VDOT’s Route 29 Solutions Project Wins ACEC Virginia Pinnacle Award


The Route 29 Solutions design-build project, led by RK&K, has won the 2018 Pinnacle Award from ACEC Virginia. As the highest honor given by the chapter, it recognizes projects demonstrating innovation, complexity, achievement, and value to the industry. Project manager Nate Dumas, PE (second from left) represented Schnabel, which was one of three major subconsultants on RK&K’s team. Nate and Jim Seli, PE, both based in our Richmond office, were instrumental to the success of the geotechnical and geostructural portions of the work and were well-supported by an in-house team of engineers and scientists.

RK&K worked in partnership with the Virginia Department of Transportation and the contractor LANE/Corman Joint Venture to deliver the Route 29 Solutions project which consisted of three distinct project elements: Route 29 and Rio Road Grade Separated Intersection (GSI); Route 29 Widening from four lanes to six lanes for approximately 1.8 miles from Polo Grounds Road to Towncenter Drive; and Berkmar Drive, an extension of 2.3 miles on new alignment from Hilton Heights Road to Towncenter Drive.

The 2018 Pinnacle Award focused on the Rio Road GSI, for which RK&K was the design leader.  The innovations developed during design led to early completion and opening of the intersection and has led to improved safety and mobility in this heavily traveled corridor. The $69.7 million Rio Road grade-separated intersection project was completed in December 2016. Replacement of the existing at-grade intersection with a grade-separated intersection accomplished VDOT’s goals of easing congestion and improving safety for motorists in the area. The Rio Road grade remained essentially unchanged, whereas Route 29 was reconstructed to separate through traffic and local traffic exiting at Rio Road. Four through lanes (two each direction) were constructed underneath Rio Road to carry traffic with destinations north or south. Local lanes were built to the outside of the through lanes so traffic with local destinations can leave Route 29 onto Rio Road or access the businesses near the intersection.

The Pinnacle Award is one of several that the overall project has won. Others are a Grand Award from ACEC Virginia, and Overall Winner, Transportation Engineering Awards, presented by the Virginia Transportation Construction Alliance.

Dreaming Big with Villanova’s College of Engineering

“DREAM BIG: Engineering Our World” was presented at ASCE’s GeoFrontiers 2017 conference attended by Chairman of the Board Allen Cadden, who envisioned it as a local event sponsored by the West Chester office. Mia Painter, who heads the office’s geoscience group and chairs our Women’s Initiative Network, ran with the concept and invited Villanova University’s College of Engineering to partner. It all came together at an invitation-only screening at the UA King of Prussia (Pa.) IMAX-RPX theater on Saturday, January 20.  DREAM BIG, made by MacGillivray Freeman Films in partnership with the American Society of Civil Engineers and Bechtel Corporation, reveals how engineers have changed both everyday lives and entire societies. The 40-minute film wowed the all-ages audience of 300 people with engineering innovations past, present and future, and made a compelling case for advancing STEM education for the good of the planet.

Paolo Mazzalai Speaks at 12th Annual Schnabel Lecture Series at Virginia Tech

Allen Cadden (left) prepares to introduce Paolo Mazzalai (right)

We were honored to present Italy-based SWS Engineering’s CEO Paolo Mazzalai, PE, as guest lecturer in Schnabel’s 12th Annual Lecture Series at Virginia Tech’s Charles E. Via, Jr. Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering on October 30. Introduced by Schnabel board chairman Allen Cadden, PE, Mr. Mazzalai’s topic was “Underground Engineering: Opportunities, Challenges and Innovation.”  A video of the full presentation is available here.

For more information about SWS, click here. Schnabel and SWS are joint venture partners in pursuit of infrastructure and underground projects in North America. Read all about it here.

We’re Open for Business in Seattle!

“Go West, young man” holds new meaning for Alex Rutledge, PE, PG, and Robert Indri, PE, who just opened our first office on the West Coast. The dam engineers, who have been with Schnabel’s Greensboro, N.C., office for over ten years, were already used to long-distance travel to job sites. Thanks to ongoing projects with utility clients in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest–Seattle in particular–being there physically made good sense.  When presented with the opportunity to open our 20th location, which is focused on work associated with dams, Alex and Rob embraced the challenge despite daunting logistics.  In addition to pulling up stakes, moving their families cross-country and house-hunting, they have hung the Schnabel Engineering shingle up and are now officially open for business in West Seattle. Both are quick to credit Greensboro-based Robert Cannon, PG, and Tom Fitzgerald, PE, with “laying the groundwork that created not only a realistic proposition for Schnabel’s expansion, but also for the two of us to be catalysts for success in this new and exciting venture.”

You can reach Alex and Rob by phone at 206-573-5190 or via e-mail by clicking on their names. Their address is 4700 42nd Avenue SW, Suite 570, Seattle, WA 98116. Stop by if you’re in the neighborhood!

NJSWA Launches Round Valley Reservoir Website

Our client, the New Jersey Water Supply Authority, has launched a new website dedicated to informing the public about the latest progress on the Round Valley Reservoir structures refurbishment and resource preservation project and allow them to easily communicate questions and comments to project representatives. Improvements to the reservoir’s aging structures using modern design and construction techniques will extend their durability, resilience and operating life. NJWSA operates and maintains the reservoir, which is located in Clinton, New Jersey. It is the largest drinking water supply by volume in the state.

As Engineer of Record for the project, Schnabel is responsible for its design and quality assurance. Design began this year, and we will be working closely with NJSWA and Gannett Fleming (Owner’s Engineer) over the next several years as work progresses.