Skip to main content

Straightedge: the BergerABAM blog

XXI Latin American Congress of Ports

The National Port Commission of Guatemala will host the XXI Latin American Congress of Ports, an annual event organized by the American Port Authorities Association. This year’s conference, to be held 9 April to 12 April 2012, in Antigua, Guatemala, will focus on the “Present and Future of Latin American Ports in the Multimodal and Logistics Era.”

Vision. Innovation. Determination.

The Washington Chapter of the American Public Works Association’s (APWA) spring conference will be held on Tuesday, 3 April through Friday, 6 April 2012 at the Tulalip Resort Casino in Tulalip, Washington. The keynote speaker at the “Vision. Innovation. Determination.” conference is Polly Letofsky, author of “Little Steps, Big Feat!” Her inspiring keynote, chronicling her five-year journey by foot across 4 continents, 22 countries, and over 14,000 miles, will compel you to take on life’s biggest challenges one step at a time.

Rebirth of a Community Icon

Percival Landing is located on the east side of Budd Bay on the southern most tip of Puget Sound.

Named after an old commercial steamship wharf, Percival Landing Park is a popular waterfront park located in the center of downtown Olympia. Encompassing 3.38 acres, the park was built in phases from the 1970s with final completion in 1988.

In 2004, a structural analysis revealed the need for major repairs and replacement of Percival Landing. Sections were closed to assure public safety and without rehabilitation of the structure, eventually the entire facility would need to be closed, resulting in the loss of a community landmark and recreational facility and limiting public access to the waterfront.

The conceptual design for a phased approach to rebuilding Percival Landing was approved in 2006 by the City Council and the $14 million reconstruction was unveiled to the public in August 2011.

I’ll Drink to That: Modernizing an Age-Old Malting Process

A birds' eye view of the Great Western Malting plant.

In 1934, a group of Pacific Northwest businessmen founded Great Western Malting in Vancouver, Washington. Prohibition had been repealed in late 1933, so these professionals, most of whom were experienced brewery owners, saw this as an opportunity to get back into the brewing business, but with a different approach.

During Prohibition, many breweries struggled to stay afloat, often producing products with extremely low alcohol content that scantily resembled beer. Another tactic to stay in business was consolidation. The City Brewery in Portland, Oregon, owned by Henry Weinhard, was purchased by Arnold Blitz who merged it with his brewery, Portland Brewing, and renamed the newly formed union the Blitz-Weinhard Brewing Company. Blitz, along with William Einzig, also of Blitz-Weinhard; Phillip Polsky, of Vancouver’s Star Brewing; Peter Schmidt, of Olympia Brewing in Tumwater, Washington; and Emil Sick, who opened the Century Brewing Company that would later become Rainier Brewing, banded together and formed Great Western Malting to provide barley malt, a brewing ingredient in high demand, to breweries and distillery owners in the Pacific Northwest. Henry Collins, of the Pacific Continental Grain Company, and J.R. Bowles, an entrepreneur from Portland, were also among the group that brought Great Western Malting to life.

State Names C-TRAN Expert Review Panel

Five nationally known public transit experts from throughout the United States will convene this spring and summer to review the high-capacity transit components of C-TRAN’s 20-year transit development plan known as C-TRAN 2030. Washington State law requires appointment of an independent Expert Review Panel to conduct a technical review of any high-capacity transit plan that may ultimately seek a public vote to raise tax revenue for system operations.

Successful Methods to Enhance Stakeholder Interaction

The Oregon/Southwest Washington Chapter of the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) recently hosted a half-day workshop titled “Public Meeting SOS 3.0 – Beyond the Open House.” The workshop, which attracted nearly 100 people, highlighted several successful methods to enhance stakeholder interaction.

Jim Gladson, BergerABAM’s Public Involvement senior project manager, spoke about the value of conducting stakeholder interviews early in a project to better understand issues and concerns of residents, organizations, and businesses most affected by a project.

ABCs of Accelerated Bridge Construction

Aimed at improving safety and reducing traffic disruption and congestion, accelerated bridge construction uses innovative design and construction methods to reduce on-site construction time when building new bridges or replacing and rehabilitating existing bridges. In a recent article published in “Roads & Bridges” magazine, a method of constructing bridge bents that makes use of precast concrete components is examined.

Stone Column Ground Improvements

Cross-section view of former Blair wharf and WUT wharf showing slope cutback and stone column seismic improvements.

Stone column ground improvements have become common practice for waterfront structures to provide greater stability for the slopes beneath the wharf or pier structure. For the Port of Tacoma, Washington United Terminals wharf extension project, ground improvements consisting of stone columns on the waterside and landside of the bulkhead extension were installed to stabilize the slope and reduce seismic displacement demands. The stone column installation provides a mechanism for groundwater pore pressures to be relieved and densifies the ground locally.

Double-Diamond Design Delivers

The 480-foot-long bridge was built using an offset lid design and diagonal placement.

Awarded a Silver Engineering Excellence Award for Original or Innovative Application of Engineering and New Technologies by the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) of Washington, the City of Redmond, Northeast 36th Street/State Route 520 (SR 520) Overcrossing and Roundabout project features a new 480-foot-long bridge built using a unique and innovative offset lid design and diagonal placement.

Surveying: from the Past into the Future

A total station is an electronic/optical instrument used in modern surveying.

Long before he delivered the Gettysburg Address, Abraham Lincoln had a brief career in surveying. He set out with a compass, stake ax, marking pins, and a Gunter’s chain to tackle government and private survey projects. Naturally, when he was employed in this centuries-old profession, the world was very different from today. While the lay of the land has changed over time, the basic principles of surveying have essentially remained the same. When Abraham Lincoln worked as a surveyor, he measured the form, boundaries, and position between two points of land, just as a surveyor would do today in the twenty-first century. Surveying tools, however, have changed drastically; and the emergence of technology and its rapid progression has transformed the way we survey the land.