Month: July 2021

It’s National Intern Day!

Sticky Notes Graphic

The college experience can really shape your mind and prepare you for the future. It has the ability to broaden your experiences and encourage you to seek new opportunities like high school never could. It helps that there’s a lot more choice. With that choice, though, comes the responsibility of deciding what is best for you and your future. For some, that means studying abroad to better learn a language. For others, it means getting as many internship opportunities as possible.

The word internship can draw up visions of being sent for coffee and unpaid, long hours. For many, though, that isn’t the correct picture (at least not anymore). At Hoyle Tanner, we’re proud to offer internships that deliver a wide range of project experience and field work. Our interns get to work on projects from multiple disciplines within our firm and get the experience to work on reports, visit sites, assist with construction oversight, and experience working in an office setting.

This year, I asked two of our interns about their experiences as part of the Hoyle Tanner Internship Program this summer.

Haven Rose is entering his senior year of college at Florida State University. He’s joining us for the summer in our Burlington, Vermont office, working with both our Bridge and Municipal Engineering groups. His favorite part about the internship has been the field work so far, closely followed by the kind and uplifting coworker environment.

“Jon Olin and I went to do a survey of a dock that’s falling apart in Vergennes,” he said. “We went to talk to the Town Administrator, took measurements, and surveyed the structure. Now we’re writing a report about the damage. It’s fun field work that’s interesting and unique, and hopefully helps Vergennes in the future.”

Haven prefers the field work, so his experiences doing resident project representative work overseeing construction and his trip to Vergennes have been the highlights. He also listed things he’s learned, from construction site operations, to understanding how to interact in an office setting, to working more efficiently. One of the skills he’s developed most, though, is technical writing.

“My technical language has developed quite a bit,” Haven said. “I’ve surpassed the high school and college-sounding reports, and now it’s the next level of professionalism.”

Our other intern, Nick Eagan, joins us before he begins his master’s transportation program in the fall. While Haven has worked to learn about the profession and field work, Nick has already had previous internships, so his favorite experiences are more about the people he has worked with.

“It’s a hard question, what my favorite thing is,” Nick said. “Probably working with everyone and meeting new people. I started back in June before people started coming back to the office, so now that my department has people in it, that’s been my favorite thing.”

Nick also said he’s been learning new things everyday with our group. Previously, Nick interned at a Department of Transportation and interned in the field doing construction work. His experience with us, he said, has been very worth it. As for what he’d tell other interns about working here, this is what he had to say:

“There are really nice people here. The work environment and the community – probably one of the nicest positions I’ve been in.” We appreciate our interns and all they can teach us. Interested in interning or applying for a job at Hoyle Tanner? Visit our careers page! We’d love to bring you on board.

A History-Mystery: Determining the shoreline of a lake before it was dammed

Hoyle Tanner is working to repair the causeway and replace the Crystal Lake Road bridge over the northwest section of Crystal Lake where Nelson Brook enters in the Town of Gilmanton, New Hampshire

It is unknown when the bridge was first installed, however, we know that it consisted of a timber superstructure* supported on dry-stacked stone masonry abutments constructed along a manmade causeway. The bridge was rehabilitated in 1929 when the superstructure was replaced by a reinforced concrete rigid frame. The replacement bridge will be a precast-prestressed concrete deck beam superstructure founded on a precast concrete cap with deep foundations.

Where Does a Lake Begin?

Since replacing the bridge is going to result in some disturbance, or impact, to the lake on the downstream side of the bridge, a Wetland Permit was required to be issued by the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES). However, as our environmental coordination staff began to complete the permit application, it became evident that one important piece of information was lacking: Where does the shore end and the lake begin?

This may seem to be a pretty simple question to answer – the lake begins at the edge of the water! However, the State of New Hampshire, which has legal authority to regulate and permit work done in lakes, has a set definition of a lake that comes from both New Hampshire RSA 485-A:2 and Chapters 100 and 400 of the NHDES Wetland Rules. Those define a lake as a surface water with the normal high water line as the elevation of the boundary between a lake and upland or shore. For most naturally-occurring lakes or ponds (that have not been created by a dam), a licensed surveyor can visit the site of the proposed work area and use visual evidence to determine the water elevation where under normal or typical conditions the waters of the lake are at their highest on the adjacent bank or shore.

