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I S S U E No. 6

Copyright 2014, Urban Engineers, Inc. All rights reserved. This article is protected by United States copyright and other intellectual property laws and may not be reproduced, rewritten, distributed, re-disseminated, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast, directly or indirectly, in any medium without the prior written permission of Urban Engineers, Inc. For permission to reprint any portion of this publication; to notify us that you have received more than one copy; or to be removed from the mailing list, please contact us at or (215) 922-8080. Formulating ExcellenceŽ is the trademark of Urban Engineers, Inc. registered in the United States. Other marks, names, and logos contained herein are the property of their respective owners. Although reasonable effort has been made to present current and accurate information, Urban Engineers, Inc. makes no guarantees of any kind. The reader’s use of the information provided is at his or her own risk. In no event shall Urban Engineers, Inc., its officers, employees or agents, be held liable for any special, incidental, or consequential damages, whatsoever arising from the use or inability to use the information contained in this publication. Some links within this e-newsletter, or within the Urban Engineers, Inc. web site, may lead to other sites owned and operated by third parties. Urban Engineers, Inc. is not responsible for their content and does not necessarily sponsor, endorse or otherwise approve of the materials appearing in such sites. In addition, linked sites may be subject to terms of use and/or privacy policies of their owner/operators, and anyone who uses such a link is responsible for checking what those terms/ policies are for themselves. Furthermore, the opinions expressed in materials transmitted from this e-newsletter or the Urban Engineers, Inc. site are the opinions of the individual authors and may not reflect the opinion of Urban Engineers, Inc. or any of its principals, employees and/or agents.

Founded in 1960, Urban Engineers is a privately-owned (ESOP), ISO 9001:2008-registered, multidisciplinary design, construction management, construction inspection, planning, and environmental consulting firm.

I S S U E No. 6


clients pg. 11


Revolutionary change is underway for the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority.

Executive Perspective

pg. 25

Delaware DOT celebrates the completion of Carter Road.

Hear Us Roar, State College

pg. 1

Joseph P. McAtee, PE, Executive Vice President, COO

Bernard Carolan, CFO Welcome Back, Carter!


Urban opens a new office in State College, PA.

pg. 3


Paseo Verde

pg. 5


Susan Dondero-Dores

The first LEED ND Platinum development in America.

pg. 9

Faces of Formulating Excellence®

Peter Brennan

pg. 23 ®

Faces of Formulating Excellence

Flared Beams and Ferris Wheels

Contributors Photographers

Andrew Ludewig Cody Lowry Christopher Gubeno, PE Andrew Quinn, PE Dave D’Alba Joseph McAtee, PE Cody Lowry Matthew Ward, PE Luke Cloran Roy Denmark Kaytalin Platt

Special Thanks Philadelphia Regional Port Authority Philadelphia Curling Club Pennsylvania State University

pg. 19

New bridge design enhances Denver Community Fair.

Projects in the News


pg. 2




Urban Video Productions

Luke Cloran

Andrew Cushman Bruce Wagner Cody Lowry Dave D’Alba

Director Andrew Cushman In this photo: The Delaware River and Battleship New Jersey

pg. 31

Executive Perspective JOSEPH P. MCATEE, PE EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, COO What a beginning for the New Year! This winter’s inclement weather has proven to be a major challenge for just about every one of Urban’s 13 offices. But in emerging from such a cold winter, there is a higher level of optimism as we eagerly prepare for springtime. This optimism is for not only warmer weather, but also a much warmer work environment. This year, we will see some sizeable increases in the infrastructure budgets, with new funding streams in Pennsylvania and Maryland leading the way. I believe more will follow in the coming year. We will also finally see the emergence of the major Capital Enhancement Program for Philadelphia International Airport, for which we recently won the first major project to extend Runway 27L. Also poised for success will be our facilities engineering teams, and our new State College, PA office, which presents great opportunities to support the Pennsylvania State University Master Plan, a new and sizeable target for our services. Beyond the facilities market, all of our business lines will benefit from programs with continuing potential for new work. Indeed, it’s going to be a good year. Time marches on, and as we recognize that, we have started to set the stage for future generations. Principal owner Ed D’Alba and I recently announced that we will be transitioning leadership in the months ahead. This follows the completion of the sale of our stock and that of the associates to the Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) on December 30, 2013. We are now 100% ESOP-owned. Ownership changes are under discussion for our affiliate, Urban Engineers of New York, P.C. This is all very good news and will solidify our plans to achieve an internal ownership transition while remaining fully competitive in the growing marketplace. Entering the springtime, Ed and I are full of optimism for where the firm is going and we hope you all feel the same. We appreciate each and every one of Urban’s employees for making us a firm that can confidently say we are ‘Formulating Excellence’ for our clients. In doing so, we are continuing to build a reputation of professionalism that is really second to none. We also extend a hearty thanks and congratulations to our peers in the transportation industry in Maryland and Pennsylvania for working with elected officials to make additional funding possible; and of course, to our elected officials for passing the funding programs that will make transportation safer and more efficient for generations to come.

