also operates a food and nutrition company called Nana Bowls, the Phuket initiative is a welcome experiment.

“When travel came to a halt in 2020, many people were scared. They closed their businesses and laid off staff, selling their properties and assets. They just kind of hunkered down,” says Anthony.

“Other people, like myself, took it as an opportunity to realign their brands and services, update menus and really think about the future … Hopefully, we can get back to full pace soon because so many people have lost their jobs.”

Phuket reopened to vaccinated international travelers on July 1.

Phuket reopened to vaccinated international travelers on July 1.

Thomas De Cian/NurPhoto/AP

Since the sandbox started last month, Anthony has observed a trickle of travelers visiting the island. Already, he has welcomed two friends who can work remotely.

“My friend did the swab at the airport, waited for results at his hotel, and within six hours, we could go out and get dinner together,” he says. “It felt so good to sit down with a close friend and give him a hug.”

As of August 1, Phuket has welcomed 14,910 international arrivals, including returning Thailand residents opting to avoid a two-week hotel quarantine in Bangkok.

And while that is a fraction of pre-pandemic numbers, experts say slow but steady growth should enable officials to monitor the situation and adapt as needed.

Phuket International Airport staff and medical personnel wear personal protective equipment as they help travelers entering Phuket on July 18, 2021.

Phuket International Airport staff and medical personnel wear personal protective equipment as they help travelers entering Phuket on July 18, 2021.

Lauren DeCicca/Getty Images

“To be fair to Thailand, this is designed to be a longer-term project, building up towards the peak season from December to March,” Gary Bowerman, the director of travel trends and research company Check-in Asia and co-host of the South East Asia Travel Show podcast, tells CNN Travel.

“And when you are the first to re-open in the region, it is inevitable that you are going to get some things wrong. But Thailand has been able to stress-test some of its airports, hotel systems and new-era protocols. At the moment, the whole travel ecosystem is trying to work out what happens next, and this is made more difficult by the rapid spread of the Delta variant in Southeast Asia.”

More sandboxes on the horizon

Phuket isn’t the only Thai destination that’s welcoming vaccinated travelers.

In addition, a Phuket Sandbox extension program is scheduled to start on August 15, after being postponed from the August 1 target.

Under this model, travelers will be permitted to move on to the other pilot destinations — such as Koh Samui, Phi Phi Islands, Ko Pha-ngan, Ko Tao, Krabi, Ko Ngai, Railay Beach, Khao Lak and Ko Yao — after staying for seven days in Phuket.

The government had announced plans to deploy a similar scheme in the northern city of Chiang Mai in the coming weeks, followed by the rest of Thailand by October.

But at the moment, those plans appear to be optimistic at best due to an ongoing Covid-19 wave that is devastating mainland Thailand.

On August 5, the Southeast Asian nation reported 20,920 Covid-19 cases — the highest single-day tally so far.

Just 5.8% of the country’s 70 million population is fully vaccinated, compared with 69% of people in Phuket. Some have criticized the Thai government for prioritizing vaccinations for tourism destinations, while many elderly and frontline healthcare workers have yet to be inoculated.

Though travellers have started to enter Phuket after meeting the strict entry requirements, the island's tourism industry is still reeling from the effects of the pandemic.

Though travellers have started to enter Phuket after meeting the strict entry requirements, the island’s tourism industry is still reeling from the effects of the pandemic.

Thomas De Cian/NurPhoto/AP

Meanwhile, in response to the worsening situation in mainland Thailand, authorities have banned domestic travelers from entering Phuket from August 3-18, while tightening some restrictions for those already on the island.

“It’s a contentious issue in Phuket, with the island effectively now sealed off to domestic travelers,” says Bowerman.

“This can spread resentment about favoritism for international visitors and tourism operators on the islands. It also cuts off access for local people wanting to head to the islands to find or return to work.”

Despite higher vaccination rates, Phuket has also seen a rise in cases, registering 65 new infections on August 1.

