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Straightedge: the BergerABAM blog

Teaching the Next Generation of Bridge Engineers

Jim Guarre, BergerABAM senior vice president, is lead instructor for the CESG 529 Bridge Engineering course.

Experienced bridge engineers from BergerABAM are back in school this summer to teach a bridge engineering class at the University of Washington (UW). The College of Engineering, Structural and Geotechnical Engineering, Course 529 [CESG 529 Bridge Engineering] is a graduate-level course in the Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) Department at UW. The nine-week lecture series covers a variety of bridge engineering studies, including types and sizes; design load and resistance factors; seismic design; design of prestressed concrete girders, structural steel girders, decks, expansion joints and bearings, crossbeams, columns, foundations, and abutments; and bridge construction practices.

City of Fife Breaks Ground on Its Largest Public Works Contract

The groundbreaking kicks off the first two-year phase of the construction project to reduce congestion at Port of Tacoma Road and I-5. Photo courtesy of the Port of Tacoma.

On 18 July 2018, the City of Fife broke ground on Phase 1 of a major construction project at the Interstate 5 (I-5)/Port of Tacoma Road interchange. The two-part, $42.5 million construction project aims to speed traffic between the Port of Tacoma and I-5.

City of Fife staff and local government representatives attended the groundbreaking. Washington State Governor Jay Inslee was among those who addressed the crowd at the celebration. “Today I get to say, ‘If you want to improve your life, build a road to Fife,’” Inslee said. “And by improving lives in this regard, if anybody asked you what this road connection is, it’s a road to jobs.”

Washington State Initiates School Seismic Safety Program

Washington State has a high risk of experiencing strong and damaging earthquakes because of its geological setting, particularly on the western side near the Cascadia subduction zone. This risk makes it critical to address the seismic safety of schools in the state.

The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is taking measures to assess seismic safety in many of Washington’s K-12 schools. The Washington Geological Survey (WGS), a division of DNR, recently received funding to work with the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction and a team of structural engineers to conduct seismic assessments at approximately 220 school buildings in the state. Conceptual seismic retrofit plans will be produced for 20 of the school buildings deemed most at risk.

Working Kennel for the Military Working Dog

The new Military Working Dog Kennel includes space for outdoor training.

The current kennel facility on the 1st Special Forces Compound at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM), Washington, is used to maintain and train military working dogs. Military working dog teams are highly specialized groups that support commanders in various operations and in warfighting. Today's military working dog program employs expertly trained canine handlers coupled with highly intelligent breeds of dogs.

Alternative Commute - A Challenge

Alex Francis and Ben Fisher, BergerABAM engineers, chose to commute to work via bike for the challenge.

How do you get to work? Do you take the same route every day? The month of May was National Alternative Commute/Bike Month, a time to celebrate alternative commuting methods. Depending on the agency, the intention of the month may vary. For some, it may be to promote bike safety, multimodal transportation planning, health and wellness improvements, or the negative environmental impact of single car use.

A New Bridge on Old Olympic Highway

The new McDonald Bridge is safer, wider, and more earthquake resistant.

On 1 May 2018, the McDonald Creek Bridge on Old Olympic Highway between Sequim and Port Angeles, Washington, opened to much community celebration, homemade pies, and the approval of old pioneer families still living in the area. Despite delays in construction caused by snow and bad weather, the project nevertheless stayed within budget and offers a bridge that is safer, wider, and more earthquake resistant than the old bridge that was built in 1957.

Being Prepared - For the Next 10 Years with the Boy Scouts of America

“School’s out for the summer.”

When the Boy Scouts of America’s Cascade Pacific Council, #492, opens their Camp Meriwether and Camp Clark for the summer, boys and girls from ages 8 through 13 in both Oregon and Washington states can’t wait to start rock climbing, boating, biking, target practice, and exploring the 2 miles of scenery on the private beach south of Cape Lookout, Oregon.

The Cascade Pacific Council provides youth development programs to families and community organizations in 18 counties of northwest Oregon and southwest Washington. With their purpose of preparing young people for a lifetime of leadership, they needed to plan for future improvements at their youth camps (Meriwether and Clark) located in Tillamook County, Oregon. As a result, they turned to BergerABAM to assist with master planning and permitting their next 10 years of improvements.

From Vision to Reality – Celebrating Main Street in Bothell

The Bothell community gathers at the intersection of Main Street and 101st Street for the Main Street Enhancement Project ribbon-cutting ceremony. Photo credit: City of Bothell, Young Reflections Photography

On Saturday, 28 April 2018, members of the community, including public officials and business owners, gathered in the city of Bothell to celebrate the completion of the Main Street Enhancement Project. The celebration kicked off with a ribbon-cutting at the intersection of Main Street and 101st Street, followed by speeches from the City Mayor, Andy Rheaume, and a representative from the Transportation Improvement Board.

Main Street in Bothell is over 100 years old and home to several diners and shops reminiscent of the era. From the onset of the project, it was an important part of the overall vision to preserve this historic downtown streetscape. The enhancement project included travel lane reconstruction, utilities replacement, parking reconfiguration, and sidewalk improvements to provide a pedestrian-friendly atmosphere while maintaining smooth traffic flow through the area. The enhancements incorporated concepts of urban design and landscape architecture that upheld the area’s historic charm, yet also captured the community’s vision for future downtown Bothell.

Vancouver's Fire Service Delivery Restructures for Growing Community

The City of Vancouver celebrated the opening of Fire Station No. 1 on 3 February 2018.

For the City of Vancouver, Washington, leveraging public service resources to accommodate growing community needs amid a changing economy provided challenges and opportunities. In 2012, the city manager and fire chief worked together in an effort to explore ways to maintain and improve the effectiveness of the Vancouver Fire Department (VFD) in light of increased costs and reduced revenues. At the time, the VFD faced a funding crisis that could result in staff reductions, and the City needed an action plan.

The Gee Creek Subarea Plan: Balancing Urban Development with Rural Preservation

The Gee Creek Plateau is an unincorporated rural area of about 360 acres.

On one hand, population growth often means more jobs and economic prosperity. On the other hand, untrammeled growth can ruin the very environment that people seek in rural areas: peaceful surroundings, opportunities for agriculture, an appreciation of natural environments, and a more relaxed way of life. The Gee Creek Plateau is an unincorporated rural area of about 360 acres—formerly called the “donut hole” because it is an island of unincorporated land surrounded by the southwest incorporated part of the city of Ridgefield, Washington. As one of the fastest growing cities in Washington, Ridgefield has become a popular place to live and work. Residents understand the need for additional development to support the growing population and provide economic opportunities; however, there is also a desire to preserve the rural character and scenic views for future generations.