But for Crystal Lake, there are factors to consider that made this a bit more challenging. Crystal Lake is approximately 450 acres in size, making it large enough to be considered a public water per New Hampshire RSA 271:20 II: Public waters in New Hampshire include natural or artificially impounded (dammed) surface water bodies that are over 10 acres in size. NHDES issues an Official List of Public Waters (OLPW) that includes data for each water body such as location, dammed status (dammed or not?), the Dam Bureau number if it is dammed, and for some water bodies, the normal high water line/elevation. Crystal Lake in Gilmanton is listed as RD or raised by damming, Dam # 91.11, without providing a normal high water elevation. Why not?   

A lake that is noted as RD is a water body that was a natural lake that was more than 10 acres in size originally, but at one point the water level has been elevated by construction of a dam at the outlet, or “raised by damming.” Per the RSA and NHDES rules, only the areas of land underwater that are below the original normal high water elevation before the lake was dammed are Public Waters. Because there is not elevation provided on the OLPW, that elevation has not been officially determined by NHDES. How do you determine that elevation? By doing quite a bit of sleuthing!

Establishing a Timeline

For Crystal Lake, we enlisted the assistance of both the local surveying team, Sandford Surveying and Engineering, Inc., and our in-house super-sleuth and Right-of-Way acquisition specialist, Betsy Bosiak. Together, they reviewed current and historic mapping such as tax maps, USGS maps and survey plans for lots around the lake as they were recorded as sold or subdivided. In addition, deed records were reviewed for when the land near the dam and bridge changed ownership; other local Town records were reviewed and local authorities were interviewed. Historic books and internet sites were also scoured for any available historical information. From this collective information, our team was able to determine that the dam has been in place for at least 100 years and a timeline of ownership for the property along the lake was established.

Data from the time of the dam’s installation was gathered and reviewed in detail to glean any water elevation data that could provide the water elevations in the lake before the dam was installed.

The first available plans for the dam come from references to notes that were unable to be found, however the first photo of the dam was found dated July 1934, so we believe that the dam was installed around that time.

Careful review of plans from 1957 for a dam reconstruction project provided enough information to determine the natural mean high water elevation before damming was  617.2 feet – this was based on plan figures showing the bottom elevation of the dam to be set at 616.7 feet, with an assumed normal flow depth of 6 inches. To compare that to current conditions, the water elevations for the full lake conditions (that is, when the lake is reached its maximum volume as regulated by the dam) is 624.25 feet, or more than 7 feet deeper than the historic water levels! 

The History Mystery Took…A While

Identifying this elevation took over six months! Ultimately, all of the supporting data that was used to “tell the story” was provided to NHDES in order for the Dam Bureau and the Wetlands Bureau to determine if the proposed elevation could be used for identifying impacts to the lake and Public Waters of the State of New Hampshire. NHDES ultimately concluded and agreed with the water elevation that we presented based on the depth of supporting evidence that was uncovered.

Identifying such an important piece of information was quite a challenge for our team; however, we were able to meet this challenge while keeping the project on schedule and within the Town’s expectations of cost. Additionally, Hoyle Tanner’s bridge design team worked hand-in-hand with the environmental coordination team to successfully design a bridge replacement project that resulted in no impacts to Public Waters of the State.

