The ASCE Mohawk-Hudson Section would like to thank the following firms for their support. Funds from our sponsors are used for the section's annual scholarship fund, support of younger member activities, maintenance of our website and newsletter, and numerous other section activities. If you would like to be a sponsor please contact Chris Carter (firstname.lastname@example.org).
It's been almost six weeks since Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, and it seems like Spring is right around the corner. Although it was a calm winter, the Mohawk-Hudson Section was busy in our pursuit of The American Society of Civil Engineers' strategic initiatives aimed at progressing and advancing the profession of civil engineering.
Most recently was the Capital District's 37th Annual Celebration of National Engineers Week, which was another great success and offered valuable educational, networking, and professional opportunities for engineers and students alike. Volunteers from our SEI Chapter once again helped to sponsor and organize the High School Model Bridge Competition held during E-Week. Please read the article below from our current SEI Chair Paul Byrd for a summary of this exciting event. Speaking of things that SEI was involved in, did you see our SEI chapter was highlighted in the February 2017 issue of STRUCTURE magazine? Grab your copy and check it out!
As the seasons change, more events will be springing up and more changes will be on their way.
This year's Annual Dinner Meeting will be held on Wednesday, May 03rd, at Wolfs 1-11 in Colonie. The evening will include dinner and a PDH presentation on the challenges of the design and permitting process of Mohawk Harbor in Schenectady, NY. The focus of the presentation will be on the man-made harbor, carved out of contaminated soils along the banks of the Mohawk River. This high profile, multi-discipline project required balancing environmental, structural, and civil requirements while also satisfying client, City, and public expectations, and will be presented by Professional Engineers Steven Boisvert, Greg Johnson, and Todd Mueller from Bergmann Associates. Registration for our Annual Dinner Meeting will be available soon.
Each year the Mohawk-Hudson Section presents awards for Engineer of the Year, Young Engineer of the Year, and Meritorious Service at our Annual Dinner Meeting. These awards are a great way to recognize local engineers and celebrate their accomplishments. Engineer of the Year and Young Engineer of the Year nominees do not need to be Section members. Nominees for Meritorious Service are required to be Section members. Please use the forms below to nominate a deserving engineer who has gone above and beyond to promote civil engineering.
The Annual Dinner Meeting also serves as the changing of the guard for our board members. Joining the board is a great way to meet other area engineers, expand your network, increase your exposure to the engineering community, and continue to further the profession of civil engineering. If you are interested in joining the board, we are still accepting nominations. The board meets monthly to conduct Section business and is a great way to give back and maximize your ASCE membership benefits. Please review the biographies of this year's candidates and then complete and return the Officers Ballot below.
Our young members group is in the process of planning their next social gathering, so be on the lookout for details to follow. And mark your calendar for the annual golf outing to be held on Friday, July 14th at Airway Meadows. As always, all members are invited to all our events.
If you are interested in getting involved, contact any board member, committee chair, or technical group/institute chair for more information.
2017-2018 Mohawk-Hudson Section Officers Ballot
The 2017-2018 officers election is fast approaching and ballots for this years election are due Friday, April 14th.
Mr. Carter is a structural engineer with 10 years of experience. He is an active member of the ASCE Mohawk-Hudson Section. He is currently finishing his fourth year serving as treasurer of the board and continues to serve as a practitioner advisor for the RPI ASCE Student Chapter. Prior to becoming treasurer, Mr. Carter served as the Membership Chair for the Mohawk-Hudson Section.
Paul Byrd, EIT
Mr. Byrd is a structural engineer at Hill-Engineers, Architect, Planners, Inc. involved in a full range of activities from design through construction, including code research, design development, construction budget formulation, contract bidding and negotiation, and construction documentation, while also specializing in the design, forensics, repair, and retrofit of historic buildings, masonry structures, and underground concrete structures. He is currently Chair of the Structural Engineering Institute (SEI) Mohawk-Hudson Chapter and is involved in a variety of K-12 outreach programs such as the Model Bridge Competition and is leading the efforts of the Section's Dream Big film screening in October 2017.
