We hang off buildings to evaluate facades. Climb on roofs. Crawl in the tightest spaces to collect asbestos samples. Track down mold. Drill and sample the earth. Identify risk and challenges. Research pavements and explore sensitive site conditions. Throughout the Great Lakes region and beyond, we deliver comprehensive engineering and consulting expertise to support every stage of your project. From commercial developments to industrial facilities, schools and hospitals to public spaces, and from roadways to runways, our team provides the right solutions for your challenges.
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BARTON MALOW – TURRILL ARRAY
During March of 2017, construction of a solar array for DTE Energy was well underway, however the site topography had been rolling with significant overall elevation changes. Barton Malow, DTE’s construction advisor, retained SME to provide stormwater and soil erosion control Design services. Our services include conducting a topographic survey of the 193-acre property, hand collecting of shallow subsurface borings for evaluation, preparing engineering documents of our recommended design, and providing Construction Administration services that include field verification and materials testing.
DTE ENERGY – DEMILLE ARRAY
DTE Energy, in collaboration with the City of Lapeer, broke ground in the spring of 2016 on 45 megawatts of new solar generating capacity at the DeMille Road project site. Completed in 2017 by construction manager Barton Malow, the array generates enough clean solar energy to power more than 4,500 homes. Barton Malow selected SME to provide pavement engineering services that included subgrade stabilization and design recommendations for the construction of the access roadway for the site. SME identified the existing conditions of subgrade soils at the site and provided recommendations for soil stabilization to provide a subgrade that would support the proposed pavement system. The proposed roadway was designed to include approximately four inches of aggregate base over a chemically stabilized subgrade.
SME provided surveying, geotechnical engineering, construction materials testing and Special Inspections services at the site of the newly constructed Ultium Cells, LLC Battery Plant, in Lordstown, Ohio.
Geotechnical engineering services for this two million square foot facility included significant earthwork with cuts and fills near 30 feet and a combination of shallow and deep foundations. SME worked closely with the project team to limit the potential for differential settlement in the deep fill areas, maximize the reuse of onsite material, and provided recommendations to develop efficient foundation designs.
Construction materials testing, observations, and special inspection services included:
In 2016, with the Hudson’s legacy still strong in Detroit, Bedrock Properties began working on plans to bring a mixed-use development to the site that will celebrate its history and serve as a destination for future generations. Like its predecessor, the new Hudson’s Tower will be a landmark feature for Detroit. At a height of 680-ft., it will be one of the tallest buildings in the Detroit skyline.
SME also has history at this site. Our team began providing geotechnical services in 1998, when the basements of the department store were converted into the Premier Underground Parking Garage. SME worked with specialty contractor Spencer White & Prentiss to develop complex wall and foundation plans to support the below-grade parking.
Although the Premier Underground Parking Garage foundations had been designed to support a 13 to 16-story building, they did not meet the needs for Bedrock’s development. The new Hudson’s Tower will be supported on a combination of belled and socketed drilled piers, which extend through the 5-foot mat foundation, snaking between various beams, piles, and drilled piers remaining from the original Hudson’s Department Store building.
SME is the geotechnical engineer of record (GER) for the project. Our team is also providing structure monitoring, environmental, and construction-phase services, including:
The first project was the construction of two 28 Megawatt solar array farms at a site in East Lansing Michigan. Since then, SME has worked on more than a dozen NextEra sites. At each location, our team performs topographic and ALTA surveys to provide adequate base information for design. Our geotechnical engineers then use samples gathered from borings to evaluate soil types and strengths, groundwater levels, and organic content at each site. Our team also performs electrical soil resistivity tests as necessary. This information is used to prepare recommendations for subgrade preparation and foundation design.
The continuous, and relatively large, soil samples collected from this method of drilling were valuable in classifying subsurface conditions that typically would not be known from the information obtained by conventional split spoon sampling.
SME designed approximately ¼ mile (in length) of earth retaining walls that were up to 50 feet tall. SME also designed micropiles and other deep foundation elements to support the nearby existing structures that would have otherwise been undermined as a result of the new construction. In addition, SME continuously monitored the existing structures for movement using high-precision robotic instrumentation with accuracy to the nearest 1/64 of an inch. The monitoring could readily track ambient building movement (due to changes in temperature and humidity) absent of construction activity. This ‘early-warning detection system’ for building movement was critical while construction workers removed and replaced a column foundation for an existing building that remained occupied with medical staff and patients.
SME is also performing the Construction Materials Services (CMS) for this project. At this time, the building foundations, perimeter earth retention, and basement excavation are substantially complete and the building is going vertical. During this ongoing CMS phase, SME provided shoring design services to support existing tunnels exposed to significant construction surcharge loads (e.g. crane traffic). Furthermore, we monitored construction vibrations up to as minute as 1×10-6 in/sec to assist in our professional evaluation of the potential effects construction activity may have on a variety of highly sensitive conditions, such as artifacts in museums to ongoing university laboratory experiments with live animals.
