Utilizing Soil Nails: Unique Temporary Shoring Project

In early 2016, URETEK MA was contacted to assist in the installation of the shoring for a Wet Well Cofferdam, at a Wastewater Pump Station in South Carolina.  UMA was contacted to serve as a Design-Build subcontractor, on a temporary shoring project that had run into unforeseen conditions.  The original plan was to drive in a ring of sheeting, supported internally by concrete walers.  The PZ-27 sheets were driven to refusal, ranging in depth from 20-30 feet below grade.  Due to unforeseen conditions, boulders were encountered at varying depths.  The sheets were not able to be driven to full depth, because of these bouldery conditions, and the sheet pile driving operation had to be suspended.

The general contractor contacted the designer of the sheet pile system, who fabricated a solider pile design, to be placed inside of the previously installed sheeting.  UMA value engineered the solider pile wall design, by utilizing a drilled and grouted soil nail wall with a flexible facing, within the sheet pile wall.  This design included walers for the top two rows of soil nails, so that they could be tensioned and locked off, against the outside face of the existing sheet piles.  UMA utilized the walers where the soil nail wall encountered the sheet piles, to help distribute the load evenly across the uneven sheet pile facing.  The post-tension process utilized a hydraulic jacking system, to insure the sheeting and the soil nail system, were placed in an “active environment.”

Throughout the project, UMA coordinated closely with the general contractor to install  the soil nail wall system.  As the excavation moved deeper into the ground, the boulders the sheet piles were encountering, needed to be removed.  The work site, due to its proximity to a neighborhood, was a no blast zone, and the general contractor worked to remove the large boulders via hydraulic hammers, and Dexpan. UMA installed the flexible facing soil nail wall, and successfully continued the excavation to full depth- totaling at 43-feet from top of excavation, to bottom of excavation. The excavated area totaled 50-feet in diameter, and required all equipment to be craned in, and out of, the work area daily.

This unique work site, coupled with the unforeseen issues with the boulders, allowed UMA the opportunity to offer a fresh perspective, and cost-effective solution.  The soil nail wall combined with the walers, allowed the necessary excavations to be completed, and the Wet Well Cofferdam to be placed on schedule.

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Categories: Design-Build, Earth Retention, geotechnical engineer, Infrastructure, Soil Nail Wall, Team Uretek, URETEK MA, Value Engineer | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hatteras Ferry Terminal Soil Stabilization: Noninvasive HDPR Solution

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Hatteras, North Carolina is home to the iconic Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and over 50 miles of beautiful shoreline.  While the year-round population is about 3,000-4,000, this spikes in the summer months to 50,000+ visitors per week.  The Coast Guard Station Hatteras Inlet is also located on the southern end of the island, and is a multi-session unit- meaning search and rescue, boating safety, and law enforcement, and marine environmental protection operations are all performed.  The nearby ferry terminal for this wonderful island is both necessary, and enjoyable- and recently, was in need of repair.

When the original seawall was put into place, the concrete piles were installed using water jetting.  Once the row of piles were in place, concrete panels were set and sealed in between the piles.  An issue with the seal between the precast panels and the piles at the ferry terminal was causing soil to pull through the wall, into the ocean.  Sinkholes were beginning to form behind the wall, next to the Coast Guard Station Hatteras Inlet.  The NCDOT reached out to URETEK MA for a environmentally friendly, non-invasive solution to prevent further loss of soil behind the seawall.

Stabilizing the soils using high-density polyurethane resin would allow the panels and piles to be sealed from the back side, and prevent future formation of sink holes.  The injection of hydro-insensitive resins would also fill any present voids, or sinkholes, and could be easily controlled in this environmentally sensitive area.  To begin, the joints of the panels were located with the help of divers, and tubes were driven down to depths of 20 feet.  These tubes facilitated URETEK’s patented Deep InjectionTM of HDPR.

While on site, beyond a water containment boom used to catch any excess HDPR, a diver was in the water both filming for live-feed of the Deep InjectionTM of HDPR, and covering any leaks with wire mesh.  By monitoring the process with both a live-stream of video, as well a diver, all leaks were able to be successfully repaired.  These important precautions insured the repair was non-disruptive to not only the residents of Hatteras, but to the environment.

The sinkholes forming behind the wall were successfully filled, and the soil was stabilized.  The newly sealed joints, insured a stable, and functioning ferry terminal- for residents, and vacationers alike.