1 /

Hear us Roar, STATE COLLEGE!

* this image does not imply affiliation with Pennsylvania State University

New office 330 Innovation Boulevard, Suite 103 State College, PA 16803 814.308.9532 x2166

Urban has opened a new office in

and service clients, as well as attract

transit facilities, and building structures,

State College, PA, in Innovation Park, a

the best talent from the region.”

is based in the new office. She will

business campus that provides tenants

be involved with client development,

with access to The Pennsylvania State

The new location in State College

strategic teaming, technical oversight,

University’s (PSU) scientific, engineering,

combines with Urban’s Mechanicsburg

and staff growth. A graduate of PSU

technology, and business resources.

office to create a robust presence

and local resident, she is familiar

It features easy access to I-99 and US

in central Pennsylvania. Gregory

with clients such as the Pennsylvania

220/322, while also being close to the

J. Lebo, PE, will oversee strategic

Department of Transportation,

PSU University Park Campus.

business operations for both offices,

Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission,

which can offer clients a diverse

and PSU.

“This office is a vital part of Urban’s

array of services related to public

continued growth in central

transportation, facilities, highway and

Pennsylvania,” said Matthew C.

bridge transportation, and construction

Marquardt, PE, Senior Vice President

projects. Senior Project Manager

and General Manager of Design. “With

Diane Purdy, PE, who has 25 years of

its scenic grounds and top facilities,

experience in management and design

Innovation Park is a great place to host

of transportation projects, bridges,

For more information, contact: Gregory Lebo, PE, Vice President

people / 2

3 // 3

In January, Bernard M. Carolan, CPA, was promoted to chief financial officer. A vice president and member of Urban’s Executive Committee, he has served the firm as controller for nearly 13 years. We were foRtunate to sit down with this native of Dublin, Ireland, and get his thoughts on the new role as well as life in America.

What has been Your biggest challenge at Urban? BC: Difficult economic and business conditions impact Urban directly. Making good long-term decisions for Urban that have difficult short-term consequences is challenging but necessary to protect our future.

Why Urban? BC: I’m challenged every day in many different ways. As our clients evolve, our processes and our sharing of knowledge

and family is more challenging, although when you’re Irish you are never alone. It seems like I’ve met more Irish people (or people with Irish parents, grandparents, etc.) in Philadelphia than I knew in Dublin.

What Irish food do you miss the most? BC: Black pudding. It’s a blood pudding made from pig’s blood, oatmeal, and onions. Sounds terrible, tastes great. Honest.

questions that have to be resolved. The

We know you love reading. What’s your favorite book? BC: A History of the World in 10 Chapters

around a long time and remains a critical

financial reporting of this activity has to

by Julian Barnes. His ability to connect

part of the world we live in. Accountants

be incorporated into existing systems and

seemingly unconnected narratives and

must be communicators, interpreting and

presented accurately for management to

make a coherent whole made me think,

presenting information about the company

evaluate. All of this requires a large degree

particularly about our perception of history

and its finances. This communication allows

of interaction with our clients, our project

and how it defines our view of ourselves

the users of the information (management,

managers, and business managers. This

and the world. It also made me laugh out

financial institutions, investors) to make

is what drives everything forward, working

loud, which always helps.

informed decisions that help companies

with people to give meaning to the financial

become more successful. Part of the

information we produce.

What’s your Professional approach? BC: The accounting profession has been

also evolves. Our growth in different areas as we work with new clients raises new

profession’s responsibility is to measure and report economic events clearly in a way that is both ethical and rational.

What are your future goals for Urban? BC: I’m committed to making Urban the

If you were an engineer, which type would you be? BC: Great question, no idea. One of the benefits of working for Urban but not


When you have free time on the weekends... BC: I play football (soccer) most weekends with a bunch of other guys in a league, all of us trying vainly to relive our youth.

best possible company for our employees.

kids are under the impression that Urban

What’s your favorite football (soccer) team? Why? BC: Liverpool Football Club. A lot of Irish

My role in this process is to continue

has designed or been involved in the

people emigrated to Liverpool over the

focusing on growing and sustaining our

construction of all the major projects in the

years. My grandmother is from there and

profitability. This will give the company the

country (which becomes a more accurate

I still have family there. It also helped that

financial strength to innovate and grow in

assessment every day).

they had a great team when I was growing

being directly involved in projects, is that I claim involvement in everything we do. My

the future as new markets and opportunities emerge, potentially overtaking our traditional markets and clients. Achieving financial strength and independence puts our future in our hands, and benefits everyone who works here directly. This doesn’t happen overnight, rather in a series of incremental steps that are already in motion.

up. I’ve supported them since I was young.

