A Day in the Life of a Civil Engineer – Days 68 & 69

Days 68 & 69

After spending most of the day yesterday in meetings, getting home late, then having to run out to attend a band concert, I decided just to wait until today and post both yesterday and today in one article. So here it is!


IDOT audit of ARRA project

IDOT was scheduled to be in this morning to audit my paperwork for the last ARRA project the city completed in 2010. They, along with the FHWA, have already looked everything over several times and have always been very helpful. They were scheduled to be here at 9 so I had made plans to be out of the office the rest of the day after 11 thinking two hours would be enough time, but they ended up not being able to get here until after 10:30. So I couldn’t be here while they were going through everything. And because I am still waiting for the last authorization to be approved, I couldn’t really finish all the paperwork, so they will have to come back anyway one more time. I guess at least this way, I can be here next time so in case they can’t find the information they need in my records, I can find it for them.

APWA – Detention Pond Design

The rest of the day was spent attending a talk by the APWA about detention areas. Someone from a suburb in the Chicago area shared their experiences with building natural ponds. They said in the early 1990s a lot of mistakes were made in building these facilities, and now there’s a lot of maintenance and performance issues. Many have just turned into a huge pile of weeds needing a lot of work. Their community has been systematically renovating the ponds to improve their functions. And she said they are working now to avoid any problems with new ponds that are proposed by developers.

She brought up a lot of interesting and helpful tips about pond design. One included making sure an ecologist checks the seed list. She said they have seed lists submitted that contain weeds and seeds for plants that do not grow well by seed.

APWA – Communications

The other meeting I had was with our chapter communication committee. We were set up at the last executive committee meeting to look into the communications of our chapter. This was our kick-off meeting where we looked at the big picture of what we were trying to accomplish and who we were targeting as an audience. Then we decided what methods and tools we were going to research. I have been creating a workbook for us to use in this effort. So when we are done, I will post a copy of the workbook on the site so anyone else can use it for similar efforts.


Lighting of our Parking Lot

We are still having issues with finding lights that meet the photometric requirements for our parking lot. The last vendor I was working with could not find a light, and like our consultant, did not want to alter our parking lot configuration to make it work. So I contacted one last vendor and asked if he could find a lighting scheme that worked even if it meant changing our parking layout. Hopefully he will be able to come up with something. If not, I don’t think we’ll be able to meet the lighting requirements for spill over.

Staff meeting

We also had our staff meeting today. Like we do at most, we discussed all our projects. And at the end we tried something new where we held a pre-design project meeting. At this meeting we discussed next year’s road project and how we wanted to approach the plan development. We also set some tentative milestones and dates.

Subdivision meeting

Later in the afternoon we met with representatives of a subdivision that is going through a possible change in ownership. The subdivision was never completed, and we are trying to work to get the public improvements done.


There were a few other miscellaneous projects I worked on such as helping a resident complete documents to vacate a portion of the city alley. And I am still waiting to get that bid tab from PACE. It has been such a busy week, and tomorrow is also looking like its another full day!


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