New Orleans District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) team members working on the Morganza to the Gulf project hosted their first Industry Day for the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GIWW) East and West Floodgates at USACE New Orleans District headquarter Oct. 13, 2023.
Project Management, Engineering and Contracting representatives presented overviews of the Morganza to the Gulf Flood Risk Reduction system, GIWW East and West Floodgates and associated challenges, and the Integrated Design and Construction (IDaC) contracting method.
Feedback on the subjects was received from industry representatives during one-on-one meetings following the presentation.
The authorized Morganza to the Gulf (MTG) project is a hurricane and storm damage risk reduction (HSDRR) project involving a 98-mile alignment of earthen levees, floodgates, environmental water control structures, road/railroad gates, and fronting protection for existing pump stations. This system is being designed to reduce the risk of damage related to flooding for the 1% Annual Exceedance Probability (AEP) in Terrebonne and Lafourche Parishes, where a deterioration of coastal marsh has led to an increased risk of inundation.
More information about the GIWW East and West floodgates and IDaC can be found at the following websites: https://www.mvn.usace.army.mil/About/Projects/Morganza-to-the-Gulf/ and https://sam.gov/content/home.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has chosen six contractors to compete for contracts worth up to $5 billion aimed at stabilizing Puerto Rico's power system. This decision comes in the wake of several storms and an earthquake over recent years that have left the power grid in Puerto Rico in a precarious state.
These multiple award task order contracts, granted by USACE, Savannah District, span a five-year ordering period. The primary objective of these contracts is to provide temporary power augmentation and address related issues with power generation facilities, as outlined by USACE. At an industry event earlier this year, officials stated that the contractors' task would involve enabling the generation of 350 MW to 700 MW at various locations across Puerto Rico.
The anticipated scope of work encompasses supplying equipment such as dual-fuel generators capable of running on natural gas or diesel, the installation of said equipment, and its operation for periods estimated to range from six to 18 months, according to USACE solicitation documents. Task orders may also entail the repair and replacement of components within existing transmission and distribution facilities. Close coordination with the public Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority and utility company LUMA Energy will be a crucial aspect of the contractors' responsibilities.
The selected firms include Amentum Services; AshBritt; CDM Constructors; OMP Solutions; PTSI Managed Services; and Weston Solutions, as confirmed by the U.S. Dept. of Defense contract award notice.
USACE intends to employ hybrid firm-fixed price task orders that incorporate elements of cost-plus fixed fees to account for fluctuations in fuel prices. The solicitation emphasizes that fuel costs pose the highest risk for this work, given the historical volatility of the petroleum market.
In response to last year's Hurricane Fiona, which temporarily plunged the island into darkness, the Biden administration established the Puerto Rico Power System Stabilization Task Force. This task force, consisting of USACE, FEMA, Department of Energy, and Environmental Protection Agency, has prioritized initiatives to add 150 MW in temporary power generation units at the Palo Seco Power Plant and another 200 MW of temporary generation at different facilities, according to the White House.
President Joe Biden underlined the importance of this effort, stating, "We know that the climate crisis and more extreme weather are going to continue to hit this island and hit the United States overall, and as we rebuild, we have to ensure that we build it to last. We're particularly focused on the power grid."
For most construction projects, progress can be visually measured as structures start to come out of the ground and begin to take shape. This would not be possible without the foundations that transfers the loads of the vertical structures to the soil safely. Part of that foundation work can include the installation of drilled piers.
The Louisville VA Medical Center project recently achieved the completion of a major feature of work by reaching the milestone of “bottoming out” with the installation of the last of 1,057 drilled piers across the site. The drilled piers ranged from 24 to 72 inches in diameter and from five to 35 feet in depth.
All buildings have some type of foundation. Most residential buildings have what is called shallow foundations which generally include spread footings to prevent the building from settling. Drilled piers are a type of deep foundation, which is generally utilized for larger buildings, like the Louisville VA Medical Center, said David Garvin, geotechnical engineer.