Leo Fioravanti, PE
Mr. Fioravanti is currently a project engineer at HNTB's Albany office and has over 7 years of experience in the civil engineering industry. He is currently Vice President of the ASCE Mohawk-Hudson Section. He has a master's degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and has gained significant work experience during his relatively young career working with private and public clients on design, construction, highway, and rail projects. He is also the chair of the ASCE Mohawk-Hudson Transportation group, a practitioner advisor for the RPI ASCE Student Chapter, an advisory board member for RPI's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and a mentor for RPI's Capstone Program.
Mr. Einig graduated with a bachelor's degree from Missouri University of Science and Technology. Christopher has spent significant time in the field performing special inspections and providing pile monitoring services. In the past, he has been NYSDOT's representative at the Fort Miller Precast Plant, where he provided quality assurance for the production of precast panels for several projects including the Kosciuszko Bridge and the Major Deegan Expressway. He is also the current Secretary of the ASCE Mohawk Hudson Section, and along with his wife Brooke, he is a leader in the Saratoga 4H Club.
2017 Mohawk-Hudson Section Awards
Do you know someone who could be a candidate for Engineer of the Year Award, Young Engineer of the Year Award, or Meritorious Service Award? The awards are presented each year by the Section at our Annual Dinner Meeting. These awards are a great way to recognize local engineers and celebrate their accomplishments. Engineer of the Year and Young Engineer of the Year nominees do not need to be Section members. Nominees for Meritorious Service are required to be Section members. Please use the forms below to nominate a deserving engineer who has gone above and beyond to promote civil engineering. Award nominations are due March 24th.
SEI Mohawk-Hudson Chapter hosts the 2017 Model Bridge Competition at Capital District's 37th Anniversary Celebration of National Engineer's Week
SEI Mohawk-Hudson Chapter hosted its annual Model Bridge Competition on Thursday, February 16th at the Albany Marriott during the Capital District's 37th Anniversary Celebration of National Engineer's Week (E-Week). Teams that participated in this year's event were Shenendehowa, Shaker (North Colonie), Rensselaer, Schodack (Maple Hill), Taconic Hills, Chatham and Troy. Teams and individuals registered and broke 65 bridges made of balsa wood and wood glue, while following specific geometric parameters.
During registration, SEI showed off the trailer for the new STEM-based film Dream Big to participants, followed by a brief narrative by local movie coordinator and SEI Chair, Paul Byrd.
Attendance was less than expected due to previous inclement weather snow days preventing some schools from completing their bridges. However, it was big in other ways as "Modern Era" (2007-2017) records were shattered!
Individual bridges were judged based on aesthetics, largest breaking load, and highest efficiency (strength-weight ratio). School "teams" were judged based on overall performance. Shaker High School (North Colonie) took the first prize of the day, claiming the top spot for aesthetics with a bridge built by Ishan Ahuja and Benjamin Marino. Rensselaer High School took over from there, claiming all other prizes (8 individual bridge and 2 school average). This is the largest victory by a single school in the Modern Era. Individual winners were as follows:
1st - Ishan Ahuja and Benjamin Marino (Shaker)
2nd - Zo Ko (Rensselaer)
3rd - Zin Wai (Rensselaer)
1st - Zo Ko (Rensselaer), 525 lbs.
2nd - Isaac Brightbill (Rensselaer), 440 lbs.
3rd - Francisco Concepcion (Rensselaer), 427 lbs.
1st - Issac Brightbill (Rensselaer), 5.50
2nd - Francisco Concepcion (Rensselaer), 3.59
3rd - Zin Wai (Rensselaer), 3.36
Prior to the 2017 MBC, Modern Era records for efficiency and load rating were 5.71 and 445 pounds. Second in efficiency over this time was more than a full point lower at 4.42. As for load rating, no other bridge broke the 400-pound threshold. The efficiency record nearly fell as Isaac Brightbill followed up his 2016 winning performance with a 2017 efficiency of 5.50. The load rating record was shattered by Zo Ko whose bridge held 525 pounds.
Of Rensselaer's 15 bridges, 4 supported loads in excess of 400 pounds. Their other 11 also performed well giving Rensselaer the school average prizes with results of 2.18 efficiency and 233.9 pounds. This is our fifth year of awarding school average prizes and Rensselaer's effort has set new records in both categories. Previously the records were 2.11 efficiency and 182.3 pounds, both held by South Colonie. We introduced the school average awards to try to encourage sharing of knowledge so that all students have a better chance of building bridges that perform well.
