Backsights & Foresights: 2015 Spring

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Backsights Foresights


Biannual newsletter created for Houston Engineering, Inc.'s clients and employees

PRESERVING THE "MAGIC" IN THE MAGIC CITY OF MINOT Every community eventually faces a"MAGIC" challenge that rocks its very foundation. PRESERVING THE IN THE For the City of Minot, the challenge came with the 2011 flood. MAGIC CITY OF MINOT

Floods have threatened Minot since founding. In the firstits half of the 20th Every community, big or small, must faceits events that challenge citizens and Century, floodwaters destroyed homes, damaged infrastructure, and disrupted shake its foundations. For the City of Minot, the 2011 Mouse River flood proved peoples’ lives andone wellbeing. ago, the City worked with the US Army beyond a doubt to be of thoseLong events. Corps of Engineers (USACE) to create permanent and lasting flood protection. Minot, located on the banks of the Mouse River in north central North Dakota, has Forbeen years, the projects protectedFor theyears, City from up towas 100-year floodfrom events— always threatened by flooding. the City protected floods typically once-in-a-lifetime occurrences. But in 2011, the City faced a flood on the Mouse River thanks to previous flood protection projects. But in 2011, thethat comes not once in a lifetime, but once or twice in a millennium. It was the type City faced a flood of unpredictable levels. It was the type of disaster the community of disaster a community has little means of preventing and even poorer means had little means of predicting and even poorer means of protecting against. of predicting. CONTINUED ON ON PAGE PAGE 22 CONTINUED

INSIDE THISTHIS ISSUE INSIDE ISSUE CoverCover Story............................... 1 Story............................... 1 Recent Project Highlights....... 3 Recent Project Highlights....... 3

Featured Service Area............ 6 Featured Service..................... 6 InsideInside Houston......................... 7 Houston......................... 7


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Fun Fact:

The Minot Water Treatment Plant contains 1,150 ft. of concrete floodwall and 600 ft. of earthen tie-back levee. Rendering of the proposed Minot Water Treatment Plant floodwall.

To prevent this from ever happening again, Houston Engineering, Inc. (HEI) joined together with the City to once again protect its residents from the devastation of floods through a fusion of local, regional, and national engineering expertise. This collaborative relationship began in the aftermath of the 2011 flood when the HEI team began assisting the City and laying the necessary groundwork for the major projects to come, including the Minot Water Treatment Plant (WTP) and the Mouse River Enhanced Flood Protection Project (MREFPP). FLOOD IMPACTS Flooding presents a two-fold danger to the City. First, there are the direct effects of the floodwaters, such as damage to infrastructure and homes; second, there is the potential contamination of potable drinking water, of which the City has only a single source: the WTP. The aftermath of the 2011 flood revealed devastating damage to the vast majority of the City’s water supply wells, resulting in a mandatory boil order for the City’s more than 40,000 residents (not to mention those in nearby municipalities and the Minot Air Force Base).


Spring 2015

To ensure its residents will always have access to safe drinking water, HEI began work on the Minot WTP Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. This $29-million project will create permanent concrete floodwalls and earthen levees designed to protect the Minot WTP in flood events reaching even those rivaling the historic 2011 levels. PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE In order to protect the rest of the City's infrastructure against high water levels, the City has opted to drastically redesign and improve its protection along the Mouse River through the MREFPP, which is being completed in cooperation with the Souris River Joint Board. The HEI team is spearheading one of the most complex sections of this project in the area along 4th Avenue Northeast, which must be compatible with other protection if the City hopes to achieve comprehensive flood protection. This particular phase of the MREFPP will create flood protection near 4th Avenue Northeast that will hold back Mouse River floodwater, even those reaching the same levels as the 2011 flood. The HEI team plans to accomplish this through a combination of concrete floodwalls, earthen levees, tie-back levees, and closure structures.

