Caution – Roadwork Ahead

Caution – Roadwork Ahead

Oh no! Road construction ahead!?!

Road construction can sometimes be a real nuisance to your daily commute. Detours, road closures, and road safety crews are just a few examples of necessary but inconvenient obstacles.

When designing plans for a property that will be accessed from a PennDOT designated road and work will be done within the road right-of-way, we will have to create a PennDOT plan set for submission to receive a Highway Occupancy Permit (HOP). A PennDOT plan set needs to include PATA details showing where and how lane, shoulder, and roadway closures should be set up for traffic control. These precautions are in place for the safety of yourself and the workers. Yes, this can be a pain for your commute if you are late or had a bad day and want to be home, but I’m sure you would prefer to arrive safely rather than injured.

In 2019 Pennsylvania recorded 1,626 total crashes located within a work zone. Sixteen of these crashes were fatal, and 1,074 people were injured. Compared to the statistics from the previous five years, the total number of collisions within a work zone is trending down, but the fatalities fluctuate. Nationally, the U.S. estimated over 115,000 work zone crashes, resulting in 842 deaths and leaving over 39,000 people injured.

I’m sure some of these injuries or deaths could have been prevented simply by adding flag workers or motorists paying more attention while driving.

While driving through a work zone the other day, I started thinking about the laws that I knew of that are enforced within these zones. I knew that I needed to reduce my speed, turn my headlights on when traveling through the active work zone, and that all fines would be doubled. I was curious if there were any other laws concerning work zones that I did not know of, so I decided to do some research. For instance, I did not realize that your headlights must be on even if the work zone is not active. I also did not know that if you’re going 11 mph over the posted speed limit in a work zone, or if you’re involved in a crash within an active work zone and convicted of failing to drive at a safe speed, you will automatically lose your license for 15 days.

So, next time you’re traveling through a work zone, remember the things mentioned here to avoid becoming another number in a statistic. Safe travels!

Completing the Dam Surveys

Completing the Dam Surveys

Recently, Howell Kline Surveying, LLC partnered with O’Brien & Gere Engineers, Inc. to perform topographic surveys of two USGS Gaging Station Dams in the creeks that feed the Green Lane Reservoir in Montgomery County, PA.

AQUA Pennsylvania, Inc. (AQUA) owns the reservoir. The creeks that feed it are popular fishing spots for outdoor enthusiasts. Whereas the gaging stations have outlived their intended purpose, and whereas the dams prevent trout and other fish from migrating up the creeks to spawn, AQUA has endeavored to remove these dams.

The first dam we surveyed was the East Greenville Dam in the Perkiomen Creek. It is located just off Church Road in Upper Hanover Township.

The second dam we surveyed was the Hillegas Dam in the West Branch of the Perkiomen Creek. It is located just off Hefner Road, also in Upper Hanover Township.

At each of these sites, Howell Kline Surveying, LLC performed a detailed topographic survey to map the dam, the USGS Gaging Station, the creek bottom, the creek’s banks, surrounding topography, locations & sizes of trees, utilities, adjacent roadways and adjacent bridge. We also located upstream and downstream cross-sections of each creek. We utilized a combination of trigonometric surveying with a total station and GPS surveying to determine the sites’ elevations relative to North American Vertical Datum (NAVD 88) and locations in the State Plane Coordinate System.

Howell Kline Surveying, LLC is proud to be an integral part of this important undertaking by AQUA, which will improve the ecosystems in and around the Green Lane Reservoir.

DLH Cameras Sinkhole at Goshen Baptist

DLH Cameras Sinkhole at Goshen Baptist

DLH was contacted to investigate the presence of a major sinkhole that opened up at Goshen Baptist Church on New Year’s Eve. Shortly after arrival on site, it became clear that a 3-foot diameter hole at the surface led to a subsurface cavern approximately 50 feet wide and 25 feet deep. The sinkhole had occurred on a 3H:1V grass slope leading to a detention basin under which exists five runs of sixty-inch diameter pipe storage all for the purposes of stormwater control. According to facilities personnel for the church, kids from the neighboring apartment complex had been sledding on the slope as recently as the last snowfall. The area was protected to prevent the public from entering the subject area.

Sinkholes usually reveal themselves in two forms. The first is due to the presence of soluble geology such as limestone, dolomite and gypsum. As these highly soluble geologic formations erode below the surface, the presence of a karst topography becomes evident, including localized surface depressions (karst valley), sinkholes themselves, sinking streams, etc. The second involves the erosion and displacement of soil below an intact ground surface due to the effects of running water, usually associated with a pipe break or failure. Eventually, once the subsurface void approaches the ground surface, a collapse occurs. This was the case at Goshen Baptist Church.