But officials tell CNN Travel that as of now, there’s no plan to suspend the Sandbox program.

“Based on the latest update, international arrivals under the ‘Phuket Sandbox’ program can still enter Phuket per the existing rules and regulations,” Pintida Harnpanpongse, a Tourism Authority of Thailand public relations representative, told CNN Travel on July 30.

Andrea Oschetti, a Hong Kong-based travel expert and founder of Blueflower travel agency, says uncertainty should be expected.

“Because we are in uncharted territory, dealing with an unprecedented crisis where we don’t have all the answers, we are getting a better picture every day of what works and what doesn’t,” he says.

A worker waits for customers at a beachside restaurant on Phuket's Kamala Beach on July 19.

A worker waits for customers at a beachside restaurant on Phuket’s Kamala Beach on July 19.

Lauren DeCicca/Getty Images

“But these are important pilot projects, which could provide a way for us to travel for the foreseeable future. Covid-19 isn’t going anywhere and we can’t hide from it forever. And if the sandboxes collapse, that is not a sign of failure, but rather a sign that Thailand needs to pull the plug, recalibrate, and come up with an enhanced project based on the learnings from this one.”

To help the pilot programs succeed, tourism leaders in Phuket have urged European governments, as well as others around the world, to treat the island as a “green zone” that is separate from the rest of Thailand.

This would be similar to how European governments have assessed Madeira island in Portugal or the Faroe Islands in Denmark.

Thailand country is currently on the UK’s “amber” list and many European countries advise against unnecessary travel.

“What’s really important is that EU countries — the national governments, spurred on by travel agents, the media and other people — recognize that it’s necessary to disengage the perception of Phuket from the rest of Thailand,” KP Ho, founder of Banyan Tree Group, said at the recent Phuket Sandbox Summit attended by various tourism stakeholders.

“It should be a situation where Thailand could be a red alert zone but Phuket could be a green zone. It could be possible to create a series of sandboxes in other destinations, such as Koh Samui, Bali and Phu Quoc.”

Asian destinations on the radar

Elsewhere in Asia, many tourism-dependent locales stand to benefit from the success of Thailand’s reopening projects.

As a travel consultant, Anthony has kept an eye on places like Bali, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.

“Tourism is one of the backbones of these economies, but I would say Bali is most similar to Phuket. Tourism is crucial in both places. They also have international airports and are considered ‘wanderlust’ destinations with their palm trees, beaches and beauty.

“So we are keeping an eye on them and they are keeping an eye on us.”

While Bali had planned to open up “green zones” that would welcome foreign visitors once the island reached its vaccination goals, the plan was derailed by a surge in Covid-19 cases.

The island is currently under tight restrictions with over 1,300 cases per day recorded in late July and reports of oxygen shortages.

“Vietnam is very different, but they can reference some of the strategies here and perhaps apply them to some of their islands,” Anthony adds.

Phuket's once popular Patong Beach is among the areas hit hardest by the pandemic.

Phuket’s once popular Patong Beach is among the areas hit hardest by the pandemic.

Thomas De Cian/NurPhoto/AP

Bowerman also points to Langkawi and Kuching in Malaysia, as well as Cambodia, and Laos as potential testing grounds for similar projects in Southeast Asia, while Singapore is looking to introduce quarantine-free travel from September.

Phu Quoc has also announced plans to launch its own tourism pilot project if it reaches vaccination goals by September, and Cambodia could open to fully vaccinated tourists by the end of the year, according to reports.

But it will come down to vaccination rates and supply, which vary across the region.

“Vaccination is absolutely crucial. You can’t open destinations without making sure your airport staff, tourism-facing staff, and all the residents are safe,” says Bowerman.

“You also have to make sure that the incoming tourists, whether they are international or domestic, are vaccinated to reduce the risk of Covid-19 infections.”

Malaysia, he says, started relatively slowly with its vaccination campaign but is now moving ahead rapidly. As of August 5, it has fully vaccinated over 30% of its residents.

