Posts Categorized: General

ASCE Releases the 2021 Infrastructure Report Card

infrastructure

The grades are in, and they’re not great. On Wednesday, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) released their quadrennial Infrastructure Report Card. America’s infrastructure earned an overall grade of C-minus. While this is a minor improvement over 2017’s Infrastructure Report card, which revealed a dismal grade of D-plus, there’s still a lot of work to be done. The report card assigns grades to 17 categories of American infrastructure. A staggering 11 out of these 17 categories received a grade in the “D” range, including Roads, Stormwater, Dams, and Levees. This means that the civil engineers who evaluated these categories determined that the infrastructure is “poor, at risk.” According to the report card, this means, “The infrastructure is in poor to fair condition and mostly below standard, with many elements approaching the end of their service life. A large portion of the system exhibits significant deterioration. Condition and capacity are of serious concern with strong risk of failure.” These systems are critical to the overall health and wellbeing of our communities, and vital to commerce and economic stability at local, regional, and national levels. Solutions to Improve America’s Infrastructure Grade The ASCE identifies three major factors when exploring how to… Read more »

“Or Equal” Substitutions in Geosynthetics: Tips for Evaluating the Contractor’s Proposed Alternative

Written by: Michael J. Dickey, P.E., Director of Presto Geosystems Following the bid phase of a project, it is not uncommon for you as the specifying engineer or architect to receive a request from the awarded contractor to approve a proposed alternative geosynthetic product. This decision can ultimately have significant consequences, and with the allure of purported cost savings and a forthcoming notice-to-proceed, there can be tremendous pressure from the contractor and other project stakeholders to obtain quick approval. However, as the design professional, you bear the responsibility of assessing the risks and communicating how the proposed substitution could adversely impact the success of the project. To help you navigate the decision-making process and reduce headaches, we’ve compiled a list of tips to help keep your project on the path to success; while hopefully saving you time and preserving your sanity! Tip #1: Review the Product Spec Sheets Closely (Including Any Disclaimers) Many design professionals tend to focus on the numbers shown on a product spec sheet and may even have an implicit trust in the information provided. Unfortunately, some product providers will use this to their advantage. After an initial review of the product data, you will have a… Read more »

Presto Geosystems Announces New Series of Professional Development Courses

We are pleased to announce that Presto Geosystems will continue to offer regular online learning opportunities throughout 2021. Our webinars will explore soil stabilization and stormwater solutions for the civil, industrial, stormwater, and construction industries. The series will also include webinars that address improving resilience in industries including landfills, rail, mining, and ports. PDH credit is available for Presto Geosystems webinars. We will kick off our new series, Geosystems University: Professional Development Courses on Tuesday, Jan. 12 with “Repair & Reduce Slope Erosion with the GEOWEB 3D Confinement System.” Business Development Specialist Jose Pablo George, M.S. will provide an overview of the GEOWEB geocells and how the system works to protect earthen slopes against erosive forces. For an up-to-date schedule of professional development courses, please visit prestogeo.com/webcasts. New courses will be added on a monthly basis, so check back often to secure your virtual seat.

Great American Outdoors Act Provides Billions of Dollars for Overdue Repairs and Maintenance of U.S. National Parks

Congress recently passed the most significant piece of land conservation legislation in a generation. The Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA)—a rare bipartisan effort—will provide full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund at $900 million annually and will put $9.5 billion over the next five years toward the deferred maintenance backlog on public lands. The GAOA provides $6.5 billion specifically for the 419 national park units. President Trump signed the bill into law on Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020. Increased Use and Lack of Funding Caused Maintenance Backlog This piece of legislation will have a historical impact on National Parks in the United States. The number of visitors to national parks has increased by 50% since 1980, but budgets have remained virtually flat. This imbalance has contributed to a $12 billion backlog of repairs to access roads, trails, campgrounds, monuments, and other parks infrastructure. Parks and recreational trails have recently become even more popular due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With limited indoor entertainment options, people have rediscovered their love for the outdoors. As this trend continues, our national parks must be equipped with the infrastructure necessary to sustain them in the long term. The Importance of Green Infrastructure & Low… Read more »

Quick Repair of Track Subgrade & Railroad Right-of-Way

GEOWEB® Geocells — Quick Fix, Long Term Protection Be prepared to repair washouts and track issues quickly and economically with one solution. The GEOWEB® 3D Soil Stabilization System is a proven 40-year solution, delivering emergency repair for track and railroad right-of-way embankments, bridges and channels. Stock readily available allows for fast deployment by local railroad crews. Contact us for more information about our GEOWEB Emergency Repair Kit Stocking Program. Wash Out Repair & Armoring: Right-of-Way Embankments | Earthen Berms | Bridge Protection | Drainage Channels Variable Infill Options: Soil/Vegetation | Aggregate | Concrete Economical Solution: Less Down Time: GEOWEB material is quickly installed to repair any size emergency and minimize track disruptions. Installation Benefit: Railroads can install the GEOWEB material with their own crews. Reduce Rock Size: Rock confined in the GEOWEB structure replaces expensive rip-rap, reducing aggregate size up to 10 times. Fast Deployment: Strong, yet light-weight GEOWEB sections are easy to transport and quick to deploy, even in difficult site access areas. Most repairs do not require large construction equipment.   Construction & Repair Versatility The GEOWEB Soil Stabilization System has been successfully employed for railroad construction and repair for over 40 years. GEOWEB sections are packaged in collapsed, easy-to-handle… Read more »

