HDL 20th Anniversary Book

Page 1



All rights reserved. No part of this publication can be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise without the prior permission of HDL Engineering Consultants, LLC.

Celebrating 20 years of HDL

















3. Client-Driven Service

6. Power & Energy

9. A Healthier Alaska

12. Mapping the Future

1. Setting the Scene

4. Origins of Excellence

7. Connecting Alaska

10. Laying the Ground Work

13. Building Better

2. The Origin of HDL

5. Rural by Design

8. Up in the Air

11. Sustainability in Action

14. Into the Future

Foreword In August of 2001, I moved to Alaska from the Midwest with my husband and started working for Hattenburg & Dilley, LLC on September 4, 2001. Prior to HD, I was an Administrative Secretary for seven years, working at a global company with mechanical, chemical, and civil engineers. The position with HD was right in line with my experience, but it was the owners and employees who made me feel at home.

During my 20 years with the company, I have watched HDL grow from three owners and four employees to six owners and over 70 employees. It has grown from a company that brings in a few hundred thousand dollars to a strong, multi-million dollar consulting firm. I’ve also had the pleasure of observing four principals build, work, and retire from HDL. The 20th Anniversary of HDL is a legacy of two engineers who had the vision to form their own company plus a mutual desire to create a firm with a variety of expertise and diverse clients with challenging projects. They also wanted a company that valued its employees at all levels by directly involving them in exciting work. This culture and belief were passed down to the succeeding principals, who continue to instill it into the culture today. The principals and owners of HDL love what they do and share that passion with the company and its employees every day!

After getting lost on my way to the interview, I was welcomed into a small second-floor office, where I met with Lorie Dilley and David Lundin. I remember thinking they were very casual for engineers, Lorie in her T-shirt, jeans, and hikers and David in his Carharts, button-down shirt, tie, and, from what I recall, cowboy boots. This was a bit different from the Midwest engineer, who typically wore either a suit or dress pants with a shirt and tie. Scott Hattenburg was on vacation when I started, but knowing he was the president, I addressed him as ‘Mr. Hattenburg’ when I met him, to which he responded with a grin and simply said “Scott.” The following Spring, Dennis Linnell came into the picture as an owner, bringing his jovial personality, belief in people, and love for engineering to the company that became Hattenburg Dilley & Linnell, LLC.

Employee 2001-present

As the years passed, HDL became more and more like family and continues to be so today.


Setting the Scene Everything began with a small firm in a big state. But what were Scott Hattenburg, Lorie Dilley, and Dennis Linnell up to before forming what is known as HDL Engineering Consultants today?

In 2000, Scott Hattenburg and Lorie Dilley hatched a plan to form their own engineering company – what would soon become Hattenburg & Dilley LLC. A couple of years later, Dennis Linnell would join the company, creating Hattenburg, Dilley & Linnell LLC. But let’s go back to the beginning. Alaska is a vast state with radical differences. Different climates, different resources, different problems, different populations, different interests. As the largest state in America, Alaska encompasses 586,400 square miles, approximately one-fifth the size of the Lower 48. Extreme cold, unpredictable weather, and remoteness have restricted construction efforts in the state since the beginning. Despite the hardships, Alaska’s engineers have always created design and construction innovations to overcome the state’s unique conditions. And HDL is no exception. Before joining together, the founders were on successful engineering career paths of their own.

HDL has provided infrastructure improvements for remote and rural villages throughout Alaska since the very beginning.


Expertise in cold climate engineering would bond the founders, despite different specializations

Scott Hattenburg began his career in 1980, performing heavy civil construction inspection for RW Engineering in Lewiston, Idaho. After graduating from the University of Idaho in 1981 with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, he spent one year as a drafter and estimator with a civil engineering and construction company based in Boise called Morrison-Knudsen.

Scott began providing inspection and construction administration services on civil projects in 1980.

In 1982, Scott moved to Alaska to work for a small startup consulting firm called LCMF Limited. Over the next 19 years, Scott would provide design and construction administration on road, airport, bulk fuel, and utility projects in the arctic villages of Alaska’s North Slope. He also worked on projects at the Palmer Municipal Airport and Merrill Field Airport. During his time at LCMF, the company grew from five to 75 employees. Ten years after joining the firm – in 1992 – Scott became a principal at the firm. In 1996, the decision was made to sell LCMF to Ukpeaġvik Iñupiat Corporation. Scott continued his tenure at Ukpeaġvik Iñupiat Corporation through the end of 2000 when Hattenburg & Dilley LLC was initially formed.

Much of Scott’s early career in Alaska was spent working on road, airport, bulk fuel, and utility projects in the arctic villages on Alaska’s North Slope.

Scott met Lorie while working on a project for Merrill Field Airport. He recalls her wearing a hardhat as she oversaw drilling operations for the geotechnical engineering study. He was impressed by her ability to do both fieldwork and write practical, plain-English geotechnical reports that provided various interesting solutions.


Lorie began her career in the ‘90s working as a professional geologist and engineer. Before meeting Scott, Lorie had earned a master’s degree in geochemistry and was working at Shannon & Wilson Inc. in Anchorage, where she designed and oversaw geophysical and geotechnical projects across the state. She specialized in Alaskan geology, sharing her knowledge through books, conference papers, and classes.

Lorie met Scott while working on a job for Merrill Field Airport, and the connection soon led to the formation of Hattenburg & Dilley LLC.

Dennis would later bring his transportation engineering expertise to Hattenburg & Dilley, helping them expand their portfolio of work and win work with the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities.

In the lates 1990s, Lorie was in line to become a principal-in-charge with Shannon & Wilson. At this same time, she was offered a full scholarship to work toward her PhD in geochemistry – a distinction she would later earn.

Meanwhile, Dennis Linnell graduated from Oregon State University before working with Portland’s Hoffman Construction for one year. After that, he spent four years with the US Army Corps of Engineers and 13 years at R&M Consultants.

Lorie would go on to conduct over 500 geotechnical studies and develop a new method for geothermal reservoir assessment for the US Department of Energy using fluid inclusion gas analysis.

Dennis specialized in planning, design, and construction administration of highway and municipal street projects. He worked with clients such as the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities on some of Alaska’s most significant highway and roadway projects.


The Anchorage Airport That Led to HDL’s Formation Merrill Field Airport has been a special project in HDL’s history. Without the improvement projects at the airport, Scott and Lorie may not have met, and the idea for HDL would never have come to fruition. Scott and Lorie’s work at Merrill Field would carry forward, becoming one of Hattenburg & Dilley’s first projects. This would lead to numerous projects and term contracts with the Municipality of Anchorage working on the airport. Since 2001, HDL has held four multi-

year engineering term agreements for Merrill Field Airport, performing more than 90 task orders that have included FAA coordination, site evaluations, preliminary engineering, surveying, geotechnical, Storm Water Pollution Prevention plans, CSPPs, detailed design, plans, specifications, and estimates, and construction management services. Projects have ranged in size from the multi-million dollar runway rehabilitation project to small boiler and roof replacements on airport-owned buildings.


Apron improvements and access roads constructed above the closed Merrill Field landfill involved dynamic compaction to consolidate underlying landfill refuse.

The Origin of HDL With their many years of civil and geotechnical engineering experience, Scott Hattenburg and Lorie Dilley decided to team up to form an engineering firm in 2000.

During his nearly 20 years with LCMF, Scott Hattenburg spent most of his time working on projects in the arctic villages on the North Slope. He wished to build a consulting firm that used a different business model, one based on a broad range of expertise and clients. He knew that diversity was key to leveling business cycles and maintaining a healthy consulting firm long-term.

In 2001, they opened the first Hattenburg & Dilley offices in Anchorage and Palmer. One year later, Dennis Linnell joined the firm, creating Hattenburg, Dilley & Linnell, known today as HDL Engineering Consultants.

He began looking for partners who had different but complementary skill sets to his own. He wanted to tap into a broader range of markets to provide an interesting and synergistic work environment that came with financial stability.

In 2002, Dennis Linnell joined Scott Hattenburg and Lorie Dilley as the third partner, forming Hattenburg, Dilley & Linnell Engineering Consultants, LLC.

Lorie was the perfect fit. Her geology and geotechnical engineering expertise paired well with Scott’s background but offered the opportunity for new kinds of projects and clients. Lorie had wanted to start her own consulting firm from the time she received her professional engineering (PE) license – a nice, small firm that brought on new and exciting challenges to face professionally. She wanted a company with heart. A place where employees were happy and people enjoyed their work and working with each other.


The company grew rapidly and broke into new, diverse markets within the state When Scott Hattenburg and Lorie Dilley first opened HD’s doors in 2001, they were a team of two. Quickly, they hired muchneeded help and began writing proposals.

By this time, Lorie needed help as General Manager, and the firm hired an Alaska newcomer who got lost on her way to the interview. Vicki Retzinger became an integral part of the team that kept the company going.

Dave Lundin was one of the first people to join the firm. Dave met Scott at LCMF, and Scott approached Dave about joining the new firm. Dave was given the opportunity to buy in as an owner and has remained an owner of the firm ever since. He started up the Palmer office and has been a leading force of HDL’s long-standing work in the Mat-Su Valley.

The following year, Dennis Linnell entered the picture. Ownership was the next step in Dennis’s career path. He wanted to be a part of a growing team with positive, talented people who worked on challenging projects. Dennis had put together an employee purchase with R&M Consultants,, but after that fell through, a friend introduced Dennis to Scott.

Eventually, the firm started winning work, including a boat ramp design in Unalakleet, a term contract with AVEC for bulk fuel tank farms, and the design of a parallel taxiway for the main runway at Palmer. By the end of that first year, the company had eight full-time employees and a net income of $35,000 on $550,000 of work.

Dennis met with Scott, Lorie, and Dave, and the opportunity to buy into Hattenburg & Dilley was extended to him. In April 2002, Dennis officially joined the firm, and the company was renamed Hattenburg, Dilley & Linnell LLC.

In late 2000, Dave Lundin (far right) was a new PE who had only recently moved to Alaska. He met Scott while working at LCMF, and shortly after, Scott approached Dave about the new firm. After careful consideration, Dave decided to join HD. He is currently a Principal at the firm.


Along with Dennis came Jeff Fuglestad, Carita Backman, and Nancy Yarmack to quickly create a highly competitive Transportation Group. Dennis was well-known by the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, and the firm wanted to break into that market. One of the first major challenges for the company was getting that first contract with the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities.

to complete the job – a significant win for a newcomer on the scene. This project kicked off a long-lasting and ongoing relationship with the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities.

Jeff Fuglestad followed Dennis to HDL and has been vital to the firm’s Transportation Group. Jeff became an owner and later a Principal of the firm.

The company proposed on the Parks Highway MP 72-83 project. Afterward, the Department decided to call the team in for an interview to make sure HDL was a legitimate company that could perform the work. After an inspiring presentation, the Department was convinced that HDL was the best firm

Carita Backman was one of the first employees within the Transportation Group and served as the Senior Engineering Assistant on the Parks Highway MP 72-83 project.

Mark Swenson joined the firm in 2004, working alongside Scott on aviation and rural energy projects.

Mark Swenson (right) would go on to become an owner and Principal of the firm. He is currently the General Manager at HDL.

15 17

In 2008, HDL received the #8 spot on the “Best Places to Work in Alaska” list, being recognized for “hard work” and “camaraderie.” Other factors that were considered at the time included workplace practices, employee benefits, employee retention rates, and much more.

During those first few years, the company’s five-year goal was to grow to about 20 or 25 employees and earn $5 million in revenue. They exceeded that goal in three years. The owners focused on providing a fun, familyoriented, and flexible place to work. These three ‘Fs’ – family, fun, and flexibility – remain a core part of HDL’s culture today. Fast forward to the present day, and HDL has grown to employ more than 70 engineers, surveyors, geologists, environmental scientists, construction administrators, and support staff with much to be grateful for and many projects to be proud of.


The company maintained its core principles of fun, family, and flexibility, even as the firm quickly grew.