Mouse River Flood Records 2011......Crest of 1,561.72 ft. in June and peak flow of 27,400 cfs., making it the highest recorded flood in Minot's history 1976......Crest of 1,556.08 ft. in April and peak flow of 14,800 cfs. 1969......Crest of 1,555.4 ft. above

sea level forcing 12,000 residents to evacuate source:

A great deal of work still lies ahead before the City can sit back and breathe a sigh of relief, but its residents have shown they’re determined to never relive a disaster like the one in 2011; and, with the completion of these projects, they may never have to.


N Widened roadway to six lanes

New pedestrian walkway

New EB ramp Retaining wall protects green space Improved intersection safety

Widened bridge to six lanes

25-ft. high retaining wall Existing EB loop ramp

THE FAST AND THE LESS FURIOUS The award-winning reconstruction of the 25th Street South and I-94 Interchange project greatly improves traffic flow and safety for Fargo-Moorhead commuters.

ACEC/ND recently recognized this project with the 2015 Engineering Excellence Award for its exceptional degree of innovation, complexity, achievement, and value.

For more information, contact: Rick Gunderson, PE

THE PROBLEM Fargo is North Dakota's largest city and has become a booming retail and events hub with traffic surges well beyond other communities of its size. Located in the heart of Fargo's fully developed southeast residential and commercial corridor is 25th Street South. In recent years, 25th Street and the interchange at I-94 had become increasingly congested and dangerous, requiring a creative solution in the developed corridor. The City of Fargo retained HEI and sub-consultant Alfred Benesch & Company to widen a one-mile segment of 25th Street South, reconstruct the I-94 interchange, and design a new eastbound (EB) on-ramp, the latter of which was based on an Interstate Justification Report completed by Benesch. The roadway itself was widened from four-lanes to six-lanes, significantly reducing delay times and improving 25th Street’s level of service. The bridge was also widened to accommodate the two additional lanes. HEI increased the bridge's width more than 50 feet from 83 feet to 134 feet. OVERCOMING CHALLENGES With I-94 running directly under the bridge, it was imperative HEI maintain the bridge’s vertical clearance to meet state and Federal Highway Administration requirements. HEI installed smaller beams, which were able to maintain the clearance.

ENSURING SAFETY Safety became another major concern for the project. The EB on-/off-ramp intersection proved to be dangerous with frequent crashes between vehicles turning from northbound (NB) 25th Street onto the EB loop ramp, as they had to cross the congested southbound (SB) traffic. A new EB on-ramp allows NB traffic to enter the interstate without crossing SB traffic. HEI relocated the pedestrian crossing one block south to a conventional signalized intersection providing a safer crossing than one next to the EB off-ramp where motorists were focused on SB traffic, not pedestrians. AESTHETIC ELEMENTS Sloping along the edge of the roadway expansion would have encroached almost to the walls of a notable and succcessful restaurant in the area, all but eliminating its green space. HEI protected the restaurant's landscape by incorporating a five-foot high gravity retaining wall curved around the property's edge. This wall not only prevented the slope from intruding on the restaurant, but it added an aesthetic element that had not existed before. HEI designed another far more substantial wall to create a new on-ramp for NB 25th Street traffic entering EB traffic onto I-94.



Photo credit: John Deere

THE EVOLUTION OF AN EXPANSION PROJECT RDO Equipment Co.'s expansion project in Bismarck, North Dakota, started out simple but grew to something more. GROWING PAINS Every growing business must eventually expand its physical presence. That could mean ugrading to a larger storefront, adding on to an existing structure, or—for RDO Equipment Co.—relocating its existing facilities in Bismarck to a new 20-acre site as part of a 53-acre industrial development. An expansion of that size comes with many complexities.

ADDING ON RDO Equipment Co., joined by HEI, began contacting and negotiating with nearby property owners to secure the necessary land and access. In addition to securing the property, RDO Equipment Co., with the help of its team, completed the required platting to assign the applicable rights-of-way and easements. Site considerations included permits from the North Dakota Department of Transportation, adjusting two major electrical transmission lines, and working with a private landowner to secure right-of-way for the extension of Channel Drive to provide a required secondary access to the site.

RDO Equipment Co. currently borders East Bismarck Expressway, an important roadway connecting I-94 to the heart of Bismarck. Their new location to the north and west was ideal for RDO Equipment Co.'s customer base, since the company deals in heavy machinery and the location allows large trucks, trailers, and machinery access to and from the site with relative ease along major roadways near the edge of Bismarck.