Employee Spotlight: Christina Slosek

Christina Slosek Marketing Coordinator and Sunscreen Queen

1.  What drew you to Hoyle, Tanner?
 I saw the president’s message and thought the video demonstrated a great company culture and work environment that I wanted to be a part of. I graduated with my marketing degree and two weeks later I started my career in my field of interest.
2. What’s something invaluable you’ve learned here?
Communication – I’ve learned how important clear and concise communication is. There are so many different communication styles and it is important to learn them.
3. What’s your favorite time of year to work at Hoyle, Tanner?
Autumn – Project sites are beautiful to photograph with the beautiful foliage. When I get the chance, I like to be out in the field in the fall.
4. What’s the coolest thing you are working on?
We’ve recently incorporated a new photo editing software program, and it’s been fascinating learning the latest technology.
5. What’s the best thing that’s happened to you so far this week?
I spent the weekend at the beach with my family for my brother’s and my birthday!!
6. How many different states have you lived in?
Just two, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
7. If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life what would it be?
I eat eggs almost every morning for breakfast, so my head says “eggs” but my heart says “pizza.”
8. What kind of pet do you have and how did you choose to name it?
I have two pets, a black cat named Callie after a character from a Pete the Cat book. I think the character was a Calico cat, though. I have a golden retriever Molly, and my husband and I just liked the name. At the time we thought it was original, now – not so much.
9. What is a fun or interesting fact about your hometown?
I grew up in a small town in Massachusetts but I consider where I live now my hometown. It’s also home to Alex Preston, the third-place winner of the 13th season of American Idol!
10. What are three things still left on your bucket list
1. Become Fluent in Spanish
2. Visit Machu Picchu
3. See the Northern Lights

11. Name three items you’d take with you to a desert island
1. Sunscreen
2. Sunscreen
3. Sunscreen

12. What characteristic do you admire most in others?
Grit – The people who tough face adversity and fight through it are so admirable. Haven’t you ever seen those videos of people whose doctors told them they would never walk again and watch their journey of how they fought every day and succeeded? I mean…tears!  
13. How old is the oldest item in your closet?
I have a sewing kit (which I don’t use) that my husband’s grandmother gave me, and I think its around 40 years old. I also have a sweatshirt (that I still wear) from college, about 17 years old.
14. Words to live by? Favorite Quote?
There are so many its hard to choose! Recently I heard, “Good players inspire themselves, great players inspire others.” (- John Wooden) I thought it inspiring, especially because it’s true on and off the court.
15. What did you want to be when you were growing up?
If you asked 7-year-old me, she would have said an architect. I used to draw plans on graph paper and color-coded the rooms: red for the kitchen and blue for the bedrooms. When I got a little older I also wanted to be a sports photographer.
16. If you were to skydive from an airplane what would you think about on the way down?
I’d probably panic until my parachute opened, and then I would probably think about where I would land.

An Aggressive Design Schedule to Replace the Little River Bridge

Hoyle Tanner recently completed a bridge replacement in Maine for a bridge that was bigger than its original structure, and under an accelerated design. Not only was this a fast-moving bridge project for state standards, but the new design also raised the structure above the Little River more to allow more room for storm flows!

The First Bridge

In July 2018 MaineDOT and the Hoyle Tanner team began the preliminary design of the Little River Bridge that carries Route 237 over the Little River. The existing bridge was built circa 1952 and consisted of a single 100 foot span riveted steel through girder with a concrete deck. The through girders superstructure consists of two main carrying beams that support the entire bridge, making it a fracture critical structure (“component in tension whose failure is expected to result in the collapse of the bridge or the inability of the bridge to perform its function” AASHTO LRFD Bridge Design Specifications).  That summer, the bridge was posted for a 38-ton weight limit for one truck at a time.

Hoyle Tanner’s Tasks & Challenges

The project schedule was accelerated from typical state bridge design projects. Preliminary design, public meetings, final design, permits and plans were completed in under 14 months. Some other project highlights include:

  • the removal of a downstream dam had little effect on our design.
  • Removal of timber piles can be tricky depending on their actual condition. Existing timber piles left in place and new piles driven behind them to make the process easier.
  • Portland Water District has a water line and there is a force sewer main on the bridge as well. There is also buried gas line under stream bed upstream of the bridge. Downstream option for the temporary bridge and close utility coordination was necessary to make sure things went smoothly.
  • Roadway was raised a max of 4 feet in order to construct a vertical curve that meets current design standards. This increased the sight distance at the bridge, making it safer for motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians.
  • Four-foot shoulders were constructed for bike access. The new bridge has 12 foot lanes and 4 foot shoulders which replaced the existing 11 foot lane and 3 foot shoulders.
  • Bottom chord of bridge elevation was raised to allow freeboard under bridge at the 100 year storm flows and 50 year storm flows. Previous structure did not have enough clearance for the Q50. Previous storm flows had reached the bottom chord of the bridge.