Name: Scott Hattenburg, PE Years with HDL: 19 Years of Engineering: 39

Name: Lorie Dilley, PE, PhD, CPG Years with HDL: 14 Years of Engineering: 25

Name: Dennis Linnell, PE Years with HDL: 19 Years of Engineering: 37

What was your greatest challenge during your HDL career?

What was your greatest challenge during your HDL career?

What was your greatest challenge during your HDL career?

While working on a project for the Kaktovik Airport, a claim was filed between the Contractor and the North Slope Borough. The claim alleged that the constructability issues were due to a fault with HDL’s design documents rather than the Contractor’s misguided construction methods. This was a difficult time for the company, but we were able to navigate the claim, which the owner settled with no negative impacts on HDL’s reputation. We continue to perform airport work for the North Slope Borough today.

The greatest challenge was establishing my clients and practice. I was still professionally young compared to Scott and Dennis, so I had to work to establish my own clients.

My greatest challenge at HDL was being General Manager while simultaneously managing the Transportation Group and numerous projects – especially during such a pivotal time of growth at the company.

Another challenge was getting the systems of operations established – the books, health care, files, computers, drafting, all the things we take for granted now – had to be implemented and developed in the early days.


The company had reached 50 employees and needed to comply with more stringent local, state, and federal employment rules. Because of the growth, we had to add more vertical layers to the organizational structure while maintaining Fun, Flexibility, and Family values that had helped us grow.

During the first few years, the company’s five-year goal was to grow to about 20 or 25 employees and earn $5 million in revenue. They exceeded that goal in three years.

Client-Driven Service Since its founding, HDL has prioritized clients’ success by being highly collaborative and communicative teammates throughout each project.

HDL had a humble start. In the first few years of business, the owners would write checks to pay themselves and place them in drawers until there was enough income to cash them. In time, the company began to earn a name for itself, winning more work with a diverse set of clients. The company’s relationships with its clients have always been at the heart of everything, and the company has built its business on solid relationships. This drove HDL to add additional services to cater to clients’ needs, including surveying and mapping, environmental, and right-of-way services. Helping its clients – and communities – has been the backbone of HDL’s culture since the beginning. The firm has always focused on serving clients through innovative solutions that help build Alaska’s communities.

One of HDL’s earliest projects was providing civil design, foundation design, soils testing, and construction administration service for the Snake River power Plant in Nome, Alaska.


HDL is committed to finding unique solutions to tough challenges

In 2001, HDL provided construction management services for the Merrill Field Airport Reconstruct Primary Access Roads project.

Merrill Field Airport has been one of HDL’s longest-standing clients. Since 2001, HDL has held four multi-year engineering term agreements with Merrill Field Airport, performing more than 90 task orders. Merrill Field opened in 1930 and is still a busy aviation hub to this day. Air travel is a significant part of life in Alaska, and this small airfield plays a significant role in Alaska’s aviation activity. In the late 1940s, Merrill Field was so busy that it struggled to keep up with the number of people flying into Alaska. This led to the construction of the Anchorage International Airport, known today as the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. But Merrill Field still remains one of the busiest airports in the country. Located in the heart of Anchorage, Merrill Field is surrounded by neighborhoods and city streets. A section of the airport sits on an old landfill, creating unique challenges for design and construction. HDL worked with the airport to develop and implement a dynamic compaction program to compress and stabilize the underlying refuse so taxiways and aprons could be reconstructed over the landfill area.


Built over an old landfill, HLD has worked with Merrill Field over the years to develop and implement a dynamic compaction program to compress and stabilize the underlying refuse so taxiways and aprons could be reconstructed over the landfill area.

HDL is driven by a desire to help our clients solve problems Since the beginning, HDL has aimed to provide the best, most cost-effective solutions to clients’ problems. And every client has a different problem.

HDL’s transportation engineers also implement unique engineering solutions for clients. Take the “road diet” on the 3rd Avenue Surface Rehabilitation project, for example.

Dynamic compaction is just one example of how the compant has implemented creative solutions to unique challenges. HDL’s geotechnical engineers pioneered the use of dynamic compaction in Alaska. So what exactly is dynamic compaction?

For this project, HDL converted the arterial from a four-lane urban roadway to a road with two lanes eastbound, one lane westbound, and a center two-way left-turn lane.

Dynamic compaction is a technique that densifies soils or fill materials by dropping a weight repeatedly onto the ground surface. A crane lifts the weight, which is typically dropped in a grid pattern. The subsurface conditions determine the spacing of the grid. As the weight is dropped, it creates vibrations that are transmitted below the surface and improve soils at depth.

HDL’s engineers employed channelization and traffic markings to accomplish this. This creative approach improved intersection and roadway safety without reducing the roadway capacity and was the subject of a technical paper and presented twice to the Institute of Transportation Engineers.

In 2002, HDL used dynamic compaction of soils on the Snake River Power Plant project in Nome, Alaska, to provide a consolidated subsurface appropriate for the construction of new facilities.

HDL’s “road diet” for the 3rd Avenue Surface Rehabilitation project was a costeffective solution that increased roadway safety without reducing roadway capacity.


Problems are rarely glamorous. The Wasilla Sewage Lagoon Aeration System Improvements project is a clear example of this. The sewage lagoon had a buildup of solids and nitrogen content in the treated effluent, leading to objectionable odors. As a subconsultant to GV Jones & Associates, HDL assisted with sludge removal and aeration upgrades to the existing treatment system. Dave Lundin also led construction inspection for this project.

Mother Nature can wreak havoc on infrastructure. In 2003, a record flood event caused significant damage to the original Iliamna River Bridge. Afterward, a temporary bridge was installed, but a permanent solution was needed. This project replaced the original bridge with a modern steel girder bridge. HDL provided a construction administration team to inspect, document, and administer the bridge replacement project. Despite the challenging job site, HDL’s Construction Services group had the knowledge, skills, and expertise to handle the pile foundations, concrete bridge elements, and remote logistics.


A Strong Focus on Helping Rural Communities Engineering in Alaska is unlike anywhere else in the country. Alaskan engineers face extreme conditions and burdensome logistics for projects in rural and remote areas. In addition, the environment, weather, and seasons change how work can be approached in various parts of the state. Some regions experience darkness for as many as 67 days straight, while others have as few as 3 hours of sunlight to offer in the winter months. In addition, freezing temperatures present difficulties with labor and equipment. Many remote villages see average temperatures in the negatives for months on end. Not to mention the subsurface conditions, frozen soils, and frequent earthquakes.

Working in remote Alaska isn’t easy, but HDL is no stranger to the challenge. Since the company’s start, HDL has jumped head-first into serving remote communities. From term contracts with the Alaska Energy Authority inspecting bulk fuel and power plants to working with the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium to upgrade water and wastewater systems, HDL has worked in more than 100 remote villages throughout the state. This work has given HDL a distinctive outlook on the importance of not only helping its clients but also the communities in which it works. Many members of the firm have spent their entire careers working in remote settings.

Polar bear tracks are spotted near the Barter Island Airport in Kaktovik, Alaska. HDL began developing the Master Plan for the Barter Island Airport in 2002.


HDL prepared a Concept Design Report for energy improvements in Chevak, Alaska, in 2001. A few years later, the company provided design and construction administration services for a new 811,000 gallon bulk fuel facility in the community.

Origins of Excellence Over the years, HDL has worked on various major projects for public and private agencies. Although each project is special and unique, certain projects have left an imprint.

From major highways to municipal airports, some projects have an important place in HDL’s history. Many of the firm’s biggest projects have come through building solid relationships with its clients to help them bring their projects to life. HDL loves the work that it does, and it shows in the products it delivers. Here are some of the company’s most significant projects over the past 20 years.

Parks Highway Corridor Initially constructed in the early 1960s, the Parks Highway is a part of the National Highway System. It serves as the only major traffic carrier between the Mat-Su Borough and Fairbanks and is also the primary haul route to Alaska’s North Slope. For many years, the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities has recognized the need for improved safety and traffic flow for this critical transportation link to accommodate increased traffic from community growth, recreation, and tourism.

The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities has selected HDL as the firm of choice to perform numerous rehabilitation and restoration projects along the Parks Highway since 2002.

Since 2002, HDL has designed the rehabilitation of 91 miles of this two-lane highway between MP 72 and MP 163. These projects represent over $117 million in corridor upgrades, including minor alignment changes, shoulder widening, the addition of passing lanes and slow vehicle turnouts, scenic turnouts, safety improvements, and drainage improvements.


Girders are placed along the Parks Highway.

Parks Highway MP 72-83 Rehabilitation (2002) Parks Highway MP 72-83 Rehabilitation was HDL’s first project along the corridor. This 3R (Resurfacing, Restoration, and Rehabilitation) project widened shoulders, resurfaced sections of the roadway, made alignment changes, and added new passing lanes between Willow and Kashwitna River. HDL developed plans, specifications, and a cost estimate and provided design, right-ofway survey and maps, environmental support, geotechnical investigations, hydrologic design, a Design Study Report, and public involvement. Parks Highway MP 43.5-44.5 Reconstruction (2004) Next, HDL worked on the Parks Highway MP 43.544.5 Reconstruction project. Improvements of the first phase included extending the five-lane urban section from Lucus Road to Church Road and adding a signalized intersection at Deskas Street, continuous illumination, and a 10-foot

multi-use pathway. The second phase involved upgrading the existing four-lane divided highway with at-grade intersections spaced every 0.5 miles, improving and extending existing frontage roads, consolidating driveways, and adding at-grade intersections at planned locations to reduce crash rates. Engineering services for the project included performing a traffic and safety analysis, providing hydrologic and hydraulic analyses, designing fish passage and drainage, and developing decisional documents. HDL also provided environmental services, including an environmental analysis, a wetlands delineation, an Essential Fish Habitat assessment, and a noise analysis. Other tasks included public involvement, utility coordination, and right-of-way conflict resolution. HDL’s survey team worked under an accelerated schedule and completed work on 8 miles of this two-lane, heavy-traffic highway in the middle of winter.


A large crane sits alongside the Parks Highway during construction.

Parks Highway MP 83-90 Weight Restriction Elimination (2009) This weight restriction elimination project consisted of widening shoulders, resurfacing the roadway and bridges, replacing embankments and culverts, adding slow vehicle turnouts, improving guardrails and bridges. HDL provided design, survey, environmental support, field investigations, a 3R analysis, a hydrologic and hydraulic summary report, a Design Study Report, right-of-way maps, public involvement, and plans, specifications, and cost estimate. Parks Highway MP 146-163 Pavement Preservation Project (2012) HDL provided civil engineering and environmental support for this pavement preservation project. The project consisted of reclaiming the pavement to a depth of 6 inches, inspecting drainage features, replacing guardrails, and flattening the roadway foreslope. HDL provided site evaluations, civil design, a Design Study Report, environmental support, hydrologic design, public involvement, and preparation of the plans, specifications, and cost estimate. Parks Highway MP 90-146 Rehabilitation & MP 83163 Systemic Passing Lanes (2013) HDL was originally contracted to help the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities to rehabilitate 56 miles of the Parks Highway from MP 90-146. The project was later broken into two smaller projects to better utilize funding. In 2014, an additional project complete the design of passing lanes between MP 83 and 163 was added. MP 90-99 Resurfacing HDL completed the rehabilitation design of 9 miles of the highway. HDL provided a hydrologic and hydraulic analysis, environmental permitting, surveying and mapping, a Design Study Report, public involvement,

plans, specifications, and cost estimate, utility coordination, and assistance during bidding and construction. The design included 18 crossing culverts and drainage features such as energy dissipation facilities, reconstruction of a steep natural creek, and reconstruction of an anadromous channel using coir logs, willow cuttings, and supporting materials. MP 99-146 Pavement Preservation HDL provided civil engineering and environmental support for this project. The project improved safety, eliminated ruts and cracking, reduced maintenance, extended the pavement life, and reduced weight restrictions. HDL provided site evaluations, civil design, a Design Study Report, environmental analysis, a Categorical Exclusion, permits, and plans, specifications, and cost estimate preparation. MP 83-163 Systemic Passing Lanes This project added two four-lane, bidirectional passing lane segments between MP 83 and MP 99. The work was part of a larger the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities Highway Safety Improvement Program, which established the Parks Highway from MP 83 to 163.2 as a candidate for systemic passing lanes to improve safety. The passing lane improvements were completed under three separate construction projects: The first project constructed passing lanes between MP 83 and MP 99; the second project constructed passing lanes between MP 99 and MP 123.5; the third project constructed passing lanes between MP 123.5 and MP 163. HDL provided design, a right-of-way survey, environmental support, a noise analysis, field investigations, an accident analysis, a hydrologic and hydraulic report, a Design Study Report, public involvement, and plans, specifications, and cost estimate.

