Posts Categorized: General

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 »

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 »

The Dangers of Breaking Specs and Bid Shopping

Written by William G. Handlos, P.E. Specifying Engineers and Architects work tirelessly to build plans and specifications that capture the essence of their vision as they work to write the guiding documents for their project. They make decisions about product types, grades, and take great pains to build into their documents citations of certifications and standards to assure only quality materials are allowed on the site. Yet, when challenged to accept “or equal” substitutions, it seems that all the standards of care can sometimes be lost and substandard materials seem to too easily find their way onto the site. The reason for this lapse is often a result of the timing of the hand-off between the design team and the project management team occurring just as the contractor award occurs. Contractors are concerned about leaving too much money on the table (the difference in value between the winning and the second bid). Just moments after the bid opening or notice of award, bid shopping commences. Bid shopping on publicly-funded projects is disallowed by legislation in some localities, but even when formally disallowed, informally it occurs widely. With the economic power of the project award and with the pressure of the potential… Read more »

Highway Stormwater Control: Porous Vegetated Road Shoulders

Written by William G. Handlos, P.E. Highway Stormwater Control: Porous Vegetated Drivable Road Shoulders Gravel road shoulders are not porous. Rainwater sheet flowing off highway pavement passes right across the aggregate shoulder carrying with it sediment and other pollutants that ultimately end up in freshwater creeks and rivers. Aside from pollutant loading, re-grading shoulders is a continuous activity for State and County crews to repair eroded sections after several rain events. Some counties have taken a smart solution approach to this problem and are using geocell cellular confinement systems to reduce maintenance costs and to improve water quality.  Shown below are the cross sections detailing a GEOWEB® geocellular drivable vegetated shoulder solution. The infill to the geocell is made up of 2/3rd clear stone aggregate (void ratio 30 – 40%) and 1/3rd topsoil. The topsoil remains uncompressed within the interstitial spaces between the stone, and the stone is the structural component that carries the load. The topsoil allows for the vegetation roots to grow and feed upon the nutrients and water in the topsoil.  This system percolates runoff from the highway while offering proper load support for vehicles that pull off the side of the road. The GEOWEB® cells confine the… Read more »