“Drilled piers connect structures directly to the bedrock - keeping the building in place by minimizing settlement and lateral loads from outside forces such as wind loads, seismic loads, etc.,” he explained. “Since drilled piers are below the building, they are advanced from the top of the ground until bedrock is reached, with rebar and concrete placed, then the pier is tied into a column or grade beam.”
“Once the drilled pier is tied into the column or grade beam, the steel beams will be placed on top of it. After all steel beams are placed the loads from the entire building will transfer down to the drilled piers and disperse evenly throughout all drilled piers,” Garvin said. “The drilled piers are one of the main components that keep the building in place.”
With drilled piers playing such a key role, it’s important that they are placed with precision.
“There are many things to keep in mind when drilling piers. First, you need to drill through soil until bedrock is reached, this is usually easy to complete but the hardest part is ensuring the pier is drilled at the correct location,” he said. “Then, the drillers will reach bedrock. Once drilling through the rock is complete, the rock socket and bearing surface will be inspected. A professional experienced with inspecting drilled piers will perform a downhole inspection to ensure the rock socket and bearing surface is competent.”
“The last step is cleaning out the pier and placing rebar and concrete. The piers are cleaned out via downhole entry and after the pier is cleaned the rebar will be placed in the pier,” he added.
Garvin said looking back that the work went well with only a few minor issues.
“It seems like the start of this feature of work had its challenges, but after identifying the problems and coming up with solutions, the process was smooth sailing,” he said.
The $900 million project includes the construction of a new 910,115 square-foot medical center, parking structures, a 42,205 square-foot central utility plant, roadways, sidewalks, and other site improvements.
The new 104-bed, full-service hospital will provide world-class healthcare for more than 45,000 Veterans in Kentucky and Southern Indiana by integrating modern patient-centered care concepts to provide the best possible care for Veterans. In addition, to specifically address the needs of women Veterans, the new hospital will include a Women’s Health Clinic with four Patient Aligned Care Teams.
The project designed by URS-Smith Group Joint Venture is being constructed by Walsh-Turner Joint Venture II, Chicago, Illinois.
Construction is anticipated to be complete in 2026.
To learn more about the project visit: www.va.gov/louisville-health-care/programs/new-robley-rex-va-medical-center.
Leaders, scientists and engineers from the Mekong region and the United States are joining together to address increasing challenges over water security and river management.
Preparations are underway in Hawaii and California for next week’s arrival of a high-level Mekong River Commission (MRC-Mekong) delegation, which heads to the United States as part of the annual Sister Rivers Partnership Exchange program. Sponsored by the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the MRC-Mekong delegates are scheduled to meet with the Mississippi River Commission (MRC-USA) to exchange best practices on water and river management. The two commissions will be joined by a third water commission, the International Water and Boundary Commission (IBWC) to learn about how the U.S. and Mexico cooperate on transboundary issues on their shared rivers.
From the MRC-Mekong side, the August 14–18 exchange will include discussions on the five most “troubling” trends currently facing the Mekong River Basin: changing flow regime, sediment flow, salinity intrusion, plastic pollution, and flood and drought exacerbated by climate change. The USACE Pacific Ocean Division (POD) Commanding General, Brig. Gen. Kirk E. Gibbs, will welcome the MRC-Mekong delegation to California, where they will visit the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab, Castaic Pump Storage Power Plant, University of California San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Prado Dam, and an international wastewater treatment plant.
“We’re eager to share the innovative ways that we use infrastructure and cutting edge technology in the U.S. to help monitor water, assess climate impacts, and forecast flooding,” says Gibbs. “While the specific nature of our challenges may differ, we share a common goal: the sustainable management and development of water resources. This enhances stability in the region and supports an economically prosperous, socially just, environmentally sound and climate resilient Mekong River Basin.”