For this Merrill Field project, HDL provided design and construction administration of 279 feet of new security fence with an electronic sliding vehicle gate, motorized gate operator, and security access control system.

Building a Sustainable Alaska Rural and remote villages in Alaska are powered primarily by liquid fuels. Due to remote locations and harsh winters, fuel delivery to villages is often seasonal, meaning the communities need to store fuel in bulk to meet their annual energy needs. Many of the bulk fuel facilities throughout the state were originally constructed in the 1950s and 1960s. These facilities do not meet national standards, and their age poses serious health and environmental risks if continued to be in use as they are. The Alaska Energy Authority developed a

program to save the existing bulk fuel tanks through maintenance and improvements such as repainting and repairing rather than constructing entirely new facilities. Since 2001, HDL has worked with the Alaska Energy Authority on this effort to maintain and improve facilities through inspections. If reconstruction of a new facility is necessary, HDL has provided engineering, surveying, environmental services, and construction administration to develop new facilities. These projects increase safety for local workers and reduce the unit cost of energy for residents.

Mark Swenson walks toward bulk fuel tanks in Scammon Bay, Alaska. HDL provided site evaluation, planning, design, and construction administration services for bulk fuel upgrades in the community.


The existing fuel header pipelines in Gambell, Alaska, were at the end of their useful life, leaving the community with no way to refill their tanks. HDL worked with the Alaska Energy Authority to design new fuel header pipelines in the community.

HDL assisted the City of Palmer with rehabilitating Runway 9/27 and parallel Taxiway B. The project involved subgrade improvements, leveling course, pavement, striping, lighting, and navigational aids.

Serving Local Communities Warren “Bud” Woods Palmer Municipal Airport was initially constructed on a homesteader’s potato field in 1945. Today the airport has three runways – two paved and one gravel – and serves as an economic development hub for the City of Palmer. HDL established its first office in Palmer in 2001 and has worked with the Palmer Airport ever since, providing planning, design, and construction administration services.


HDL provided surveying, mapping, design, and construction administration services to rehabilitate Runway 16/34.

HDL has worked with the Municipality of Anchorage Traffic Department since 2006 to complete more than 350 projects within the municipality that have involved traffic calming, bicycle, and pedestrian safety improvements.

For 20 years, HDL has been the City of Wasilla’s firm of choice for airport engineering. HDL has provided the planning, design, and construction management assistance necessary for the airport’s continual growth.

Rural by Design “The village is the cell of the national body, and the cell life must be healthy and developed for the national body to be healthy and developed.” - Sri Aurobindo

There are approximately 240 remote villages and communities in Alaska. Billions of dollars have been invested in rural Alaska infrastructure to ensure rural Alaskans’ health, safety, and welfare. These funds have supported the development and maintenance of roads, airports, power generation systems, renewable energy technologies, water and sewer systems, washeterias, ports, clinics, schools, and more. People living in rural Alaska deserve to have cost-effective energy, access to supplies and equipment, and sustainable sanitation facilities. Since HDL’s founding, the company has been dedicated to helping rural Alaska reduce its energy costs, secure reliable transportation, and improve health through safe water and sewer systems.

A group of children follows HDL staff as the firm and its drilling subcontractor visit the field in Hooper Bay, Alaska. For this project, HDL provided geotechnical engineering, foundation design and recommendations, and material and pile testing for wind towers in the village.


Successful rural development takes a region, not just a village

As part of HDL’s term contract with Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, the company provided design services for water and sewer service in select homes, improvements to the raw water intake, and a new honey bucket disposal site in the village of Selawik, Alaska.

Over the past 50 years, significant resources have been dedicated by both public and private agencies to support development in rural Alaska. In addition, countless engineering firms and construction companies have assisted in these endeavors to help village locals.

broad range of talents is needed to complete projects in rural Alaska.

But it takes more than capital to move rural communities. It takes dedicated people who listen to and work with the locals.

For example, the firm’s civil engineers ensure bulk fuel and power facilities are efficient, the transportation engineers keep airports operational, the water and wastewater engineers find solutions to complex sanitation problems, and the geotechnical engineers find local material sources for construction projects.

In addition to it taking multiple agencies, HDL knows that a multidisciplinary team with a

HDL’s entire staff is devoted to doing their best on rural Alaska projects.


Tlingit totem pole in Kake, Alaska.

In 2011, HDL assisted the community of Stebbins and the Alaska Village Electric Cooperative with planning and designing a new bulk fuel facility and a new power plant. HDL also integrated wind turbine design into the power systems for the villages of Stebbins and St. Michael. This added wind power improved grid stability and power quality for the two communities.

In 2007, HDL worked with the North Slope Borough to provide geotechnical engineering services for the Point Hope Emergency Access Road project. This project would allow for access to higher ground during storm and flooding events.

HDL provided design and limited construction phase services to rehabilitate the existing landfill access road in Nuiqsut, Alaska. The road had settled into the tundra, and poor drainage had become problematic for using and maintaining the road.

No Road Access Doesn’t Mean No Roads While travel to and from most villages typically relies on air transportation, local roads within the villages themselves are essential to everyday life in the community. Roads that lead to community facilities, landfills, and sewage lagoons are just a few examples of how residents rely on local transportation. Emergency access roads are also an important aspect for many coastal towns that could potentially deal with storm surge and flooding.


In 2005, HDL’s geotechnical engineers performed concrete testing and sampling of concrete for the Atka Hydroelectric project’s dam. The use of hydroelectric power in Atka, Alaska, is significantly more economical than the diesel-generated electricity the community was using before.

Power & Energy Powering rural communities is a unique challenge. Much of remote Alaska is not accessible by road and is characterized by severe climate, poverty, and dispersed populations. Since the beginning, HDL has worked with clients such as the Alaska Energy Authority and the Alaska Village Electric Cooperative to meet the energy needs of the remote communities.

The daily well-being of those living in rural Alaska depends on the ability to generate electricity and heat. But in many remote Alaskan villages, the cost of electricity is the highest in the nation, reaching more than a wallet-emptying $0.50 per kilowatt-hour (the average in urban areas of Alaska is $0.20 kilowatt-hour). The high price to power rural Alaska is due to the cost of hauling fuels by plane or barge to these remote areas. Many of these remote areas have no highways, no railroad tracks, and no power lines. As a result, rural utilities can pay up to four times more for fuel than utilities elsewhere in the state. Despite the costs, many rural communities rely primarily on diesel-electric generators for power. Maintenance costs are also higher in these remote areas than in other places. If a village loses access to power during winter – when well below zero – it can become life-threatening. Keeping these facilities up-to-date and operational helps rural communities access reliable and more affordable electricity.

The bulk fuel tank farm in Ekwok, Alaska, was at risk from erosion, flooding, and ice damage. The tanks and piping systems were not code-compliant and had begun to erode. HDL worked with the City and the Alaska Energy Authority to decommission the old tank farm and build a new tank farm in a safer area.


HDL’s work fuels progress and improves economic productivity in communities throughout Alaska Kake Tribal Corporation is the only fuel retailer in the remote village of Kake, Alaska. The original bulk fuel farm was built in 1905, during the construction of the Keku Cannery. It was updated in 1956 when eight 10,000 gallon single-wall tanks were installed. However, by 2013, the facilities at the tank farm were outdated and not code-compliant. HDL evaluated the tank farm’s facilities and found they were in poor condition, with surface rust and weathered coatings. The team identified several code deficiencies, maintenance problems, and environmental liabilities with the existing tank farm. Pipes and valves were highly corroded, and none of the tanks were suitable for reuse. After evaluating the sites, HDL developed a

Concept Design Report that identified possible locations for a new tank farm, improvements to the Inside Passage Electric Cooperative power plant, and other recommendations. HDL prepared a final design for a new tank farm through extensive collaboration with the Kake Tribal Corporation and the community. The design consisted of gravel pads, a lined concrete containment dike, a truck fill shelter, horizontal fuel tanks, a power plant module, pumps and appurtenances, a distribution pipeline, a vehicle dispenser, and a marine header. For the project, HDL provided civil engineering, geotechnical investigations, environmental and permitting services, construction administration, and inspection services.

Kake Tribal Corporation performs both marine-based and land-based fuel dispensing. The existing fuel dock at that time extended approximately 100 feet from the shoreline of Keku Strait.


In 2017, a new tank farm was constructed in Kake, Alaska. HDL provided construction administration and inspection services.


The existing fuel header pipelines in Gambell, Alaska, were at the end of their useful life, and the community could no longer refill their tank farm using the existing pipelines. Both the diesel and gasoline pipelines needed to be replaced with new pipelines to meet US Coast Guard requirements for fuel transfer. HDL provided site investigation and design services for a new barge header pipeline in the community.

In 2019, the bulk fuel tank farm in Kwigillingok, Alaska, was out of compliance and suffering from a range of deficiencies. Through a contract with the Alaska Energy Authority, HDL evaluated the existing tank farm, determined the necessary facility upgrades, and designed the required improvements.

Since 2001, HDL has completed planning, design, and construction phase services on more than 40 bulk fuel facilities with a combined fuel storage capacity of more than 1 million gallons. Most of these projects were completed under long-standing term agreements with the Alaska Energy Authority, while others were stand-alone contracts. HDL knows the importance of reducing


construction costs to maximize the amount of funding that can go toward providing reliable power sources to these communities. As a result, HDL has developed techniques to evaluate and re-use existing tanks in new tank farms when possible. In recent years, HDL has worked with the Alaska Energy Authority to provide maintenance and improvement inspections of existing bulk fuel tank farms and barge headers.

The existing tank farm in Scammon Bay, Alaska, is subject to periodic flooding and ice flows and is at risk of erosion and damage to its foundation, embankment, and containment dikes. The facility has also reached the end of its useful life, increasing safety risks and chances of catastrophic environmental hazards. HDL evaluated the existing tank farm and made recommendations for a new tank farm location that reduces environmental threats, minimizes construction costs, and provides greater ease of maintenance and operation. HDL is currently providing design for the new tank farm.

In 2010, HDL provided civil and geotechnical engineering, surveying, environmental services, and construction administration for a new bulk fuel tank farm in Alakanuk, Alaska. The project included truck fill and marine dispensers, a retail sales building, a barge off-loading pipeline, and a marine dispensing pipeline.

Alaska has abundant wind resources available for energy development

Before installing wind turbines in Nome, Alaska, diesel was used to generate 100% of the power for the community. HDL provided engineering and environmental services for the construction of 18 Entegrity EW-15 wind turbines on Banner Peak to provide energy to the town, increasing overall power generation reliability.

As part of a power plant upgrade in Emmonak, Alaska, HDL worked to integrate wind power with the power plant to create a combined, integrated power system for the community.

High costs associated with fuel-based generation have made renewable energy sources more attractive in rural areas. As a result, many rural communities have started to integrate alternative energy sources into their fuel-based power systems to increase self-sufficiency and lower energy costs. If power can be generated using local renewables, the up-front cost to construct is

almost always worth it. And for many villages – especially those on Alaska’s long, exposed coast – the best renewable resource is wind. In Alaska, wind power technologies range from small systems at remote camps to medium-sized, wind-diesel hybrid power systems in remote villages to larger turbines along the railbelt and communities like Kodiak and Nome.