These tasks required open and clear communication with the city of Bismarck. Bismarck had existing plans to extend a new roadway into the area, and RDO Equipment Co.'s expansion meant that underground municipal facilities and stormwater culverts, along with significant site grading, needed to be completed concurrently. The site expansion grew from a rather straightforward relocation to the design and installation of new sanitary sewer, storm sewer, and water main to service the area.

RDO Equipment Co. saw benefits in moving to the new location and expanding its footprint, even with the additional challenges.

HEI modeled stormwater drainage to accommodate the changes in slope and grading and to ensure that the new (and


Spring 2015

existing) stormwater sewer systems could accommodate the drainage. The site is within the Hay Creek Tributary Watershed Basin, which encompasses more than 400 acres. The analysis included calibration with Bismarck's stormwater master plan to the north that flows through the RDO Equipment Co. properties. RDO Equipment Co.'s team also undertook the important major task of wetland mitigation. The team delineated, then secured, mitigation acreage credits and sought to obtain the necessary US Army Corps of Engineers permit for affected wetlands. Part of this process included working with Bismarck to reduce the required roadway widths to minimize wetland impacts. PROJECT SUCCESS By the fall of 2015, RDO Equipment Co. will boast a larger and more efficient site, capable of meeting the region's increased demands along with having additional lots available for future expansion or sale.

For more information, contact: Stan Hanson, PE


of harnessing emerging technologies to help entities with key organizational and reporting functions. This improves efficiency, accuracy, and transparency with stakeholders. This project is similar to other web-based data management systems HEI has developed to help clients. Some of our other solutions include MS4Front and DrainageDB (http:// Allocation by Fund Allocation by Fund

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FUNDING PROJECTS Since 2008, Legacy dollars have influenced natural resource projects across the State of Minnesota. Throughout these years, a sales tax increase of merely three-eighths of 1% has added up to more than $1 billion in funding. The Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council (LSOHC) accepts proposals from entities across the State to spend a portion of these dollars on land acquisitions and enhancement projects. The amount of information to track can be overwhelming, given the numerous proposals and projects managed by the Council. Accountability is key as tax dollars fuel these projects.


Beginning in 2011, HEI and LSOHC formed a great partnership to help track proposals and projects funded by Outdoor Heritage Fund dollars. To develop this custom web-based data management system, HEI’s team led a needs assessment to determine the best database architecture and functional requirements. Collaborating with LSOHC, HEI identified that the system needed to be easy-to-use and provide reporting services vital to ensure accountability to the public and other entities involved. HEI also created wireframes to guarantee that the system would include all functional requirements desired. Finally, the system

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TRANSPARENT REPORTING Because tax dollars are used to generate project funding, it is extremely important for LSOHC to show the public transparent and accountable reports about completed projects. The data management system is integrated with GIS to provide an interactive map of projects throughout Minnesota showing the general public the impact of Outdoor Heritage Fund dollars. The long-term working relationship forged by HEI and LSOHC shows the importance

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BY THE NUMB3RS: CITY OF FARGO STORM SEWER MODELING Learn about the elements involved in the awardwinning City of Fargo Storm Sewer Modeling project.

195 miles

of storm sewer... enough to stretch from Fargo to Bismarck

6 ACEC/ND recently recognized this project with the 2015 Engineering Excellence Award for its exceptional degree of innovation, complexity, achievement, and value.


10,600 Pipes



Red River


With 73 outfalls to the river



Lift Stations Modeled Area


Spring 2015


28 along river 8 internal

1,800 16.5 sq. mi.

Storm Sewer Outfalls


Drainage Networks


West Fargo

most intense rainfall events on record were evaluated

Modeled area of Fargo

properties will be removed from the floodplain as a result of this modeling and other LOMR (letter of map revision) components

Red River of the North



Doug Dilliplane, PE

Cody Eilertson, PE, LSIT

Project Manager Bismarck

Director of Operations Fargo

FUN FACTS ABOUT DOUG ■■ Has visited all 50 states ■■ Originally from Pottstown, PA, 20 miles from historic Valley Forge ■■ Enjoys hiking, bicycling, and travel in general

With more than 30 years of experience in transportation engineering, Doug joined HEI in 2015 to help lead a growing number of transportation projects in the western part of North Dakota. He is based in HEI’s Bismarck office.