SME’s engineers and CMS staff have multiple credentials in construction testing and quality control/assurance services, and can provide a variety of construction testing services to meet the demands of a large-scale, high profile project. For example, this experience is invaluable when effective, practical decisions need to be made at a moment’s notice while working in conditions up to 100 feet below the existing ground surface.
SME was selected by the project’s general contractor, Barton Malow, to serve as lead geotechnical and specialty earth designer for the addition of three new 6- to 9-story buildings. We also served as the condition assessment and building rehabilitation consultant, construction administration agent, and material testing firm for the project.
Our team provided design-bid-build services for building monitoring, analyzing the integrity of existing pre-cast concrete, specialty foundation underpinning and overpinning, shotcreting, soil grouting and earth retention. Approximately 3,500 lineal feet of earth retention was required. Some of this earth retention doubled as building underpinning for the existing football stadium so that the new basement space and foundations could be constructed up to 25 feet below the adjacent stadium. Other improvements included cutting a portion of existing footings with deep foundation elements to accommodate new construction.
SME’s Construction Materials Services (CMS) team provided the following services during construction:
SME was selected as the environmental services provider for Hendricks Regional Health’s network of healthcare facilities in Hendricks County, Indiana. Hendricks’ familiarity and past experience with our local team made the partnering decision easy. For more than five years, Hendricks’ has trusted SME as their environmental compliance partner helping to guide them in the right direction when they need answers.
Our team helps maintain compliance for Hendrick’s healthcare and medical office facilities and provides compliance reporting and monitoring. Services also include maintaining compliance with air permits, chemical reporting, environmental plans, as well as other programs such as the Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) rule. The SPCC rule requires facilities to develop, maintain, and implement an oil spill prevention plan. SME provides training for this program as well as waste management, and does routine maintenance and data review to also ensure compliance with programs and permits.
SME is proud be Hendricks Regional Health’s go-to firm for environmental services. Working together, we can both do what we do best. Hendricks is able to focus on providing the best healthcare services in the region and continued growth, while SME minds the details of environmental compliance.
The old staircase, built in 1982, was razed last year after movement of the shale cliff rendered it unstable. SME was consulting Cleveland Metroparks on the project’s design and determined the initial geotechnical engineer on the project underestimated the depth to rock upon which the foundations were to be constructed. Working with the park surveyors, and our drilling crew, we were able to establish the actual bedrock profile. This allowed the contractor to properly drill and socket pier foundations into the shale bedrock in support of the new stairs. SME also performed slope stability calculations as part of our evaluation to ensure safe working limits for equipment, working near the bluff over the Rocky River.
The design and construction of the new stair system includes 155 steps (each 6 feet wide), and several observation platforms. They provide access to more than 1,500 visitors a day, who come to seize commanding views of the river.
The project took eleven months to complete. SME received recognition at the opening ceremony for guiding the Park and their design-build contractor through the difficult site conditions and challenges. As further appreciation, SME’s name is engraved on the official trail plaque at the top of Fort Hill.
The IHTC is Indiana’s only federally recognized comprehensive hemophilia center, and is noted as one of the largest centers in the country in terms of patients and medical staff. Duke Realty selected SME to provide Building Enclosure Commissioning (BECx) services for the new facility.
SME performed a technical review of the proposed shop drawings and specifications to identify high risk areas in the building enclosure. The critical enclosure components included glass and glazing, brick, stone, zinc cladding and caulking. We met with the project team to review our recommendations and prioritize them against the budget constraints. The recommendations the project team decided to move forward with improved the longevity of the enclosure details.
During construction, SME reviewed Requests for Information (RFIs) and submittals, and helped coordinate the work of trade contractors on the project. We performed on-site reviews of the project to identify deficiencies and gaps in the building enclosure. We also performed water testing on the building to confirm the installed.
The Observatory dome is a tin clad flat steel panel roof with an off-white coating (last recoated in 1997). It was known that the roof was leaking in locations which reportedly began when the roof was high pressure washed in 2005.
SME provided technical expertise on product selection and preparing the Division 9 Specialty Coating Specification which includes full removal of the existing coating and proper preparation of the substrate to receive new coating. It was also indicated that the new system was to be a long lasting flexible coating that will be a waterproof system and not just aesthetic.
During the coating design-phase assessment, a limited condition assessment of the dome structure was conducted. Findings indicated that the upper portion of the dome interior exhibited signs of water staining, blistered coating, and thermal anomalies in the infrared images. These findings were indicative of moisture intrusion and deteriorated wood elements. From here, it was anticipated that the upper portion of the dome system would require a complete structure and cladding removal and replacement affecting approximately 200 sf. SME’s services included assessment of the structural and service condition of exterior wood sheathing and support elements and appropriate repair recommendations.