Categories: Infrastructure, Public Works, seawall repair, sinkhole repair, soil stabilization, Team Uretek, URETEK MA, void filling | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Emergency Bridge Underpinning: Choosing Micropiles

Unusually high rainfall left the town of Murphy, NC without running water, a damaged sewer, and devastated roadways.  The North Carolina Department of Transportation contacted URETEK MA to design and build micropiles to support the bridge.  Bridge #245 in Cherokee County, NC suffered structural damage from the rainfall, as the soil under the bridge abutment was washed away by the rising river.  This rushing water exposed the piles supporting the bridge, and eventually washed out about 30 feet of sewer, and portions of surrounding roadway.

Some members of the town of Murphy were experiencing loss of their sewer, and running water.  Including eight restaurants, four hotels, and a handful of key shopping centers.  Daycare centers, as well as public schools were able to re-open with assistance of port-a-johns, bottled water, and packed lunches provided by unaffected neighboring schools.

Partnering with the NC DOT, URETEK MA worked to revise the original plan to save valuable time for the community of Murphy, NC.  Working quickly, URETEK MA re-designed to include micropile casing that was currently on hand.  From the date of contact the repair was re-designed, submitted, and URETEK MA arrived onsite in 10 days.  In addition to the urgency of repair, the site featured low overhead clearances, and would require a limited access drill.  URETEK MA worked closely with the NC DOT from start to finish.

The construction of the micropile foundation was a 3 stage process:

  • Step 1: Load Test one pre-production micropile (ASTM D1143)
  • Step 2: Placement of micropiles adjacent to the existing wood piles
  • Step 3: Connect/transfer loads to from existing piles to new micropiles

The micropiles used ranged from 10 to 15 feet, as what was on the ground was not enough to sufficiently support the bridge.  URETEK MA installed the micropiles, and worked with the NC DOT to layout and pour concrete pile caps.  The repair ran eight to ten days, and was successful on all levels.

Micropiles were the best choice for this emergency repair because of low overhead clearances, low mobilization cost, ideal soil conditions, and it allowed existing piles to be protected from damage, or disturbance.  Micropiles also lended to a speedy installation with a total repair time, including re-design, of 20 days.  URETEK MA’s design-build solution allowed for a quick, successful bridge underpinning for the town of Murphy, NC in their time of need.

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Categories: Design-Build, Engineering, geotechnical engineer, Infrastructure, Public Works, Team Uretek | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Aging Culvert Restoration in Durham, NC

HDPR crew on site

URETEK MA’s HDPR crew on the worksite.

An aging culvert in Durham, North Carolina was in dire need of structural repair, and URETEK MA’s High-Density Polyurethane Resin, and patented Deep Injection process was utilized as the method of stabilization.  The City of Durham estimated the culvert was originally built in the early 1930s, but there are no records from original construction.  The culvert suffered from issues associated with original construction and age, as well as from the impact of a large tree growing into the side of the structure.  The walls and floor of the culvert were washing away, and wing walls were needed.  URETEK MA worked with the city as a Design-Build contractor, as well as with subcontractors, NBEs, and WNBEs  to create an affordable and minimally disruptive long-term solution.

By injecting HDPR around, and underneath the culvert, URETEK MA was able to densify and stabilize the surrounding soils.  This immediate improvement to the quality of surrounding soil made further repair possible.  Throughout this process both a bypass pump and cofferdam were utilized to control the water levels of the creek.  While URETEK MA’s HDPR is hydroinsensitive, general repair did call for a dry work environment.  URETEK MA worked with a restoration team to install rebar and epoxy, as well as seal cracks throughout the culvert.  A cast in place concrete floor was constructed, and shotcrete was used to make both upstream, and downstream wing walls.

The combined repairs ran several weeks, and saved the city millions.  The repair was environmentally friendly, and was not inconvenient to the surrounding residents.  The alternative, which involved replacing the culvert, would have taken months of construction- and would have run the city several million dollars.  Utilizing HDPR to stabilize the original structure, allowed for a full repair and restoration of the culvert.  This repair minimized the impact on the environment, the residents, and the city as a whole.


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Categories: geotechnical engineer, Infrastructure, Public Works, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thinking Outside the Box: Custom Drill for Unique Worksite

Lowering Uretek MA's Custom Drill into Place

Team Uretek MA carefully lowering the custom pneumatic drill into position.

