Although this was posted over on Govloop, I thought I'd repost here because it is so relevant to the public works industry. For some time, we've been advocating for the use of virtual worlds for training, design, and networking in our industry. And now it seems there is finally a sign that the technology is not only being implemented, but also accepted. Although there have been some uses in the past that we've highlighted here in this blog, this time the class is being delivered by the National Highway Institute – a hallmark institution with a long history in the industry. And if the interview embedded below is any indication, it looks like the use of virtual worlds might quickly become a standard training method among engineers and other professionals in the industry. You can also check out and sign up for the NHI classes at this link: http://www.nhi.fhwa.dot.gov/about/innovationseries.aspx. It sounds like the bridge class will be ready to go in the near future.
Today I had the privilege of attending our APWA Chapter meeting and then touring the Stearns Road Corridor Construction Project. Tours are offered a few times a year as a regular feature of APWA meetings and always provide great information. This particular tour offered a unique opportunity to visit the construction site of a $165 million project – definitely a significant size for our local area. Primary work included relocation of 4.6 miles of roadway, a new bridge over the Fox River, the widening and resurfacing of several intersecting routes, multi-use paths and stormwater facilities.
There was also one additional unique piece of information our tour guide shared with us that caught my attention. He mentioned the posting online of videos related to extraterrestrial activity associated with the project. Well, if you're like me, that's not something you hear everyday about a construction job. After I got home and Googled "Stearns Road" and "UFO" I found the YouTube videos he was talking about. Now, we all have had projects where people accuse construction activities of damaging their foundation, causing mysterious sinkholes in areas of their yards not anywhere near our sites, cracking their sewer or water pipes, flooding their basements, but until now, I had not yet heard of someone accusing construction of hiding UFO activity. I embedded the first of the four movies posted to date so you can hear for yourself. And feel free to post your own out of this world accusations you may have heard on your own jobs!