Nancy Wills, PE Project Manager Fargo FUN FACTS ABOUT NANCY

■■ Heavily involved in Fargo's 2009 and subsequent flood fights

■■ Woodwind musician who enjoys playing flute and saxophone

■■ Enjoys riding roller coasters

■■ Lifetime member of the Society for Women Engineers

■■ Active outdoorsman, hiker, and golfer

A Fargo native, Cody attended NDSU and later served in the City’s engineering department for nearly eight years— most recently as Division Engineer. He now employs that experience as HEI’s Director of Operations.

■■ FIRST LEGO® League coach for her son's elementary school

Nancy has worked on transportation projects on a scale rarely seen in the Upper Great Plains, such as design for the Grandview Triangle in Kansas City, Missouri—a complex, $220-million freeway-to-freeway interchange serving more than 250,000 vehicles a day. She will manage transportation projects out of HEI's Fargo office.




Brandon Anderson Survey Technician Bismarck

Keaton Arneson, EI Civil Engineer Grand Forks

Brett Barber, CST Civil Technician Fargo

Steve Boyer Survey Technician Fargo

Derek Brewer Survey Technician Fargo

Stephanie Brost HR Recruiter Fargo

Cody Eilertson, PE, LSIT

Director of Operations Fargo

Doug Dilliplane, PE Project Manager Bismarck

Megan Doyle Receptionist Fargo

Admin./Proposal Asst.

Danny Imdieke Civil Construction Tech. Bismarck

Neal Isaak, PE Civil Engineer Bismarck

Derek Kayser Survey Technician Thief River Falls

Tom Kornkven, EI

Katie Smelden Admin. Asst. Minot

Alex Schmidt, EI Civil Engineer Maple Grove

Nancy Wills, PE Project Manager Fargo

Jerry Haas, CPL

Surface Acquisition Mgr.


Kirk McCauley, PLS Survey Crew Chief Minot

Michael Mieyr, PE Project Manager Minot

Connie Gulleson Bismarck

Civil Engineer Fargo


Emily Von Hagen, EI Civil Engineer

Fargo 8

Spring 2015

Cody Zarak Civil Technician Fargo

Trent Berg, PE Transferred from Fargo to Grand Forks

Ben Jore, EI Transferred from Bismarck to Maple Grove

Bret Zimmerman, EI Transferred from Fargo to Maple Grove





Bart Schultz, PE Office Manager Maple Grove

Dave Schwengler Office Manager Minot

Jeff Langan, PE Office Manager Thief River Falls

Jim Schlieman, PLS, CFedS Project Manager Fargo

Brian Fischer, CFM GIS Project Manager Maple Grove

EMPLOYEE ACCOMPLISHMENTS Bruce Albright was honored as the 2014 Outstanding Watershed District Employee of the Year by the Minneosta Board of Water and Soil Resources. He has served as the administrator for the Buffalo-Red River Watershed District for 35 years.

Michael Gunsch, PE, received the 2014 Water Wheel Award from the ND Water Users Association during the Joint Water Convention and Irrigation Expo. Recipients of this award demonstrate a commitment to protect, develop, and manage North Dakota's water resources.

Greg Thompson, PE, was elected as President for the North Dakota Society of Professional Engineers, Chapter 4-Fargo, serving for the 2015-2016 term.

Kristen Lotvedt, PE, received the 2014 Young Engineer of the Year award from the North Dakota Society of Professional Engineers, Chapter 4-Fargo. This award recognizes outstanding engineers under the age of 35 for their educational, professional, technical, and civic achievements.

Advances in Water Resources published Dr. Jun Yang's co-authored article: “A New Modeling Approach for Simulating Microtopography-dominated, Discontinuous Overland Flow on Infiltrating Surfaces.”