HDL provided geotechnical engineering and foundation design for wind turbine sites in Hooper Bay, Alaska. The turbines were set to be located in warm-degrading permafrost. During the installation, the firm used dynamic analyzer testing in conjunction with approved pile load testing, which provided similar results to conventional methods. As a result, HDL developed a new technique for using dynamic analyzer testing in warm

Connecting Alaska HDL’s transportation projects aim to help the Alaskan community grow by providing safe, reliable roads that allow the state to grow and prosper. From rural village roads to major highway projects, HDl wants the communities it serves to have the safest roads possible.

If you want to drive west, northwest, or southwest in Alaska, you can forget it. Most of the state remains accessible only by air or water. Alaska has the least-connected road system of any state in America. Even today, many roads are rustic, with more than 45% of the roads unpaved. And even some major highways are not maintained during the winter months, making them impassable unless you own a snow machine. But what about the rest of the roads? The ones that connect Alaska’s sprawling communities, remote villages, and island towns. The ones that make it possible for you to live in Palmer but work in Anchorage or visit your remote cabin away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Much of the state’s modern transportation system – and the conveniences we all enjoy – would have been impossible without the contributions of engineers over the years. And while we all know the pains of road construction, a safe road benefits us all.

HDL provided civil and geotechnical engineering services, topographic and rightof-way surveying, utility mapping, preliminary permitting for paving, and utility extensions for the Captains Bay Road in Unalaska.


One of HDL’s major transportation projects was the Glenn Highway Reconstruction, MP 34-42 Parks Highway to Old Glenn Highway project for the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities. With HDL’s expertise, the project delivered necessary improvements to this section of roadway that increased safety, capacity, and accessibility. HDL provided site evaluations, civil design, a Design Study Report, traffic and safety analysis, utility coordination, preparation of plans, specification and estimate, public involvement and environmental analysis for an Environmental Assessment.

The corridor extends through residential and commercial properties, along with Alaska Railroad Corporation and City of Palmer properties located on either side. HDL analyzed multiple alternatives, including frontage roads and additional side streets to the corridor to help accommodate the project traffic levels. HDL worked to ensure these alternatives balanced the future needs of the roadway facilities with the needs of the corridor stakeholders. Initially, the project was controversial with stakeholders. Residents along the corridor were concerned about losing small-town values in Palmer and the increased traffic near their homes. However, the Transportation Group developed designs that minimized overall disturbances to the surrounding area. Through thoughtful design work and careful public involvement efforts, the HDL team garnered public support and overcame

any controversial right-of-way acquisitions. The project’s scope involved widening the existing two-lane highway into a four-lane divided highway with partial frontage roads and pedestrian pathways. HDL provided a Design Study Report, alternative analysis, traffic and safety analysis, hydrology and hydraulic report, highway design, utility relocations, preparation of plans, specification and estimate, public involvement, ROW mapping, ROW acquisition and relocations assistance, and environmental analysis. HDL also provided assistance during construction. The construction of the north half of the project, Phase 1: Inner Springer Loop to Arctic Avenue, began in 2018 and was completed in 2020. Construction of the southern half of the project, Phase 2: Parks Highway Interchange to Inner Springer Loop, is planned to begin in 2022. HDL received minimal change orders during the first phase of construction. The design utilized existing material throughout to reduce overall costs for the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities. Ultimately, the project built up the surrounding communities, increased traffic mobility, and ended with an aesthetically pleasing corridor.

Alaska’s Longest Stretch of Freeway The nearly 200-mile Glenn Highway spans from Anchorage to Glennallen. The well-traveled route connects Anchorage – where almost half of the state’s population lives – to various towns and wilderness areas north of the city. The highway concept originated in the 1930s as a road to the Matanuska Colony Project. The colony project provided a reason to complete the Anchorage-Palmer Highway so agricultural products from the Matanuska Valley could

be transported to markets in Anchorage. With World War II, the need for roads in Alaska became increasingly important. During wartime, the Glenn Highway was constructed as an attempt to better connect Alaska with the Lower 48. As the road system in Alaska connected more communities, the rich history and culture of the native people were able to spread.

71 17

A Scenic Bypass Through the Valley

Striping takes place for the Old Glenn Highway, Artillery Road Interchange to W. Lake Ridge Drive project.

Speaking of the original highway between Anchorage and Palmer, the Old Glenn Highway was the original route before the current Glenn Highway was constructed. This two-lane road through the heart of Alaska’s farmland offers access to state parks and recreation areas, petting zoos, and hiking trails. The road is still used today as an alternate route between several communities and is a popular scenic drive for tourists. In 2017, HDL provided design for a preventative maintenance project to resurface the Old Glenn Highway from the Artillery Road Interchange to West Lake Ridge Drive. To assist the Department of


Transportation and Public Facilities, HDL provided transportation engineering, surveying, public involvement, hydraulics and hydrology, utilities, environmental support, and construction administration. In addition to resurfacing this corridor, the project improved drainage, placed new guardrail, upgraded ADA access, and included signing and striping. This project was accelerated from a twoyear design to a one-year design to meet the funding requirements of that year. HDL worked quickly and efficiently to meet DOT&PF’s schedule to complete the work as funding was allocated.

Supporting a Village Relocation

For decades, the village of Newtok tried to relocate to escape the extreme erosion that has advanced and slowly engulfed community structures. The village is located 20 miles from the Bering Sea Coast, along the Ninglick River. However, not long after the village was established, the people of Newtok realized that the distant riverbank was eroding very quickly. After many years of planning, the village is relocating to the village of Mertarvik, located 9 miles away from Newtok. What does it look like to move an entire village? Nobody has a definitive answer, but engineering certainly plays a role.

delivery of equipment and construction materials needed to develop the new village. Additionally, improvements to the quarry road were needed to provide soil materials for constructing roadways, buildings, and staging areas throughout the community. In 2018, HDL provided design for both potential improvements that would increase the safety, efficiency, and capability of relocating the community of Newtok to Mertarvik. HDL’s work for the Mertarvik Barge Access Road included: •

Under a term contract with Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, HDL helped establish the necessary infrastructure that allows for residents to move to Mertarvik. HDL’s experience working in rural villages throughout Alaska gave the team a deep understanding of the challenges of working in remote locations and a knowledge of how to build relationships with village leaders and the community. An access road from the barge site to the new village of Mertarvik was critical to Newtok’s relocation effort because it allowed for the

Improvements to the Mertarvik Barge Access Road improved safety and increased the capability of the roadway during loading and unloading efforts of equipment and other materials for the relocation of the village of Newtok.

• •


Developing material gradations for the roadway structural section and the armor rock to reduce seasonal impacts to the roadway due to river erosion Designing an appropriate horizontal and vertical alignment to allow large containers and buildings to be moved into the village and not require extreme or unsafe maneuvers by the equipment operators Working with the community to provide the necessary amenities Providing construction administration to maximize production efficiency, minimize costs, and ensure quality

Ther Mertarvik Quarry provides soil materials for construction in the relocated village.

HDL’s work for the Mertarvik Quarry Road included: •

Identifying and providing an adequate structural section that could be sourced within the existing quarry and hold up to large rock hauling dump trucks Providing a typical roadway section to allow the larger construction vehicles to flow as necessary to construct the remaining infrastructure continuously Each of these projects was critical for developing new infrastructure in Mertarvik and helped kick off the relocation of Newtok

Local Roads Are Our Lifeblood HDL prioritizes designing locally. The company is driven to achieving a better future for the infrastructure of the communities in which its employees live and work. Since its founding, a focus on local design and construction projects has been the backbone of HDL, and the company is particularly passionate about designing for local roads. HDL has worked on more than 50 separate roadway projects for the cities of Palmer and Wasilla. In addition, the company has worked with the Municipality of Anchorage Traffic Engineering Department since 2006 under various Traffic Term Contracts. Under these term contracts, the Transportation Group has provided over 350 designs and 40 analyses/ studies for transportation projects. This work has included:

• • • • • • • •

Developing roadway designs and plans Providing specifications and cost estimates for streets and roadways Designing channelization Providing traffic and safety studies Recommending transit improvements Providing traffic calming and neighborhood enrichments Collecting traffic data Assisting with construction

Then there are the more than 70 transportation projects the firm has worked on with the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities Central Region over the past 20 years. These have included multiple projects for the Parks Highway and Glenn Highway, plus numerous local projects in the Anchorage and Mat-Su areas.

Alaska’s roads provide vital links for our communities

HDL provided engineering support, environmental studies, surveying and mapping, hydraulic and hydrologic design, a Design Study Report, public involvement, and utilities coordination.

Building Up Communities In the early 2000s, The City of Wasilla and the Knik-Goose Bay area experienced rapid population growth. As a result, the City of Wasilla planned to extend South Mack Drive from Knik-Goose Bay Road to South Clapp Street near the Curtis D. Menard Memorial Sports Complex and upgrade the roadway to a major collector. The project was high-priority for both the City of Wasilla and the Mat-Su Borough because it would provide connectivity between the Parks Highway and Knik-Goose Bay Road, access to adjacent residential collectors, and provide traffic relief to downtown Wasilla. HDL assisted the City of Wasilla and the Borough with the 1.8-mile road extension, which involved constructing 1.3 miles of new roadway, reconstructing 0.5 miles of the existing South Clapp Street, extending South Mack Drive to the newly constructed South Clapp Street, and adding turn lanes at the entrances to the Curtis D. Menard Memorial Sports Complex. Other design features included a new fish passage culvert at Lucille Creek, curbs and gutters, a new pathway

approximately 2.15 miles long, traffic control, and signing and striping. HDL also provided right-of-way acquisition services, construction administration services, and material testing. During construction, HDL worked with the Contractor to develop an aggregate source adjacent to the project corridor, performed daily site inspections to document progress, and performed material testing. HDL was concurrently working with the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities on the South Clapp Street Realignment and Signalization at KGB Road project to create a new, signalized intersection at KGB Road. HDL worked seamlessly with the Department, the City, the Borough, and local property owners to complete this additional project on schedule and within budget, which allowed this critical signalized intersection to be operational before opening the new South Clapp Street connection to traffic. HDL also performed the construction administration on this project.


The Old Glenn Highway, Artillery Road Interchange Pavement Preservation project in Eagle River replaced the existing pavement, upgraded drainage, improved ADA compliance, made guardrail improvements, and incorporated new signing and striping.

Since 2012, HDL has worked with the City of Palmer to upgrade existing pedestrian facilities in downtown Palmer to meet ADA standards. Improvements have included replacing existing noncompliant curb ramps with ADA-compliant curb ramps, installing ADA-compliant curb ramps in locations that previously did not have curb ramps, replacing sections of damaged sidewalk, and replacing sections of sidewalk that do not meet ADA requirements, including driveway crossings.

HDL has completed more than 350 projects within the MOA that have involved traffic calming and pedestrian safety improvements.

Balancing the Needs of Motorists, Non-Motorists, and Residents For the past 20 years, HDL has been trusted by state, federal, and various cities and boroughs to complete traffic-related engineering analyses and designs. A large portion of this work has involved developing traffic-calming, pedestrian, and bicycle improvement strategies such as speed humps, intersection neckdowns, traffic circles, channelization, reduced crossing lengths, bike lanes, and pedestrian refuge areas.

In 2016, HDL provided design for traffic calming and intersection improvements along West 88th Avenue between Blackberry Street and Arlene Street.

Traffic calming protects everyone – drivers, pedestrians, individuals who use wheelchairs, cyclists. Under various term contracts, HDL has worked with the Municipality of Anchorage (MOA) to implement traffic calming initiatives throughout the city. These efforts have included raised intersections and crosswalks, speed humps and cushions, bicycle lanes, radar speed limit signs, signage, Americans with Disabilities Act improvements, sidewalk extensions and additions, traffic control for pedestrians, and pedestrian refuges. This work not only increases safety but also enriches neighborhoods on several levels.

