APWA Sacramento Music Festival
The challenges of civil engineering have always kept WRECO seeking new and innovative solutions - perhaps that's why they call us "The Seeker."
Well, at least for a day they did.
On Saturday, August 12, WRECO participated in the inaugural American Public Works Association Sacramento Music Festival, which featured a closing set from WRECO's Laboratory Manager Ray Downes and his band The Verge, as well as a cameo by President Han-Bin Liang on a cover of "The Seeker" as made famous by The Who.
The event was hosted by Dokken Engineering in Folsom, and along with music from The Verge and four other bands, festivalgoers were treated to drinks by Fort Rock Brewing and food by Sutter Street Taqueria.
Other participating companies included Dokken Engineering, Turner Construction, and West Yost Associates, as well as the cities of Folsom and Roseville and the El Dorado County Department of Transportation.
Check out the video to see Ray and Han in action!
WRECO'S Elk Grove Open House
WRECO christened our new Elk Grove office on Thursday, July 13 with an open-house style event where we celebrated alongside friends and colleagues with music, food, drinks, and raffles.
Along with catering by Sacramento-area favorite Selland's Market-Café, guests were treated to BBQ tri-tip and sausages grilled by none other than WRECO's Senior Geologist and Elk Grove Office Manager, Dave Kitzmann.
In combination with our well-established Roseville office and materials testing laboratory, WRECO is excited to better serve our geotechnical and Sacramento-area clients with our new and easily accessible Elk Grove office.
WRECO Opens a New Office in San Jose
The opening of a new office in San Jose, CA is the latest extension of WRECO's office locations. In addition to the corporate headquarters in Walnut Creek and civil engineering-focused location in Oakland, the San Jose office will support WRECO's growth and help better serve our clients in the South Bay region.
WRECO Does Outreach for the H Street Green Street Improvement Project
The H Street Green Street Improvement Project between 4th Street and 12th Street in the City of Union City is a sustainable redevelopment project that will create low-impact, green infrastructure that mimics natural systems all while providing essential storm-drainage function. The tree-lined, pedestrian-friendly "green" street will contribute to the public's overall quality of life while reducing water pollution and increasing groundwater recharge.
WRECO is responsible for managing the design of the sidewalk enhancements, landscape features, stormwater treatment facilities, and other infrastructure amenities for the streetscape. The project design includes intersection and mid-block improvements to capture, retain, and treat stormwater runoff and to enhance the pedestrian experience via visually appealing infrastructure.
The stormwater infrastructure will consist of a series of bioretention planters and permeable paving areas to provide improved drainage. Sidewalk bulb-outs, and an increase in trees, will create a greener, more pedestrian-friendly neighborhood. The sidewalk bulb outs also serve to shorten crosswalk lengths, which provides enhanced pedestrian safety and slows vehicular traffic.
In February and July 2015, WRECO coordinated with City of Union City to hold two public meetings about the project. The purpose of these meetings was to provide the public with an overview of the proposed improvements and schedule, as well as to obtain public comments and suggestions. Attendees included residents, property owners, and other interested parties.
Additionally, WRECO developed educational programs appropriate for elementary, middle, and high school students to raise awareness for the program. WRECO provided outreach in May 2017 at the Tom Kitayama Elementary Science Fair and educated the community on the benefits of green infrastructure and design. WRECO also provided outreach through April and May 2017 at the Let's Go Green Together! Earth Day community event in Fremont and the Earth Day Run for our Schools event in Union City to help City of Union City with public outreach for South Decoto Green Street Project.
WRECO will continue to look for opportunities to introduce green street projects and involve local communities and schools to better understand the importance of green infrastructure solutions.
BART Warm Springs Extension Opens
The BART Warm Springs Extension opened late March 2017 and added 5.4 miles of new track south from the existing Fremont Station. WRECO was responsible for the grading and drainage design for the Warm Springs Station and southern segment of the train tracks from Grimmer Boulevard to the Alameda County Flood Control Channel Zone 6 Line F.