Journal of the American Water Resources Association published an article coauthored by Drew Kessler: “Drainage Impacts on Surficial Water Retention Capacity of a Prairie Pothole Watershed."


Joe Lewis, PE Civil Engineer Maple Grove

Lisa Odens, PE Civil Engineer Maple Grove


Shawn Thomasson, PLS

Project Manager Fargo

EARNED GISP CERTIFICATION Dave Kirkpatrick GIS Specialist Fargo

Kiah Sagami GIS Technician Maple Grove

Scott Wolfert GIS Technician Maple Grove



HEI NOW ARCGIS ONLINE SPECIALTY PROVIDER WITH ESRI HEI is proud to be an ArcGIS Online Specialty Provider with Esri! What does this mean to you? We can provide services related to the ArcGIS platform, teaching you how to fully leverage its capabilities. We can meet any of your needs from programmatic customization to training and support. ArcGIS Online is a collaborative, cloud-based platform that allows members of an organization to use, create, and share maps, apps, and data, including authoritative basemaps published by Esri. To learn more, contact Brian Fischer |

PRESENTATIONS/CONFERENCES HEI empowers our staff to provide educational presentations to colleagues, peers, and clients. In 2014, HEI presented at numerous conferences on topics ranging from local projects to new technologies that impact our industry.

Chad Qualley and Chuck Rebsch presenting at Trimble Dimensions in Las Vegas, NV.

Stan Hanson and Dave Schwengler at the HEI booth during the North Dakota League of Cities conference in Bismarck, ND.

NEW MINOT OFFICE Last October, HEI's Minot office moved to a recently renovated building in downtown Minot at 18 3rd Street SE, Suite 100. HEI is very excited to have its new Minot location to better serve our clients and support our growing staff's needs.


During the holidays, several Fargo and Maple Grove employees showed off their ugly sweaters in a friendly contest.


Spring 2015

Larry Kramka presenting at the Minnesota Annual Watershed District (MAWD) conference in Alexandria, MN.




Inspiring Young Engineers, Community Involvement, and Company Culture 1. Several HEI employees volunteered as referees and judges during the BEST Regional Robotics competition held in Fargo, ND, at the FargoDome.



2. Cameron Miller volunteered to teach students in the Junior Achievement program facilitated by the Minot Area Chamber of Commerce. The program has business volunteers lead students in grades K–6 through hands-on activities that show the relevance of education to success in business and in life. 3. Bismarck employees enjoyed a playful game of paintball. 4. Jeremy McLaughlin presented civil engineering to Fargo's Freedom Elementary's third grade class.


5. Tori Ihry from Davies High School job shadowed with Kristen Lotvedt and Ashley Roder at our Fargo office. 6. Nancy Wills, Gail Zehren, Michael Mooridian, and Stan Hanson at the MakeA-Wish Wine and Wishes event in Fargo sponsored in part by HEI. Guests heard about the wishes granted to more than 700 North Dakota children over the past 30 years.


7. HEI's employees raised $1,280 for No Shave November, an organization partnered with the American Cancer Society. Fargo participants show off their shaveless faces. 8. Maple Grove employees display their hairy styles for No Shave November.




1401 21st Avenue North • Fargo, ND 58102

Serving You Today


Enjoy a fun day on the green while also raising funds to support the American Red Cross at our annual golf tournament.

WHERE The Buffalo-Red River Watershed District's Manston Slough project located in Wilkin County near Barnesville, MN, is among the top three finalists in the natural resources category of the Minnesota Environmental Initiatives Award. One award winner in each category will be announced at their banquet on May 21. Before this project began, more than 75% of the historic wetland in the area had been completely drained and had limited value to waterfowl and other waterrelated species. This project included 1,147 acres of wetland restoration, a lower hazard classification dam with more than 4,000 acre-feet of storage, a water level control structure, and upland watershed treatment to control erosion. 12

Spring 2015

HEI is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer

Prairie West Golf Course | Mandan, ND


May 29 | Shotgun start at 12:30pm

HOW Visit to print your registration form and learn more.