What’s different about living in the United States? BC: There’s a steep learning curve when you first get here - not everything was like

What is something that most people do not know about you? BC: I do have an Irish accent that

the television shows we got at home. The

occasionally makes an appearance.

language is different, the food is different (better but different), and the pace is different. Replacing your network of friends

people / 4



PLATINUM paseo verde Paseo Verde is a mixed-use residential development in North Philadelphia consisting of 120 rental units comprised of one, two, and three bedroom apartments with community amenities and almost 30,000 square feet of ground-floor retail. It is the newest and largest non-university, mixed-use residential development project around Temple. Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha, or APM, a Latino community development organization, envisioned the project as a way to provide affordable, community-based housing with access to mass transit, while showcasing sustainable practices in design.

25/ / 5

projects projects/ /26 6

Urban’s site/civil engineering design and stormwater management strategies aided in reaching the Platinum LEED® ND goals.

Developed by Jonathan Rose Companies

envelope, individually controlled gas-fired

and designed by architectural firm

heating and cooling units in each apartment,

Wallace Roberts & Todd (WRT), this was

a 40 kW photovoltaic array on the roof, and

the first project nationwide to receive

natural lighting.

the LEED® Platinum in the category of LEED® for Neighborhood Design (LEED®

Urban provided the site/civil engineering

ND). The Transit Oriented Development,

design and developed the stormwater

located at 9th and Berks Streets in North

management strategies in coordination

Philadelphia immediately adjacent to the

with WRT to meet City of Philadelphia

Temple University regional rail station,

requirements and provide green stormwater

takes advantage of its location by

infrastructure to aid in reaching the Platinum

utilizing the rail connection to Center City

LEED® ND goals.

Philadelphia, Temple, and the surrounding neighborhoods.

Reducing overall runoff into the combined sewer outfall and reducing the impact to the public health and safety release rate due to existing sewer capacities in the area.

Providing stormwater infiltration back into the groundwater systems.

In the neighborhood around the project site, many homes have backups of their sewage

The $31.3 million project consists of a row

systems due to the combined sewers in the

of townhouses and four apartment and

streets being overtaxed during large storms.

condominium blocks with colorful exteriors

This creates not only a health hazard, but

and a parking garage at grade. The

also comes with property damage. Reducing

design incorporated several strategies to

the amount of drainage into the combined

meet the Platinum LEED® ND certification

sewers was a significant issue that required

that included a well-insulated building

implementing multiple design strategies in

7 /


stormwater strategies used during design

Reducing impervious areas by 20% on the site through the use of green roofs, landscaping, and tree wells.

and under the building, as well as along the streets and sidewalks.

More than 30,000 square feet of blue roofs slow stormwater runoff.

Multiple green roofs and blue roofs were incorporated into the design. Green roofs consist of soil or planting medium and various grasses, plants, and planters. The rain falling on the green roof is absorbed by the soils and growing medium to be absorbed by the plantings. Additional rainwater is also stored in the growing medium or soils with overflow being drained into rainwater collectors. Blue roofs are designed to collect ponding rainwater and slowly release it into the rain water collector pipes. An additional aspect of the blue roof was the photovoltaic cells that were installed on brackets to allow rainwater storage below. The blue and green roofs combine to slowly release the runoff through specially designed roof drains. The rainwater collector pipes that collect rainfall

what is a blue roof?

convey the runoff into underground infiltration basins below the foundation of the buildings. The infiltration of the excess runoff into the subsurface soils will recharge the soils and groundwater systems while also removing the

Blue roofs are designed to collect and pond rainwater and slowly release it into the rain water collector pipes.

runoff from sewer systems that are already over capacity. At street level, pervious pavers and tree wells are utilized to permit rainfall to enter the subsurface soils or be directed to the trees and landscaping around the site. The sustainable stormwater strategies also aid in reducing the annual operating costs of the facility by decreasing the

is a testament to the fact that sustainable design can come at a lower cost and be achieved through a systematic and targeted approach to all aspects of sustainability.

City’s stormwater management fees by more than $6,000. The use of infiltration, green and blue roofs, pervious pavers, and street trees and tree wells all helped the

For more information, contact:

project receive sustainable design credits in the LEED®

Daniel Humes, PE 215.922.8080

ND ratings. Reaching the LEED® ND Platinum certification

Residents can take advantage of the adjacent Temple University station for rail connections to Center City Philadelphia, surrounding neighborhoods, and the region.

