Posts Categorized: General

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G. Handlos, P.E. Design engineers received good news on September 23, 2019, when the Federal Highway Administration repealed 23 CFR 635.411(a)-(e).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 »

How Architectural & Engineering Consulting Firms Can Win More Work

By: William G Handlos, P.E. Why do some Architectural and Engineering consultants perennially get their choice of work? Let’s face it, most of the time; all of the invited and interviewed teams have the requisite experience and competence to accomplish the stated scope of work. You’re pretty sure that you have checked all the boxes on your Statement of Qualifications and your written proposal is complete and clearly shows your team has the design solution experience relevant to the task at hand. So why do you not have more wins? Let’s take a look at how clients really make decisions. Here is how we think that we choose. Does the consultant have: Unimpeachable character Relevant solid experience Exhibits problem-solving skills Outstanding communications skills Excellent interpersonal skills   Most consultants also believe that the best way to reach success in a presentation is to build the case for their side using reason and facts. Of course, there always needs to be a fundamental foundation of experience and qualification as a cost of entry. Written proposals are much more objectively weighed. However, neuroscience tells us that the factors that really affect decision-making are more emotional than logical. Here is how we really… Read more »

Why would you put nails in an aggregate porous pavement?

Written By: Bill Handlos, PE Every one of them. Each and every one of the spikes required to anchor this “invisible” product has pushed up. If consistency is the hallmark of excellence, then the maker of the gravel pavers that comes on a roll—“nailed” it. Take a look at what mother nature does, after each winter, to 8 inch spikes that were intended to hold down the ultra lightweight gravel paving product. For those of you who are blessed to live in an area where there is not frost each winter, let me explain. Whether you get 12 inches or 3 feet of frost, the frozen ground pushes up rocks, pipes, fence posts, garden lanterns and, yes, 8 inch nails. As a result, the parking area constructed in Wisconsin, whose specifications call for the use of spikes that are intended to stop the material from moving under the rotational torque loading of pneumatic tires (or for you non-engineers, tires) — well, that parking lot has just become the local tire repair center’s best friend. Tires do not like nails. Tires especially do not like nails that are sticking out by about an inch firmly held in place waiting to attack… Read more »

Railroad ballast performance improvement using GEOWEB®

Every year, railroads dedicate a great deal of capital and maintenance expense towards the creation and upkeep of high quality ballast layers. Enduring well-designed ballast is quite literally the foundation on which a successful rail line operates. With ballooning rail traffic carrying heavier loads than ever, GEOWEB cellular confinement (Geocell) effectively takes the pressure off critical ballast systems. Oregon State University (OSU) recently performed state-of-the-art, three-dimensional dynamic Finite Element modeling to analyze the reinforcing benefit of GEOWEB geocells in railway applications. This study was completed in cooperation with the University of Kansas (KU) who simultaneously performed a testing program of Geocell reinforced ballast placed over weak subgrade material using HDPE GEOWEB material. The digital modeling results were reinforced by the laboratory tests and showed a significant decrease in settlement of the railway ballast when GEOWEB confinement was used. The use of GEOWEB technology not only decreased settlement, but reduced pressure on point-to-point aggregate load transfer contact which in turn resulted in less damage to ballast aggregate particles leading to less progressive deformation and longer maintenance frequencies of the entire ballast embankment. In short, more cycles means less track down-time for maintenance. The research results were clear. The benefits of applying… Read more »