Without a proper ratio of permeable to non-permeable surfaces, drainage design can be a tricky and WRECO was responsible for grading, drainage, and water quality treatment for the 26-acre Warm Springs parking lot. WRECO developed a comprehensive grading model of the parking lot using AutoCAD Civil3D. The model was used to set BMP flowlines, check grading criteria, and streamline the drainage system design. The design included over 60 biofiltration swales and 6 bioretention areas with native and drought-tolerant landscaping surrounding the 2,000-space parking lot with native Juncus shade grass. WRECO worked to maximize the treatment area locations, adding and modifying swale footprints to fit best management practices (BMPs) into tight areas. The grass, plants, and trees filter water by removing pollutants before they can be carried into the San Francisco Bay by rain. Because the plants are native and drought-tolerant, they require minimal watering in the summertime.
WRECO also worked with the station architects and mechanical engineers to treat runoff from the roofs of the buildings. WRECO incorporated various unique designs to transmit stormwater runoff to the proposed BMPs by incorporating grading and storm drainage solutions to optimize the treatment. For example, WRECO designed trench drains through the sidewalks to convey runoff from the parking areas to the biofiltration swales on the other side of the sidewalk, along the road. Each biofiltration swale was carefully designed to ensure that the swale areas were reduced where possible to minimize the cost of the BMPs. The final design provided approximately 95% treatment onsite, and the water filtered through the bioswales is re-routed into an underground surge basin. In the surge basin, water can be discharged slowly to prevent overwhelming drainage areas during times of high volume rain.
WRECO Helps Restore Steelhead Trout to Lower Alameda Creek
One year ago, a pair of biologists spotted two Steelhead Trout in lower Alameda Creek - the first time the Endangered Species fish has been seen in the creek since 2008.
"This is significant. Steelhead have been missing from the lower Alameda Creek for half a century now, and we have been working for almost twenty years to restore them," said Jeff Miller, director of the Alameda Creek Alliance, in an interview with the East Bay Express.
Ever since that spotting, efforts to restore the fish have ramped up and include rescue events such as the one WRECO's own biologist Jared Elia took part in last Wednesday at a BART-related Fremont weir just one-half mile north of the Fremont BART station.
The event saw the rescue of four males and one female, and due to a Steelhead female's ability to lay ~8,000 eggs, was championed as a success.
Video of the rescue event can be found here.
Highway 1/Timber Gulch Culvert Replacement Project
Caltrans District 4 replaced a culvert under Highway 1 at Timber Gulch (an intermittent creek) in Sonoma County north of the Town of Jenner. Debris collected at the culvert inlet, including large logs, which damaged the steel pipe and could have blocked the culvert, threatening the safety of the highway embankment, as well as restricting flow. This condition caused the embankment to blow out during a peak flow event and cause dangerous flooding. The Highway 1/Timber Gulch Culvert Replacement Project replaced the existing 88-foot-long, 48-inch diameter pipe with a 108-inch diameter steel pipe by an innovative pipe-ramming technique.
WRECO completed all of the principal design features of the project. WRECO also assisted Caltrans in assembling the complete contract documents and worked closely with the project team in coordinating expedited approval of the project's environmental permits, including a permit from the California Coastal Commission.
WRECO was responsible for recording the construction activities to produce a short film for Caltrans District 4, which was premiered at their Innovation Fair event in 2016. Feel free to watch the final product here.
WRECO Cruises the Catwalk
Dr. Han-Bin Liang, WRECO’s President, participated in the Sacramento Chapter of the Women's Transportation Seminar (WTS) fourth annual fashion show event, Cruising the Catwalk on August 16, 2016.
The event was a fun and lively experience where local transportation professionals (including Dr. Liang) became models for the night and strutted their stuff down the runway. The clothing was generously provided by several Sacramento area boutiques and clothing stores. Dr. Liang modeled Bass Pro Shop’s fishing attire.
All proceeds from the event went to benefit the WTS Sacramento Chapter’s scholarship fund to advance women in the transportation industry.
A glimpse of the fun event is shown in this video.
WRECO’S Oakland Office Open House Event
WRECO’s Oakland office recently moved to a new location (1000 Broadway, Suite 475, Oakland, CA). The new office is within walking distance to BART and offers floor-to-ceiling windows with views of the City of Oakland’s lively and eventful downtown – we are loving it.
On Thursday, July 28, we showed off our new office by hosting an open-house style event where we celebrated alongside friends and colleagues with music, food, drinks, and raffles.