SME recommended that a tema-coated stainless steel panel system should be considered as a replacement option. This system offers a 50+ year service life plus high-corrosion resistance. It is a replacement option that is representative of the historic appearance of dome exterior.
SME also completed design and provided restoration specifications and drawings for repairing the dome wood framing and replacement of the metal roofing system in about three weeks.
A short time after getting settled in, the tell tales began to appear: cracking and settlement of the concrete patio slab, contorting of the wooden deck framing and posts, and sloughing of ground next to the patio. The house was at risk due to the retrogressive slope movement. Without remedial action, the landslide movement would continue to migrate towards the house and potentially undermine it.
SME met with the homeowner to discuss concerns and observe the site. Subsequent to this visit, SME developed a work plan to evaluate soil conditions and characterize the landslide movement. Our geotechnical engineering staff then made this plan a reality by executing a geotechnical evaluation at the site .
SME’s Wes Hemp, PE and Al Esser, PE, D.GE performed a slope failure analysis to characterize the failure surface and provided options for repair. Our team was subsequently engaged by the homeowner to design a retaining structure that would mitigate additional slope movement and prevent undermining of the house. Designed by Tim Bedenis, PE, this retaining structure consisted of a reinforced concrete wall supported on micropiles and included tieback anchors embedded into rock. Following the design, SME connected the client with Innovative, a local specialty contractor experienced with construction of this type of earth retention system. SME collaborated with Innovative prior to and during construction of the wall to provide general guidance and QA/QC testing for concrete and backfill.
SME is pleased to have assisted the homeowner through this process and to have been able to provide them peace of mind.
This was a unique project as it included replacement of 100 year old water main and reconnection to DTE buildings, which took a significant amount of coordination and planning. The existing water main was a very fragile ductile iron water supply line. An extended loss of city water service would have had a major impact on DTE’s critical equipment and facilities.
The project encountered many underground obstacles including unknown vaults and several layers of old street construction. It became an archaeological dig throughout the alignment. We came across multiple undocumented vaults. One vault was constructed directly over the 100 year old water main. Special handling of a new water main under the vault was provided as the vault had to remain in service.
Another obstacle was the presence of several combined sewers in the street that were in place yet no longer functioning. SME provided provisions in the contract documents to use video cameras and grouting to abandon the sewers if they were no longer in service. By planning ahead, SME successfully helped protect DTE’s investment for this major project.
SME’s project team included landscape architects, electrical engineers, and other specialty contractors to complete this high profile project in accordance with DTE requirements. In addition to our pavement design services, SME provided onsite construction materials services (CMS) during the construction phase as well as construction administration.
The construction schedule allowed nearly no time for delays from unexpected challenges. The team worked hard every day to stay on track and accelerate the work where possible, while maintaining high standards of quality and honoring the historic significance of the site.
The local geology in Waikiki is complex. Volcanic soils that formed the Hawaiian Islands combined with coral formations from adjacent reefs result in highly layered and vastly variable soil/rock conditions. Erosion from the tropical climate and the rise and fall of ocean level over time further complicates the subsurface conditions.
Local geotechnical engineers believed the project site had some of the most challenging soil conditions encountered in Waikiki, including a deep alluvial valley which cut through the site and presented an added concern. SME and the entire team chose high capacity micropiles drilled at depths up to 300 feet to address subsurface conditions. Relatively small in diameter, they could be easily shifted or relocated as necessary to work near the banyan tree and around sensitive areas.
A total of 698 micropiles were installed over six months at depths ranging from 165 feet to 300 feet. A total of 115,040 linear feet of micropiles were installed on the project including approximately 85,700 cubic feet of portland cement grout (mixed at the on-site batch plant).
Toward the end of the micropile construction, the grout level in the piles rose significantly overnight. Some drop in grout levels is normal, however a rise in grout levels is very unusual. Several piles were found to have bond zones with anomalous grout that was partially or completely washed out. To remedy this, grout was injected under pressure to fill any voids in and around the piles. The reinforcing bars were reinstalled where needed and the micropiles were tremie-grouted.
The new IMP was designed to ensure a strong “Hawaiian sense of place” and exists meaningfully for the local community and tourists alike. While visitors may not realize the impact their shopping and dining adventures have on the local community, the revenue generated by the redeveloped IMP will help sustain the Queen Emma Medical Center for decades to come.
The 5-story, 250,000 square foot office building is primarily clad with a glass and aluminum unitized curtain wall that features “folds” in the assembly.