“Langkawi has a very small population, so you could potentially vaccinate the entire island very, very quickly to create a sandbox-style program,” says Bowerman.

“But then you run the risk of dissatisfaction between the mainland and the islands if you prioritize restoring the tourism economies only on the islands. Plus, if you are welcome back inbound tourists, will you still permit domestic travelers to visit? Restoring a safe and equitable balance will be vital to the longer-term success of these pilot tourism schemes.”

Bowerman predicts more countries in the region will start reducing or removing quarantine requirements for inoculated travelers once vaccination rates increase.

“Everybody is watching and waiting to see what happens,” he adds. “But a proper recovery of travel in this region can’t happen until the Chinese start traveling again. We don’t know when that’s going to happen. As things currently stand, there are no indications that it will be anytime soon.”



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Project Pooch takes its traveling booth around Salem


The Woodburn-based organization pairs shelter dogs with young men at MacLaren Youth Correctional Facility for training to help dogs get adopted.

Estelle Watson works the traveling booth for Project Pooch (Mary Louise VanNatta/Special to Salem Reporter)

The volunteers at Project Pooch love to promote their cause and take their traveling booth all over Salem. On July 31, they were at Guentners Gardens in South Salem. Supporters of the cause like Estelle Watson and Kathy Gardner sell dog-related items and share information on how citizens can add an adopted pet to their family.

Project Pooch pairs shelter dogs with young people incarcerated at the MacLaren Youth Correctional Facility. The young men learn to train, groom, and create a dog’s profile to help them get adopted. This win-win relationship helps build job skills and confidence as the youth move on with their lives.

Debbie West of PAL (Prevent a Litter) also joined the ladies at Guentners. PAL promotes responsible dog ownership by assisting with the costs of spay and neutering.

The group regularly has a spot at downtown’s Saturday Market. Find out where they will travel to next by visiting their Facebook page

CJ and Donna Mitchell at Salem Saturday Market (Courtesy/Project Pooch)

Debbie West from PALS at Guentners Gardens (Mary Louise VanNatta/Special to Salem Reporter)

A Project Pooch display shows adoptable dogs (Mary Louise VanNatta/Special to Salem Reporter)

Kathy Gardner works the traveling booth for Project Pooch (Mary Louise VanNatta/Special to Salem Reporter)

About Project Pooch:  Joan Dalton founded the program in 1993 while she was vice-principal at MacLaren’s Lord High School. She started with one dog and one youth. Since that time, Project POOCH, Inc.® has changed (and saved) the lives of hundreds of dogs and youths.

Mary Louise VanNatta is a Salem public relations professional, writing regularly about events for Salem Reporter. 

NEWS TIP? Send your story idea, information or suggestion by email to [email protected]

JUST THE FACTS, FOR SALEM – We report on your community with care and depth, fairness and accuracy. Get local news that matters to you. Subscribe to Salem Reporter starting at $5 a month. Click I want to subscribe!





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Pre-construction work begins on the Broadway Curve Improvement Project



During the next 3 1/2 years, an 11-mile stretch of Interstate 10 through Chandler, Tempe and around the Broadway Curve, which carries roughly 300,000 vehicles a day, will be widened in a $777 million project, the largest rebuilding of an existing freeway that Arizona Department of Transportation has ever done. –wranglernews.com file photo

There is about to be grading on the curve, and not just because it is back-to-school time.

A nearly four-year, 11-mile massive rebuilding and widening of Interstate 10, including the headache-inducing Broadway Curve in Tempe, begins this weekend with preliminary work before the bulldozers and graders arrive. Drivers can expect closures and restrictions starting at 3 a.m. Sunday morning at I-10 interchanges near State Route 143/Hohokam Expressway.

A massive Arizona Department of Transportation public-information campaign also begins this week to educate drivers about what to expect with restrictions, closures and best alternate routes.