WRECO’s Oakland office staff is glad to be on the rise, and we’re looking forward to the future.
WRECO Sponsors the June 2016 American Public Works Association (APWA)/San Joaquin Engineers Council (SJEC)/American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Joint Meeting
WRECO sponsored the June 2016 APWA/SJEC/ASCE Joint Meeting held at the Lodi Beer Company in the City of Lodi, California. The keynote presentation of this meeting was "Current Status and Projected Growth of the Stockton Metropolitan Airport," presented by Mr. Harry Mavrogenes, Director of the Stockton Metropolitan Airport.
As a sponsor of this event, WRECO's Senior Engineering Geologist, Mr. David Kitzmann, P.E., P.G., E.G., gave a presentation on WRECO's various areas of expertise, focusing on civil engineering, environmental compliance, geotechnical engineering, and water resources. More than 50 public works professionals were in attendance.
With the success of Mr. David Kitzmann's presentation, WRECO is proud to have been able to sponsor this event and also to share our project experience and areas of expertise with our peers.
Mission/Warren/Freight Railroad Relocation Project wins 2016 APWA Project of the Year
Mission/Warren/Freight Railroad Relocation Project received the Project of the Year in Transportation, >$75M from the American Public Works Association (APWA) Silicon Valley Chapter. WRECO was proud to contribute flood control channel relocation, drainage and stormwater quality design, conceptual utility relocation plans, hydraulic analyses, and construction support services for the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority's project, which consisted of the relocation of Southern Pacific and Union Pacific railroad tracks, grade separation of Warren Avenue, and State Route 262 underpass improvements in the City of Fremont, California.
The project involved relocation of a major flood control channel, Agua Fria (Flood Control Zone 5 Lines D and D-1), within the Alameda County Flood Control & Water Conservation District. The relocation of sewer, water, and storm drain lines was complicated by the tie-backs incorporated into the deep soil mix walls and existence of two major petroleum transmission lines and three major fiber optic lines along the railroad right-of-way. The stormwater quality design included design of a pump station and active treatment system to treat contaminated groundwater.
North Lane Pipe Bypass Project to be Constructed
A new storm drain system will be constructed in the City of Orinda to mitigate flooding issues along North Lane during major storms. Several hundred feet of 60-inch reinforced concrete pipe will be installed beneath North Lane and Camino Pablo, and the pipe would connect the North Lane storm drain bypass to a relocated outfall on the bank of San Pablo Creek.
WRECO has worked with the City of Orinda since 2006 on this project, after storms in 2004, 2005, and 2006 caused flooding in the North Lane neighborhood. Flooding in 2005-2006 caused the North Lane culvert to overflow, which resulted in damage to local residences and temporarily shut down the East Bay Municipal Utility District Water Treatment Plant.
WRECO analyzed the existing system, performed hydraulic and hydrologic analyses, and designed the storm drain system including plans, specifications, and estimate. We also developed the analysis of project effects on biological resources. WRECO will provide support during the construction of the project.
WRECO Awarded the Caltrans District 4 Hydraulics Design Services Contract
WRECO has been selected to provide hydraulic services to Caltrans District 4. Our staff continue to provide a variety of services within the nine-county district including sinkhole investigations, culvert inspections and recommendations for the types of replacement or repair, bank stabilization design, bridge hydraulic analyses, sea level rise and coastal erosion analyses, fish passage studies, and emergency storm damage services.
WRECO's Materials Testing Laboratory is Certified by Caltrans
WRECO is excited to announce that our Materials Testing Laboratory has received its Caltrans certification for California Tests 125AGG, 201, 202, 204, 217, and 226. This certification follows our accreditation by the American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials (AASHTO).
WRECO's Materials Testing Laboratory adheres to a rigorous quality control process and follows the current methods of AASHTO and Caltrans. We also participate in AASHTO's bi-annual Materials Reference Laboratory Proficiency Sample Program, as well as Caltrans' Reference Sample Program.