With respect to the second form of sinkhole described above, common causes are failures of underground piping due to corrosion or improperly installed pipe joints. Breaches in the pipe structure allow water to exit the pipe in extreme flows, not only allowing water to find a path along the outside of the piping but also allowing for soil above – now disturbed by turbulent water flow outside the pipe – to enter the compromised pipe and be transported away increasing the extent of the void above. This type of failure is common in corrugated metal piping. The corrosion-resistant coating associated with corrugated metal piping is easily compromised when rocks and gravel are transported through the pipe, exposing the raw metal and resulting in rust and deterioration of the pipe material itself.

It isn’t always possible to pinpoint the source of a compromised pipe which has led to a sinkhole. Investigatory excavation can be performed to try and confirm where a pipe may be compromised; however, this is complicated by stone backfill placed around the pipe at the time of installation and only provides information at that specific location. A better solution is to camera the piping system which can provide a comprehensive conditions inventory of all subject pipes. This allows for not only a damage estimate of known failure sites but also the identification of potential future failure sites based on the pipes condition throughout enabling a one time mobilization on repair and/or replacement.

See the gallery below of the Goshen Baptist Church project.

Lights, Camera, Action! DLH is Now Doing Pipe Inspections!

Lights, Camera, Action! DLH is Now Doing Pipe Inspections!

D.L. Howell & Associates is proud to announce that, beginning in 2021, we will be offering video inspection for sanitary and stormwater pipes (4″ to 60″ and up diameter) with a sewer inspection crawler! You might be asking, what is a sewer inspection crawler? Well, this safe, easy, and advanced robotic system allows DL Howell to view and record digital video, log observations, and generate reports of stormwater sanitary pipes integrity and ensure that they were correctly installed. We at DL Howell then take these findings and send them to our clients directly from the field for instant results and feedback.

Our top-of-the-line crawler is equipped with:

  • Rear and front-facing high-definition cameras
  • Led lights for illuminating focal points
  • An adjustable camera that raises in the pipe to fit 4″ to 60″ and up diameter
  • 360-degree rotation of cameras
  • 1000 foot of cable for long-range inspections
  • Pipe grade inclinometer
  • On-board laser to measure defects and ovality

Meeting Our Customers Needs

As Denny has stated, “Nothing is better than now.” All of our inspections will be done from within a field ready vehicle that can be mobilized at any moment for our clients. This will ensure that all deliverables to our clients can be processed, reviewed, and sent in the shortest possible time frame to keep our clients on track and informed of any abnormalities or reasons for concern found in the pipe. We want to provide the best service for our clients and be the ones they can trust to get them their deliverables in a timely, well presented, and easily understandable manner.

Why Pipe Inspection is Important

Unfortunately, stormwater and sanitary pipes are not meant to last forever. A number of different occurrences and instances can cause a pipe to need some sort of maintenance. Construction work can cause pipe joints to be disturbed, collapse, or shift the engineer’s proposed incline or decline of a pipe. If pipe joints are not thoroughly sealed, roots can also become an issue and hurt the pipe’s integrity. The only way to know any of this information or to know what is causing a pipe to lose flow is to send a crawler such as ours down there to inspect the area. Once inside, the crawler will be able to document, identify, and compile all the relevant data needed for the client to see what is happening inside the pipe.

If you need to have a stormwater and sanitary pipe inspected, reach out to us by filling out THIS FORM, and we will be sure to get you on the schedule ASAP! If not, reach out to us at any time, and we will be more than happy to assist you with any of your Civil Engineering, Land Surveying, Drone Photo/Cinematography, and NOW Pipe Inspection needs!

Builders Inc. New Corporate Headquarters at 514 Lapp Road

Builders Inc. New Corporate Headquarters at 514 Lapp Road

After months of working with East Whiteland Township, Builders Inc. received the final recommendation from the Board of Supervisors. The project began to take shape in September of 2019 when Greg Hill, President of Builders Inc., asked D.L. Howell to start evaluating the site and review zoning requirements. The property is located on the corner of Old Morehall Road and Lapp Road and is the last remaining vacant parcel in the Great Valley Corporate Park. D.L. Howell began preparing sketches and grading the site to develop the corporate headquarters and take advantage of natural features. The placement of the building and access to the site was vital to the owner, so his building could overlook the park retention basin.

D.L. Howell worked closely with the project team, including Builders Inc., Riley Riper Hollin and Colagreco Attorneys, and Meyers Architects to obtain approval from the Township Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors. One of the project’s challenges was developing a parcel located on a busy corner with sensitive environmental features. This involved obtaining a LOMA from FEMA for the unstudied floodplain and preserving the park retention basin. Other challenges included accommodating a future multi-modal trail and designing a ADA compliant sidewalk along Lapp Road. In addition, the site required design for an underground Managed Release Concept (MRC) detention basin due to the underlying KARST geology. Lastly, a detailed landscape design was provided by Stuart Associates in conjunction with JH Trees to create a variety of materials to enhance the corporate headquarters.

Construction is scheduled to commence in early spring of 2021 and occupancy before years end. D.L. Howell will be sure to provide updates, including drone photos and videos, as the project progresses.