With more than 350 projects completed within the MOA that have involved traffic calming, bicycle, and pedestrian safety improvements, HDL is proud that thousands can feel the impact of the company’s work throughout the city. For each project, HDL’s transportation engineers carefully consider solutions that enhance street aesthetics





and cycling conditions, and reduce impacts to emergency services. To get the best result for each neighborhood, the firm works with residents and local stakeholders to learn about their concerns and determine the best solutions. These solutions can be controversial, so gaining public support is critical. While neighborhood residents frequently request traffic calming measures, they are often opposed by citywide users. Drivers can feel that speed bumps or bicycle lanes are inconvenient or cumbersome. Despite this, HDL has received public support on more than 200 traffic calming projects.


Since 2006, HDL has provided civil engineering services to the MOA Project Management and Engineering Department through various term contracts.

Working Together Toward A Common Goal HDL works together for the future of Alaska. It takes a team with expertise in multiple engineering disciplines to plan, design, and construct the infrastructure our communities depend on every day.

In 2009, HDL provided construction administration services for the 16th Avenue Traffic Calming Improvements project.

Geotechnical, hydraulic and hydrologic, and civil engineers, surveyors, and environmental and utilities specialists are just some of the disciplines essential to completing a successful roadway project. It takes each discipline working together to create the best, safest, and most





Transportation engineering – not to mention engineering as a whole – relies on collaboration between various engineering skill-sets. It is essential that engineers and specialists from disciplines across the board work together and apply their knowledge to ensure that the project meets expectations and requirements. HDL’s staff aims to deliver engineering solutions that move people in a smarter, safer way. The firm’s multi-discipline approach streamlines the process and benefits clients.


Keeping Water Under the Bridge

HDL has provided hydrologic and hydraulic engineering services for numerous Parks Highway projects. This work has involved performing modeling using HEC-RAS and HY-8, performing hydrologic and hydraulic analyses, inspecting culverts and ditches, and designing fish passages and drainage infrastructure.

Drainage ditches allow water to flow freely from the road into the ditch, keeping the roadway dry and preventing water buildup, making roads safer for drivers. Culverts allow water — such as streams, creeks, and brooks — to move under roads. And many aquatic species migrate during their lifetimes and need to be able to swim or wade through water freely. So it’s important to design roadways with these factors in mind, and that’s where our hydrologic and hydraulic engineers come in. Heavy rains and snowmelt are threats to roadways and urban neighborhoods. HDL’s hydrologic and hydraulic engineers create designs that make roadways more resilient to harsh weather and water threats.


A hydrologic and hydraulic engineer inspects a culvert along the Seward Highway.

Safe routes to schools encourages student physical activity and increases the health of students and the community.

HDL engineers provided an analysis and prepared the design of crosswalks and school zone signing for various schools along Hillcrest Drive.

Safer Schools, Safer Communities The way students get to and from school reveals a lot about a community. Driving children to school every day can lead to traffic congestion, a reduction in air quality, and the deterioration of children’s health. But when streets are safe enough for children to walk, bike, or take the bus to school, this reduces traffic on the roads and improves the health of students and the community. Safe Routes to School (SRTS) was established in 2005 through Federal legislation to make walking and bicycling to school safe and more appealing.

Since 2006, HDL has worked with the Municipality of Anchorage (MOA) to update the Safe Routes to School Safety Manual. These efforts have involved reviewing school zones throughout Anchorage to ensure signs, crosswalks, and markings are in good condition and noting any changes in school routes due to construction or maintenance. HDL has conducted hundreds of engineering assessments at individual school sites, inspected crosswalks citywide, and helped the MOA develop a manual that would identify standards for school areas.


Every year since 2006, HDL has reviewed school zones in the Municipality of Anchorage to ensure signs, crosswalks, and markings are in good condition, note changes in school routes due to construction or maintenance, and update the Safe Routes to School Manual.

HDL is working with the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities to complete a costeffective design for pavement replacement to extend the service life of Elmore Road between Abbott Road and Providence Drive.

Chiniak Highway’s Corridor Health Index: Developing a New Planning Framework Originally a WWII jeep trail, the Chiniak Highway has continuously evolved to be what it is today – a vibrant road along Kodiak’s shoreline that takes you past salmon streams and beaches. However, this major corridor has been riddled with ongoing issues, from rockfall to river/coastal erosion and from pavement degradation to poor roadway geometry. Today, the highway stretches 42 miles and winds along the shoreline of Kodiak Island.

Without enough funding for the typical improvement evaluation and recommendations or extensive fieldwork, paired with the length of the corridor and semi-remote location of the project, this project needed a new methodology to segment the corridor at a significantly reduced cost.

The corridor between mileposts 15 and 31 was designated a 3R project. The scope of the rehabilitation included roadway realignment, bridge rehabilitation, embankment reconstruction, rockfall mitigation, and drainage improvements. HDL performed geotechnical investigations, identified utility conflicts, performed a traffic and safety analysis, prepared plans, specifications, and estimate, and provided public involvement. Before beginning the design, the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities determined that construction funding for the project was considerably lower than the cost of the improvements needed. As a result, the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities tasked HDL with finding a defensible method to segment

the corridor and prioritize improvements so that the project could be broken into three separate phases spread over multiple years. First, HDL worked closely with the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities to identify the critical assets that would drive the segmentation. After reviewing the existing assets along the corridor, it was determined that bridges, pavements, unstable slopes/Geotechnical Asset Management, culverts, and roadway geometry were the critical assets to consider. Next, HDL developed a good/fair/poor rating system for each critical asset. The ratings for each critical asset along every 0.1 miles of roadway were then combined to allow for a holistic analysis of the corridor. HDL developed a Corridor Health Index to compare different critical assets types and condition ratings, which provided a comprehensive look at the corridor. The Corridor Health Index acted as a planning tool that succinctly described and summarized the challenges and relative health of the corridor. The output of the Corridor Health Index tool is a rating that allows the user to determine which portions of a project corridor are in relatively better or worse condition and segment and scope projects accordingly.


Up in the Air Flying in the country’s largest state is unlike flying anywhere else. Alaska’s aviation infrastructure is continuously adapting to meet safety, capital, and technological needs. Since 2001, HDL has been a part of these efforts, providing specialized airport planning, engineering, design, and construction administration to commercial and general aviation airports throughout the state.

Before air travel was the norm, much of Alaska was incredibly difficult to access. People in more remote areas relied on dog sleds to deliver their mail and supplies, which could take weeks. Remember the 1925 deadly outbreak of diphtheria in Nome, Alaska? Air travel was still relatively new at the time, and a blizzard had ruled out the possibility of delivering the vaccine via air. Instead, dog mushers departed from Nenana to travel the 674 miles to Nome to deliver the serum. Air travel has come a long way since then. Today, Alaska has one of the largest and most active aviation communities in the country. But aviation in Alaska isn’t just a luxury. It’s critical to our way of life. With roughly 80% of Alaska communities not connected to the road system, air travel is one of the only ways to remain connected. This reliance on air travel means aviation infrastructure must be maintained and modernized, especially with the challenging weather and conditions experienced in the state.

A plane takes off from the Nuiqsut Airport runway.


Relocating an Airport

In 2009, HDL completed a Master Plan, Environmental analysis, permitting, Airport Layout Plan, Engineering Design Report, and design for a new airport on Barter Island. The new airport was constructed in 2010.

In July of 1947, the U.S. Air Force arrived on Barter Island to build a 5,000-foot runway and hangar on a spit of land. Years later, two major storms would highlight the serious nature of flooding at the airport: one storm in 1986 completely submerged the airstrip and another, in 2000, covered over half of the runway with water. Located on a spit of land in the Arctic Ocean, annual flooding issues continued to be a concern for the airport throughout the 2000s. By 2009, The Federal Aviation Administration had found that it was necessary to relocate the airport.

To assist North Slope Borough with the relocation, HDL studied various alternatives to either improve the existing airport or move it to a new location. Once the decision was made to move the airport to the mainland of Kaktovik, HDL led the planning and design of the new airport. The work included completing a Master Plan, an environmental analysis, permitting, an Airport Layout Plan, an Engineering Design Report, and the design for this $38 million airport. HDL also provided construction administration services during construction.


Erosion protection was placed along the existing runway to mitigate erosion risk until the airport could

Keeping aviation in Alaska safe and reliable is a top priority

Rural Alaska Relies on Air Transportation The majority of Alaska’s communities are not connected to any road system, so many Alaskans in rural and remote Alaska rely on air transportation to access basic necessities for everyday life, healthcare services, and to stay connected to friends and loved ones.

However, most of these airstrips are not paved, and many have outdated navigational aids, lighting, and other infrastructure.

Alaska has about 240 villages/communities. Most of these communities have an airstrip – there are about 282 public strips in Alaska.

The company provided services for dozens of rural airports throughout the state, reaching as far north as Kaktovik and as far south as Klawock.

HDL knows how important it is for rural Alaska to have reliable and safe airport infrastructure.

In 2014, HDL provided design, surveying, permitting, and construction administration services to replace the Vertical Approach Slope Indicators and the outdated Runway End Identifier Lights at the Atqasuk Airport and evaluate the Mediumintensity Approach Lighting System with Sequenced Flashing lights at the Nuiqsut Airport.

In 2013, HDL provided design, surveying, permitting, and construction administration services to replace the Vertical Approach Slope Indicators and the outdated Runway End Identifier Lights at the Atqasuk Airport.


In the fall of 2017 and spring 2018, the Nuiqsut Airport runway surface was saturated, soft, and rutted, making it impossible to maintain the runway during wet conditions and spring breakup. As a result, the runway would be closed for weeks at a time until the moisture levels dissipated or the runway surface froze in the fall. The City could not receive mail or deliveries during these runway closures, and residents could not travel by plane. HDL worked with the community to establish a useable runway surface until a new runway surface could be established.

Designing in Extremes Flying in the Arctic is uniquely challenging. So is designing airports in the Arctic. Temperatures in this region can get as high as 80 degrees Fahrenheit and as low as minus 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Engineering airports in the Arctic presents a unique set of challenges that include permafrost soil conditions, a construction season of fewer than 100 days a year, and gravel costs exceeding $620 per ton. Over the past 20 years, HDL has worked continuously with the North Slope Borough to provide aviation engineering and consultant services. HDL has a deep respect for the challenges the Borough faces in operating and maintaining airport facilities. Through our experience working on arctic airports, we have gained valuable arctic design experience, knowledge of the soils, land surveying and mapping expertise, and construction administration experience.

In 2005, HDL began performing subsurface exploration, laboratory testing, and geotechnical engineering studies to support proposed improvements to the Kaltag Airport.


In 2010, HDL evaluated the condition of the existing standby generator for the airport lighting system in Atqasuk, Alaska, and provided the North Slope Borough with recommendations for generator upgrades.

Alaska Relies on General Aviation Palmer arrived to the Alaska aviation scene a little later than other communities did. Planes would occasionally land in the area in homesteader’s fields, but for the most part, locals utilized the Alaska railroad until the mid-1940s. Following World War II, locals began concocting the idea for a local airport to bolster the local economy and allow for personal flights. In 1945, the Palmer Airport Association acquired land that was part of a homesteader’s potato field to establish the foundation of what is known today as the Warren “Bud” Woods Palmer Municipal Airport. Soon after, it was recognized that the airport needed another runway to allow pilots to accommodate for the frequent Knik winds. As a result, the Association acquired additional land on an adjacent homestead tract. The Association needed additional funding for construction, so they applied for a grant through the Territory of Alaska Aviation Division (neither the State of Alaska nor the City of Palmer existed at the time). The grant resulted in the airport title being in the Territory’s name. The






residences along the runways. The airport’s progress was slow in those early years but kept pace as more people moved to the Valley. In 1951, the City of Palmer was incorporated. After Alaska gained statehood in 1959, the Territory returned the airport title to the City in May of 1963. HDL has provided engineering and planning services to Palmer’s airport for more than 20 years. The firm has supported Palmer with planning, design, and construction services, including reconstruction of Runways 16/34 and 10/28, construction of the runway for shorter takeoff and landings, and construction and rehabilitation of taxiways and aprons. HDL’s projects at the airport have included the reconstruction of Runway 16/34, an 8-acre expansion of the large aircraft apron, construction of a heliport, rehabilitation of taxiway pavements, obstruction removal, and perimeter fencing and access gate improvements. Other services provided include an environmental study for a parallel taxiway along Runway 10/28 to provide access to over 12 acres of lease area for airport tenants and a study to address the need for an avigation easement north of the airport to allow full utilization of Runway 16/34.