Build a Stronger Foundation for Infrastructure Projects with 3D Soil Confinement

It’s no secret that America’s infrastructure is desperately in need of investment. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave the country’s infrastructure an overall grade of D-plus in its 2017 Infrastructure Report Card—dangerously close to an outright failing grade. The ASCE estimates that the U.S. will need to spend nearly $4.5 trillion by 2025 to fix the country’s roads, bridges, dams, and other infrastructure. Our nation’s roads and bridges—commonly referred to as the “backbone” of the U.S. transportation system—received grades of D and C-plus, respectively. These transportation systems are deteriorating due to advancing age, increasing use, and inadequate funding. This degradation leads to a significant cost to users in terms of time, money, and safety. There are over 4 million miles of road in the United States, and the cost to maintain these roadways can vary greatly by state. Several factors determine maintenance costs, including the type of pavement surface, its current condition, its geographical location, average precipitation, number of annual freeze/thaw cycles, and frequency of use. Three-Dimensional Geocells Provide Solutions to Aging Infrastructure The long-term performance of infrastructure construction projects depends on the strength of the underlying soil. Through an interconnected honeycomb-like network, 3D geocells confine and stabilize… Read more »

Keep Projects Moving Forward With Our Free Design Tools and Project Evaluations

free design tools

There’s no denying that life looks a lot different than it did a month or two ago. Most of us have been affected by COVID-19 in some way. While the degree to which we are feeling these effects varies by person, population, industry, etc., this situation has changed the way we all live and do business. Those who are able to work remotely are adjusting to a new normal. With schools closed indefinitely, many of us are now simultaneously trying to manage workloads while homeschooling and meal prepping. People in many industries are working tirelessly on the frontlines ensuring that we have access to essential goods and services, and we are incredibly thankful for them. Learn From Home and Earn PDH Credit With shelter-in-place orders still in effect for many regions, we will continue to evaluate how we can better serve our partners in the engineering and construction industries. Over the past month, we have increased our offerings of live webcasts to stay connected and provide colleagues and customers with a direct line to our engineering team. We will continue to offer these webcasts, as well as customized virtual technical presentations for your engineering staff. Free Design Support and Tools As we begin to… Read more »

Presto Geosystems: Safe, Open, and Ready to Help

Like all of you, Presto Geosystems is closely monitoring COVID-19 events as they unfold, and we will continue to keep the best interest of our employees, partners and customers at the forefront of our operations. While the locations from which we are working and our methods of communication may have changed, our commitment to you has not. Presto Geosystems is still open for business, fulfilling orders and keeping your construction projects moving forward. With the recent travel restrictions, our team of design engineers, business managers and partners are happy to meet with you virtually to discuss your project needs. If you are working from your home office—we’d love to meet your kids or dogs! Keep your construction projects on schedule by utilizing our online design/installation tools, customized design support and free online learning courses. SpecMaker Tool: create a CSI spec in minutes. Complimentary Project Evaluations: work with our design engineer. On-Demand / Live Webcasts: Earn PDH credits. We are committed to delivering quality products and services when you need them!

FHWA Repeals its Proprietary Product Rule, Allows Geosystems’ Products to be Specified

By: William G. Handlos, P.E. Design engineers received good news on September 23, 2019, when the Federal Highway Administration repealed 23 CFR 635.411(a)-(e). Colloquially known as the “Proprietary Product Rule”, the long-standing provision made it difficult to use patented or proprietary products or technologies in federally funded projects, unless they first received a seldom-granted Public Interest Finding or classified the project as experimental. Specialty engineered and innovative systems, such as the GEOWEB® soil stabilization (geocells) lineup of products have at times been difficult to specify because there is simply nothing quite like it in the marketplace. While other geocell manufacturers exist, the Geosystems products have patented innovations making it unique in the products’ ability to perform far better than other “or equal” systems. Now, engineers will no longer be constrained to the lowest common denominator offerings from the marketplace and instead can use technically advanced materials that reduce costs, speed construction and save money. According to Federal Highway Administrator Nicole R. Nason, “This final rule promotes innovation by empowering states to choose which state-of-the-art materials, tools, and products best meet their needs for the construction and upkeep of America’s transportation infrastructure.”       GEOWEB® — Most Complete Multicomponent Geocellular… Read more »

The Integration of Pervious & Impervious Pavements to Address Green Infrastructure Needs

Written by: Samantha Justice, P.E. Green infrastructure incentive programs have become commonplace for new construction and redevelopment regulations. Five of the most common incentives include: Development incentives such as expedited permitting, decreased fees, zoning upgrades and stormwater requirement reductions. Grants Rebates and installation financing Awards and recognition programs Stormwater fee discounts A subset of green infrastructure, stormwater management usually includes the consideration of pervious and porous pavements. Traditional asphalt and concrete parking lot surfaces create significant stormwater runoff, and in many municipalities, cannot be used in expansion or new build situations. When the paved area is constructed completely with a porous pavement, stormwater concerns are greatly reduced. Depending upon the choice, pavements that return rainwater to the aquifer not only nearly eliminate stormwater runoff – they also reduce sheet flow and point load erosion problems at the pavement edges, and reduce need for additional stormwater infrastructure to convey the water away from the area. Porous pavement systems can be directly integrated with asphalt and concrete surfaces to reduce such failures and reduce or eliminate the need for stormwater conveyance channels, pipes, and swales. As a result, downstream stormwater pipe systems see less silt and less water which requires less maintenance… Read more »