SME was retained early in the Design Development phase to consult on the approach of the curtain wall system and other building enclosure components. We participated in design charrettes with the Owner, Architect, and General Contractor to determine the optimum approach for connecting different elements of the building’s skin. We performed an in-depth review of the curtain wall shop drawings, performance specifications, and calculations which resulted in us identifying multiple risks that the team was able to address well ahead of the curtain wall fabrication.
Construction is ongoing, and SME is providing routine site visits to perform air and water infiltration testing and address any challenges that the team may encounter.
Prior to drilling, our team reviewed all of the soils borings that the City had in the project area and then supplemented them with two additional borings, one of which was drilled and cored into shale bedrock. This information, along with sophisticated laboratory testing and geotechnical engineering analysis, as well as SME’s intimate knowledge of the Cleveland geology and slope stability evaluations indicated that erosion of the riverbank has caused a weak layer of varved lacustrine soil near the bottom of the river.
SME worked with the project team to evaluate, design, and develop a budget for retaining wall designs that could be used to stabilize the slope. The results were presented to all of the local shareholders in the area who could be impacted by the slopes instability.
Hendricks Commercial Properties selected Shiel Sexton as construction manager for the project. SME was retained to provide Building Enclosure Commissioning (BECx) services. The building is primarily clad with a brick veneer, yet includes areas with precast concrete, metal panels and exposed steel. The cladding includes a concealed air and weather barrier with rigid exterior insulation and interior insulation. The single-ply TPO roof membrane is installed over insulation. And each residential unit includes a balcony that extends from the building and is attached to the main building structure with cantilevered steel beams and a tie rod attached to a knife plate.
A few years later, Hendricks broke ground on the new 120-Key Ironworks Hotel, the first boutique hotel on the north side of Indianapolis. The 5-story building is next to Ironworks at Keystone.The new 100,000-square-foot property includes small meeting and conference spaces, a fitness center, and a rooftop lounge. The building features about 15,000 square feet of street-level retail space and an upscale restaurant on the second floor.
SME performed independent technical reviews of the proposed drawings and specifications for both buildings to identify high risk areas in the building enclosures. Our recommendations improved the resiliency and durability of enclosure details, identified potential code violations, and outlined the problematic details. We reviewed RFIs and submittals, and provided Construction Administration to help coordinate trade contractors during construction. Additionally, SME performed on-site reviews during construction to identify deficiencies in the building enclosure.
SME assessed cast-in-place reinforced concrete tunnel elements to determine the severity and extent of visually evident distresses. Limited nondestructive testing (NDT) was conducted at representative locations to estimate the remaining service life of existing reinforced concrete elements.
Tunnel elements were evaluated and categorized with respect to condition and type of deterioration. To assist in the development of repair plans, concrete distress conditions were assigned a Priority Rating Value based on severity. Tunnel distresses were mapped and compiled into master diagrams and an Excel spreadsheet, which included internal links to a photo of each distress condition.
Assessment activities were based on: visual assessment of accessible areas in accordance with ACI guidelines, physical assessment using acoustical sounding in accordance with ASTM guidelines, NDT testing of tunnel walls, and ceiling and floor slab areas to measure concrete thickness, internal distress conditions, and to locate embedded reinforcing steel.
Sixteen concrete core samples were extracted in pedestrian and utility portions of the tunnel. These areas were first scanned with GPR to detect reinforcing bar locations to avoid cutting them during coring. Two concrete cores were subjected to a concrete service life analysis using service life modeling software. Chloride Ion testing and petrographic analysis was conducted on two cores where carbonation was detected by phenolphthalein staining and signs of distress in the form of cracks associated with alkali- silica reaction (ASR).
Based on the finding of the assessment, SME provided repair recommendations to increase the tunnel’s service life an additional 30 years.
The headworks facility is the first step in the treatment process. Inside this building debris, grit and grease will be removed before flow enters the plant for treatment. The 15 million gallon equalization tank will be used during storm events to hold flow until there is capacity within the plant to treat that flow. The area above the equalization tank will be restored to green space after construction.
Our services included mass excavation for tanks and other infrastructure components. We provided geotechnical engineering, slope stability analysis rock excavation planning, and Temporary Earth Retention System (TERS) design. We performed drilled shaft construction for TERS and monitored soldier pile movement after installation. The excavation area measured 380 X 300 feet, with a depth of 32 feet in high bench area and 58 feet to bottom of main exaction into shale bedrock. The total gross cubic yards of excavation equals 220,000.
In addition to providing geotechnical and design services, our Construction Materials Services (CMS) team provided construction observation during the installation of the TERS. Our Environmental team also provided consulting services regarding UST removal and mitigation of contaminated soils.