projects projects // 8 8

FACE S OF F o r m u l at i n g exc el l en c e®

SUSAN DONDERo-DORES PROJECT MANAGER Susan Dondero-Dores, PE, was once the

background to transform the PTA. She

only woman engineer working in Urban’s

would see her former colleagues at Urban’s

Highway Division. Undeterred, she quickly

holiday parties and occasionally, she would

rose through the ranks. Susan’s husband,

be asked to help on a project. “I never

Gus, who worked in Urban’s Airport

felt that Urban was very far away, but I

Division, recalls, “Susan’s desire to succeed

wondered how far I would have made it if I

was incredible. She took every opportunity

had stayed.” Then one day, Susan took the

to improve herself, often going to meetings

road less traveled. An opportunity arose,

with department leaders just to learn from

and she picked up the phone and asked to

them.” Yet, just as her career was about

return to Urban. “I was treated as if I had

to really take off, she decided to make a

never left.”

career change - becoming a full-time mom. Susan thought that her children, two and

Today, Susan continues to be a dynamic

four years old at the time, needed her full

leader of the firm. She is a mentor to the

attention. “It was a difficult decision,” she

many women in the Highway Division and

says. “Those years that Gus and I spent

a go-to person with design questions. She

trying to juggle work and family were years

works with some of the same people she

well spent, but that was time we will never

did before she left - a few of whom have

get back with our children.”

surpassed her on the corporate ladder, but that doesn’t bother her because, “Urban

The next 10 years would fly by quickly as

allowed me the flexibility to achieve both

she became involved with her childrens’

- a successful, well-balanced career, and

school activities. She became a certified

being the parent I always wanted to be.”

substitute teacher, took care of her kids’ friends, and used her engineering

To see more Faces of Formulating Excellence, click here.

9 /

URBAN ALLOWED ME THE FLEXIBILITY to achieve both - a successful, well-balanced career, and being the parent I aways wanted to be.

people / 10


17 /



evolutionary change is underway for the Port of Philadelphia with a deeper river channel, new and upgraded facilities, and additional services. Making this

happen is the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority (PRPA), a dynamic economic engine and job creator for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. As the PRPA strives to meet the increasing demand around the globe for new and improved facilities and capabilities, Urban continues to help the organization modernize its facilities by providing a diverse array of services and knowledge of the Delaware River port infrastructure that is second to none.

Gateway to the East Established in 1990, the PRPA is the agency responsible for managing the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s marine terminals on the Delaware River. Between 1965 and 1990, the facilities were managed by the Philadelphia Port Corporation (PPC), a non-profit, quasipublic organization that had the authority to issue bonds to raise funds for port improvement and expansion. Major port improvements by the PPC in the 1960s and 1970s included constructing the 106-acre Packer Avenue Marine Terminal and the Tioga Marine Terminal in 1970. Eventually, the need to continuously maintain and improve the marine terminals became too costly for the City, which then turned to the Commonwealth for help. As a result, the PRPA was formed as an independent state agency to replace the PPC. The Commonwealth purchased all publicly owned port facilities from the City and assigned PRPA to manage them. The Port of Philadelphia is strategically located at the center of the Northeast Corridor, the country’s largest and richest marketplace. It has direct access to more major cities by rail and truck than any other U.S. port, ensuring timely and cost-effective deliveries. In fact, more than half of U.S. heavy industry is within secondday delivery of PRPA’s facilities. More than 3,000 ships load and offload at the port each year - making it one of the busiest in the North Atlantic and the fourth largest in the country for handling imported goods. PRPA’s facilities are highly diversified and handle containers, break-bulk, project cargo, and liquid bulk. The port includes specialized facilities for forest products, perishable cargo, and automobiles.

clients / 12

Deepening Dilemmas

deepen Lower Reach A, an approximately one-mile section of

A proposal to deepen the Delaware River navigation channel

the channel near Essington, PA was awarded in January 2014

from 40 to 45 feet from approximately the Benjamin Franklin

with work expected to begin this summer. Subsequent contracts

Bridge to the mouth of the Delaware Bay has been studied by the

are scheduled to be advertised for the deepening of Reach AA

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) since 1984. The project

(Philadelphia Harbor) and Lower Reach E (Lower Delaware Bay)

was authorized for construction in 1992, but due to challenges

in 2014. The deeper channel will provide for more efficient

regarding economics and environmental impacts, numerous

transportation of containerized, dry bulk (steel and slag), and

supplemental environmental studies, revised economic studies,

liquid bulk (crude oil and petroleum products) cargo to and

and challenges over state permit requirements, the project did

from the Delaware River ports. It will also reduce the need for

not move forward.

the “lightering” of larger ships at the mouth of the Delaware Bay (transferring some cargo to barges or other ships), which is

Recognizing the need for deepening the Delaware River to

currently required to allow them to traverse the 40-foot channel.

