Tracking Positive Train Control Implementation


With a December 31st implementation deadline fast approaching, positive train control (PTC) has recently been in the news, as railroads try to meet a deadline that may not be realistically possible.

PTC is a safety overlay utilizing computers, transponders, and GPS to stop or slow a train automatically before certain types of accidents occur, thereby overriding operator error. A properly functioning PTC system must be able to determine the precise location, direction, and speed of trains; warn train operators of potential problems; and take immediate action if the operator does not respond to warnings. PTC is capable of preventing train-to-train collisions, over-speed derailments, unauthorized incursion into work zones and train movement through switches left in the wrong position. Continue Reading →

Self-Healing Materials: Reinventing Nature

Governors Island Ventilation Building-WebBanner

“Smart concrete” is on the horizon

This past June, the Fifth International Conference on Self-Healing Materials took place in Durham, North Carolina. The conference attracts a diverse group of top scientists and engineers from around the world to discuss advances in this fascinating field that are based on the healing properties of the human body. Since its first edition in 2007, the mission of this conference has been to provide a high-level international platform for this rapidly developing field. The developments in self-healing materials are such that many are starting to take notice, due to the impact that this would have not only in the industry, but for personal items such as sports equipment, cell phones and even nail polish. Continue Reading →

HAKS Launches 2015-2016 M/W/DBE Mentoring Program

Prompted by the success of our first two mentoring programs, HAKS is again offering its voluntary mentoring program to M/W/DBE firms that have worked with us on various project(s) or are seeking to do so. The Program is designed to give M/W/DBE firms an edge in the market by providing them with key planning, marketing and financial management information derived from HAKS’ experience in growing a successful MBE firm. Beginning Thursday, October 8, 2015, monthly noon-time meetings will be held at our 40 Wall Street headquarters every second Thursday of the month through June 2016. Continue Reading →

For HAKS’ Summer Interns — The Future Is Now

Intern-1From mid-May through the end of August, HAKS holds its annual Internship Program in which we provide deserving youth with the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in an office environment.

This year, we have a heavy intern presence, comprising of both high school and college students. In addition to hiring interns directly from colleges since 2005, HAKS has been partnering with the New York City School Construction Authority (SCA) Summer Internship Program (SIP) to assist in the recruitment of high school students. We have continued our commitment and volunteered as hosts every year since then. The SCA offers paid six-week internships through SIP, which matches interns to available positions based on their career interests and skills. HAKS is one of the firms chosen to serve as intern host for the 2015 program season. The majority of interns go on to pursue careers in architecture, engineering, business, and information technology. These students participate in staff meetings and on-the-job training and are assigned program supervisors who monitor their performance through bi-weekly meetings between the interns and their supervisors. Interns who successfully complete the six-week program receive high school credit. Continue Reading →

A Milestone for the Americans with Disabilities Act

On July 26, 1990, President George H. W. Bush signed into law one of America’s most comprehensive pieces of civil rights legislation—the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This landmark legislation has reducedada25-logo-horiz-300-1 barriers, changed perceptions, and increased participation in community life for millions of Americans. The ADA prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, and transportation.

To be protected by the ADA, one must have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, be a person who has a history or record of such an impairment, or a person who is perceived by others as having such an impairment. It should be remembered that whether a condition is visible or not, it still can result in substantial limitations. Continue Reading →

DC Water Tunnels for Clean Rivers

Contributed by Zaw Soeoo


Anacostia River Tunnel ISCT Excavation

The District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water) distributes drinking water and collects and treats wastewater for more than 600,000 residential, commercial and governmental customers in the District of Columbia. As part of this mission, DC Water operates the Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant (BPAWWTP), the largest such facility in the world. The Authority’s $2.6 billion long-term control plan for combined sewer overflows (CSOs), known as the DC Clean Rivers Project, captures CSOs and conveys them to the BPAWWTP for treatment. The Clean Rivers Project is comprised of a system of 20 miles of 23-foot-diameter tunnels at depths from 50 to 160 feet. HAKS is a member of the consultant construction management (CCM) team providing inspection services, including tunnel and near-surface construction, for both the Anacostia River and Blue Plains design-build tunnel projects. Giant tunnel boring machines (TBMs) are being used to bore the underground structures that form DC Water’s solution to CSOs. Continue Reading →

OneNYC: The Plan for a Strong and Just City

DSC07801 REVLast month, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio released OneNYC: The Plan for a Strong and Just City, the successor to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s PlaNYC. The Mayor’s Office of Sustainability oversaw its development and shares responsibility with the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency for ensuring its implementation. OneNYC addresses challenges such as a population of 9 million by 2040, changing climate conditions and aging infrastructure through principles of growth, sustainability, resiliency and equity. The plan builds on the four core challenges addressed in past PlaNYC reports with the addition of growing inequality, the importance of the region and New York City “voices”—a reference to the necessary input of a broad range of residents. The plan also acknowledges the growing gap between “technology haves and have-nots.” Continue Reading →

25 Years of Client-Focused Quality Service

Today, HAKS begins its 25th year in business. Initially a Minority Business Enterprise, HAKS is now a medium-sized, full-service consulting firm winning high-profile work. In 2014, we ranked 135 in ENR’s Top 500 Design Firms. Actually, we are many firms in one:  a construction management/inspection firm—one of the largest in the eastern region; an engineering design firm—delivering high-performance, energy-efficient and sustainable projects; an architecture/facilities design firm—employing state-of-the-art technology such as BIM and conceptual 3D modeling; a bridge inspection firm performing biennial and other inspections for major bridges throughout the northeast; a surveying and mapping firm—offering cutting-edge laser scanning and ground penetrating radar technology; and a special inspections and material testing firm—the only agency in the New York market accredited to conduct special and progress inspections in all categories of building construction.

We could not have reached this milestone without our skilled employees and our long-standing client relationships. We thank our employees for exemplifying HAKS’ commitment to excellence, and we thank our clients for their trust and for allowing us to be of service to them. Continue Reading →

Earth Day 2015: “It’s Our Turn to Lead”

NY317, Lenevar Avenue

Lenevar Avenue, Staten Island

Today, April 22nd, marks the day when events are held globally to demonstrate support for environmental protection. Known as “Earth Day,” it was first celebrated on April 22, 1970 and has become a day to reflect on our planet, our environment and what we can do to help keep them healthy. Several changes were enacted after the first Earth Day in 1970—the Environmental Protection Agency was established; the federal Occupational Health and Safety Act was passed by a coalition of labor and environmental groups; and, within the next three years, such landmark achievements as the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act were passed. Continue Reading →

The Versatility of Concrete

While concrete is a basic building block of most structures that we see and use every day, it is something that we don’t think much about.  However, concrete is usually the material of choice when compressive strength and durability are paramount. Concrete is also naturally fire resistant.

Gilboa DamAccording to the Concrete Joint Sustainability Initiative, concrete “is strong and durable, resistant to deterioration and damage. It buffers temperature, and it can be colored and placed to do this in a way that works with passive solar energy to heat or cool spaces. It buffers sound, providing respite in a crowded, noisy world. It is versatile, allowing a large range of shapes, textures, and structural approaches to create the function, look, and feel appropriate to the project. It is also versatile in the flexibility of component materials, a quality which both extends the range of performance properties—insulation, permeability, and strength—and allows variation in the resources used to produce it. Concrete can play a vital role in the way we conserve and protect natural resources in the structures we create with it and the processes by which we produce it.”   Continue Reading →