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Session 6 - Large Hydraulic Infrastructure Projects

Session: 6

Session Title:  Large Hydraulic Infrastructure Projects

Organizer: Jonathan Prier

Moderator: Jonathan Prier


Topic A Title:  Allen Creek Berm Opening: An Alternative to Noah's Ark

Speaker (s):  Jeremy Hedden, Katie Hoensheid

Name, Company, Location:  Bergmann Associates

Topic A Description:

  • Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grand Funding (Design Phase and Construction Phase)
  • RR coordination with MDOT Office of Rail, Amtrak, and Norfolk Southern.
  • Railroad, hydraulic, and structural engineering.
  • Design of new culvert pedestrian RR crossing to connect Ann Arbor with Huron Riverfront.

The railroad berm near the mouth of Allen Creek, just west of the Ann Arbor Amtrak Station, is oriented perpendicular to the overland drainage flow pattern and causes the area’s floodplain depth to be as deep as 10-feet during heavy storm events.  This project is located along the Michigan Line (railroad) which was purchased by MDOT from Norfolk Southern and is operated and maintained by Amtrak. 

In 2013 Bergmann worked with a consultant team and the City to complete a Feasibility Study to investigate whether a new culvert could be placed through the existing RR berm to relieve flooding.  Bergmann provided oversight and railroad coordination services for the project, and consideration in each alternative was given to construction staging and minimizing service outages for Amtrak and NS RR. The feasibility study determined that a dual-purpose opening would reduce flooding occurring on the landward side of the railroad berm as well as permit safe pedestrian access to the riverfront. The new pedestrian connection linking downtown Ann Arbor and its neighborhoods with the Border to Border (B2B)/Iron Belle Trail is a vital link in the local and regional trail system.  The pedestrian tunnel will be located immediately east of the proposed flood relief culverts and was integral to MDOT and Amtrak supporting the flood risk reduction project.

As a result of extensive planning and study, the City was awarded a FEMA grant to fund design of the project (Phase 1) which was completed in late 2018.  The design work included hydraulic and structural engineering; agency permitting and utility coordination; design of railroad construction staging; stakeholder engagement; environmental and historical assessment; and delivery of all project plans, estimates, grant application materials, and specifications. This presentation will outline the many challenges associated with hydraulic analysis, structural staging for a 1 day railroad track outage to install the structure, and sometimes intense stakeholder engagement. Construction is advancing quickly and will be complete in the fall of 2020.


Topic B Title:  Replacing the Regulator

Speaker (s):  Sean Milroy, Jason Wise

Name, Company, Location:  Michael Baker International

Topic B Description: The Opportunity Corridor (OC) is a new 3-mile boulevard extending from the eastern terminus of Interstate 490 (west) to East 105th Street in University Circle (east). Construction of the OC began in 2015 at the east end with Section 1, the widening of East 105th Street. Section 2, which extended the roadway from East 105th to East 93rd Street while Section 3 consists of new roadway from I-490/East 55th Street to East 93rd Street.  A critical component of the Section 3 contract was the relocation of a Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (NEORSD) storm sewer regulator as the existing regulator conflicted with the proposed E. 55th bridge over the OC.  The purpose of regulators is to mitigate a storm event, reducing likelihood of overload at a water treatment plant. The new regulator will align with NEORSD’s capital investment strategy. Another reason to install a new regulator is the project drives through the existing 96” brick sewer.

Challenges overcame included the new regulator being installed with the existing regulator still in operation; relocation of existing utilities to permit the 24’ x 36’ vault to be installed 50’ underground; and jack and bore of the new sewer systems accommodating the OC3 project.  E. 55th Street is a major N-S corridor which carries a myriad of existing utilities, which had to be maintained during construction of the new regulator and new bridge carrying E. 55th over the OC.  Existing utilities include a 16” sanitary force main, Cleveland Public Power, CEI Power, AT&T, gas mains, a 12” and 30” water main. A temporary force main was laid on the west side of the road, while AT&T, gas, CEI, and a 16’ water used the temporary by-pass road to the east of the work.

After the completion of the regulator and bridge beams were installed, the utilities were brought back online under E. 55th street pavement and carried across the new 100’ long simple span bridge. The 60” tall precast concrete beams were designed to accommodate the utilities through its cross-frames. The bridge was constructed at grade, affording excellent access to install the utilities. The bridge was founded on two rows of 24” CIP piles with a CIP facing. Soldier pile lagging walls with CIP facing were installed on all four corners to facilitate the OC passing under the bridge while supporting existing businesses above, including a GCRTA sub-station and a GCRTA passenger station. 48” drilled shafts were advanced to host the piles.


Topic C Title:  ODOT Research – Soil Amendment for Stormwater Volume Reduction

Speaker (s):  Justin Kerns, Jon Prier

Name, Company, Location:  ms consultants

Topic C Description: The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) Location and Design Manual specifies several post-construction best management practices (BMPs) that have been approved by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) for use on publicly funded transportation projects. These OEPA approved BMPs are currently the only practices which ODOT can accept for post-construction water quality and water quantity treatment. However, there are common features of roadway projects, such as grassed shoulders and medians that with modification (such as soil amendments) may increase the infiltration capacity, promote evapotranspiration, and serve as a water quantity BMP.