SME has performed vibration monitoring within U of M buildings with vivarium space at Life Sciences Institute, North Campus Research Campus (NCRC), Building 36 Vivarium, Biological Science and Research Building (BSRB), Molecular Behavior and Neurological Institute (MBNI), Buhl, and recommended mitigation systems and assessed different input sources and the potential effects.
Research facilities often house equipment with varying degrees of sensitivity such as microscopes, MRI’s, and CT scanners. Special equipment often has the most restrictive vibration criteria requiring vibration isolating foundations and other dampening mechanisms. SME has evaluated sensitive equipment at the GG Brown Ultra Low Vibration Lab (ULVL), Biological Science Building (BSB), U of M Health Center in Brighton, and other non-U of M Health Care clients.
The original Innerbelt Bridge carried traffic over the Cuyahoga River and when it was constructed in 1959, it was the widest bridge in all of Ohio. As traffic increased over the years and the bridge aged, ODOT recognized it was imperative to address operational, design, access and safety shortcomings of the original bridge system by constructing two new bridges as part of their Cleveland Innerbelt Bridge Modernization Plan.
SME became part of ODOTs bridge modernization plan team in December 2010. We monitored slope movement during demolition of the original I-90 Innerbelt Bridge and also during construction of the two replacement bridges, each extending over 4,000 feet long. ODOT brought SME onto this project because of our slope stability expertise and our ability to quickly adapt to changes. We provided quick response to install new instruments when needed, keeping ODOT well informed of potential slope movement at early stages. This was vital to the project’s success, since any slope movement could have resulted in serious danger to the workers and to the public. The sooner we identified movement, the sooner the project team could get working on a solution.
Prior to demolishing the original Innerbelt Bridge, our work included accessing the catwalks beneath the bridge to measure changes between the bridge spans. Throughout the life of the project, SME has installed and monitored close to 40 piezometers and inclinometers to depths exceeding 200 feet. At the peak of construction activity, we monitored instruments every other week. The more recent reduction in construction activity has supported a reduction in the monitoring frequency to once per quarter. Through regular monitoring, SME was able to keep a close eye on the pore water pressure and inclinometer displacements, both of which can provide early signs of possible movement.
SME worked closely with Walsh during replacement of the first bridge, and likewise with Trumbull, Great Lakes Construction, and Ruhlin (TGR) as they constructed the second bridge.
The extensive industrial history of the site (circa-1908) presented extensive environmental and construction challenges. The site was under RCRA Corrective Action status, which posed significant legal, acquisition and redevelopment concerns. SME worked closely with RACER Trust to help the team understand the environmental conditions, on-going cleanup and monitoring activities, and potential restrictions for construction and land use (institutional controls). Our role included facilitating project discussions to present strategies for managing potential environmental liability, human exposure, and construction considerations.
SME completed a $130,000 preliminary environmental and geotechnical investigation on the Phase 1 parcel of construction. Our services included conducting Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs), Phase II ESAs, and BEAs for three parcels comprising the project site. We negotiated a new, streamlined BEA submittal process for roughly 100 BEAs which saved both time and money.
Based on SME’s experience and discussions with the development team, two environmental issues posed most significant restrictions and costs to the project: 1) an area of residual light non-aqueous phased liquid (LNAPL) hydrocarbon product located in the south-central area of the site, and 2) vapor intrusion concerns for future buildings. Therefore, SME commenced an investigation consisting of numerous direct-push borings and soil gas vapor implants. Results of our investigation demonstrated the designated LNAPL area, which would require an impervious cover, could be reduced by two-thirds of the originally proposed size. We designed multiple options for capping LNAPL and PCB impacted areas, and coordinated construction with RACER/EPA. SME’s soil gas investigation also provided data demonstrating that fewer buildings will require a vapor mitigation system. To date, we estimate the findings of the preliminary subsurface assessments will result in a project cost savings of approximately $400,000.
Other geotechnical engineering services included groundwater sampling, test pits, and visual asbestos assessment. SME also provided Construction Materials Services (CMS) during construction phases.
A variety of debris and car parts as well as releases of petroleum and lead were present across the site. A particular challenge was the lead levels in the former
auto crushing and storage areas, where lead was present at levels as high as 55,000,000 ppb.
SME conducted extensive site characterization to assist Ashley Capital in developing an environmental management plan for the construction phase that complied with Michigan’s Part 201 due care obligations. Our approach consisted of several strategic rounds of a combination of test pits and soil borings to characterize the contamination and buried debris at the site.
A further challenge was the extensive historical fill. The fill was not suitable for support of typical shallow foundations. SME developed a foundation plan consisting of rammed aggregate piers to extend building loads through the unsuitable fill into natural soil suitable to support the building.
Other noteworthy activities consisted of characterizing the extent of contamination from a leaking underground storage tank (LUST) and conducting the environmental oversight, sampling, and documentation of its removal. We also evaluated the residual petroleum contamination and the potential for vapor intrusion and presented Ashley Capital with several options for mitigation the potential risk.