In 2015, one of the largest retailers in the US, faced a unique and multi-faceted issue at one of their local NC locations, and URETEK MA was consulted as a sub-contractor. The retaining wall behind this local retailer, due to issues with original placement, was rotating away from the store. This retaining wall, which totaled approximately 450 feet in length, was situated between the store, and protected North Carolina Wetlands. Beyond the immediate priority of complying with NC regulations, and working to preserve these wetlands, space was also a major consideration. With both the wetlands, and limited work space to consider, traditional installation methods were immediately ruled out.

Access to the site was limited to the area between the store and the front of the retaining wall, and a small 10 foot area between the back of the retaining wall, and the start of the wetlands. Situating a crane in front of the retailer, to reach over the store, and hold the drill for the duration of the project was considered. This option was ruled out due to cost, and more importantly, leaving this NC location with no choice but to close during repairs, was not an option- a minimally disruptive plan was critical.

Successfully completing this project called for a creative, in-house solution, and a custom drill was fabricated. A pneumatic-powered drill was chosen due to its lighter weight design, and was mounted on the front of an extended-reach fork lift, using a custom winching system. This winching system used a hydraulic swing break to lower and raise the drill. The drill could be moved both up and down, but could also reach over the wall to work on the wetlands facing side of the retaining wall. This allowed the crew access to the retaining wall, without infringing on the wetlands with the necessary equipment.

Further precautions were taken to prevent water used during the project, from draining into the wetlands. A sump pit was constructed to collect the water used for drilling. The water was pumped back over the wall, away from the wetlands, and contained to a sediment tank. A berm was also used as an additional barrier between the work site and the wetlands.

For the completion of this project, 306 tieback anchors were installed at a depth of 35 feet. These anchors were installed using a Contech TITAN 40/20 hollow bar. Due to the sensitive environmental limitations, the anchors were drilled with water, and then grouted. This approach was chosen to eliminate any excess grout. The URETEK MA team worked for four months to complete this project, and was able to successfully repair the retaining wall. By working to remain non-invasive to the national retailer, and the vital wetlands, URETEK was able to craft a custom, creative solution to fit the needs of both the client, and the environment.

Watch Uretek Mid-Atlantic’s Custom Drill

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Categories: Earth Retention, geotechnical engineer | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Crushed Stone Subgrade Void Filling

Crushed stone is most often used in road construction, but may also function as backfill material in utility installations, subgrade material to support foundations and slabs in new construction, and railroad track ballast. Considered a Mineral Commodity in the United States, the crushed stone industry is often seen as an indicator of the overall financial health of a nation, due to its strong correlation with the health of the construction industry.

When used as backfill and subgrade, the material is touted for its strength and relative affordability. The key to effectively applying crushed stone as subgrade and backfill lies in the initial installation. When crushed stone is improperly bedded and site conditions are not factored into the installation, the consequences will eventually surface.

Treating the consequences associated with improper use of crushed stone is a frequent need for many municipalities, property managers, and commercial and industrial building owners. See the graphic below for a couple of common situations and how Uretek Mid-Atlantic’s patented structural resin can be applied.




If you need assistance stabilizing crushed stone subgrade, contact Uretek Mid-Atlantic today! 

Categories: Infrastructure, Property Management, Public Works | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Joseph Church, P.E. Joins Team Uretek

Joseph Church is a licensed Professional Engineer in the state of South Carolina with over 20 years of experience in Civil Engineering. Church was recently hired by Uretek Mid-Atlantic as theJoseph Church, P.E. Technical Sales Engineer for South Carolina. The Georgia Institute of Technology alumnus received both his B.S. in Civil Engineering and B.S. in Management in the early 1990’s.

Church began his career as a design engineer in the sanitation and wastewater industries, working mostly in South Carolina and New York.  In 2000, he decided to switch lanes and pursue a career as a Sales Engineer at CONTECH Construction Products. “I enjoy getting out and seeing different aspects of projects, and working closely with owners, contractors, and engineers. As a sales engineer, I get to provide unique solutions to complex problems that often involves all these players,” said Church.

For over ten years, Church has actively participated in the South Carolina Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers. He served as President of the Southeastern Branch in 2005 and Secretary of the State Section in 2012.

“We hired Joe with great expectations – he know widely and respected as a good engineer, past president of his engineering society and positive can do attitude – he is a well-rounded guy that fits in with the culture here at Uretek,” said Jim Despain, President of Uretek Mid-Atlantic.