HDL has provided airport planning, engineering, and construction management services to the City of Wasilla through two separate term agreements over the last 20 years.

In 2020, HDL’s multidisciplinary team began the design to rehabilitate Runway 04/22, taxiways, and aprons; remove airspace obstructions; construct new service roads and taxiway turnaround for the Homer Airport.

The Wasilla Airport was constructed by the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities in 1992 with funding from the FAA. Before this, the community utilized a gravel airstrip. In 2003, HDL completed an airport master plan for the City of Wasilla. Work for the project included engineering, surveying and aerial mapping, environmental services,

planning, airspace analyses, forecasting, economic analyses, and archeological studies to develop seven alternatives that would expand aprons and services at the airport. In 2013, HDL was awarded a term contract for airport engineering services. Since then, HDL has provided the planning, design, and construction management assistance necessary for the airport’s continual growth.


A Healthier Alaska Safe drinking water is essential for protecting the health of all Alaskans, and properly treated wastewater is vital for preventing disease and protecting the environment.

Over 75% of Alaskan communities are inaccessible by roads, creating a unique environment for water and wastewater services. Due to the distance between communities and lack of population, many remote villages rely on decentralized infrastructure, including individual well and septic systems or self-hauled water and pit privies or honeybuckets. While there is sometimes a centrally managed water or wastewater service in a community, such as a washeteria, there are still many unserved or underserved communities throughout the state. Access to clean water is the single greatest factor that affects life expectancy throughout the world. But many of Alaska’s remote communities are still in need of water and wastewater systems that are safe, efficient, and sustainable, while the state’s more urban areas have systems that need to be updated.

HDL is working with Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium to provide a Preliminary Engineering Report for first-service water and sewer for 17 homes in Circle, Alaska.


Under a contract with Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, HDL is providing design services to improve the water and sewer service to six homes in Selawik, Alaska. HDL is also providing design for raw water intake improvements and a honey bucket disposal site in the community.

HDL is dedicated to promoting the success of rural water and wastewater systems throughout the state

Alaska’s water and wastewater systems can be generally divided into two categories: municipal and rural. Municipal systems are typically located in the larger population centers, such as Anchorage, Fairbanks, or Juneau. These systems are quite similar to municipal water and wastewater systems found throughout the United States. However, roughly 280 rural communities throughout the state, most of which are accessible only by air or barge, utilize rural systems. Rural systems can range from above or underground piped systems to gravity and vacuum sewer collection systems. They can also include individual septic tanks and wells, haul systems, and washeterias.

Some communities have none of these water or wastewater systems in place, leaving residents to haul water from rivers and lakes. The rural systems are often run by tribal governments and are funded mainly through federal grants and programs administered by the state’s Village Safe Water program or Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium. Known health risks associated with lack of in-home water and sewer service and close contact with human waste include respiratory, skin, and gastrointestinal infections.

Under a contract with Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, HDL provided design to install interior water and sewer service lines for 15 homes and design a honey bucket disposal site in Ambler, Alaska.

Modernizing these rural systems is vital to improve the health and safety of rural residents and businesses and make rural places more attractive to live and work in.

None of the homes in Birch Creek, Alaska, currently have sanitary water and sewer services. HDL prepared a Preliminary Engineering Report to identify and analyze alternatives for water and sewer solutions in the community.


HDL worked with Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, providing services for improvements to a sanitation facility in Venetie, Alaska.

Despite advances, Alaska’s municipal water systems still face significant challenges

In 2020, HDL inspected treatment processes, the facility site, general operations, mechanical and electrical systems, Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition systems, and the building envelope to prepare a Functional Assessment of the City of Kenai’s wastewater treatment facility.

One might assume that municipal systems are more modern than rural systems, but this isn’t necessarily the case. Many urban systems have not been updated in several years, while many newer systems have been installed in rural communities. Most of Alaska’s municipal water and wastewater systems serve fewer people than the national average. And the average water and wastewater system in Alaska is 20 to 30 years old. While most of the larger municipal systems have stayed on top of maintenance and

continue to expand and improve service, there is still room for improvement. In addition, Alaska’s extreme weather and environment have taken a toll on infrastructure. Many of the materials and designs implemented when systems were originally built had never been used or tested in arctic or subarctic conditions. Despite efforts to maintain water and wastewater infrastructure in these urban areas, Alaska is still 30 years behind. Moreover, expected growth rate increases will further strain municipal systems if proper planning and design do not start now.


In 2008, an 8-inch sewer collector at a Merrill Field Airport hangar was experiencing freeze and backup problems. HDL worked to insulate the collector and used in-situ pipe rehabilitation to improve flow characteristics.

Expanding Utilities in the Valley In 2003, HDL began helping the City of Palmer develop a wild idea: With a new regional hospital proposed 6 miles from the nearest municipal utility, could Palmer extend their water and wastewater systems to serve this large customer? During the early stages of the project, the scope of work increased from serving just the new hospital to serving an entire, largely undeveloped region near Palmer with water and wastewater utilities. Since the new hospital needed to be served immediately upon opening, the project timeline was tight. To meet the schedule, HDL completed the design of Phase I improvements in just eight months. Construction began in July 2005 and was completed in just 15 months, including significant portions during the winter. Although a relatively small part of the project, the design and construction of the three new sewer lift stations were integral to making the entire new system extension viable. HDL performed flow calculations and studied future build-out and master planning scenarios to ensure that the new lift stations and force main would be capable of handling not only current design flows from the newly constructed Mat-Su Regional Medical Center but also future flows as the area near the Trunk Road Interchange with the Parks Highway and along the Glenn Highway developed. What started as a “wild idea” was brought to fruition through ingenuity, hard work, and a bit of luck in finding funding. The work performed under this contract set Palmer up for future success, positioning them to service several high-growth areas of the Mat-Su Borough.


HDL has been assisting the City of Palmer with extensions of its water and sewer system to serve the southwest portion of its utility service area for more than 10 years.

Construction of the Palmer Reservoir 4 and Booster Station.

HDL has continued to support Palmer in the development of additional phases of the project, including the latest phase, which involved design and construction of a 1-milliongallon water storage reservoir and booster pumping station. HDL performed civil/site, yard piping, and reservoir design and provided construction oversight services.


Completed Palmer Reservoir 4 and Booster Station.

Protecting Alaska’s Water Infrastructure After America’s Water Infrastructure Act was signed into law in 2018, HDL’s Water and Wastewater Department Manager Chris Bowman, PE, knew that some clients might need help navigating the new regulations before the set deadline. America’s Water Infrastructure Act requires any community drinking water system serving more than 3,300 people to develop risk and resilience assessments and emergency response plans every five years. Why? In recent years, water security has become a top priority. Planning for potential risks – such as intentional contamination to a water supply or earthquake damage to a treatment facility – will help communities develop proactive strategies to maintain critical water infrastructure before disaster

strikes. Failure to comply with AWIA can lead to steep fines for the community and leave them vulnerable to disasters. HDL worked with the City of Palmer and the City of Kenai to ensure each community had the necessary resilience assessments before the June 30, 2021, deadline. To do this, HDL helped the cities assess and prepare for water supply threats. The Water and Wastewater group is continuing to assist each city with the emergency response plans, which will determine appropriate responses to threats. This work not only keeps the communities eligible for federal funding for improvement projects but also protects critical water infrastructure and ensures these communities can deliver safe, clean drinking water to residents, even during emergencies.

HDL assisted the City of Kenai by providing a groundwater study to determine the optimum location and treatment process to provide the City with highquality drinking water to meet future demands.

What’s Down the Well? Water wells require regular maintenance to ensure adequate water flow and continued safe drinking water. In addition, Wells should be tested periodically for bacteria and pH levels by a state-accredited testing laboratory to ensure water quality. HDL’s water and wastewater engineers frequently team with the geotechnical group to provide professional services to locate and develop safe water wells. For example, for the Wasilla Airport and East Susitna Water Wells project, HDL’s engineers reviewed the available aquifer and utility data to select a low arsenic site for a new water production well. After selecting a site and obtaining the required permits, two test wells were drilled, developed, and pump-tested. Water samples confirmed

that the water was low in arsenic, and test pumping indicated that the deeper aquifer could supply a significant quantity of water. However, the turbidity was too high to supply water to the distribution system without treatment. Therefore, Wasilla decided to evaluate another site near an existing well and reservoir on East Susitna Avenue. The existing well at this site produces water containing moderate arsenic levels; however, Wasilla hopes to obtain different water from a lower aquifer. HDL performed a similar scope with the well near the airport, selecting a site, observing the well driller’s activities during development and pump testing, and obtaining the required permits. This time, the water produced from the well proved to be of high quality and sufficient quantity.


The City of Palmer retained HDL to assist with locating, developing, and designing a new, low-arsenic water well.

Fixing leaks and breaks In 2009, HDL worked with the City of Palmer to design and oversee the emergency replacement of a 360-foot segment of the water main, including fire hydrants and commercial water services. The HDL team worked through the weekend to prepare complete drawings and specifications and submitted them to the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation for approval to construct within just three days.

HDL then provided construction administration and inspection services. During construction, the City discovered additional leaks in adjacent mains. Over the next three months, HDL provided design, surveying, environmental permitting, construction administration, and inspection for an additional 3,400 feet of water main and associated street improvements through Palmer’s downtown business district.

Laying the Ground Work Geotechnical engineering is the foundation of all infrastructure projects. Often, a project’s risk lies in the ground. Solid geotechnical engineering is the key to structural integrity and engineering safety.

Since the beginning, geotechnical engineering has been a part of HDL, dating back to our roots in 2001 when Lorie Dilley joined forces with Scott Hattenburg. Today, HDL provides a full range of engineering, drilling, and laboratory conduct studies, investigations, modeling,

geotechnical testing to and design.

HDL’s engineers and geologists specialize in shallow and deep foundation design in arctic and coastal environments, focusing on soil and groundwater challenges. The firm has extensive experience testing, evaluating, and designing foundations for airfields, roads and highways, and buildings. The company’s engineers’ project experience includes everything from water main extensions to utility and power plant

HDL conducted a ground temperature measurements in Point Hope during the Point Hope Coastal Erosion Mitigation - Phase II Resource Study project.


Aggregate in the Arctic Point Hope’s peninsula is vulnerable to periodic storm surge flooding and erosion. Due to this, the community’s single-lane road to their water source was subject to frequent flooding and needed continual repair. HDL has provided engineering services related to coastal erosion in Point Hope since 2006 and began looking for viable material sources in the region in 2007. Since then, HDL has continued to assist the community with looking for viable aggregate. The Point Hope Coastal Erosion Mitigation project will create an egress that is inland, so the village maintains access to water, gravel sources, and terrestrial subsistence foods during significant flood events. Quality aggregate for armor rock (riprap) is needed for the project to protect existing infrastructure from erosion. Gravel sources are also vital to build roads, pads, and related civil projects. The aggregate available near the village is unsuitable for use as riprap and presents constructability issues for other civil projects. Due to Point Hope’s remote location, importing aggregate is very expensive.

In an attempt to find aggregate a reasonable distance from the village, HDL built upon existing data and past reconnaissance performed by the firm’s geotechnical engineers to inform and refine the evaluation of potential material sources. Point Hope’s geographic location and harsh climate make drilling costly, so HDL conducted a geophysical survey using seismic refraction to evaluate four sites previously identified as potential aggregate sources. HDL then used the geophysical survey results to provide recommendations for the location with the highest potential for producing a significant quantity of quality aggregate. Despite facing harsh winter conditions in the remote region, HDL safely completed the drilling at the selected site 20 miles outside the village without using a helicopter. HDL’s careful phasing of the project provided the North Slope Borough (NSB) with a costeffective evaluation of potential material sources in Point Hope. The data and recommendations provided by HDL may result in future material source development, which would provide Point Hope and other NSB communities with a local source of quality aggregate.


