The wind-driven wildfires that devastated Maui left elementary students in the historic town of Lahaina without an elementary school.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers went into action after receiving a mission assignment from the Federal Emergency Management Agency on Sept. 13 to design and oversee the installation of modular buildings for the temporary elementary school in Lahaina.
"The temporary replacement campus for King Kamehameha III Elementary will be critical in providing our students and staff with a sense of normalcy and a solid foundation for learning and recovery," said Hawai’i State Department of Education Superintendent Keith Hayashi.
In support of the State of Hawai‘i and the state Department of Education, USACE is providing technical assistance, engineering expertise and construction management for the construction of the temporary campus for students of King Kamehameha III elementary school who were displaced by the wildfires that damaged and rendered the school unusable.
“This has been one of the most challenging yet rewarding projects I have ever worked on,” said Elizabeth McCarty, mission manager, USACE Critical Public Facilities Team. “As a former teacher, this mission immediately tugged on my heartstrings.”
One of the first steps was to obtain a contractor who could complete the work within the project parameters. A request for proposal was sent out Oct. 16. USACE organized a site visit with contractors and their sub-contractors to review the site Oct. 22. Proposals were received Oct. 26 and were evaluated for the lowest price technically acceptable offer.
Pono Aina Management, LLC, an 8(a) Native Hawaiian Organization, based out of Waianae, Hawai'i, was awarded a base contract of $53.7 million on Nov. 4 to construct a temporary elementary school campus in Lahaina and was given a Notice to Proceed on Nov. 20.
“Knowing that many of the men and women working on this project were directly impacted by the fires makes it even more special,” McCarty said. “I am very proud to stand next to my entire team, my new extended ohana, as the school rises.”
Pono Aina Management and their subcontractors, Goodfellow Brothers, Diversity Resources Group and Willscot immediately went to work. Clearing and grubbing of the site began the day the notice to proceed was issued and was completed Nov. 22. Cutting and grading, which began Nov. 21 is still being completed. Modular units were ordered and are being sent from Oahu, Washington and California with the first units anticipated on-site the first week of December.
"Responding to this crisis has been a collaborative effort with our federal, state, county and community partners,” Hayashi said. “We appreciate the experience and leadership that the U.S. Army Corps. of Engineers brings as they guide and oversee construction of this temporary school to serve our Lāhainā community.”
USACE Galveston District is responsible for contract management and project oversite with support from emergency personnel from multiple districts across the globe.
The handover of the temporary school to the Department of Education for furnishing and installation of telecommunication equipment is anticipated to be by the end of February 2024.
“My USACE teammates, the County of Maui personnel, the Department of Education and the contractors all work so well together,” said McCarty. “Learning more about the people of Maui and thU.S. Army Corps of Engineers contractors prepare a site for construction of a new temporary elementary school campus for the Lahaina, Hawai'ieir culture is something that I will take with me forever.”
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is looking at ways to stop grass carp from spawning in the Sandusky River near Fremont, Ohio, and nearly 3,700 miles of rivers and tributaries connected to Lake Erie where they damage habitats, increase erosion, and threaten the economy.
The USACE Buffalo District, Great Lakes Fishery Commission, and Ohio Department of Natural Resources are sharing information about the project and different barriers that could be used to stop grass carp.
To minimize or eliminate the impact on native fish species in the river and not disrupt daily life for the people of Fremont, the barriers being considered are behavioral-only.
Read more about the project here.
Detailed scoping information is available for public comment through Dec. 11.
On Thursday, Nov. 9, Council leaders of the Gila River Indian Community, led by Governor Stephen Roe Lewis, signed an agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to begin work on a solar-covered canal pilot project on the Tribe’s Level Top Canal.
The historic agreement was approved by the GRIC Council on November 1.
The agreement starts the first phase of the solar-over-canal project and will involve construction of solar panels over a portion of the Community’s 1-10 Level Top canal to conserve water and generate renewable energy for tribal irrigation facilities.
This historic agreement represents the first solar-over-canal project of its kind in the United States to initiate construction. The cost of Phase I of the solar-covered canal project is estimated to be $6.744 million, and it is expected to produce approximately 1 MW of renewable energy to offset energy needs and costs for tribal farmers.
With the execution of this historic agreement, the Army Corps will now begin the actual construction phase of the project, with completion expected in 2025.
In his remarks during the event, Governor Lewis offered his appreciation to Michael Connor, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works for his partnership in this project.
“I want to personally thank Assistant Secretary Connor for his vision and steadfast support for this innovative project. Our work with the Assistant Secretary dates back decades and the Community deeply appreciates him and his support.”