45 feet, then Governor Ed Rendell developed an agreement

This operation is costly and inefficient and puts the Delaware

between Pennsylvania and New Jersey in which the PRPA became

River port facilities at a competitive disadvantage. Once the

the new non-federal sponsor for the deepening project. On June

project is completed (target date is 2017), it will be able to

23, 2008, the PRPA signed the Project Partnership Agreement

take advantage of the benefits of the Panama Canal expansion

with the Department of the Army. Since then, PRPA and the

currently scheduled for 2015.

Commonwealth have actively supported the Corps through numerous legal challenges filed in the federal district courts in

Building from the Ground Up

Delaware and New Jersey and an appeal to the Third Circuit

To take full advantage of the deepened Delaware River and

Court of Appeals. The federal government prevailed in all of

outstanding rail and highway connections, the PRPA is in

these challenges, thus allowing the project to move forward.

the process of developing the proposed 150-acre Southport

“Of all the great work the Port of Philadelphia does to remain

Marine Terminal on a portion of The Navy Yard adjacent to

competitive, nothing is more important than our channel-

the Packer Avenue Marine Terminal in South Philadelphia. Two

deepening project,” said PRPA Chairman of the Board

Class I railroads, CSX and Norfolk Southern, service the site,

Charles G. Kopp, Esq. “While it is very important to build new

which is adjacent to the Norfolk Southern Intermodal Container

warehouses, modernize our facilities, buy new cranes, and

Terminal and the CSX Greenwich Intermodal Yard. Major

maintain our expert labor force, what good is all that if the ships

highways nearby include I-95, I-76, I-676, I-476, and the

can’t get up the river to reach us? Thanks to Governor Tom

Pennsylvania and New Jersey Turnpikes. PRPA has developed

Corbett and his administration, we’re not going to have that

a preliminary design and obtained state and federal approvals


for construction. Mitigation for Southport project impacts has begun at the former Jack’s Marina site on the Neshaminy Creek

Due to a shortage of federal funds designated for the project,

in Croydon, PA. When completed, the Jack’s Marina mitigation

PRPA made a critical decision by agreeing to accelerate its non-

site will include 11.52 acres of intertidal wetland and intertidal

federal funding for the project to begin construction in March

mudflat re-establishment (removing fill from former wetlands),

2010 with the dredging of Reach C, a 12-mile stretch of the river

enchancing 13.65 acres of existing wetlands by the removing

downstream from the Delaware Memorial Bridge. This initial

a high spot containing Phragmites and debris, planting 3.25

contract, which removed 3.6 million cubic yards of material,

acres of submerged aquatic vegetation, creating 0.45 acres of

was completed in September 2010. Subsequent contracts

redbelly turtle habitat, and planting 4.25 acres of upland buffer.

have dredged an additional 29 miles of channel, removing

The PRPA is also proposing to install underwater reef structures

approximately 3.6 million cubic yards of material.

along the south facing shoreline of the Southport site as an

“Pennsylvania’s Governor Tom Corbett has been a strong

added enhancement measure for fish species. In addition, the

supporter of the project since its inception. Help from the federal

PRPA is constructing a new access road to the Southport Marine

government has come from a number of people, especially

Terminal. Upon completion, it will be the first major marine

Pennsylvania Senator Robert P. Casey and Representative Robert

terminal built from the ground up at the Port of Philadelphia

A. Brady, and Delaware Senators Christopher A. Coons and

in more than 40 years. This facility would greatly increase the

Thomas R. Carper,” Kopp said. To date, approximately 60 %

port’s capacity for containerized cargo, which is anticipated to

of the areas that require deepening (portions of the project are

increase as a result of the expansion of the Panama Canal and

already at or below 45 feet) have been addressed. A contract to

the deepening of the Delaware River.

13 /

The deepening of the Delaware will spur almost $1 billion in investments in new port infrastructure projects along the Delaware River…and protect and create thousands upon thousands of blue collar, family sustaining jobs. Dennis Rochford President, Maritime Exchange for the Delaware River and Bay

clients / 14

Urban will design improvements to the on-site rail system, the dock area between the pier and the existing warehouse, and numerous upgrades to the 306,000-square-foot warehouse.

“Southport is a great example of the kind

230 stevedore (dockworker) and terminal

resurfacing the dock area between the pier

of public/private partnership that has made

jobs and a total of 380 jobs, including rail

and the existing warehouse, and numerous

great things happen in this port on so many

workers and truckers. The terminal will be

upgrades to the 306,000-square-foot

occasions,” said PRPA Executive Director

operated by Delaware River Stevedores


James T. McDermott, Jr. “Recognizing

who will invest in equipment, information

Southport’s value to our regional economy,

technology, and provide training for their

“With all that remains to transform the

the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is

workers. Fibria would initially bring in 12 to

terminal into a world class home for

providing key support to get this truly

18 ships a year with 300,000 to 350,000

Fibria, the Delaware River Stevedores takes

exciting project off the ground, but equally

metric tons of wood pulp for distribution

comfort in knowing that the PRPA retained

important is the substantial private industry

to paper plants in Pennsylvania. The pulp

Urban Engineers to work on the project,”

investment that will be a central component

will be used to make tissue paper. It will

Robert Palaima, President of the Delaware

to Southport’s construction and operation.”