Embracing this multilateral exchange is the CEO of Mekong River Commission Secretariat, Dr. Anoulak Kittikhoun, together with the “Heads of Delegation” and Joint Committee members from Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand, and Viet Nam.
“Experience is the best teacher, and we learn more how to tackle our own challenges as we go along – what works and what doesn’t,” says Kittikhoun. “But through partnerships like this with the Mississippi River Commission and USACE, we also benefit by learning from their experiences and expertise.”
Brig. Gen. Kimberly Peeples, the MRC-USA president and USACE Mississippi Valley Division commanding general, emphasized the importance of international collaboration to address shared challenges.
“Water is a universal necessity. With climate change, how we manage this essential resource must adapt to existing and new water related challenges,” says Peeples. “This partnership is a forum to do just that: collaborate and share our knowledge, our best practices and mistakes, so we can work together to meet these challenges head on. At the same time, enhance capabilities of impacted communities in both the Mississippi and Mekong delta regions.”
The imminent Sister Rivers Partnership Exchange will also include Dr. Maria-Elena Giner, the U.S. commissioner for the IBWC, and Commissioner Adriana Reséndez of Mexico’s Comision Internacional de Limites y Agua (CILA). They will share how the U.S. and Mexico cooperate on water, energy, climate change, and mutual challenges along the U.S.-Mexico border.
The Sister Rivers Partnership was launched in 2010 to formalize collaboration in water resource management; the exchange program accomplishes this through its promotion of international collaboration, technical exchanges, and sharing of best practices, which enhances transboundary river governance, disaster risk mitigation, and sustainable development – all aimed to promote stability and prosperity.
After a two-year hiatus due to COVID restrictions on travel, the exchange program resumed last July, when an MRC-USA delegation visited with their Mekong counterparts in Lao PDR and Cambodia. During that exchange, the two commissions also renewed their five-year Memorandum of Understanding, which covers 11 areas of cooperation related to water resources management.
About the Mekong River Commission: The MRC-Mekong is an intergovernmental organization established in 1995 to boost regional dialogue and cooperation in the Lower Mekong River Basin. Based on the Mekong Agreement among Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam, the MRC-Mekong serves as both a regional platform for water diplomacy and a knowledge hub – to manage water resources and support sustainable development of the region.
About the Mississippi River Commission: The MRC-USA was established by an Act of Congress on June 28, 1879. The MRC-USA provides water resources engineering direction and policy advice to the Administration, Congress and the Army in a drainage basin that covers 41 percent of the U.S. and parts of two Canadian provinces by overseeing the planning and reporting on the improvements on the Mississippi River. The intent behind the mission of the MRC-USA today is the same as the mission placed on the commission upon its creation—to lead sustainable management and development of water related resources for the nation’s benefit and the people’s well-being.
About the Pacific Ocean Division: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pacific Ocean Division has a highly diverse workforce of over 1,600 military, civilian and local national team members. The POD mission includes engineering design, construction and real estate management for the Army in Hawaii, Army and Air Force in Alaska, and for all Department of Defense Services and Agencies in Japan, the Republic of Korea, and Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands. The Division also administers the Corps’ federal water resource development program and waters and wetlands regulatory programs in Alaska, Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. The POD program includes the multi-year $10.7 billion Korea Transformation Program and the $15.8 billion U.S. Japan Defense Policy Review Initiative. POD also supports U.S Indo-Pacific Command’s and U.S. Army Pacific’s Theater Security Cooperation strategies, Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Response (HA/DR) Program, and Civil-Military Emergency Preparedness with projects throughout the Indo-Asia Pacific region.
In the time-honored tradition of passing the unit flag, Col. Kathryn P. Sanborn assumed command of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Seattle District, here, Tuesday.
Sanborn replaces Col. Alexander “Xander” Bullock as the district’s 53rd commander. She joins the district after serving as the South Pacific Division’s deputy commander in San Francisco, California.
