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Posted on: May 5, 2021

May 5, 2021: Gateway Slope Notes

Gateway Slope Notes

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Gateway Slope Notes #8:  Clearing and Grubbing 


Besides setting up erosion control devices, one of the first activities on a construction site is called, “clearing and grubbing.” You can see it in the attached picture. It was always an item (one of the first items) in my construction specifications and on the tab sheet of my project construction plans. Typically this is a lump sum item in the construction cost estimate. “Clearing and grubbing” is the removal and disposal of unwanted surface material such as weeds, downed trees, brush, buried logs, and other debris. If any of you are curious, it’s under Section 200 - “Earthwork”, subsection 201 of PennDOT Publication 408, Specifications. #GatewaySlopeNotes




Gateway Slope Notes #9:  Site Observations after Rainfall 

May be an image of grass and treeMay be an image of road and treeOne of the best times to observe a construction project is during a rainfall event or right after it! It’s the very best way to determine if the drainage design and/or erosion control devices are working as they should. I remember one time while examining a contractor’s paving work, there were areas that had sediment deposits - which demonstrated the pavement had low points and had to be leveled. Examining a project after or during a rainfall event tells a story! You just have to be able to read it.....Happy to say there is no sign of erosion off the site. The rock construction entrance seems to be doing its job well, and the silt fence has not been overtopped. If any section of the silt fence has been overtopped, it should be replaced. More information about silt fence can be found in the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s “Erosion and Sediment Pollution Control Program Manual”, Chapter 4, Sediment Barriers and Filters. #GatewaySlopeNotes



 Gateway Slope Notes #10: PennDOT’s Roadway Management System, and State Route, Segment, and Offset of the Project! you know that PennDOT has a Roadway Management System (RMS) that includes the location and all important data on every PA State Route (SR)? It provides a lot of great information necessary for project planning and design. These are viewed in what is called a Straight Line Diagram (SLD). Indicating the SR number, and the Segment and Offset of the start-of-work and end-of-work for a project are basic but important initial tasks. This is typically shown on the Cover Sheet of construction plans. Baltimore Avenue is SR 2016. The Gateway Slope project limits are Segment 0170, Offset 222 and Segment 0170, Offset 815. See the attached screenshot of the Straight Line Diagram for the area of the project. Showing the start and end work by Segment and Offset is more specific than describing it with just street or roadway names. The SLDs are a bit confusing if you have never seen one before, but it’s interesting to know how the engineer “sees” the project! #GatewaySlopeNotes

Gateway Slope Notes #11:  Envisioning the Constructed Project

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One thing I will admit that I do as an engineer: I dream of the final built project that is so carefully calculated and represented with such detail in the construction plans. If you can, sit back and relax and imagine this with me! Let’s imagine the trees!! When you specify trees on construction plans, it is typically organized in a “Plant Schedule.” Usually the Plant Schedule includes: the type of trees, the quantity, the botanical name, the common name, container size, whether it’s balled and burlapped, and the tree height. Imagine: such beautiful trees, evergreen trees, ornamental trees, deciduous trees, evergreen shrubs, ornamental grasses, and perennials!! Red maple, black gum, American sycamore, white oak, and last but not least.... the eastern red bud!! And many more!! Imagine the beauty this will bring to the gateway of our town! #GatewaySlopeNotes




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 Gateway Slope Notes #12:  More Clearing and Grubbing (and Identifying SR and Segments by Signage!) 

Still lots of clearing and grubbing happening! Lots of twigs and underbrush that is being removed. (This view is safely in the public space from the driveway of Walsh Road.) And here is another note about State Routes and Segment Numbers! Remember that this project is on State Route (SR) 2016, Segment 170. See the attached white sign with black letters. When you see these signs, that is what they mean! 🙂 It shows the State Route (SR) and the Segment! This is on the west side of the Darby Creek Bridge, Baltimore Avenue. #GatewaySlopeNotes