ADWR Director Tom Buschatzke attended the signing ceremony.
“This is the type of creative thinking that can help move all of us toward a more sustainable future,” said Director Buschatzke.
“Leveraging existing infrastructure such as the Level Top Canal to help provide sustainable, dependable energy – and to do so as part of cooperative partnership like this one – constitutes a win all around.”
Following remarks from Governor Lewis and Assistant Secretary Connor, the parties signed the agreement to begin construction of the project, which is designed to generate clean, renewable energy as well as help reduce evaporation.
A “Project Partnership Agreement,” or PPA, is a legally binding agreement between the federal government and a non-Federal sponsor such as state or municipal governments, or, as in this instance, a Native American Tribe. The projects historically involve construction of a water resources project.
The PPA describes the project and the responsibilities of the federal government and the non-federal sponsor in the cost sharing and execution of work.
The team will support navigation, flood risk management, water resources management, sediment management, and military engineering projects.
The U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) has tasked the joint venture of Taylor Engineering and Woolpert with providing research and development services for its Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory (CHL). The $49 million, single-award task order contract will support CHL projects that advance navigation, flood risk management, water resources management, sediment management, and military engineering.
ERDC is the primary scientific research and development organization for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and oversees seven research laboratories across the U.S. Located in Vicksburg, CHL is responsible for the discovery, development, and delivery of coastal, estuarine, and hydraulic water resources research in both the Civil Works Program and military domains.
Woolpert Vice President Eric Dillinger said that the JV leadership team has extensive experience managing projects for CHL, ERDC, and USACE. This team includes Woolpert Director of Advisory Services Jeff Lillycrop, a former ERDC technical director with 33 years of experience serving CHL, and Taylor Engineering President Jim Marino, a former USACE officer with over 20 years of USACE experience, including three and a half years leading the military research program at the Coastal Engineering Research Center before it was consolidated into CHL. Marino is the managing partner for the JV.
“The Taylor-Woolpert joint venture represents decades of focused and complementary expertise coming together,” Dillinger said. “This contract will be led by a team intimately familiar with and fully capable of meeting the complex research needs of the Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory.”
Taylor Engineering Vice President Christopher Bender said this is the first contract executed under Taylor and Woolpert’s new Mentor-Protégé Program agreement, which was approved by the U.S. Small Business Administration last year.
“Taylor and Woolpert are currently working as professional partners on multiple projects across a variety of service lines,” Bender said. “We look forward to this next chapter working alongside Woolpert and providing a truly world-class team of engineers and researchers for ERDC and its missions.”
Global research and infrastructure advisory firms are serving as subconsultants for this contract, which is now underway. Those firms include Applied Research Associates and Moffatt & Nichol, as well as Alden Labs, Desert Research Institute, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and Jackson State University.
Since 1983, Taylor Engineering Inc. has provided leading-edge solutions to challenges in the water environment. The company focuses its attention on water-related engineering, planning, management, and environmental challenges with emphasis on coastal regions for public, private, and government clients. A Federal Small Business and a Jacksonville Business Journal’s 2022 and 2023 Best Places to Work, Taylor Engineering has over 50 employees with three offices. Taylor Engineering’s six service groups, Coastal Engineering, Coastal Planning, Dredging and Navigation, Environmental, Water Resources, and Waterfront Engineering, along with our Coastal and Marine Geosciences Laboratory, deliver leading-edge solutions in the water environment. For more information, visit www.taylorengineering.com.
Woolpert is the premier architecture, engineering, geospatial (AEG), and strategic consulting firm, with a vision to become one of the best companies in the world. We innovate within and across markets to effectively serve public, private, and government clients worldwide. Woolpert is a Global Top 100 Geospatial Company, a Top 100 ENR Global Design firm, has earned seven Great Place to Work certifications, and actively nurtures a culture of growth, inclusion, diversity, and respect. Founded in 1911 in Dayton, Ohio, Woolpert has been America’s fastest-growing AEG firm since 2015. Woolpert has over 2,000 employees and more than 60 offices on five continents. For more information, visit woolpert.com.
Canandaigua, New York – Another milestone was recently reached on the Canandaigua VA Medical Center construction project as the USACE team was able to turnover the Phase 1 facilities back to the Department of Veterans Affairs Canandaigua VA Medical Center.
The work taking place at the Canandaigua VA Medical Center is currently allotted into three phases. Phase 1 included demolition of Building 2, construction of an Outpatient Clinic, a Chilled Water/Emergency Power Plant, new power and water systems, and temporary Laboratory and Main Kitchen to support ongoing healthcare operations throughout the nearly six-year construction period.