WRECO's Materials Testing Laboratory is located at our Roseville office in Placer County, California. For more information on WRECO's Materials Testing Laboratory, please contact our Laboratory Director, Mike Wilson, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Geary Road Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
The cities of Walnut Creek and Pleasant Hill hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony for the Geary Road Improvement Phase 3 Project. This critical project improves the only arterial connection between northwestern Walnut Creek and the Pleasant Hill BART station by increasing capacity and significantly improving pedestrian and bicycle safety. Improvements include new sidewalk, pavement, drainage and stormwater treatment facilities, landscaping, street lights, and traffic signals, as well as a continuous left turn lane and an exclusive bike lane. Phase 3 will provide connectivity with the earlier improvements on adjacent segments of Geary Road.
WRECO was responsible for the drainage PS&E, Conceptual Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan, conceptual water pollution control plans, and hydromodification analysis. In addition, WRECO provided third-party review for C.3 and Construction General Permit stormwater compliance on behalf of the City of Walnut Creek.
WRECO Attends and Presents at the 11th Annual CASQA Event
WRECO staff attended and proudly displayed two posters at this year's annual California Stormwater Quality Association (CASQA) Conference held in Monterey, California. The theme for this year's event was "Stormwater - Are We Making a Difference," and the conference included sessions about whether stormwater programs are positively impacting the environment and the need for innovative approaches to urban area stormwater management. With more than 700 stormwater professionals in attendance and the success of the poster presentation session, WRECO is proud to have been chosen to display our project experience amongst our peers.
The two posters that WRECO presented at the 11th annual event were:
1) Protecting Local Areas of Special Biological Significance with Innovative Best Management Practice Retrofit Designs
Theme Track: Meeting ASBS Requirements - Implementation Case Studies
In coordination with San Mateo County
2) 4% Rule For Treatment BMP Sizing: Is There An Alternative?
Theme Track: Stormwater Treatment
In coordination with Caltrans District 4 and Presidio Trust
The 2016 CASQA Annual Conference will be held in San Diego, September 12-14, 2016.
Pier E3 of the Old Bay Bridge to be Imploded in November
Pier E3 of the old Bay Bridge, the largest of the underwater piers, will soon be imploded. Caltrans has recently received all the required environmental permits. The pier is the size equivalent of a five-story concrete building, and Caltrans has spent years determining the best method for demolition. Underwater controlled implosion is a more environmentally friendly option than other demolition methods.
WRECO assisted Caltrans by performing a Water Quality Study to determine the project's impacts to the San Francisco Bay; the goal of the project is to avoid impacts from sediment and dissolved pollutants to the existing water quality of the Bay. The purpose of the study was to provide general guidelines to manage and minimize effects to the Bay waters. WRECO also recommended best management practices to preserve water quality.
The implosion is scheduled for November 7, 2015. Watch the video animation here.
Bat Workshop Aids WRECO in Performing Bat Surveys for Projects
WRECO staff attended the Conservation and Ecology of Bats workshop, a biology course offered by San Francisco State University at their Sierra Nevada Field Campus near Yuba Pass in Sierra County. The course focused on conservation and management issues confronting California bats. Topics discussed included wind energy farms, timber harvest, snag (i.e., dead tree) retention, roost and foraging resources, and white nose syndrome, among others. In addition, the course covered survey methods with an emphasis on hands-on experience. For five nights, WRECO staff and other class participants set up mist nets and bioacoustic recording devices near creeks and drainages to intercept bats while foraging and record their echolocation signals. Biological and morphometric data, such as species, gender, age, weight, and forearm length, were documented for all captured bats, and recorded echolocation pulses were analyzed to verify the identification of taxonomically difficult species. Bat species intercepted by mist nets included hoary bat, California myotis, Yuma myotis, little brown bat, long-legged myotis, fringed myotis, big brown bat, Western red bat, pallid bat, and approximately 45 silver-haired bats.
WRECO has used its knowledge of bat biology in projects throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. WRECO has deployed bioacoustic recording devices to passively document the bat species present at project sites for several projects in Alameda and Sonoma counties. WRECO's thermal imaging systems facilitate biological surveys and site inspections by detecting the body heat of bats roosting deep within structures, such as bridges, culverts, and outbuildings.