be distributed by truck and rail in a joint

River Stevedores, said. “We find folks at

venture by Conrail, Norfolk Southern, and

Urban to be quick studies on the specific

Major Corporation, Fibria, Arrives At The Port


needs of our industry. They listen, and they

The most recent good news for the PRPA

Urban assisted the PRPA is coordination

with all the alacrity required to have our

and the Ports of Philadelphia was the

with the Corps and the U.S. Coast Guard

facility ready for the first ship arrival this

announcement of a deal between the

regarding the safe transit of the ships


Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and Fibria

transporting the pulp. Urban is currently

Cellulose S.A., the world’s largest producer

under contract to the PRPA to design

of bleached eucalyptus wood pulp to

For more information, contact:

site improvements at Tioga to prepare

relocate its northeastern U.S, distribution

the facility for receiving the first delivery

center to PRPA’s Tioga Marine Terminal.

of pulp in early July. Improvements

Roy Denmark, Vice President 215.922.8080

The relocation will create approximately

include modifying the on-site rail system,

15 /

turn out ideas, solutions, and work product

360,000 455 52

T O NS IN A NNUA L V OLUM E weeks per year of activity for local w orkers


20 y e a r r e l at io ns hip e nv is io ne d


t he a ppr ox imate n um ber of large v e s s e l s pe r y ear

Fibria’s Operations at the Port

by t h e n umbers


million in taxes generated for the U.S. government

The Fibria project represents a transformative piece of business, in that it is at the vanguard of revitalizing not only Tioga Marine Terminal, but also the entire Port Richmond industrial corridor. Robert Palaima President, Delaware River Stevedores




mil l io n in ta x e s gen erated for th e state

clients / 16


17 /

Bridge engineer Andrew Van Schooneveld, PE, rocks the house at the Philadelphia Curling Club.

people / 18


FERRIS WHEELS New Bridge Design Enhances Denver Community Fair


very year, 80,000 visitors converge on Denver Borough in Lancaster County, PA for the Denver Community Fair. The five-day fair has continued to grow since it began in 1982, and has become a permanent fixture with the Denver community and region. The event is an opportunity for hundreds

of volunteers to come together for one week to exhibit and showcase the community’s talent. Located adjacent to Denver Memorial Park and Playground, where the fair is held, was an old worn stone bridge crossing Cocalico Creek (Steinmetz Road/Main Street - SR 1026). The bridge was deemed structurally deficient and detracted from the area’s look and feel. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Engineering District 8-0, (PennDOT) wanted to replace the bridge and consulted with Urban to develop a bridge design that not only carried the public safely to and from Denver Borough, but also blended aesthetically with the surroundings. While this bridge replacement seemed simple, Urban learned quickly that variables ranging from the geometry of the roadway and structure to concerns regarding the impact of construction on the safety and success of the Denver Fair would make the project significantly more complex. The project was ultimately successful because the team listened to the needs of Denver Borough and local stakeholders, and in the process, set the standard for the way the Borough works with entities like PennDOT on other bridge improvement projects.

projects / 20

CHALLENGE 1 DESIGNING WITH FLARE Urban, which oversaw all activities associated with preliminary

The proposed roadway alignment and vertical profile had to be

and final design of the two-span, pre-stressed (P/S) concrete

established as close as possible to

I-beam bridge, recognized in the early stages that the existing

the existing.

roadway alignment did not meet current roadway design criteria for the allowed design speed. A 35-degree turn on one end of the existing crossing and a substandard roadway width on the bridge


forced the traveling public to take extra care when approaching

At the location of the 35-degree turn,

the existing bridge from both directions. The existing bridge was

the solution was to insert a curving

a two-span, steel, multi-girder structure with a total length of 106

roadway alignment meeting the

feet. Its foundations were oriented at a 45-degree angle to allow

assigned design speed requirements,

the flow of Cocalico Creek to pass under the bridge. Knowing

while maintaining the existing

these conditions, Urban combined a new roadway alignment

alignments approaching the bridge.

(meeting the allowed design speed requirements) with a new bridge structure supported on new foundations found at the same location as the existing structure. For this design to be successful, the following challenges were addressed:

CHALLENGE 2 The proposed bridge also had to support a curving roadway alignment


without violating PennDOT’s overhang deck length criteria. In this case, the maximum outside overhang dimension could not exceed the depth of the proposed beam.