Gerry DiPaola, USACE Project Manager for the Canandaigua VA Medical Center construction, attributed success thus far to the teamwork and dedication of the entire Project Delivery Team.
“Over the past six years, the number of team members working tirelessly towards this milestone, including those that have moved on from the project, is impressive. They have overcome many challenges to ensure the work in Phase 1 was able to be completed,” he said. “I want to acknowledge the efforts of our CFM partners, working together, to bring this project to reality for the Veterans of the Finger Lakes region.”
Matthew Lowe, Chief of the Veterans Affairs Division for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Louisville District, agreed that partnership has been key to the success of the project.
“Renovating and upgrading a VA medical center influences multiple stakeholders with a variety of interests and issues to navigate. It was very encouraging to have everyone involved working together to ensure success for this project,” he added. “The VA team, both CFM and the Canandaigua Medical Center have been instrumental in working through challenges and unknowns throughout these projects. I believe any success on the project is directly tied to the partnership having a mutual interest and overall goal of delivering for our Veterans.”
DiPaola said there are many issues that need to be considered when working on an active medical facility’s campus.
“One key consideration is to be able to have an active functioning medical center, in other words, maintaining patient services and seeing them with minimal disruption to their normal routine while the work was taking place,” he said. “It’s a great accomplishment - keeping the existing facility up in operation while constructing new infrastructure and renovating the existing.”
The work being done at the Canandaigua VA Medical Center is possible due to recommendations from the Department of Veterans Affairs Capital Asset Realignment for Enhanced Services (CARES) study, which identified that some decades-old facilities were being underutilized.
“This project enhances the use of the current VA Medical Center in Canandaigua. A study was conducted by the VA and it identified an underutilization of facilities at Canandaigua and so to improve services and Veteran access, planners at the Department of Veterans Affairs called for a modern and consolidated outpatient clinic - a 21st-century outpatient clinic - along with community living center complex, to include cottages and community center, to provide housing to veterans that would benefit from an assisted living type of environment,” DiPaola explained. “So basically, the project improves the delivery of healthcare by consolidating infrastructure and clinical services under one roof and enhances the assisted living care type of facility.”
Lowe said he is proud to be a part of this project that will benefit thousands of Veterans for years to come.
“For over 25 years, I’ve had the pleasure to be involved with new construction, renovated facilities and infrastructure projects on various military installations, but VA projects are special. You are proud to be part of something that supports and takes care of our Veterans,” he shared. “In a small way, all of us working these projects get to serve the men and women who were willing to sacrifice it all for our country. It’s humbling and I’m grateful to be part of what we’re doing to benefit Veterans.”
The Canandaigua VA Medical Center project includes the construction of a new 84,000 square foot Outpatient Clinic, a new chiller/emergency generator plant, renovates 85,000 square feet of existing facility space, and upgrades of existing roadways and site utilities as well as the construction of eight cottages comprising 96 individual rooms in a neighborhood like setting and a community center.
These state-of-the-art facilities were designed to blend seamlessly into the existing historical campus and provide world-class healthcare to approximately 65,000 Veterans living in the greater Finger Lakes region.
In the heart of Dallas, Texas, stands a testament to flood risk management, public safety, partnership, and engineering excellence- the Dallas Floodway project. The Flood Risk Management project recently reached a milestone with the substantial completion of the West Levee 277k crest raise and side slope flattening features of work.
As with any complex, multi-year civil works construction project, partnership plays a pivotal role in project success. For the Dallas Floodway, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has partnered with the City of Dallas as the non-federal sponsor as well as other Federal, State, and Local agencies.
A levee is defined as a man-made structure, usually an earthen embankment, designed and constructed in accordance with sound engineering practices to contain, control, or divert the flow of water to reduce risk from temporary flooding. While levees can help reduce the risk of flooding, it is important to remember that they do not eliminate the risk. As with any manmade structure, routine and reoccurring maintenance is important. The City of Dallas maintains the responsibility of ensuring the levees retain their effectiveness through compliance with operations and maintenance activities.
The funding for these initiatives was allocated through the Supplemental Appropriation in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018.
"Flood protection is at the heart of this project, aiming to keep the surrounding communities and businesses from flooding. We aim to fulfill the Corps mission of keeping people safe," said Aaron Philips, USACE Construction Project Coordinator at the Dallas Floodways Resident Office.