We also worked with the construction team to develop a landscaping plan that would include exposure barriers to mitigate dermal contact risks associated with the lead contamination left in place. The building is now complete and fully operational and has created a significant number of new jobs.
The property was formerly owned by the City of Detroit and was operated as part of a 14-acre public park. Prior to being a park, the property was comprised of over 70 historical residential and commercial parcels. SME was brought onto the project team to provide environmental assessment of the site.
Our team helped Wolverine Packaging improve project economics by securing $2.8 million in brownfield tax increment financing (TIF) for reimbursement of both environmental and non-environmental costs. The plant was also recognized as an industrial development district, making it eligible to receive tax exemptions for 12 years. The project plan included the use of urban stormwater management/green infrastructure to reduce the impact of the development on the City of Detroit’s infrastructure and to improve the environment.
SME also helped the team manage site challenges related to undocumented vacated alleys and easements, historic infrastructure, client expectations, understanding level of risk for options, due care (vapor intrusion) concerns with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (formerly MDEQ).
SME’s surveying team performed ALTA surveys, construction staking, layout, and as-built services. Our civil team performed land entitlement services, including site planning, construction plans, and permitting for the project. SME also provided construction materials services (CMS) including construction administration during the construction phase. Because our team was easily able to work closely together throughout the project, SME was able to help the project meet tough deadlines during the limited construction season in Southeast Michigan.
Aside from innovation, the most notable aspect of this project was the positive impact the new facility had on Detroit’s Eastern Market community. Wolverine Packing employs close to 150 residents, and also reconstructed Forest Park into a three-acre park complete with a walking path, basketball courts, baseball field, playground, and workout area for the neighborhood to enjoy.
Fast forward more than 100 years, when remedial response was completed to facilitate redevelopment of the site for mixed residential and commercial use. The project included excavation and insitu soil stabilization (ISS) with cement. Excavation extended to about 22 feet below ground level, which is about 18 feet below the groundwater table and the surface of the nearby Saginaw River. ISS consisted of mixing impacted soil with cement to encapsulate the contaminants, thereby preventing contaminant migration. SME conducted soil borings to evaluate the extent of impact, developed project specifications, and assisted with selection of a qualified remediation contractor.
SME also provided oversite during the installation of six inclinometers and monitoring the stability of an existing high voltage underground electrical line. SME designed a sheet pile cofferdam to maintain the stability of the excavation and the high voltage electrical line. In addition, a groundwater dewatering system was installed to allow excavation in a dry condition. SME collected soil samples from the
excavated area to verify that impacted soil had been sufficiently removed.
A total of 22,800 tons of soil was excavated and disposed offsite in a State licensed landfill and about 5,000,000 gallons of groundwater was treated onsite prior to discharge to the City of Bay City wastewater treatment plant (WWTP). ISS operations resulted in about 3,700 cubic yards of soil stabilized with cement.
Helping to restore former MGP plant sites to safe and productive use…it’s one way SME’s passionate people help to build and revitalize our world.
For nearly 40 years, drivers have exited either I-94 or US-31 onto Napier Avenue to continue their journey into southwest Michigan or northern Indiana. After many years of planning, construction of the final segment of US-31 began in 2020.
SME worked with the design-build team to evaluate the risks associated with design and construction of the proposed bridges, large culverts, and earthwork associated with the project. Bridges utilized mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) abutments and either shallow or deep foundation systems at the interior piers.
SME worked with the design team to provide recommendations for shallow (spread) foundations and deep foundation recommendations including pile types and estimated lengths. External stability analyses were performed for the MSE walls to provide minimum soil reinforcement lengths. SME also assisted during the pre-bid phase to evaluate the conceptual 30% plans and assist the team in developing quantities related to the foundations for the new structures.
Throughout construction, SME assisted with foundation subgrade observations and recommendations for improvement, if necessary. Some challenges at the bridge and roadway subgrades included improvement of moisture-sensitive silty soils and perched groundwater, and isolated undercutting below new foundation elements.
This state-of-the-art facility utilizes the latest in technology and a mammoth press to manufacture world-class decorative wood panel products used in home interiors and furniture across North America. A critical component to the success of the project was design of the foundation for the enormous press. The press manufacturer set forth stringent settlement criteria, which could have resulted in big construction costs related to the foundation system. SME’s experience and extensive knowledge of the subsurface and soil conditions on the site meant we were well-suited to provide geotechnical assessment and foundation design services that would ultimately keep overall project costs under control. SME conducted a geotechnical evaluation and, based on the data, designed alternate press foundation systems which met the stringent settlement criteria. Ultimately, the selected design allowed the press to be supported on shallow foundations, eliminating the need for a costly deep foundation system.