During the second phase of the project, HDL completed drilling at a site 20 miles outside of Point Hope and determined the economic viability of the material source for use as road aggregates.

Geotechnical Services Manager Doug Simon led the research and exploration of potential materials sources in support of potential coastal erosion and evaluation route projects in Point Hope.

The data and recommendations provided by HDL on the Point Hope Coastal Erosion Mitigation project may result in future material source development, which would provide Point Hope and other North Slope communities with a local source of quality aggregate.

The Foundation of All Projects Geotechnical engineering is the foundation of all constructed facilities. It is present in every project in some capacity, including the design and construction of roads, airports, bridges, buildings, pipes, tunnels, and other structures. Geotechnical engineers conduct subsurface explorations, test soil and bedrock, design foundations and other underground structures, and monitor construction – they’re involved in the project from start to finish. Their work is crucial because geotechnical

engineering ensures that the below-surface design of projects won’t fail and mitigates excess costs for the above-surface design. Without proper geotechnical engineering, projects can run into significant issues either immediately or several years down the road, such as structure cracking, settlement issues, loss of ground, and a whole bunch of other costly problems. This is why HDL’s geotechnical engineers are integral parts of the design team for virtually all civil engineering projects like roads and airports.

HDL provided geotechnical engineering services for safety improvements at the Mekoryuk Airport in 2007. HDL’s Geotechnical Engineers provided a Geotechnical Report, logged drilling activities, and performed laboratory testing, including evaluating basalt source and sand source for fill.


HDL’s Geotechnical Engineers mobilized to Haines to perform geotechnical oversight during drilling for the drainage improvement and pavement rehabilitation design, which included recording blow counts, collecting soil samples, and documenting drilling activities.


The wastewater outfall in the village of Kaktovik is supported by piles located on the edge of a bluff. The bluff consists of a combination of unfrozen soils and permafrost that are subject to thaw degradation and seasonal groundwater movement, while the toe of the slope is subject to water and ice erosion. As a result, the existing piles are failing due to soil erosion and slope failure. To help ensure continued waste management in the village, HDL conducted a geotechnical evaluation of the subsurface conditions at the site. The evaluation results are being used to develop recommendations for pile relocation, slope stabilization, and minimizing the thermal impacts to the permafrost.

HDL performed a geotechnical investigation of the buried water and sewer utilities in Point Lay, Alaska. The utilities were failing due to differential settlement resulting from permafrost instability. HDL’s geotechnical engineers provided alternatives for stabilizing the utilities to provide the community with a safe, costeffective, and sustainable water and wastewater system.

In 2008, HDL provided a geological reconnaissance for potential material sites near Point Hope, Alaska. The purpose of the reconnaissance was to look at three potential material source sites and select one for additional investigation to aid in the village’s emergency access road project. Selected samples were analyzed in HDL’s laboratory for degradation,

Building on solid ground Materials Testing is a vital safety procedure




performed before and during construction. In


the field, materials testing checks for things

concrete testing are involved in all projects.






certain soil


like soil density, the post-tension of pre-placed concrete, and accurate asphalt pavement

HDL has a designated staff of professional

installment. In the lab, testing can be done


to confirm that the soil is strong enough for

conduct field inspections and lab analyses to

the structure or pavement and that materials

ensure project specifications are met during

are resistant against compressive strength.

construction. The firm also has an American





Association of State Highway and Transportation Any project involving a structure or road

Officials (AASHTO) accredited lab in Palmer


that provides soil, concrete, and asphalt testing.








Sustainability in Action HDL’s Environmental Services Group specializes in efficiently preparing environmental documentation and securing permits to maintain project momentum from inception to completion.

Engineering is about people. And this is especially true in regard to the natural environment. And the heart of it, HDL’s Environmental Services Group works to maintain the health and well-being of the public and the environment we all live in. HDL’s environmental team works to resolve past environmental conflicts and prevent future problems from taking place. This work involves helping private and public entities to navigate and proactively comply with complicated and ever-evolving regulatory processes, regulations, and permitting requirements at the local, state, and federal levels. At HDL, the firm strives to provide technically sound, environmentally aware, and economically justified solutions that are cost-effective and sustainable.

In 2008, HDL worked with the Mat-Su Borough to provide services for the rehabilitation of Lucille Street from Spruce Avenue to Schrock Road, north of Wasilla. This major collector street has a significant role in the transportation network in the northern Wasilla area. HDL’s environmental team provided an environmental review and a wetlands delineation for the project.


The NEPA process can be complicated, but the bottom line is that it gives the public multiple chances to raise their concerns before a backhoe or drilling rig ever touches the ground

For 50 years, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) has required that government agencies consider how a project will affect the environment and local communities, and it gives the people who will have to live with the consequences a fair chance to weigh in on it. Before a project gets started, the owner first needs to explain and justify the project— offering it up for public scrutiny, considering alternative options, accepting feedback about it, and analyzing potential impacts. This is where an environmental consulting firm comes in.

such as building a road, HDL’s environmental team will prepare an environmental document, typically called a Categorical Exclusion or an Environmental Assessment that basically summarizes the likely consequences of that project. If it seems like those consequences will be significant, the agency moves on to prepare a more detailed report.

The NEPA process is designed to offer the public several opportunities to be involved in deciding an outcome, which explains why public involvement is so integral to environmental services.

Scoping is when the project team solicits input – such as through public meetings or online comments – about specific environmental concerns. After receiving public input, HDL will conduct a full environmental review and produce the appropriate environmental documentation.

If a government agency wants to start a project,

This is the part of the process where the public plays an especially important role, beginning with what is called “scoping.”

HDL’s Environmental Services Group has been integral to our services at the Palmer Airport. In 2017, the team performed a NEPA at the airport, which included a Data Gaps Analysis, which has allowed for continued improvement of Palmer Airport infrastructure.


The airport rehabilitation project in Homer has required a considerable public involvement process to ensure the community is a part of the design process.


The fast-growing area between Wasilla and Big Lake needed additional collector roadways adjacent to the Parks Highway to enhance local traffic mobility, decrease traffic on the highway, and reduce the number of left turns onto the highway. In addition to providing the design for an extension of Museum Drive, HDL’s environmental group performed an environmental investigation and provided documentation, permitting, and public involvement services. The team was faced with many challenges, including minimizing impacts to wetlands, reducing flooding along the corridor, and minimizing effects to developed properties.

An Environmental Assessment is the process used to build, assess, and review proposed development, plans, and policies to help maximize benefits and minimize harms. Done right, an Environmental Assessment is the main planning and decision-making tool for ensuring long-term sustainability. HDL’s Environmental Group has a diverse background in biological and environmental sciences and regularly performs environmental assessments for projects throughout the state. One such example is the Environmental Assessment HDL provided for the extension of Anton Larsen Bay Road in Kodiak, Alaska. The project was developed in cooperation with the Native Village of Ouzinkie for the proposed 2-mile extension of Anton Larsen Bay Road. There is currently no road connection between the City of Kodiak and the outlying communities of Ouzinkie and Port Lions. Transportation options available to travelers between these communities include the Alaska Marine Highway System, commercial and general aviation, and commercial and private boats. HDL completed the Environmental Assessment for the Anton Larsen Bay Road Extension project in January 2020.

Local residents view traveling via a combination of skiff and vehicle through Anton Larsen Bay and Anton Larsen Bay Road as the most costeffective, convenient, and safe option for nonemergencies.

During the spring, summer, and fall, travel from Ouzinkie or Port Lions to Kodiak via this route involves a roughly 30-minute skiff ride from either community to the Anton Larsen Bay Dock located near the head of the Anton Larsen Bay. From there, it is a 20- to 30-minute car ride via Anton Larsen Bay Road to the Kodiak Airport or the City of Kodiak. In the winter, however, the interior portion of Anton Larsen Bay freezes over due to freshwater entering the head of the Bay, preventing boats from launching from the dock or entering the Bay. During this time, marine travel is limited to a route around Spruce Cape along the northeastern tip of Kodiak Island. In addition, northeasterly wind and ocean currents from the Gulf of Alaska often present difficult or dangerous travel conditions along this portion of Kodiak Island’s shoreline. Because the mouth of the Bay receives less freshwater than the inland portion of the Bay, the mouth freezes less frequently, increasing access to/from remote areas by boat in the winter. The road extension project has been discussed locally since the 1960s and was recently included in the Kodiak Island Borough Capital Improvement Program. The Environmental Assessment outlined environmental impacts, benefits, risks, and uncertainties associated with the project.


Anton Larsen Bay Environmental Assessment

HDL provided engineering and consulting services for a new roadway connecting Trunk Road with Stringfield Road/ Old Trunk Road. This new roadway provided safer access to Pioneer Peak Elementary School, the commercial businesses just south of the school, and a major subdivision to the east of the new Trunk Road. For this project, HDL’s environmental team performed environmental evaluations, prepared environmental documents, provided permitting, and assisted with public involvement efforts.

As habitats of rich biodiversity, wetlands play an important role in the lives of humans and animals alike According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, wetlands are areas where water covers the soil or is present either at or near the soil’s surface throughout the year. Wetlands provide significant ecological benefits to the areas around them, including coastal flood protection, erosion control, and improved good water quality, not to mention the plant and animal habitats they support. Federal and state governments protect wetland areas under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act of the 1970s. Therefore,

wetland delineations must be completed in advance of development to help minimize impacts to protected wetland areas. The timeline of a project can be significantly affected when wetlands are identified on a project site. To avoid costly delays and potential fines, it is very important to be in compliance with Section 404 before any development or construction. HDL’s environmental team is experienced in determining the boundaries of wetlands and working with the client throughout permitting and development.

HDL’s first Professional Wetland Scientist – Owen Means – performs a wetlands delineation for the Homer Airport project.


As part of the Parks Highway MP 72-83 Rehabilitation project, HDL performed a wetland delineation and functional assessment for a United States Army Corps of Engineers Wetlands 404 permit.

Mapping the Future HDL’s surveying and mapping team has provided wideranging and specialized services to many public, private, and industrial clients.

Surveyors and engineers work closely together on design and construction projects. That’s because surveying is involved in every aspect of engineering – from accurately delineating boundaries between parcels of land and defining existing features to surveying constructed improvements for confirmation that they conform to the design. Surveying and mapping services are essential for design and construction projects, from commercial and residential developments to highways, airports, and harbors. It gives project managers and engineers the geographical information they need to build reliable infrastructure in the local terrain and helps them map out how a project should unfold.

Coastal erosion was threatening the existing bulk fuel tank farm in Port Heiden, Alaska. HDL’s Survey Group was tasked with gathering survey information of the new site for the proposed tank farm. Survey work included establishing survey control, gathering topographic data, determining the parcel boundaries and adjacent access road ROW, and preparing easement exhibits and legal descriptions for a pipeline that ran from the tank farm to the dispenser.


Surveying for Construction

HDL provided surveying and mapping services for the Glenn Highway realignment project between MP 84 and 92. This project rehabilitated approximately 7.5 miles of the Glenn Highway to preserve and extend the service life of the highway, enhance safety, and potentially provide passing lanes and climbing lanes

For construction projects, HDL’s surveyors create a design database of existing topography and improvements that match real-world conditions so that the intended improvements can be accurately designed within the property or right-of-way limits. The team surveys existing feature points in 3D and tags them with a descriptor to make their location and significance apparent in the database used, such as AutoCAD Civil 3D. Then they draw lines and attach symbols to the client’s specifications so that our design base map of existing conditions can be easily understood. A contour surface is also created so that automated design program routines can be used to analyze the effectiveness and economy of the design and compute

accurate materials quantities to stay within the project budget throughout construction. Once the design is complete to the client’s satisfaction and a contractor is selected, HDL’s surveyors can then set stakes as reference points for the new construction. Accuracy is vital during the construction of a structure. The group works to lay out the reference points so that the contractor can build the improvements as accurately as possible. When the construction is complete, the surveyors can locate the new improvements to confirm that they have been built in the designed locations before payment. Without surveying, start to finish, the design, placement, and extent of new improvements cannot be guaranteed.


