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News

New Equipment for Our In-House Laboratory

 Uniquely, Blackburn Consulting has always provided laboratory testing in-house. In-house laboratory testing makes our designs and decisions better, because we have confidence in the test results. Our Engineers and Field Technicians work closely with our lab to make sure the best materials/samples are used, the turn-around time meets project schedules, and the test results make sense. 

Our laboratory services have been in high demand over the last few years, and our testing quantity has tripled. We recently purchased some new equipment to help us increase efficiency. 

This is our new high capacity concrete compression machine. 

It’s more powerful than our other compression machines, so we’ll be able to test high-strength concrete that is sometimes specified for dams, bridges, and other critical structures.

This picture to the right shows our new, fully-automated direct shear machine. Formerly, we used an "old school” direct shear machine, with lab technicians taking readings every few minutes for hours at a time. This new machine records readings on its own for the duration of the test, which improves consistency and quality, but, we still evaluate the results to make sure they make sense. 

 


We’re excited about the growth in our laboratory services. If you’re ever in West Sacramento, let us know so we can give you a tour of our facility!

 


Welcome, Trevor!

BCI recently welcomed Trevor Sorber as a Project Geologist in our Auburn office. Trevor studied Geology at California State University, Chico, and has a passion for environmental work. His experience includes site surveys, subcontractor oversight, report preparation, well installation, monitoring and destruction, soil, groundwater and vapor sampling, vapor extraction system and product recovery pump maintenance. Trevor resides in Roseville, and looks forward to marrying his fiancé, Caitlynn. Welcome to the team, Trevor!

   


Engineering Excellence Award

Blackburn Consulting received a Merit Award at ACEC California's 2018 Engineering Excellence Awards Banquet. On the Cosumnes River Boulevard Extension & I-5 Interchange project, certain pipelines required no additional loading from the planned roadway and interchange ramp embankments. Blackburn recommended use of an innovative material (pervious lightweight cellular concrete) at about half the cost of other alternatives. Read more about this project and Blackburn’s engineering solution here.



Excellence on School Projects

BCI’s quality reports save clients time and hassle when getting their projects approved. Within the last year, the Department of Conservation California Geological Survey accepted our geotechnical and geo-hazard reports for Sierra Vista Middle School (New Multipurpose Building), Bowman Charter School (New Multipurpose Building), and Del Rio High School (Three New Buildings) with no additional information requested.

For all three projects, the Department’s comments were "Based on our review, the consultants [Blackburn Consulting] provided a thorough and well-documented assessment of engineering geology and seismology issues with respect to the proposed improvements”.


2017-2018 CalGeo President: Bob Lokteff, PE, GE

BCI Vice President Bob Lokteff leads the CalGeo Board of Directors this year as President. CalGeo is the only professional organization exclusively committed to California's geotechnical consulting industry. Bob has served on the CalGeo Board for many years, and is excited for his term as President. You can read his President's Welcome message here



Our Jolly Good Fellow

The American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) recently welcomed BCI's CEO Tom Blackburn into its College of Fellows. According to ACEC, their College of Fellows is "a distinguished class of engineers who have been selected by their peers as deserving recognition for exemplary contributions to the profession.” Tom participated in a leadership capacity at ACEC for over 10 years, and served terms on the Board of Directors and as President for both the local Sierra chapter and the statewide California organization. We are very proud of Tom and grateful to ACEC for honoring him!

 


ON THE CUTTING EDGE…
HILLS FERRY ROAD BRIDGE/SAN JOAQUIN RIVER SEISMIC RETROFIT PROJECT

 
Blackburn Consulting advanced the geotechnical design for seismic retrofit of the Hills Ferry Road Bridge over the San Joaquin River, a Stanislaus County Public Works project. The 647-foot long, 18-span reinforced concrete structure risks potential collapse. Seismic induced lateral spreading impacts both abutment river channel slopes and the river channel bed deposits.

BCI (with T.Y. Lin) evaluated and designed a retrofit strategy using the current Caltrans 2013 Lateral Spreading Design Guidelines. Caltrans considered this retrofit strategy to be cost prohibitive and unnecessary.

BCI attended several meetings and corresponded with Caltrans earthquake engineering and geotechnical staff. This culminated in Caltrans’ new Draft Memo to Designers 20-15 (Soil Liquefaction and Lateral Spreading Analysis for New and Existing Bridges) specific for design of this "pilot” project. The new Draft Memo relies on abutment/deck and pile plastic hinge resisting forces to reduce lateral spread movements to suitable levels for new bridge or retrofit design.

BCI used the new Draft Memo guidelines to develop a graph of required structural resistance vs. lateral spread displacements based on slope stability analysis methods. T.Y. Lin used BCI’s graph to develop a new retrofit strategy recently submitted to Caltrans.