Detouring traffic around the project was not feasible so traffic was maintained with a two-lane temporary bridge that was constructed immediately downstream of the existing bridge. Once the temporary bridge was in place and traffic was shifted and the existing bridge superstructure was demolished. Abutments were removed to 5 feet below ground surface. A new 135 foot single span steel structure consisting of five steel girders was erected. Increasing the beams from 2 to 5 eliminates the fracture critical designation of the bridge. The new concrete deck was constructed with a combination of glass fiber reinforced polymer and stainless-steel reinforcement to extend the service life of the deck.

Final Stages

The new bridge was opened to traffic in fall 2020. Final wearing surface and project closeout was completed in spring 2021. We worked with the Department to quickly design and replace the structure that had been posted for load. Several local contractors use this crossing and eliminating the posted bridge ensured they would not be restricted in their operations (hauling equipment and materials). Hoyle Tanner is known for our bridge professionals and their expertise, having completed hundreds of bridge projects all over New England. We work with municipalities, agencies and Departments of Transportation to enhance safety, reliability, and aesthetics of all our clients’ bridges

Celebrating the Outdoors with National Parks & Rec Month

Image of children playing in splash pad at city park

Happy Parks and Recreation month! This month, we celebrate some cornerstones of our communities. When you think of public parks, maybe you think of Leslie Knope on the comedy TV show or bringing your dog to the local dog park. July is a chance to celebrate all public parks and everything they can do for our communities – to encourage time in nature, to provide free access to activities and entertainment, and to establish a sense of place.

While we think all park projects are good projects, here are some of our favorite park projects we’ve had the opportunity to complete at Hoyle Tanner over the last five years:

Dupont Splash Pad

Dupont Splash Pad ~ 2017: Opened in 2017, the Dupont Splash pad is a summer destination for kids of all ages. The final design by Hoyle Tanner included the design of splash pad foundation supports, mechanical room upgrades and design of the new at grade concrete slab. 

Riley Field

Riley Field & Sportsman’s Field ~ 2017: The 90-foot diamond field has been heavily used for many years and needed attention to bring it back to the quality field it once was. The design consisted of a complete overhaul of the infield with adding new infield mix. Second, third and home base were over-excavated and replaced with 12” of infield mix to protect players while sliding into the bases. Both batter’s boxes, home plate, and the pitcher’s mound were fully reconstructed using professional mound/plate clay. The skinned infield was reshaped for optimal playing and slope with new sod installed in the interior and on the perimeter to provide a clean cut between the infield and outfield. Many more improvements were made to not only enhance the aesthetics of the field, but to improve gameplay for athletes.

Sportsman Field Turf

Sportsman Field Turf ~ 2019: The Town decided to make the investment into a new artificial turf field for multiple sport uses. Hoyle Tanner designed the new field from the ground up and provided a robust material base with an ADS AdvanEdge drainage system in a herringbone configuration. The underdrain system provides good overall drainage, combats high groundwater and protects the artificial turf from damage. The Shaw Sports Turf Legion Fiber System was selected by the Town due to the familiarity and experience on the high school field. The legion system is a quality system that looks like natural grass, allows for better ball roll and has excellent durability and infill control. The design also included regrading of the entire field and open drainage, a new Musco sports lighting system with automated controls and fencing upgrades.

Gossler Park

Gossler Park ~ 2019: In 1935 the city created a Gossler Park to be used for events such as the model airplane championships and in 1955, the city selected the site to be repurposed for education while still maintaining the space for community gathering. Hoyle Tanner provided civil engineering design services for the reconstruction of the shared parking and recreation areas for the schools. The design was expedited to ensure the project was out to bid before summer vacation, allowing construction to take place when school was not in session. The site improvements included a new expanded parking lot with reconfigured sidewalks and ADA access, a new basketball court and soccer mini-pitch, modifications to the closed drainage system, updated landscaping and a new monument to highlight the history of the soldier the school honors. Hoyle Tanner also prepared construction cost estimates and assisted the City with the bidding process.