The plant features over 60,000 cubic yards of concrete and 1,350 tons of reinforcing steel. In addition to geotechnical engineering services, SME provided full-time Construction Materials Services (CMS) during site balancing and earthmoving activities, including on-site engineering consultation during earthmoving activities. We also provided inspection and testing of soil, aggregate, concrete, mortar, grout, structural steel, ultrasonic weld testing, and asphalt during construction of the facility. SME monitored Proctor tests, gradational analysis, concrete cylinder compressive strength, asphalt core density, mortar, and grout compressive strength to keep the project moving successfully forward.
The ARAUCO particleboard facility provides significant stimulus to the local and regional economy and place Grayling on the map as a hub of premium panel products.
The Francis Road Bridge is approximately 53-feet long and contains seven structural I-Beams. The approximate area of coatings coverage was 2,600 square feet. The applied coating system consisted of an organic zinc rich primer, intermediate coat, and a top coat.
Our team performed visual assessment of the bridge conditions prior to coating work, and verified that the surface was properly prepared. This included:
SME’s Construction Engineering and Inspection team was onsite during the resurfacing of 3.96 miles of Jonesville Road from Fremont Road to Quincy Grange Road in Branch County, Michigan. Working together with Branch County Road Commission (BCRC) and the MDOT Marshall TSC, SME’s team verified construction performance and compliance to the MDOT Proposal and Standard Specifications for Construction, and assured that the project stayed within budget, on schedule, and within the scope of work.
Our Construction Engineer conducted Preconstruction, Hot Mix Asphalt (HMA) Preproduction, and Project Progress Meetings with the contractor. SME made certain that proper test reports and/or material certifications were reviewed prior to use, and that all was completed in a timely manner. Our team final field-measured applicable work items and prepared final summaries for items of work. We also conducted a final inspection and acceptance with MDOT and BCRC before proceeding to project closeout.
Two technicians were on site during HMA paving and placement of shoulder gravel to perform testing and inspection. They performed density tests on the HMA pavement and the Class II shoulders using a various testing equipment including Troxler Nuclear Density Gage, Michigan Cone, and scales as necessary. They also performed aggregate verification sampling for mechanical analysis.
Loose samples of the HMA were obtained from the plant at sampling intervals in accordance with the project requirements. These samples were tested to determine the mixture properties which will be compared to the project approved Job Mix Formula (JMF).
Principal among the challenges was the migrating volatile organic compound (VOC) groundwater plume that posed a contamination threat to the Huron River, a source of the City’s drinking water and vital habitat to flora and fauna of southeast Michigan. Morningside Group assembled a team of expert consultants, led by SME, that worked closely with regulatory officials to create an effective and economical remedial approach that dovetailed with construction to treat onsite contamination, reduced offsite contaminant migration, and fulfilled due care obligations.
Beyond engineering challenges, the financing of the project was crucial. SME helped Morningside acquire $11 million in brownfield tax-incremental financing (TIF) to offset environmental and infrastructure costs. SME also worked with Washtenaw County and EGLE to secure a $1 million Clean Michigan Initiative (CMI) grant for treatment of the source area.
In addition to the plume remediation, work included onsite and offsite roadway infrastructure and underground utilities, including a 95,000 cubic foot stormwater detention vault, which also serves as the parking structure’s foundation. Construction of the project’s second and third phases, which will add 372 residential units and retail space, is now underway.
Today, the site is a vibrant mixed-used community that will be a longstanding local resource.
The site was first developed in about 1844 and quickly became a significant part of the city’s history. By the mid-1940s and through about 1994, the site was occupied by various industrial manufacturing operations.
Frank Rewold and Sons, Inc. (FRS) acquired the property in 1997 and shortly thereafter restored a portion of the property into a brewpub and office building. The remaining portions of the property went unused until 2018 when FRS, a 100-year old Rochester based family business, found themselves rapidly growing and in need of a new headquarters building.
Various larger greenfield sites were available elsewhere in Metro Detroit, but the historical significance of the site they committed to more than 20 years earlier made it an obvious place to continue their own legacy.
FRS stayed true to their roots and continued their dedication to the community by developing this site. FRS met the project challenges with the support of a strong team: FRS, SME, Auger Klein Aller Architects (AKA), Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE), and the City of Rochester to overcome hurdles and develop practical design solutions to construct a new 49,000 square-foot, 5-story leading edge office building overlooking the scenic Paint Creek.
Rockford retained SME to provide environmental services (i.e. Phase I and II environmental site assessments, soil gas mitigation, BEA and due care), geotechnical engineering and Construction Materials Services (CMS).
