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January 2014 » Features » PROJECT NOTES

Hotel and Transit Center Project at DIA
HNTB was awarded the first place prize in the Autodesk Excellence in Infrastructure Competition for its contribution to the Hotel and Transit Center Project at Denver International Airport (DIA). HNTB, in collaboration with project partners, employed a BIM process and Autodesk software to help the fifth busiest airport in the United States to design and construct a large-scale addition set to meet LEED Silver certification. The team at HNTB guided creation of a virtual model of the building that has been used for a host of purposes including spatial coordination, clash detection, structural design analysis, design review, collaboration, cost analysis, and construction scheduling.

The Denver International Airport Hotel and Transit Center Project is the next step in enhancing the airport's competitive standing as a leading global airport and positioning it for continued growth.
Rendering: DIA and Gensler.

"One of the largest challenges to constructing the new Hotel and Transit Center at Denver International Airport was maintaining the aggressive program schedule within very limited space," said Stuart Williams, South Terminal Redevelopment program manager, Department of Aviation, DIA. "BIM helped us identify and address potential obstacles early in the project and, with BIM, we are able to run the project more efficiently, communicate better, and provide information easily due to workflows that have been established."

"The work we are performing with BIM for the South Terminal Redevelopment Program is not only creating a centralized system for managing the Hotel and Transit Center through its operational life, but is also providing Denver International Airport with a framework to deploy BIM facility-wide, which will help our client streamline facility operations and maintenance and achieve excellence on new projects through collaborative design and financial management," said Julie Wienberg, director of design for aviation at HNTB and deputy program manager for the South Terminal Redevelopment Program.

HNTB used Autodesk Revit software (architecture, structure, and MEP), Autodesk AutoCAD Civil 3D, Autodesk Navisworks, Autodesk AutoCAD, Autodesk Design Review, Autodesk ReCap, Autodesk Buzzsaw, Autodesk BIM 360, and Autodesk BIM 360 Field.

View a DIA Hotel and Transit Center video at
Information provided by Autodesk

EPS geofoam fills void for Chicago Metro Airport
ACH Foam Technologies provided EPS geofoam for several construction projects in Chicago including Millenium Park, Soldier's Field, and most recently, the Gary-Chicago International Airport roadway expansion. As part of the airport's roadway expansion, a two-span steel bridge had to be built over the EJ & E Railroad tracks that bisected Airport Rd. near Chicago Ave.

43,000 cubic yards of Foam-Control EPS Type 22 geofoam was used to create the embankment for the two bridge approaches.
Final road grade material layer is installed on top of a 6-inch load distribution slab, which secures the blocks in place and distributes traffic loads.

Superior Construction won the general contractor position, and Superior's Pete Keilman acted as project superintendent for the roadway expansion bridge. According to Keilman, the bridge had to be built over two existing rails as well as two future rails. There was a potential problem with the quality of soil where the bridge was to be built. Additionally, a trucking company's property line was too close to the bridge embankment to allow for the slope that would have been required by conventional soil fill.

Preliminary analysis found soil about 12 feet down that contained a large percentage of peat that would settle over time. It was decided that geofoam was the preferred alternative because the material would distribute the load and prevent future settling. Vertical geofoam embankments also made purchase of additional right-of-way unnecessary.

Superior's five- to seven-man crew was able to cut a trench through the geofoam to carry a storm sewer pipe for 400 feet on each side of the bridge approach. "We hadn't done this before," Keilman said. "Engineers provided detailed drawings we followed on the jobsite, and ACH Foam provided a hotwire that would easily cut through the foam. We also used a chain saw and a smaller saw in various sections.

"Once we had the foam down and the sewer pipe in, we laid a single matt of rebar, then poured 6 inches of concrete on top of that. Two feet of stone topped the concrete, and that stone was surfaced with a foot of asphalt. The bulk of the geofoam embankment was installed in the fall of 2012; more geofoam was installed this spring for a total of 43,000 cubic yards of Foam-Control EPS Type 22 geofoam."

"Using geofoam as an alternative fill reduces, and in many cases eliminates completely, the loading against bridge structures as well as adjacent roadways," said Oracle Engineering's Marv Cook, an EPS design engineer for projects all over the world.

It was estimated that stage one primary settlement of the soil could take six to 12 months. Using geofoam eliminated that settlement time, so the road closure only lasted about a couple of months before the airport road was reopened in November 2012.