Sheehan-Basquil Park

Sheehan-Basquil Park ~ 2021: This city park was being underutilized before the City decided to renovate it by add a new mini-pitch and parking area. After asking for public participation, new features were added and others were transformed.  A new splash pad complemented the existing pool along with a new accessible playground, landscaping and lighting. We are proud of how park project came out and are excited to see its future phases.

Parks can be the anchors of communities or serve as alternatives to expensive recreation. They can be quiet places of reflection or places of play and athleticism. Our professionals are experienced with efficient site design that is conscientious and reflective of the community’s needs. Do you have a park that needs assessment, rehabilitation or to be designed? Reach out to me!

Reinforcing our Knowledge on Structural Concrete Slab Repairs

Hoyle Tanner recently completed a structural slab repair project for Manchester Water Works. Due to the structure’s deterioration, there were some changes to the way we estimate project limits. Because of the extensive research and planning we had to do to account for these project limits, we were able to ensure the construction process went smoothly. As a structural engineer, I oversaw this project from start to finish and break down the process that was followed to succeed.

The Problem

The Manchester Water Works building contains two floors of water treatment. A structural concrete slab supports three storage tanks for the chemicals used to treat the water above the flocculation basins. The concrete slab supporting one of the storage tanks over the flocculation basin showed signs of deterioration in the form of heavy cracking and delamination, likely caused by exposure to the chemicals in the tanks. Repairing the slab was done in three phases: information gathering, plan development, and construction oversight.

Information Gathering

Before developing plans for a repair of the slab, the limits of deterioration had to be determined. This was first done using hammer sounding to determine a rough outline of the horizontal limits of the concrete that needed repair. The concrete slab contained a top layer and a bottom layer of reinforcing. If both layers of reinforcing deteriorated, then and the slab had to be repaired to the full thickness; otherwise, a partial thickness slab repair would be sufficient. Since access on the underside of the slab was limited, hammer sounding on the underside could not be done everywhere. Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) was used to confirm the horizontal deterioration limits and help give an idea of the depth of deterioration in the slab. The GPR results were compared to the structure’s original design plans from 1972 to confirm the concrete’s thickness and the reinforcing location.

Plan Development

Once the horizontal limits and depth of deterioration were estimated, the original design plans were used to understand the thickness of the slab so repair plans could be made to the replacement needs to fulfill the original design capacity for the slab; this was not constant throughout the repair area since the slab was thicker and contained additional reinforcement near column locations. Additionally, the concrete removal lengths needed to extend beyond the limits of deterioration. The added reinforcing could connect to the existing reinforcing that had not deteriorated via a spliced connection or mechanical couplers. Once this was all determined, the plans were developed containing details and notes on how to best remove the deteriorated area, limits of the work for the repair, and repair details.

Once the deteriorated concrete was removed, the removed reinforcing was replaced with epoxy coated reinforcing and the remaining exposed reinforcing was coated with a corrosion inhibitor. Both the epoxy coating on the new steel and the corrosion inhibitor help to prevent the same deterioration from happening again. Fresh concrete was then poured to replace what was removed and restore or improve the original design capacity of the slab. A protective floor coating was also added on top of the repaired area to protect it from future chemicals penetrating the concrete.

Construction Oversight

Knowles Industrial Services performed the repairs to the concrete slab. Since the plans are developed using the best estimates of deterioration limits from the data collection, construction oversight is warranted to adjust the plans for anything encountered during the repair that was not foreseen or requested by the contractor. Additionally, the on-site observation is used to verify that all of the deteriorated concrete is removed to solid, undamaged concrete and the corroded steel removed (as well as all existing steel that remains) is cleaned and coated to minimize the risk of it corroding again.

Upon removing the concrete, it was determined that the deterioration did not penetrate to the bottom layer of reinforcing and only a partial depth repair was required. The contractor had difficulty obtaining the original steel reinforcing bar sizes from the 1972 design plans, so an approved alternative had to be developed to provide the same structural capacity of the original design with an increased number of smaller reinforcing bar sizes. Overall, the approved field alternative allowed for the repair to be completed and on schedule.

Should you find yourself in need of a repair project like this, or to learn more about slab repair, reach out to me, Ryan McMullen, PE.