Many thanks to all who attended, participated, and volunteered for this event. We'll see you next year!
The Shaw Bridge
Claverack, New York
Crossing the Claverack Creek
Many members of the Mohawk-Hudson Section of the ASCE know of Squire Whipple, the father of the iron truss bridge and that he spent much of his life living and working in Albany, New York. Others know him as the first member of the Society to be named an Honorary Member of ASCE after its resuscitation in 1867. Union College graduates know he was a graduate of Union in the Class of 1830. Others know of him as the first engineer to correctly analyze a truss and that he published his findings and recommended truss types in his 1847 book entitled A Work on Bridge Building consisting of two Essays, One Elementary and General, the other giving Original and Practical Details for Iron and Wooden Bridges.
His patented Bowstring truss using cast and wrought iron (1841) was adopted by the Erie Canal Commissioners as the standard iron bridge to cross the enlarged Erie Canal and hundreds were built in the last half of the 19th century. In addition, Whipple and others using his patent built many over the rivers and streams throughout the northeastern United States. When the Erie Canal closed after the opening of the New York State Barge Canal, many of these bridges were removed and rebuilt at other locations.
The Mohawk-Hudson Section is fortunate to have several of these rebuilt bridges within it limits. The Union College Whipple crosses the Brook That Bounds on the campus. It was moved from Johnstown and erected on the campus in 1980-81. It is a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark. The Vischer's Ferry Whipple was moved from Fonda and erected over the enlarged Erie Canal in Clifton Park. It is a New York State Historic Civil Engineering Landmark and was opened in 1998. A bridge at Central Park in Schenectady was built of Whipple parts and was originally located at Parish, New York. While not in our Section a Whipple Bridge originally built at Talcottville, New York was moved and erected over the Black River Canal outside of Boonville, New York. Another across the Normanskill in Albany has also been restored.
The Shaw Bridge is unlike any of these bridges for two reasons. First it is still in its original location and secondly it is a double span bridge. It was built by John Hutchinson & Sons of Troy, New York to carry VanWyck Lane across the Claverack Creek in 1870. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on April 17, 1980. It consists of two 80 ft. spans with a 10.5 ft. wide wooden deck. The bridge has been closed for many years. The writer and Ryan, Biggs Associates recently made studies of the existing conditions and recommendations for restoration. Since that time a committee of citizens lead by Ian Nitschke has been applying to various sources for funding to restore the bridge as a pedestrian bridge creating a small park in the area. The committee was recently notified that it has been awarded a grant in the amount of $170,000 to restore the bridge. The committee and Town have to match that amount in contributed labor, materials or equipment or other contributed services. The writer has been asked to oversee the restoration and is seeking volunteers to assist in the restoration of the two spans. The work will be done in the spring, summer and fall of 2017 if all goes well.
Photo by Historic American Engineering Record 1994 while still in use.
Recent Photograph of abandoned in place bridge.
ASCE urges section members to engage in activities of a community service nature. In giving back to the community by its members the status of the profession is enhanced in the public eye. Many of the bridges I have restored have been done with students, practicing civil engineers, suppliers, etc. and I like to think they all feel a sense of accomplishment in having worked on restoring a piece of civil engineering history.
The members of the Mohawk-Hudson Section now have another chance to work on a project of historic significance in restoring the Shaw Bridge. We are still working out the details but some of the types of work to be done are as follows:
Pressure wash the dry laid stone abutments and pier.
Point up the stone work.
Remove the old decking.
Check on condition of wooden stringers and if bad remove them.
Clear concrete, etc. from around the ends of the cast iron arches.
Paint cross beams, junction blocks, etc. (After sand blasting by others)
Repairs to truss elements will generally be done by others.
Replace stringers if necessary.
Place new decking.
Place railings (type still be considered)
If you will be willing to assist me in this important work please email or telephone me of your support at email@example.com or 518-810-2957. Generally the volunteer work will be done on Saturdays. I will forward to all volunteers a tentative schedule (when available) of when we will be working on various aspects of the project that can be done with volunteers. The schedule is subject to change as we coordinate the work to be done by contractors with the work to be done by volunteers.