ACH's Frank Kiesecker said geofoam is being used in transportation projects with greater frequency. "Once it became common knowledge that geofoam weighs about 1/100th the weight of soil and saves money and time for installation as well as road closures, the Federal Highway Administration began to require DOTs to compare cost and time savings using geofoam versus soil and other alternatives," he said.
Information provided by ACH Foam Technologies

Rainwater harvesting cleans up downtown Monterrey
A drainage project in downtown Monterrey, Mexico, has created a sustainable blueprint for rainwater reuse that experts hope can be replicated to help tackle the joint challenges of urban regeneration and water scarcity across Mexico. Monterrey is the capital of Nuevo Leon state in northeast Mexico. With a population of 4 million, it is the third largest city in Mexico. In the arid northern regions of the country, water scarcity is becoming an increasing problem caused by over-extraction from underground aquifers.

In an ambitious social rehabilitation project, 3.7 acres of abandoned street islands running along eight blocks of Monterrey's main Edison Avenue close to the city center have been transformed from hot-spots of crime and deprivation into a meeting point for the local community, including sports facilities and children's play areas.

With a 133-acre catchment basin draining almost 10.5 million cubic feet of rainwater, the area was prone to heavy flooding and subject to pollution from trash and other floatable debris as well as from hydrocarbons carried in the runoff during storm periods. A solution designed and built by Solutions Hidropluviales of Mexico City pioneered the use of stormwater treatment technologies from Hydro International in combination with stormwater storage to recycle rainwater, irrigate the islands, and plant a green corridor of 170 oak trees. The project uses Hydro vortex separation technologies to clean runoff upstream of two retention tanks, explained Alberto Burgoa, president and CEO of Solutions Hidropluviales, Hydro's stormwater product distributor in Mexico.

"Using rainwater retention for stormwater management has not been common in Mexico, but we believe it could have great potential as a sustainable solution that can help combat the country's severe water scarcity problems," Burgoa said. "The solution we have engineered will store enough water to irrigate the oak trees for 62 days. We hope the technology can not only provide clean water for irrigation projects, but also be used for industrial or other urban regeneration schemes throughout Mexico."

The new rainwater harvesting solution was retrofitted beneath one of the traffic islands with treatment solutions supplied via Hydro's U.S. Stormwater Division, headquartered in Portland, Maine.

A Hydro Downstream Defender vortex separator removes sediment, oils, and floatables from the stormwater before it enters the first 6,569-cubic-foot plastic tank designed to regulate the flow and store water. At the outlet to the tank, a Hydro Up-Flo Filter provides further stormwater filtration to remove fine sediments, nutrients, and metals. Finally, the water passes into a 2,190-cubic-foot storage tank, from where it is pumped to the drip irrigation system.

"We completed the drainage project in a very short three-month timescale. The Hydro products were quick and simple to install," Burgoa said. Although the Downstream Defender and Up-Flo Filter typically require maintenance once per year, the heavy pollutant load of the drainage area will require maintenance twice a year.

Regeneration of the Edison district is being led by OXXO, a national convenience store chain that has its headquarters in the area. OXXO gathered a group of investors and sponsors to form The Trust Poligono Edison, which includes the FEMSA bottling corporation, Monterrey Municipality, Monterrey Football Club, and the U.S. Consulate.

The project has seen the islands transformed into a series of family recreation areas including a children's playground, basketball courts, exercise equipment, ping pong, and public fountains. Cultural activities will be organized for the areas' 24,000 residents to provide a central community focus and encourage improved social conditions.
Information provided by Hydro International

Hydro vortex separation technologies are installed beneath a traffic island to clean runoff for irrigation use.
After stabilizing the failed pipe, the sinkhole area was excavated and backfilled with flowable fill to provide necessary support for roadway repair.

Emergency sinkhole repairs on the Garden State Parkway
In early 2013, a failed stormwater drain pipe 60 feet below the road surface caused a 4-foot by 4-foot sinkhole on the southbound approach of the Driscoll Bridge along the Garden State Parkway in Middlesex County, N.J. Although vehicles were damaged, no injuries were reported. In collaboration with New Jersey Turnpike Authority officials and the Authority's on-call contract team, McCormick Taylor, Inc. provided engineering solutions to repair the sinkhole and produced a quick turnaround design in less than 24 hours to restore normal Parkway operations.

Approximately 350 feet of heavy-walled steel pipe was used to slipline the failed corrugated metal drain pipe and had to be carefully inserted into the outlet end of the failed pipe above an active sanitary sewer force main and below a fiber optic cable. Once the failed pipe was stabilized, the sinkhole area was excavated and backfilled with flowable fill, providing necessary support for the roadway repair.

Following the peak summer travel season, McCormick Taylor prepared a permanent final design and construction plan that addresses the long-term support of the roadway and includes consolidation grouting to fill any remaining void between the road surface and the sliplined drain pipe 60 feet below.
Information provided by McCormick Taylor, Inc.

Submit news and photos of planned, ongoing, or recently completed projects and research to Bob Drake at In March, "Project Notes" will highlight use of geosynthetics and bridges; in April, retaining walls and geotechnology are the focus.

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