Col. Sanborn leads a team of 845 employees who undertake military construction in Washington, Idaho, Montana and Oregon; and are responsible for an extensive civil works engineering and construction mission in Washington, Idaho and Montana. Seattle District’s programs also include preservation of historic structures, and hazardous, toxic and radioactive waste cleanup. Seattle District manages $1.1 billion dollars' worth of work annually.
“Now, more than ever, the nation needs a capable, competent, and trusted Corps of Engineers to serve the Army and the nation, and to collaborate with our federal, state and local governments, tribal, industry, non-government partners and academia, to solve the engineering and scientific challenges we're facing,” said Sanborn.
“I am extraordinarily honored and excited for the opportunity to take command of Seattle District and work with this incredible team and our diverse stakeholders to deliver solutions to the toughest challenges and serve the Pacific Northwest communities,” she added.
Col. Sanborn is a graduate of the Engineer Officer Basic and Captain's Career Courses, Joint Engineer Operations Course, the Command and General Staff College and the U.S. Army War College. A licensed Professional Engineer in Vermont and a certified Project Management Professional, Col. Sanborn holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from West Point, a Master of Science in Civil & Environmental Engineering from the University of Vermont, a Master of Science in Engineering Management and certificate in Construction Management with the University of Missouri-Rolla, a Master of Strategic Studies degree from the U.S. Army War College., and a doctorate in Civil Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology.
Seattle District's mission is trifold: to provide engineering expertise and water resource stewardship, fulfill its commitments to its tribal partners, and deliver world-class solutions to protect and serve the Pacific Northwest.
In addition to providing military and civil public works services and support for other agencies, the district plays a key role in environmental protection and improvement, from protecting wetlands to ecological restoration and cleaning up hazardous and toxic waste pollution.
The district’s civil works boundaries encompass 99,000 square miles and contain 4,700 miles of shoreline. The boundaries include the Columbia River system upstream of the mouth of the Yakima River, much of eastern Washington, Northern Idaho and Western Montana to the Continental Divide.
Torrential downpours in mid-July inundated New England with massive amounts of rainfall. Vermont and New Hampshire received the largest impacts and the water levels rose behind all of the USACE dams in the Upper Connecticut River Basin.
During this storm, at their peaks, the seven USACE dams in the Upper Connecticut River Basin in Vermont and New Hampshire collectively stored 60 billion gallons of storm water, which is equivalent to 91,000 Olympic sized swimming pools, to mitigate downstream flooding. All affected dams operated as designed.
As a result of rising reservoir levels, all recreation areas in the Upper Connecticut River Basin were closed to the public, with Ball Mountain evacuating campers from its popular Winhall Brook Campground.
“Our number one priority continues to be the life, health and safety of all potentially affected by the flooding,” said Col. John A. Atilano II, New England District Commander.
The District’s Emergency Operations Center worked closely with Operations Staff, the Dam Safety Program personnel, and the Reservoir Control Center to monitor the dams. Team members also coordinated with state and federal agencies, to include the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region 1, National Weather Service (NWS) Weather Forecast Offices as well as the NWS Northeast River Forecast Center.
On July 11, the Reservoir Control Center in Concord, Massachusetts assessed the status of the floodwaters and determined the Connecticut River was able to accept additional water. To provide space for the reservoirs to hold additional rain expected, at around 10 p.m., the Ball Mountain Dam team began slowly increasing the water being released from its reservoirs. The team at Townshend Dam released slow flows just before 1 a.m. on July 12.
During the flooding, team members at Ball Mountain, Townshend, North Springfield, Union Village, and North Hartland worked around the clock monitoring pool levels and downstream conditions. Team members at the other Upper Connecticut River Basin dams did not have to staff around the clock but kept a close eye on the water levels.
New England District technical experts on the ground in Vermont and at the Reservoir Control Center in Concord, Massachusetts assessed the status of the floodwaters and determined the Connecticut River was able to accept additional water. Inspections took place at all the basin dams to ensure they remained in good working order. The inspections are routine during a flood event. Col. Atilano praised the efforts of all the team members working the flood event.