The $777 million I-10 Broadway Curve Improvement Project, a partnership among ADOT, Federal Highway Administration and Maricopa Association of Governments, begins just south of Ray Road on Interstate 10 and continues north through West Chandler, South Tempe, Ahwatukee and Guadalupe, and then around the Broadway Curve and west to the I-10 split at Interstate 17 near Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

“When the first phase of construction begins this summer, drivers should prepare for weekend closures of Interstate 10 and U.S. 60,” said ADOT’S Alexandra Albert. “The reason is that over the weekends we’ll be closing them down to remove rubberized asphalt on all of the travel lanes.”

That is a necessary first step before rebuilding can begin. At least 50 closures are forecast by ADOT on I-10 over the next 3 1/2 years, mostly nights and weekends.

_______________

PRELIMINARY WORK BEGINS AT 3 A.M. SUNDAY, JULY 18

Arizona Department of Transportation advises drivers to plan for closures in the vicinity of Interstate 10 and State Route 143 while crews work in preparation for the upcoming I-10 Broadway Curve Improvement Project.

  1. The University Drive on-ramp to southbound State Route 143 will be closed from 3 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, July 18, for geotechnical work. Detour: Drivers may travel eastbound on University Drive to 52nd Street, then southbound to Broadway Road and westbound to SR 143/48th Street.
  2. The 40th Street on-ramp to westbound Interstate 10 will be closed from 3 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, July 18, for geotechnical work. Detour: Northbound 40th Street drivers may continue northbound on 40th Street to University Drive, then travel westbound to 32nd Street to enter westbound I-10. Southbound 40th Street drivers may continue southbound on 40th Street to Broadway Road, then travel westbound to 32nd Street to enter westbound I-10.
  3. The southbound State Route 143 ramp to westbound Interstate 10 will be closed from 10 p.m. Sunday, July 18, to 4 a.m. Monday, July 19, for barrier installation. Detour: Drivers may travel southbound on 48th Street, then travel westbound on Broadway Road to northbound 40th Street to enter westbound I-10.
  4. The shoulder along the westbound Broadway Road on-ramp will be closed from 10 p.m. Sunday, July 18, to 4 a.m. Monday, July 19, for barrier installation.

More information: 602-501-5505, or i10BroadwayCurve.com, or download free mobile app, TheCurve.

_______________

Now, according to ADOT, is a good time to start looking at other ways to get to Sky Harbor or downtown Phoenix from South Tempe and West Chandler. A good alternate route is Loop 101 north to Loop 202 west.

Those heading to the West Valley and beyond should consider the new Loop 202/South Mountain Freeway.

With all of those alternate routes taking on I-10 traffic, ADOT advises drivers to add about 20 minutes for their trip to the airport and a half hour to downtown.

South Tempe and West Chandler residents also can expect a load of increased traffic on surface streets as drivers pull off of I-10 and scramble to avoid construction delays. ADOT said it will do its best to discourage this by posting preferred alternate routes.

Nearly 300,000 vehicles a day pass through the Broadway Curve. Among the current headaches on the roughly half-mile curved stretch: Vehicles change lanes to the left quickly from westbound U.S. 60 to merge onto westbound I-10, and Sky Harbor-bound traffic on westbound 10 crosses lanes to the right quickly to merge onto State Route 143.

It often is like a rolling blender.

The project, the first major freeway rebuild in the Valley, is funded in part by Maricopa Association of Government’s Proposition 400, a sales tax that was approved by Maricopa County voters in 2004.