WRECO Celebrating 20 Years of Excellent Service
On Thursday, July 16, WRECO hosted an open house event at our Walnut Creek office to celebrate 20 years of excellent service. The event had a great turnout, with staff from our Walnut Creek, Roseville, and Oakland offices, as well as friends and colleagues in attendance. The night ended with a champagne toast given by Han-Bin Liang, WRECO's President, where he talked about how WRECO started and how WRECO has been able to thrive in the past 20 years. Dr. Liang even shared the inspiration behind WRECO's logo and told us about his past rock star days.
Congratulations to WRECO!
I-280 Cross-Culvert Inspection
At the request of Caltrans District 4, WRECO investigated an existing 60-inch corrugated metal cross-culvert (culvert) at the site of an apparent sinkhole. The culvert is located underneath Interstate 280 near the Alpine Road interchange in unincorporated Santa Clara County near the City of Palo Alto.
WRECO staff performed a field visit where they inspected the condition of the existing culvert and provided Caltrans District 4 with an assessment and preliminary repair recommendations. During the field visit, they discovered that perforations of the pipe and uplifiting of the invert have allowed undermining of the base material in some locations. This, combined with the movement of soils from the exposed fill at the various joint separations, has led to a structural failure where the pipe segments appear to be folding in on themselves (out of round and uplifting of the weakened invert). This is expanding the joint separations, which is allowing accelerated sediment influx, likely contributing to the sinkhole.
WRECO staff were able to see first hand how a sinkhole develops from long-term sediment loss caused by pipe joint separation. The sediment loss typically starts slow, but growing joint separation coupled with growing sediment loss can result in an accelerated loss that quickly increases the risk of a sinkhole and the various risks associated with sinkholes.
WRECO Offers Free Industrial General Permit Informational Workshop on June 26, 2015
WRECO is offering a free informational workshop on the Industrial General Permit (IGP) that will become effective July 1, 2015. Please see attached flyer for details. Space is limited. Register today.
About the IGP: The Industrial Storm Water General Permit Order 97-03-DWQ (IGP) is an NPDES permit that regulates discharges associated with 10 broad categories of industrial activities. The IGP requires the implementation of management measures that will achieve the performance standard of best available technology economically achievable (BAT) and best conventional pollutant control technology (BCT). The IGP also requires the development of a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) and a monitoring plan. Through the SWPPP, sources of pollutants are to be identified and the means to manage the sources to reduce stormwater pollution are to be described. The IGP was adopted on April 1, 2014 and will become effective July 1, 2015.
WRECO Staff Conducts Environmental Awareness Training
For the Panoramic Way Project, WRECO staff conducted Worker Environmental Awareness Program training for all project-related personnel in order to comply with the project's California Department of Fish and Wildlife 1602 Lake and Streambed Alteration Agreement Permit. The project involves replacing approximately 20 linear feet of sewer pipe that crosses Derby Creek in the City of Berkeley. Potential impacts to fish or wildlife due to excavation include temporary impacts to the stream bank and injury or death of amphibians or reptiles.
WRECO's Soil Lab Receives AASHTO Accreditation
As part of our geotechnical engineering services, WRECO performs in-house materials testing and field inspection services. WRECO's soil laboratory, located in our Roseville, CA office, has recently been accredited by the American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and participates in the biannual AASHTO Materials Reference Library (AMRL) proficiency sample program and Caltrans Reference Sample Program. Through our lab, we are able to perform soil classification and index testing, moisture density relationship tests, and soil and aggregate compliance testing.
In addition, we are able to provide field inspection support for a variety of foundation types including spread footings, driven piles, cast-in-drilled-hole piles, and auger-cast piles. Our staff holds International Code Council certifications for masonry and structural concrete.
WRECO's Oakland Office is Recertified as Green Business
WRECO's Oakland office has recently been recertified through Alameda County as a Bay Area Green Business. Recertification required coming up with creative solutions to more stringent standards. Green Business certifications involve meeting the requirements in several different categories including waste, energy, pollution, water, and wastewater. Requirements include reducing waste, recycling, reusing scrap paper, having low-flow sink faucets, having Energy Star appliances and electronic equipment, encouraging the use of public transportation, and having a green purchasing policy with cleaning and paper products that meet certain standards. The age of the building that our Oakland office is located in makes it impractical to implement low-flow toilets. One of our creative solutions, which was approved by the East Bay Municipal Utility District, was to install a low-flow toilet at a staff member's home.
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