The WSDOT announced recently that the Seattle Tunnel Partners Joint Venture has requested a total of $188 million in change orders so far, and that the Department has denied $157 million of those, with $31 million worth still under review. Among the change orders rejected was one for $125 million plus additional contract time because STP claimed the Bertha TBM was damaged by a steel well casing. WSDOT's position is that the location of the well casing was included in the contract documents. [Source: WSDOT. Image: Seattle Times Blog]
A dramatic retaining wall failure and subsequent landslide last week damaged several cars and shut down a rail line in Baltimore, Maryland. The final failure was caught on video by a bystander. The landslide forced a number of residents to be evacuated from their homes.
Former Hayward Baker Vice President Joseph Welsh received the ASCE Opal Award for his 'lifetime accomplishments of noteworthy advancements in construction, and the many contributions he provided the civil engineering industry over the past 50 years.' His bio on Hayward Baker's website is very impressive. Mr. Welsh has been involved in many high-profile geotechnical projects, including the Central Boston Artery Tunnel, and Malaysia Petronas Twin Towers.
His extensive list of achievements also includes assisting with the introduction of jet grouting, fracture grouting, fine grain cement, dynamic deep compaction, vibro displacement and replacement, the use of fabrics for concrete forming, and deep soil mixing techniques in the United States.
The Geotechnical Data Hub group on Linkedin recently turned 4 years old. Founded by Keynetix, this group is home to over 3,000 members with discussion topics covering all range of geotechnical data management. [Source: Read more and find out how to join at Keynetix. Image: Keynetix]
GeoPrac sponsor Keynetix has released a stand alone data entry module for their HoleBASE SI geotechnical software program. The module is roughly 1/3 of the cost of the full HoleBASE SI license and has a customizable interface that is optimized for entering geotechnical borehole or other data as efficiently as possible. Go check out more at their website and see some video demos of the product in action. [Source: Read more about the data entry module at Keynetix. Image: Keynetix]
Rockscience has been busy soliciting feedback from their user base on news features for their settlement analysis software program, Settle3D. After receiving all of the feedback in the beta program, many of the user suggestions have been implemented by Rockscience in the Version 3.0 release of Settle3D. Some of these improvements include the ability to model non-horizontal soil layers, user interface improvements, new options for defining water level, enhanced graphing capabilities, and 64-bit parallel processing. [Source: Read more from Rockscience via Rockscience's Settle3D page.. Image: Rockscience]
Seattle Tunnel Partners released a new schedule this week for the repair of the damaged seals on the Bertha Tunnel Boring Machine. This revised schedule shows that the TBM won't be digging again until March of 2015. The excavation of the pit to access the TBM will begin at the end of May, a delay caused by additional archaeological work. By October they hope to have the cutterhead removed to conduct the repairs, and the machine will undergo testing in February of 2015 with tunneling resuming in March of 2015. [Source: WSDOT. Image: WSDOT]
Two well-known geoprofessionals were among the eleven given ASCE's highest honor this year, the title of Distinguished Member. Jean-Louis Briaud and Thomas D. O'Rourke were both in this year's class. There is a link to their bios in the ASCE blog post. Congratulations to both gentlemen, very well deserved. [Source: ASCE Roundup. Image: Texas A&M]
Seattle Tunnel Partners has released a conceptual plan showing what the excavation of the pit will look like to repair the damaged Bertha Tunnel Boring Machine. See below.
A pit 120 feet deep and 83 feet in diameter will be excavated so that the TBM can be driven into the pit and the cutterhead removed. Crews will then repair the seal system around the main bearing. [Source: WSDOT, Image Credit: Seattle Tunnel Partners and Brierly Associates by way of WSDOT]