The project also includes:

  • Adding a fourth general-purpose lane in each direction on I-10 from Ray Road north to U.S. 60 while retaining the HOV lane. Current overpasses at Ray, Warner, Elliot and Guadalupe roads are wide enough to accommodate the additional lane below and will not need to be rebuilt.
  • I-10 will be expanded to six general-purpose lanes and two HOV lanes in each direction from U.S. 60 through the Broadway Curve west to 24th Street. I-10 bridges over the Salt River will be modified to accommodate the additional lanes.
  • State Route 143 will be expanded to three lanes over the bridge at University Drive, where it currently squeezes down to two lanes before resuming three lanes.
  • State Route 143, Broadway Road and 48th Street interchanges near the airport will be demolished and rebuilt. The new State Route 143 interchange will feature five bridges. Among the new ones are a dedicated HOV-lane bridge over westbound 10 onto northbound 143, a “flyover” bridge from southbound 143 onto southbound 10, and a collector-distributor-lane bridge from northbound 10 onto northbound 143.
  • The project gets a downtown-Los Angeles freeway twist near U.S. 60 with the debut of collector-distributor lanes for westbound drivers entering or exiting I-10 at Baseline Road, U.S. 60, Broadway Road and State Route 143 that separate local traffic from through traffic. That is designed to reduce congestion on the high-speed through lanes and eliminate tight lane changes on the curve. Collector-distributor lanes are new to Arizona. They are freeway lanes connected to the exits for drivers attempting to get on or off of I-10 at those interchanges, an attempt to get exiting traffic off the main lanes of I-10. Through traffic will remain on the main lanes.
  • Alterations on U.S. 60 from Hardy Drive approaching the I-10 interchange.
  • Three pedestrian bridges over I-10 will be constructed south of Broadway.
  • Wrong-way driver detectors with thermal cameras and flashing signs.

Pulice-FNF-Flatiron Joint Venture has been chosen as the preferred developer by representatives of ADOT, Phoenix, Tempe and Maricopa Association of Governments. Key members of the development team include Pulice Construction, Inc., FNF Construction, Inc., Flatiron Constructors, Inc., and T.Y. Lin International.

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Survey: U.S. Financial Execs Project Business Travel Rebound


More than one-third of the U.S. senior financial executives project their companies will restore pre-pandemic levels of business travel by the end of 2021, according to a recent surveyed by the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants. Additionally, nearly 85 percent of respondents forecast their companies would reach that level by 2024. 

AICPA from April 27 through May 24 surveyed 770 qualified chief executive officers, chief financial officers, “controllers and other senior-level CPAs who hold executive and senior management accounting roles,” according to the association.

Of the respondents, 9 percent indicated their organizations already had reached pre-pandemic levels of business travel and another 25 projected they would by year-end. Another 29 projected they would in the coming 12 months. 

About 18 percent of respondents indicated their organizations were planning for “significant easing” of their restrictions on both domestic and crossborder travel, with another 28 percent anticipating significant domestic easing but more limited crossborder easing. About 9 percent indicated their companies planned to maintain restrictions on both domestic and international business travel.

“The business travel responses within our survey support its broader findings: there is growing optimism about the recovery accelerating through the end of the year,” said AICPA VP and managing director of Chartered Global Management Accountant learning, education and development Ash Noah in a statement. “While 91 percent of the respondents confirm that restrictions on domestic and international travel are being lifted, we’re seeing a reassessment or reset on what kinds of travel represent true value. We can also expect a longer lag in global travel resumption, given the varying degrees of effective pandemic response within different regions and nations.”



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Gateway Expressway Project Will Have All Travel Lanes Closed On Bayside Bridge – CBS Tampa


CLEARWATER, Fla. (CW44 News At 10)– Overhead bridge work associated with the Gateway Expressway project will have all travel lanes on the Bayside Bridge closed nightly from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. Wednesday, June 23, through Saturday, June 26.

Northbound 49th Street motorists will detour around the work zone by continuing west on Ulmerton Road and Roosevelt Boulevard, north of US 19, east on Gulf to Bay Boulevard towards McMullen Booth Road.

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Southbound McMullen Booth Road and Gulf to Bay Boulevard motorists will detour around the work zone by continuing west on Gulf to Bay Boulevard, south on US 19, east on Roosevelt Boulevard towards 49th Street North.

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Warning signs and electronic message boards will assist motorists traveling through the area. Motorists should expect delays and congestion while traveling on these roadways.

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For more information on the Gateway Expressway project, please visit their website.



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