SOLUTION Knowing that the curved alignment rested partially on the proposed bridge, a cost analysis was completed comparing P/S concrete beams and curving steel plate girders. It was determined that the P/S beam option was the most cost-effective. To meet PennDOT’s overhang criteria, the solution was to flare the placement of the beams in the span


where the curving alignment was established. As a result, these beams are of different length and set at different angles to each other. This caused the bridge deck to vary in width along the span where the curving alignment exists. In addition, the roadway’s superelevation was always in transition. As one travels across the bridge, one can feel the roadway cross slope increase into the turn. On the construction plans, PennDOT requires bridge deck elevations along regular intervals to each of the beams and at 10-foot intervals along the length of the bridge. Variables of the curving alignment, varying bridge width, beams set at different angles from each other, and superelevation transitioning had to be taken into account to ensure that everything fit into place.

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Borough requested that PennDOT schedule construction to start after

This particular bridge peaked the public’s interest given its proximity

the conclusion of the 2011 Denver Fair and be completed prior

to Denver Memorial Park and Playground, the site of the annual

to the start of the 2012 Denver Fair. PennDOT complied and the

fair, visibility to local homeowners, and being a primary gateway

project was completed without any impact to the event. The Borough

to Denver Borough. Community officials were engaged early in the

also worked with PennDOT to provide a temporary construction

design process and thereby able to play a role in improving their

easement in Denver Memorial Park. The location of the temporary

quality of life. “By maintaining open lines of communication during

easement eliminated access from the park’s main entranceway to

the design and construction phases, the trust and understanding

the existing park trail. In return for the easement, PennDOT required

between all parties resulted in a positive experience for all those

that the contractor install an accessible temporary trail connection

involved,” Mike Hession, the Manager of Denver Borough, said.

so that members of the community could continue to use this facility during construction. This temporary connection also served

While reviewing the proposed new bridge details, members of

as a prime viewing area for the community to safely watch bridge

Borough Council had expressed their desire that the new bridge


retain some of the features that made the old bridge unique. For one, the design team suggested using architectural surface treatment

Finally, access to several driveways adjacent to the bridge needed

to resemble the existing bridge’s stone foundations. Borough officials

to be maintained during construction, including one to the Denver

were provided with details and color swatches and ultimately

Memorial Park and Playground. Urban’s construction management

helped determine the bridge’s final appearance. Additionally, for

and inspection insight proved valuable in overcoming these

approximately 150 feet of the western approach to the bridge, there

construction challenges. “The process incorporated the cooperation

was insufficient space to grade the embankment down to Cocalico

that municipal officials and community members often seek from

Creek. Urban utilized a barrier moment slab with toe wall structure

state agencies such as PennDOT on infrastructure projects in our

from PennDOT’s Bridge Standard Design Drawings. This standard

communities,” Hession said. “This process has served as a baseline

structure uses a 42-inch-high, jersey-shaped concrete barrier, which

for how we have been working with PennDOT on improvement

would have created an unsightly ‘wall effect’ blocking the view of

projects on other bridges located in the Borough.”

both Cocalico Creek and Denver Memorial Park and Playground from the traveling public. Urban suggested using PennDOT’s PA Type 10M Barrier, in turn modifying this standard structure. This barrier with a metal handrail creates a more open view without sacrificing the public’s safety.

For more information, contact: Matthew Ward, PE, Senior Project Manager 215.922.8080

The Borough shared with PennDOT concerns regarding the impact of construction on the safety and success of the Denver Fair. The projects / 22

Good co m m u n i c ati o n i s good en gi n eer i n g.

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FACE S O F F o r m u l at i n g exc el l en c e®


As the son of an American diplomat, Peter Brennan, PE, LEED® AP, spent his youth traveling throughout East Africa. He lived in Ethiopa, Uganda, and Zambia, and visited several more countries between the ages of 8 and 17. “It was a complicated experience growing up abroad - one that I wouldn’t trade for anything,” he said. “Moving from place to place in a diplomatic household, you become sensitive to different viewpoints. I had to learn how to reach common ground with someone quickly in order to make new friends, a skill that I continue to draw upon today.” In 2008, just seven months after joining Urban’s Ports & Waterways Division, Peter was the resident engineer for a large-scale dock rehabilitation project for Sunoco Logistics. “There was a steep learning curve related to staying on top of all aspects of construction, performing detailed inspection of steel and geotechnical work, and eventually garnering the respect of the client and contractor,” he said. While the project required a high level of technical expertise, Peter’s diverse experience and ability to communicate clearly and adapt to a myriad of personalities helped him stay ahead of the curve. This gained him favor among both the client and contractor. “Clarity and specificity are very important in our industry,” Peter said. “Years down the line your work must still be understood.”

To see more Faces of Formulating Excellence, click here.

people / 24

WElcome back, Carter!