For the Glenn Highway MP 84-92 project, HDL surveyors established horizontal and vertical control for the realignment portion of the project and developed existing ground surface cross-sections for comparison against existing LiDAR data to determine the accuracy of the LiDAR data for design purposes.

Mapping in the Municipality

HDL has been providing surveying and mapping services for the Municipality of Anchorage (MOA) since 2007. This has involved working with the MOA’s Project Management and Engineering (PM&E) and Traffic Engineering departments and the Anchorage Water and Wastewater Utility (AWWU). Throughout these projects, HDL’s survey team has provided quality surveying and mapping services





time and under budget – strictly adhering to relevant guidelines.


HDL’s survey work continues year-round, including in the winter months. The Survey Group provided topographic and hydrographic surveys for the design of a new boat ramp and parking lot area in Lake Louise, Alaska.

Surveying in the wild of Alaska

In 2020, HDL’s survey team provided survey services to support the proposed sewage outfall line improvements in Kaktovik, Alaska. The team also collected aerial photography of the site using a drone.

Surveying in Alaska often means surveying in remote areas and harsh climates. The remoteness and rugged terrain of the state mean logistics can be expensive and challenging to plan, and the survey work itself can be difficult, if not outright dangerous. It takes both physical endurance and strong wits to safely and successfully survey in the rural corners of Alaska. Sometimes, surveyors have to hike through rough terrain and thick brush, and wildlife is a very real threat when working in these areas. However, the team’s use of state-of-art technology such as GPS, LiDAR, and aerial drone photography eases some of the burdens of surveying in remote areas.


As a subconsultant, HDL completed a survey for the design of a well house, water line, communication lines, and other improvements in a remote village.

In 2009, HDL’s surveyors performed surveying services for two drainage improvement projects on Jewel Lake Road from 84th Avenue to 88th Avenue.

HDL’s surveyors frequently support task orders under HDL’s civil engineering term contracts with the Municipality of Anchorage. The group is often tasked to survey in the winter so that construction can proceed on schedule throughout the spring, summer, and fall.

Working together with engineers HDL completed surveying for Lucille Creek as part of the Mack Drive Extension and Clapp Street Improvements project. HDL has extensive tools, including jackhammers and an ice auger, to assist with surveying in frozen conditions.

Surveying and engineering are intertwined. At HDL, surveyors support the firm’s internal design services as well as external clients. Since civil engineering involves directly impacting the land, surveys are an essential part of the process. HDL’s surveyors supply the real-world data that civil, geotechnical, and environmental engineers need to ensure that the protected environment isn’t adversely affected throughout the design and construction, that the design is safe, and

that the project is as efficient as possible. A surveyor is nearly always called upon to survey the site before any design or planning begins. This is because surveyors provide site information to engineers, allowing them to consider site-specific details when making their plans. The surveys provided by land surveyors advise the engineers on the ownership limits, site topography, and existing features so they can design the optimum locations for infrastructure.


Building Better HDL’s diverse capabilities allow the firm to advise clients on the whole project. The company covers all aspects of a project, including inspection and construction administration.

HDL’s construction administration team approaches clients’ projects as if they were their own. The company works to keep projects running smoothly by providing project oversight and field inspections to ensure proper protocol is followed with each step. The team acts as an extension of clients’ staff to meet their safety and quality expectations, maintain clear communication, and work with the Contractor to stay on schedule, resolve issues, and control the project costs. HDL provides construction administration services for transportation and other infrastructure construction projects. With extensive experience at every project stage, the construction administration team represents client’s interests from project inception to completion.

HDL provided engineering and construction administration services to resurface the existing Wainwright Airport runway, taxiway, and apron with crushed aggregate surface course (CASC) and replace the airport lighting system. HDL developed an innovative and cost-effective solution to the high cost of barging CASC by screening and blending the finer local surfacing fractions with an imported coarse crushed aggregate. In addition, HDL worked with the North Slope Borough, the oil companies, air carriers, and the FAA to develop a detailed Construction Safety and Phasing Plan that allowed continued, safe operation of the airport throughout construction.


Helping to Bring a Bridge to Life Williamsport-Pile Bay Road provides a critical link between Cook Inlet and Iliamna Lake, which drains into Bristol Bay, where the world’s largest commercial sockeye salmon fishery lives.

backed up in the Anchorage office. This system improved productivity, allowed for clear project records, and reduced costs by allowing office engineering to be performed from offsite.

Commercial fishing crews travel across this route every year, saving them a nearly 1,000mile journey around the Alaska Peninsula. The road was first constructed in the 1930s and is owned and maintained by the state. The road included a steel truss bridge crossing over the Iliamna River. In 2003, a record flood event caused significant damage to the original bridge, and a temporary bridge was installed. This project replaced the original bridge with a modern steel girder bridge.

However, logistics remained a significant challenge for this project. To get to the jobsite, workers had to fly on a small aircraft to a nearby village before traveling by boat to reach their lodging while onsite for the project. Teams then had to travel upriver by boat each day to get to the actual project site, which isn’t a bad place to call your office!

HDL’s Construction Services Group had the knowledge, skills, and expertise to handle the pile foundations, concrete bridge elements, and remote logistics involved despite the challenging job site. HDL provided a construction administration team to inspect, document, and administer the bridge replacement project. The team was comprised of three people – two located onsite and one working out of the Anchorage office. The team utilized a paperless system, preparing documents digitally with touch tablets that were then transferred and

Another challenge was that the Contractor was not familiar with some Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities’ requirements, so HDL’s team worked with them to meet project requirements. Issues occurred during the construction of the drilled shafts for the pier foundations in the river, but the HDL staff worked closely with the Contractor to identify and solve the problem in a timely manner, avoiding additional costs to the client. Ultimately, the project was completed on time with minimal additional costs. HDL completed its services on time and under budget. The new bridge greatly benefits the local users and allows for easier movement of goods to the Iliamna Lake area.


HDL provided full construction administration services for the construction of a 222–foot steelgirder bridge with precast deck panels, removal of a 1930s steel truss bridge, removal of a temporary bridge, surcharged and staged fill, and reconstruction of bridge approaches.

HDL’s Construction Services Group oversaw the construction of several segments of the Chiniak Highway in Kodiak, Alaska. This Department of Transportation and Public Facilities project included roadway reconstruction at nine separate locations along 23 miles of the Chiniak Highway. Project elements include earthwork, culverts, base course and paving, erosion projection, traffic signs and markings, guardrail, concrete, and soldier pile retaining walls.

HDL provided construction engineering services for the roundabout at the Klatt and Johns road intersection, where traffic volumes were often greater than 10,000 vehicles per day. This DOT&PF project included the construction of a new roundabout and widening an arterial in Anchorage. Other project elements included curb, sidewalk, ADA ramps, cold planning and paving, MMA traffic markings, and storm drain construction

HDL’s construction services team worked out of Juneau to provide construction administration for the Douglas Highway Surface and Sidewalk Improvements project. The project replaced curb ramps and sidewalks to improve the pedestrian routes between Douglas Island and downtown Juneau.

The project also repaved the Douglas Highway roundabout and Gastineau Channel Bridge, rehabilitated the aging storm drain with curein-place pipe, and installed new traffic markings and signage.

Where the Paper Meets the Road What do HDL’s Construction Administrators do? They are responsible for knowing the project requirements, inspecting the construction work, and documenting the project. They verify compliance with shop drawings, measure and compute quantities of completed work, review survey data, document progress, monitor yields, and coordinate with stakeholders. The group also prepares field directives, analyzes contractor claims, prepares change orders, and prepares payment estimates for the completed work. Construction administrators provide a link between construction workers, design engineers, and the public. Also, the firm’s certified technicians perform and document material testing of soils, concrete, and asphalt. This testing is performed to verify whether the materials meet the project requirements.


Facing Construction Challenges Head On Construction in the Arctic presents several unique challenges. Harsh working conditions only exacerbate the remoteness of arctic projects. Project sites are often only accessible via plane or barge, meaning all necessary heavy equipment must be barged to the location. Poor weather and darkness can further isolate a project even further. HDL has performed construction administration for several projects in remote Alaska. One such notable project was the Barter Island Airport Relocation project. Access Challenges Kaktovik is located on the north shore of Barter Island and is one of the most remote communities in Alaska. In summer, the island is separated from the mainland by a quarter of a mile of shallow lagoon and connected by sea ice in the winter. Since the community was accessible only by plane or barge, it created access challenges for both personnel and equipment. During the airport relocation project, this meant that contractors had only a small window to get the necessary material to the project site via barge. HDL provided construction administration services to the North Slope Borough for the relocation of the Barter Island Airport in Kaktovik, Alaska.

winds intensified, they picked up ground snow and reduced visibility. Thick fog was also a common occurrence in Kaktovik, which frequently caused flights to be delayed or canceled, leaving personnel without a way into or out of the community. Furthermore, long, harsh winters limited the construction season to the months between May and October. Material Challenges There is no nearby local material source on Barter Island, so gravel had to be generated on the mainland and hauled over to the island in the wintertime via a purpose-built ice road. Since the gravel was typically hauled in the winter, it was frozen and contained ice and snow, causing it to become very saturated during spring break up. As a result, the stockpile of material had to be conditioned thoroughly. The Barter Island Airport project included 500,000 cubic yards of borrow, which took three summers to condition fully.

Weather Challenges

Other Challenges

The weather challenges were more than just the cold: high winds, blowing snow, thick fog, and darkness made construction more difficult.

Kaktovik is known for its polar bear population. Polar bears are a federally protected marine mammal listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, but they posed a serious threat to HDL staff and the Contractor during the airport’s construction.

The landscape in Kaktovik is flat, offering little protection from the wind. As a result, when high



HDL provided construction administration services for this project, which repaired and reconstructed approximately 500 feet of dike along the Talkeetna River between the Susitna River and the Alaska Railroad Bridge

Into the Future Celebrating 20 years of engineering in Alaska, HDL continues to remain competitive and brings a wide breadth of service offerings to its clients. The company has weathered numerous economic cycles and plans to continue implementing innovative strategies as it looks toward the future. HDL celebrates it dedicated employees who embody the values that have guided the company since the very beginning. The firm’s greatest asset is its cohesive, enthusiastic, and excellent staff – whether they’ve been with the company for 20 years or six months. The achievements of past and present staff have helped, and continue to help build, the confidence of the young engineers who will eventually become leaders of the company. HDL’s dynamic, proficient, and

client-oriented, technically responsible solutions are

what differentiates the company from its competitors. The firm continue to look for growth opportunities, and finding the right people is central in supporting growth. HDL is here today because, for the past 20 years, it has had the right people and the right leadership in place – making adjustments and improvements along the way to keep the company on the right path and ensuring HDL remains relevant, now and for the foreseeable future. Looking into the future, HDL is focused on supporting its clients and staff to continue to be the best the firm can be. HDL has provided exceptional engineering services for the past 20 years and is excited to continue doing the same in the future. Celebrating its 20th anniversary, HDL continues to engineer a better Alaska.


HDL provided civil and geotechnical engineering services, topographic and right-of-way surveying, utility mapping, and preliminary permitting for paving and utility extensions on Captains Bay Road in Unalaska, Alaska.

HDL provided hydraulic and hydrologic engineering services along the Parks Highway.

HDL worked with the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities on this project in downtown Homer to replace the existing pavement and areas with deficient structural section materials, drainage, signing, and striping.

In 2010, HDL provided construction administration inspections of sediment accumulation in the drainage for the New Stuyahok Tank Farm project.

HDL staff at the Anchorage Transportation Fair in August 2013.


Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.