A Day in the Life of a Civil Engineer – Day 58

Day 58

Tree Contractor Started

The Emerald Ash Bore has been in our community for a few years now. But the Ash trees really didn’t show severe signs of infestation and damage until last year. Then unfortunately it seemed like they all died this summer so our council decided to make the removal of ash trees a priority. Because we could not remove the trees fast enough with our own crews, we hired a contractor to help out. Today was his first day. Unfortunately he must have forgotten the instructions given to him prior to starting regarding shutting down lanes along the state highway during rush hour. One of the engineers I work with had driven out to his job around 8 am and called to let me know the tree contractor had closed a lane and traffic was backed up. I contacted the foreman who manages the street crews, and he went out to let the contractor know he probably needs to work elsewhere during rush hour.

Reclamite Application

CAM Reclamite application Oct 2011

Later in the morning the contractor we hired to apply a pavement restoration product showed up to clean the pavement and apply the material to the road. Because this was the first time we have applied Reclamite to a road in our city, a few of us went to the site to watch the operation. It went smoothly and did not take a long time. The disruption to the residents also seemed to be minimal. We had let them know last Friday that we would be doing this today so it seemed that they were prepared for it. It will be interesting to watch the pavement perform over the next few years. The contractor said that not only does this material help delay failure of the pavement, but it will help the road shed water faster. He also said we will notice the snow melting faster on this road than on others.

Downtown Plan

During the afternoon several staff members met to discuss the draft downtown plan prepared by our consultants. I’ve been disappointed throughout the process that the engineering firm helping the planning consultant did not ever talk to us about the plan. They ended up suggesting “improvements” that really don’t work with what we have. It almost makes me wonder if they use the same recommendations for every community. For example one suggestion was to use a pedestrian lead time at the signals. But this really can’t work because we have a protected left turn that leads off the green time. So if we let pedestrians go a few seconds early, they would get hit by the cars taking a left turn. In the end, the plan will be good, but it seems that getting to that point has taken our staff a lot more work because of a lack of communication or understanding on the consultants part.


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