A longtime CEC solid waste client needed a structural engineer to design a bridge that would support the expansion of a landfill they operate. They quickly realized they didn’t need to look any further than CEC.
Republic Services has a longstanding relationship with CEC, which provides solid waste consulting and engineering services for Republic sites across the country.
So when a Republic-operated landfill in Arlington, Texas, was reaching capacity on a waste unit and was ready to begin construction and operations on another waste unit located across a major creek, they needed a way to get to the other side — a high-capacity bridge.
Capitalizing on the existing relationship, CEC Principal Adam Mehevec informed Republic that CEC had the structural engineering and bridge design experts who could design the bridge in addition to the experts in Texas who could handle the local permitting. With bridge experts in Bridgeport, West Virginia, and assistance from professionals in Austin, Houston, and Knoxville, CEC was well-equipped to help Republic cross this bridge when they got to it.
“Other engineering firms that bid on the project indicated they thought they could repurpose another civil engineer to tackle the bridge project, versus CEC who had dedicated bridge staff, which instilled confidence,” says Adam Hart, Republic Services Environmental Manager.
Sizing It Up
In terms of size and capacity, this bridge was the largest that CEC’s bridge professionals, a group that continues to grow in size and levels of expertise, have worked on — and it was completed without a hitch.
The bridge gives access to 40 years of landfill capacity on the other side of Hurricane Creek. It also opened up the opportunity to relocate that same creek in the future and add more airspace capacity, says Dave Hildreth, Republic’s Division Manager for the landfill.
“Knowing CEC and the qualifications of the team we normally work with, along with their far-reaching expertise in other offices’ capabilities to draw on, I’d say was a major contributing factor in their selection.”
CEC team members from the Austin, Bridgeport, Houston, and Knoxville offices joined forces to coordinate permitting, survey, structural design, geotechnical investigations, and utility relocation, as well as to provide construction quality assurance.
The techniques used to design the bridge differed from what might normally occur because of the size and weight of the vehicles the bridge was designed for. With articulated vehicles that could weigh up to 180,000 pounds, the bridge required an extreme weight capacity.
“All bridges are designed to periodically allow for a heavy-load vehicle to use the bridge, but they are not always designed with that type of vehicle as the primary traffic,” says Greg Linder, a principal at CEC Bridgeport who was the project manager at this site.
CEC Bridgeport civil engineering consultant Hannah Costello says that among the challenges at this site was integrating and embedding a carrier pipe for a landfill gas pipeline.
“That was definitely the most unique part of it,” Hannah says. “You’re sticking a 4-foot diameter pipe through the abutment wall and trying to get the proper spacing for your rebar reinforcement in the abutment to make it work, and also account for expansion and contraction.”
Providing bridge design services for a solid waste client is a shining example of how CEC’s diverse group of experts in offices nationwide can use their skills to help clients meet their goals, even when projects include different services than what CEC has normally provided.
“We definitely have shown them there’s a lot of stuff we can do that we haven’t done for them before,” Adam Mehevec says. “Having CEC be able to provide these services gave Republic peace of mind that this integral portion of their operation would be completed in an efficient, cost-effective manner.”
Coordination and Communication
Although the bulk of the bridge work came from CEC offices outside of Texas, that didn’t prevent CEC’s professionals from maintaining high levels of communication to ensure Republic’s needs were properly met.
“I had a reasonable amount of high-level information on what it would take to build the bridge due to prior coordination with the floodplain administrator and hydraulic modeling, which narrowed down the design,” Adam Hart said. “There was a high level of communication with CEC’s professionals in the details of what was needed and why.”
CEC’s professionals maintained excellent communication with each other, with their clients, and with the contractors to ensure seamless completion of this project in the summer of 2021 to meet Republic’s needs.
“We made it a point to make a trip down there for the project kickoff, so they knew who was designing the bridge and that we were clear on the site,” Hannah says. “We made a second trip during construction to strengthen the relationship with the client and contractor. It matters to have a familiar face on site, and we hope that helps open further opportunities for collaboration with everyone involved in this project.”