Our Senior Project Engineer, Andy Bolton PE, kept in close contact with Rockford and attended the project’s pre-bid meeting. While reviewing the plans, he saw an opportunity for value engineering. The original design called for an earth retention system (ERS) using tangential augered cast-in-place (ACIP) piles, which would have cost approximately $750k and required time consuming special permission from the City of Grand Rapids. SME redesigned the ERS using cantilevered sheeting that did not require special permission, thus saving the project time and over $500k.
This $35-million residential project offers the opportunity for more housing options in this re-emerging part of Grand Rapids. Residents have the ability to live, work, play and feel part of the community 24 hours a day. There’s a strong connection to the urban core of the City, yet there’s also a comfortable scale to it. More people are opening their eyes to the potential that Grand Rapids offers.
Fulton Place is made up of three buildings near the west edge of GVSU’s Pew campus, and includes 10,000 square feet of retail space on the ground level. The first building at 13,000 square feet has seven, 3-story townhomes ranging from 1,400-2,000 square feet. The second 3-story building is 5,500 square feet and houses three, 3-bedroom apartments. The third building is 125,000 square feet. This 5-story building has 102 apartments that are a mix of loft and one-, two- and four-bedroom units. This housing development includes an underground parking structure that extends roughly 7 feet below grade and is adjacent to a city-owned alley.
Aside from the physical damage they cause, sinkholes create scary visuals and serious hazards. It’s frightening to imagine the ground beneath us suddenly collapsing and forming a void in the ground. But indeed, it happens more frequently than most would anticipate.
In August 2019, a dropout sinkhole was discovered beneath an existing transformer pad near the intersection of Salem Road and Lewman Way at the River Ridge Commerce Center in Jeffersonville, Indiana. This world-class business and manufacturing park contains more than 6,000 prime acres of land under development along the Ohio River. To save the transformer and prevent further damage and safety risks, the owner called on SME to provide a quick response and geotechnical engineering solutions.
Measuring approximately 15 to 16 feet deep, this dangerous sinkhole was surrounded by tall grass, and virtually unnoticeable from a distance. Based on a decade-long relationship rooted in trust, River Ridge Development Authority reached out to SME’s Wes Hemp, PE, PG, LEED AP, for help.
When Wes arrived to the site, he could see that only the ends of the transformer pad were still supported, as the dropout sinkhole undermined most of the soil supporting the pad. The upper 8 feet of the profile consisted of clay soils. The sidewalls of the sinkhole were in danger of collapsing and completely undermining the transformer pad.
Due to the severity of the dropout sinkhole, quick repair was needed. SME mobilized to the site immediately to observe site conditions and provide general direction on a course of action. Formal remedial recommendations were provided within only 48 hours of our initial site visit.
Recommendations consisted of:
SME also provided general guidance and consulting during the remedial phase. To the owner’s delight and great relief, the transformer was saved, remedial expenses were minimized as a result of quick action, and the hazard was mitigated.
General Sports & Entertainment, SME, the City of Utica, Macomb County and other local supporters worked together to bring minor league professional baseball to metro Detroit. With help from the State of Michigan and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), the team secured $3 million in funding to address environmental and constructability issues associated with the landfills.
Redeveloping the landfill sites posed many challenges, including dealing with 15 to 30 feet of unconsolidated waste material was buried along the east and west side of the Clinton River. The site also included 26,000 cubic yards of waste material from a failed 2007 development that was previously excavated and stockpiled on site.
The historic waste created environmental contamination and geotechnical settlement challenges. Another challenge was establishing a level playing field. Simply grading the site and removing waste material was not an option due to the cost premium of disposing all the waste material at a licensed landfill. SME led the project team to evaluate numerous grading and foundation scenarios to reduce the impact of contamination and settlement risks. The final plan incorporated deep foundations for site structures and strategically placing mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) walls to confine the historic waste and soil that was to remain on site.
Another challenge was finding a way to install deep foundations with the uncertainty of what lies below the ground surface from years of undocumented dumping. The team designed stadium foundations utilizing 12 to 15-inch diameter pipe piles (micropiles). This eliminated the need for waste excavation and disposal costs. The 320 micropiles were installed through waste and into the underlying hardpan to support the structures, stadium lighting and awesome 80-foot wide LED scoreboard.
SME also designed various environmental response measures to protect fans and the environment from the historic waste materials and related contamination hazards including methane gas. We worked closely with the MDEQ, contractors and suppliers to design and monitor a passive depressurization system beneath enclosed building spaces to collect and vent methane gas away from the buildings. The ball field, right field berm and landscaped areas were engineered with a geotextile fabric layer to cover the waste materials, which prevent direct contact and erosion.
Our team was passionate about being able to help revitalize this site, a 75-year old environmental challenge, for the community and help bring this wonderful asset to the city of Utica and to the Metro Detroit area.