2017: The Year of the Commuter

As we prepare to ring in the new year, we would like to highlight some projects that will reshape area transportation and ease the way for thousands of commuters.  One improvement will be ready for use as early as January 1st, when the first phase of the Second Avenue Subway opens.  Others should be evident a little later in the year—emotive lighting on bridges and tunnels and the north span of the new Tappan Zee Bridge.  One change is already in place—remnants of a World Trade Center passageway dating to the 1970s.

The HAKS Family wishes you and yours a happy and healthy 2017. Safe travels.
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Engineering the Cities of the Future

downtown-nySmart Cities use data, information, and communications technology to streamline urban infrastructure activities such as transportation and traffic management, water supply networks, waste and wastewater management, and power plants to improve the lives of their residents. Smart Cities not only present challenges to the A/E industry, but opportunities as well. Smart buildings can utilize building management systems to save energy; transportation systems designed for autonomous vehicles can be designed with a streamlined footprint and more effective flow of traffic; municipal management systems can incorporate sustainable materials and green infrastructure; and affordable and efficient ground transportation can increase convenience and quality of life. Continue Reading…

A Commitment to Quality

Contributed by Lance Payne, MSI, LHI, CLA

SRI CERTIFICATE JPGIn the building and construction industry, reputation and trust are everything. And reputation and trust are earned through quality work. Quality assurance programs (QAP) exist for this purpose. The concept of “quality assurance” is often confused with quality control and quality inspection. The American Society for Quality (ASQ), one of the world’s leading authorities on quality, defines these terms as follows: Continue Reading…

Fixing America’s Surface Transportation: A FAST Act for the 21st Century

Cedar Street Bridge over I-95In December 2015, a new surface transportation act was signed into law—the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act– providing long-term funding for surface transportation and allowing state and local governments to address critical highway and transit improvements. The $305 billion Act reauthorizes funding for federal highway and public transportation for fiscal years 2016-2020 and stabilizes the Highway Trust Fund during that five-year period. Continue Reading…

Carless Bridges Hit the Road

Passerelle Bridge Photos_Page_01

An October 2015 article in The Atlantic examined the allure of carless bridges, citing innovative design possibilities, cheaper construction cost (millions instead of billions), and the overall movement to accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists. Pedestrian-only bridges are connecting neighborhoods across the country, while many motorist bridges under reconstruction are adding facilities for bicycles and pedestrians. 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…

Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission Breaks Ground on Swatara Creek Bridge

Existing Swatara Creek Bridge

Existing Swatara Creek Bridge

Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) officials broke ground on April 22nd for the $48 million Swatara Creek Bridge Project, part of its long-term initiative to rebuild and modernize “America’s First Superhighway,” as reported in a recent article in Roads and Bridges. The design for the new roadway, in south central Pennsylvania between the Harrisburg East and Lebanon-Lancaster exits, will provide capacity for three lanes in each direction to accommodate traffic growth and will include wider shoulders and a median for added safety. More than 26,000 vehicles per day use the existing bridge.

Stage One Construction

Stage One Construction

The Swatara Creek Bridge project team includes: HAKS,  which provided final design and bid document preparation and is now providing construction support services; Hill International Inc., construction manager; and Swank Construction Co., general contractor.

According to Turnpike CEO Mark Compton, “We will spend more than $600 million on highway improvements—much of it focused on projects like the Swatara Creek Bridge that provide a smoother, safer trip for travelers. Beyond the benefits to customers, this project and others like it also create good-paying jobs and help to boost the  economy here in southern Dauphin County.”

One challenge, according to Charles A. DiCello, P.E., HAKS’ Project Manager, is the coordination of construction staging around so many complex structures and existing facilities.

The major components of this project include the complete reconstruction and widening of approximately 1.5 miles of mainline turnpike for a six-lane highway with four 12-foot shoulders and the replacement and widening of three mainline bridges. The largest bridge carries the Turnpike over Swatara Creek and Swatara Creek Road. The 620-foot-long six-span, continuous steel plate girder bridge will be replaced with a four-span, continuous steel plate girder bridge that will open in 2016.  The other mainline bridges carry the Turnpike over Vine Street  and the Middletown/Hummelstown Railroad.

Pier 3 Wall

Stage One Pier 3 reinforcing

Two cantilever cast-in-place retaining walls on pile foundations and two MSE retaining walls were designed to minimize right-of-way impacts and provide adequate room for stormwater management features. Other highlights of the project include the coordination and relocation of several utilities, over 6,400 linear feet of sound barrier walls, a wetland mitigation site and stormwater management including detention basins and swales. Right-of-way acquisition of three total properties and the partial acquisition of three additional properties were required to accommodate the widening.

See Roads and Bridges’s article “Bridge Construction: Pa. Turnpike Breaks Ground on Swatara Creek Bridge” and  PTC’s Website article “Constructing Three Replacement Turnpike Bridges in Dauphin County.”