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(L:R) Ed Vaughn, Walt Mudrowsky, PE; John Pietrobono, PE; and Delaware Governor Jack Markell at the Carter Road ribbon cutting.


rban joined Delaware Governor Jack Markell, Transportation Secretary Shailen Bhatt, and members of the project team and local community to celebrate the anticipated completion of the $4 million Carter Road-Sunnyside Road to Wheatleys Pond Road reconstruction in Smyrna, DE. “Carter Road was once a narrow roadway with no shoulders

and minimal pedestrian facilities,” said Bhatt. “But the many improvements will greatly accommodate both vehicle and pedestrian traffic. While many of our projects benefit interstate traffic, I am pleased to say this is a project for Delawareans. More specifically, this will benefit the people of Smyrna economically, and by enhancing their safety and improving their quality of living.” Urban was responsible for project development, public outreach, concept through final design and plans, specifications and estimates, and construction consultation. The design incorporated LED lighting and best management practices in stormwater management. Improvements included widening Carter Road to two 11-foot travel lanes; two five-foot shoulders; installing curbs and sidewalks for pedestrians; drainage system for stormwater; relocation of utility poles; street lighting; bicycle lanes; ADA-compliant sidewalks and ramps; and a new signal at the Sunnyside Road intersection. Additionally, the Delaware Department of Transportation requested that the pavement be reconstructed using Full-Depth Reclamation (FDR), a process that uses the old asphalt and base material for the new road. This technique limits waste and reduces construction truck traffic, a more sustainable solution than conventional methods. clients / 26

FULL-DEPTH RECLAMATION This process uses the old asphalt and base material for the new road. Here are the benefits.

CON S ERV ES EN ERGY Completed in-place and on-grade so trucking and other material handling issues are eliminated or greatly reduced. Also, no heating fuel is needed since it is a cold process.

CON S ERV ES MA T ERIA L S Existing pavement materials (stone and asphalt) are reused, thus conserving limited resources.

CROW N A N D CROS S Slope easily restored.

COS T - EFFECT IV E Addresses the cause of pavement failure, weak bases.

CON S T RUCT ION T IME RED UCED Recycling in-place is much more efficient than hauling materials away.

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The rehabilitation work was completed in less than two years.

Happy Days are Here Again The rehabilitation work that began in 2012 was much anticipated by the area’s residents as improvements to Carter Road were originally envisioned as far back as 1999. Utilizing both federal (80%) and state (20%) funding, reconstruction was completed in less than two years. Smyrna’s Mayor, Joanne Masten, who has lived in the town for 65 years in the same house just two blocks off of Carter Road, offered this perspective, “Carter Road for many years wasn’t developed as nicely as it is, but it’s always been our entrance to get


to Route 13. When it was shut down, it inconvenienced everybody that lived in the Town of Smyrna as well as all the surrounding communities. Now with this road completed, it’s just an absolutely wonderful addition to the Town of Smyrna.” When asked whether the community was satisfied with the product, Masten said, “I think the community is very satisfied. The fruits of that will be in June when the Smyrna Swim Club opens because it’ll make it a


lot easier for the citizens and their children to get there whether they’re driving, walking, or going biking.”

For more information, contact: John Pietrobono, PE, Vice President 302.689.0260 clients / 28


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Urban to Provide Monitoring and Technical Assistance Support to the Federal Rail Administration The U.S. Department of Transportation, Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, has selected Urban to provide monitoring and technical assistance to the Federal Rail Administration. Under this five-year indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity task order contract, Urban’s scope of work may include monitoring, technical assistance, compliance, program management, deliverable review, and training. Urban will draw upon close to 30 years of related experience gained through providing program management oversight experience to the Federal Transit Administration, as well as a proven record with task order contracts.

Urban’s Philadelphia Office Celebrates LEED® CI Silver Certification The United States Green Building Council has recognized Urban’s Philadelphia Headquarters as LEED® Silver under the 2009 Commercial Interiors rating system. Janet Milkman, Executive Director for the Delaware Valley Green Building Council, visited the office and said, “In certifying their office space to the LEED standard, Urban demonstrates both leadership and good business sense. They understand that implementing green building practices will positively impact the environment, human health, and their bottom line. We congratulate them on this significant achievement.”

Amtrak Re-opens West Plaza at 30th Street Station Amtrak, SEPTA, and NJ Transit passengers traveling through 30th Street Station in Philadelphia can access the 30th Street side of the iconic building via a newly reconstructed West Plaza. The plaza features 100 additional bike racks, expanded parking, and new outdoor seating options, among other improvements. The $30 million Amtrak-funded project also includes renovating the steel infrastructure beneath the pedestrian plaza. Urban


managed the rehabilitation of the street-level West Plaza, and will continue to oversee the ongoing work on the basementlevel parking garage. Additionally, Urban is managing a separate construction contract involving structural steel replacement and painting at the passenger platform level.

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clients + people + projects

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Excellence - Winter 2014  

Featuring PRPA, Paseo Verde, and Flared Beams & Ferris Wheels