“We have the brightest and most capable minds doing extraordinary work; this mission, as with all our projects and programs, would not be possible without our people,” said Col. Atilano.
In addition to the flood fighting efforts done by our teams at the USACE dams, FEMA mission assigned USACE debris and infrastructure subject matter experts during the flooding. Members of the team were tasked to assess 10 water treatment plants. At the state level, Vermont requested technical assistance, and District experts assisted with modeling support to predict future pool levels at dams identified by the state. The New England District team posted dam updates through all its social media outlets as well as press releases.
While pools are above normal water levels at many of our dams, we continue to release water and lower the pools as allowed by the forecast. The New England District Team will continue to monitor the situation closely and take appropriate action to ensure the safety of the public.
“I want to give a shout out to our dedicated Park Rangers, engineers, hydrologists, the Reservoir Control Center in Concord, Emergency Operations Center, geotechnical team, and all of the hard-working USACE New England team for their dedication and expertise during this event,” said Col. Atilano. “Outstanding work and I know the people of Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Connecticut appreciate it!"
Six companies will compete for each order of the $700,000,000 firm-fixed-price contract for architecture-engineer design services. Bids were solicited via the internet with seven received. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of June 29, 2028. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Middle East District, Winchester, Virginia, is the contracting activity.
The mission of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Middle East District is to provide high quality design, construction, and related support services to the U.S. military and allied nation mission partners throughout the Middle East.
The Middle East District is a subordinate element of the Transatlantic Division, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The Transatlantic Middle East District (TAM) provides engineering, design, construction execution, and related services and support to mission partners in the USCENTCOM area of responsibility (AOR) to increase regional security and stability in support of enduring U.S. interests; on order, supports contingency operations.
Eight firms will compete for each order of the $245,000,000 firm-fixed-price contract for architect-engineer services for hazardous, toxic and radioactive waste. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of June 25, 2030. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Anchorage, Alaska, is the contracting activity.
Bids were solicited via the internet with 19 received.
Kenji Hayashi, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – Japan Engineer District’s (USACE JED) Value Engineering Officer (VEO), was recently awarded the USACE ‘Value Engineering Professional of the Year award.’
Value engineering, or the processes implemented by contractors to identify and offer cost savings opportunities on projects during construction, was adopted by USACE in 1964 as a cost saving tool and has since been implemented into common practice at all USACE units.
Hayashi has taken these base-level processes and elevated them.
“Mr. Hayashi’s determined efforts in Fiscal Year 2021 placed The District near the top of USACE during a challenging year, making him worthy of consideration for Value Engineering Professional of the Year,” said Stephen Karwan, JED’s Engineering Division Chief. “Kenji exemplifies excellence within USACE and the Value Engineering Community of Practice, and his leadership, performance, and work products are consistently superior.”
Kenji has applied his design and construction knowledge, inclusive leadership, and levelheaded approach assisting in turning JED’s VE program around. To his credit, The District has achieved 6-straight years of “green” metrics compliance and has facilitated JED’s VE studies with in-house teams to assist in growing their knowledge base.
“[I have helped JED’s VE program by] conducting VE study workshops using our in-house team members, to include civilians and Japanese nationals, [especially] focusing on evaluating Japanese contractors,” explained Kenji when prodded. A man of action rather than words, Kenji allows the fruits of his labor to speak for themselves. “I believe in our VE program, [and how we assist in] awarding projects on time, and within budget.”
Since October 2015, Hayashi has taken the reins as JED’s VEO, becoming responsible for a program that had historically ranked poorly in the Military Program USACE Command Guidance metrics. During that time, JED’s workload was rapidly increasing and flooded market conditions in Japan provided trouble with contract bidding. These factors, coupled with the distance and time difference from the continental U.S. (CONUS) put The District at a distinct disadvantage.