Church currently lives in South Carolina with his wife, Sarah, 2 children, Arlo and Stella, and an extended family of cats and dogs.

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Celebrate National Public Works Week, Support Increased Infrastructure Investment

May 17th through May 19th marks National Public Works Week. The American Public Works Association started National Public Works Week in 1960 as a way to educate communities on the vital role that public works play in their daily lives.  The development and maintenance of our local parks, facilities, and infrastructure lie in the hands of the more than 28,000 public works employees across the nation. National Public Works Week gives those hard-working individuals well-deserved recognition for their commitment to our communities.

National public works week poster 2015

The official 2015 National Public Works Week poster.

Public works professionals face many challenges while performing their duties, the most debilitating and universal being limited budgets. Recent data shows that public works funding is inching towards recovery (see “Cost Saving Options for Public Works Departments”), but the current financial needs of public works departments are not being met. This deficit has contributed to an even larger issue: the state of U.S. infrastructure.

In a Public Works Magazine poll, 66 percent of respondents said that their department’s biggest challenge was infrastructure related—street maintenance, wastewater treatment, and stormwater pipe maintenance and rehabilitation.

The maintenance of infrastructure is crucial to the function and prosperity of any society, the very existence of public works departments is an acknowledgement of that truth. But the lack of funds being provided for infrastructure maintenance and repair makes the government look like children clenching their eyelids shut and sticking their index fingers in their ears to avoid addressing this epic failure.

In the American Society of Civil Engineers’ (ASCE) 2013 Infrastructure Report Card, the U.S. received a D+ overall on our bridges, roads, dams, and rail systems. They also estimated that a 3.6 trillion dollar investment is necessary to fix our failing infrastructure by 2020. According to the Congressional Budget Office, in 2014, the federal government spent $96 billion on infrastructure, alarming when compared to the ASCE’s findings.

The underfunded Highway Trust Fund is a primary example of the Government’s neglect. The federal gas tax, from which 60 percent is contributed to the Highway Trust Fund, has stalled at 18.4 cents per gallon for the last 22 years. When you factor in a recession, the emergence of more fuel-efficient vehicles, and increased use of public transportation, the income generated from the tax does not come close to covering the needs for the US Highway System.

Recently, there were attempts to fix the Highway Trust Fund, like the Repatriation Tax and a revived call to raise the gas tax. But these efforts have proven pointless in a divided Congress. Even if the Highway Trust Fund is restored, it will only address streets and bridges. Public Works Departments will still rely, heavily, on inadequate local resources to fund their stormwater, wastewater, and other infrastructure projects.

So here’s an idea to celebrate this year’s National Public Works Week, contact your Congressman or Congresswoman and let them know that you support increased funding for U.S. infrastructure.

Categories: Engineering, Infrastructure, Public Works | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

US-29 Permanent Shotcrete Installation

Uretek Mid-Atlantic was contracted to participate in a highway expansion project in Reidsville, NC. This will expand a primarily two lane highway to four lanes. Check out the slideshow below to see recent photos of shotcrete applications to a soil nail wall Uretek built in 2014.


Categories: Earth Retention | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Uretek Superintendent Inspired By Customer Satisfaction

Young at a pipe repair project.

Young at a pipe repair project.

Superintendent Richard Young, III celebrated his third work anniversary with Uretek Mid-Atlantic on March 19th. After receiving the distinction of Employee of the Month for January, and the Team Uretek Award— given for displaying the most team spirit in 2014—the dedicated technician credits his accomplishments to a personal commitment to the client.

“I like our product. I’m proud of our product,” said Young. “It’s nice when you’re able to go into someone’s home or business and fix something that’s been troubling them. I like making our customers happy, that’s what keeps me going!”

Young’s relatively fast ascension to superintendent can be attributed to his acute observational skills and attention to detail. “When I started I watched how the jobs went and I noticed different ways that they could be improved. From there, I made suggestions on how I thought projects could go better and they seemed to work,” said Young.


Vice President, Brian Depain (L), presenting Young (R) with the “Team Uretek” award at the 2014 Holiday Party.

Uretek employees democratically select the employee of the month, and Young received the inaugural award for working well under pressure. “Ritchie [Young] has a go-getter attitude and always tries to do the best with what he’s given to get the job done,” said Uretek Project Manager, Luke McFetters.

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