“For many, VE is a box to check in the review process - for our stakeholders in Japan, it’s a way to make sure that Japanese products and construction methods are incorporated into our projects to make them more affordable and constructable,” said Rob Baulsir, JED’s Engineering Support Branch Chief. “As a testament to Kenji and his team’s work, they often get asked for value engineering even when it’s not required - that’s a real-life demonstration of “value-added” from my point of view.”
To revamp the program, Kenji focused his efforts on ensuring JED projects are suitable for the Japanese market, stressing the importance on designing, taking advantage of Japanese products, and allowing local Japanese contractors to implement construction techniques they are familiar with.
“Kenji strives to assemble a team with a strong knowledge in Japanese construction that can identify the inefficiencies in a project and propose alternatives that add value, and save money,” said Karwan. “The groundwork Mr. Hayashi put in allows him to contribute to mission readiness, strengthening the alliance.”
Utilizing his host nation ties, Hayashi actively reaches out to Japanese contractors during U.S. Forces Japan (USFJ) industry days to gather feedback on how to improve biddability for contracts, and constructability for future projects.
“Fluent in Japanese and English, he communicates effectively with American and Japanese team members, as well as local vendors, to not only identify and develop strong cost savings and added value proposals, but to teach and share his lessons learned with teammates,” noted Karwan.
In 2018, Mr. Hayashi received the Rising Star award by USACE VE, and he followed that up in 2020, where he earned the title of Certified Value Specialist (CVS), becoming the only CVS in the Pacific Ocean Division (POD) region which includes Alaska, Hawaii, Japan, and Korea.
“The level of professionalism and precision that Kenji brings to the table for every project is amazing,” said JED’s Deputy Commander, Lt. Col. Chelsey O’Nan. “He continually proves his value to the team here, and his commitment to the alliance is incredible.”
JED’s once ‘Rising Star’ shows no signs of setting and plans to continue his innovative approaches to ensuring The District’s VE program stays ‘under budget and beyond expectations.’ and he has the buy-in from leadership to help provide him guidance and assurance.
“I feel great knowing that what JED does helps improve and strengthen the U.S. and Japan alliance,” said Hayashi.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Savannah District has announced a major acquisition initiative with the goal of stabilizing the power system and enhancing power generation services in Puerto Rico. The acquisition aims to establish a Multiple Award Task Order Contract (MATOC) with a shared capacity of $5 billion, spanning a five-year ordering period. USACE expects to issue a formal solicitation notice by June 20, 2023.
Under the responsibility of USACE Savannah District, the primary focus of the contract will be on temporary emergency power augmentation and related repairs to generation facilities. The objective is to address the issues affecting the power system in Puerto Rico and ensure its stability. The scope of work will involve the provision of land-based temporary generating units capable of utilizing dual fuel sources, specifically liquefied natural gas (LNG) and diesel. Additionally, temporary transformers, control cabling, and equipment installation will be included in the contracted services.
The acquisition will also encompass the operation and maintenance of the equipment provided. This includes tasks such as regular maintenance, fuel management, and coordination with Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) and LUMA Energy (LUMA) to synchronize operational schedules and ensure proper connections to their existing equipment.
USACE has decided to solicit and award the MATOC on an unrestricted basis, following the procedures outlined in FAR 15.304(c)(1)(ii). This approach ensures equal opportunity for all qualifying offerors to participate in the acquisition. By fostering competition and encouraging a diverse range of contractors, SAS aims to secure the expertise needed to successfully accomplish the power system stabilization and generation service objectives.
The establishment of this MATOC, with its substantial shared capacity and extended ordering period, is expected to significantly contribute to the improvement of Puerto Rico's power infrastructure. Through the temporary emergency power augmentation and repairs of generation facilities, USACE is dedicated to enhancing the resilience and reliability of Puerto Rico’s power system.
The estimated proposal due date is July 20, 2023.
The original announcement can found on SAM.gov: https://sam.gov/opp/8aa51a688b314a9db86b243d81be8bf8/view