Spanning along the Trinity River, the project encompasses a substantial area, reaching from the abandoned Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe trestle to the confluence of the West and Elm Forks, and further upstream along the West Fork for about 2.2 miles, as well as approximately four miles along the Elm Fork.
The construction phase, while in its beginning stages, consists of over seven different features: the AT&SF Bridge Modification (completed in February 2021), 277K Levee Raise and Side Slope Flattening, construction of the Trinity Portland Pump Station, construction of the Charlie Pump Station, replacement of the Delta Pump Station, construction and upgrade to the Hampton Pump Station and improvements to the Nobles Branch Sump.
"Currently, the 277k levee raise, the construction of the Charlie pump station, and the Trinity Portland pump station just scratch the surface of the seven features planned," said Mark Hermann, USACE Program Manager.
Named the "277K levee raise and side slope flattening”, the $56 million project's moniker stems from the levee's elevation intended to sustain 277,000 cubic feet per second of water flow through the floodway. This amount of flow would be the equivalent of three Olympic sized swimming pools releasing their water in an instant.
The project involves raising the current East and West levees over a 23-mile stretch to the 277k cubic feet per second water surface elevation as well as flattening the riverside slopes. The 277k levee raise involves using earthen material to raise the low areas of the current levees to the height consistent with the 277k flow within the floodway. The side slope flattening consists of flattening the slopes of the levee to make them less steep. This will increase the overall stability of the levees and decrease operations and maintenance costs once completed.
On August 2, 2023, after years of planning and a year and a half of construction, the project reached a milestone by completing all improvements to the West levee along the Trinity River in Dallas.
A joint inspection of the 277k Levee Raise and Side Slope Flattening for the west levee was conducted by the USACE and the construction company, transferring over the responsibility of operation and maintenance to the City of Dallas.
"The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers number one priority is public safety, and so with the 277k levee raise and pump station improvements across the Dallas Floodway program, we are delivering that for the City of Dallas," said Stanley Young, USACE Resident Engineer.
The overall Dallas Floodway project, with its commitment, collaboration, and forward-thinking approach, edges closer to its goal of delivering a strong and capable levee system for the City of Dallas. Its dedication stands as a testament to mitigating flood risks to the community from potential natural disasters while assuring their well-being remains paramount.
About the Dallas Floodway: Find out what the Corps of Engineers is doing in the Dallas Floodway by visiting our dedicated website here:
Over the past two years, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has had nearly 50 agreements and over 100 construction activities underway, thanks to over $17 billion in funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. These projects are making a difference for communities across the nation, from protecting against floods to boosting commerce to preserving and enhancing aquatic habitats.
Nov. 15 marks the second anniversary of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, legislation that delivered $17.1 billion in supplemental funding to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers across the enterprise. Of that total investment, approximately $1.7 billion was appropriated to the North Atlantic Division to support investigations (studies), construction, the Continuing Authorities Program, and operations and maintenance.
"The transformative investments of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will continue to meet the President’s priorities of strengthening supply chains to bring down costs for working families, protecting American economic competitiveness, combatting climate change, and promoting equity by prioritizing underserved communities," said Michael L. Connor, assistant secretary of the Army for Civil Works.
At the division, regional management for BIL projects is handled through its Civil Works directorate and specifically by the lead BIL project manager, Ronald Pinzon, who came to the division a year ago after working at the USACE New York District.
“The highlight of working on BIL, especially coming from the district where I worked for about 20 years, is taking all of the experience from other jobs I’ve had and applying it here directly with headquarters regionally, as well as nationally,” said Pinzon. “It’s a whole lot of learning, but it’s also solving issues and barriers that the districts are coming across, and I get to help them with their execution by addressing those challenges.”
Presently, approximately $240 million of NAD’s BIL allocation has been executed. Some project highlights across the region over the past couple of years since BIL was passed include:
The Mid-Chesapeake Bay Island Ecosystem Restoration project is in the vicinity of the James and Barren Islands in western Dorchester County, Maryland. It focuses on restoring and expanding island habitat to provide hundreds of acres of wetland and terrestrial habitat for fish, shellfish, reptiles, amphibians, birds, and mammals through the beneficial use of dredged material. The project implements a long-term strategy for providing viable placement alternatives to meet the dredging needs of the Port of Baltimore while maximizing the use of dredged materials as a beneficial resource. The project consists of constructing environmental restoration projects at both James and Barren Islands to restore 2,144 acres of remote island habitat (2,072 acres at James Island and 72 acres at Barren Island). BIL appropriated $84 million in construction funds, and the project partnership agreement for the construction phase of the overall $4 billion project was executed Aug. 23, 2022.
At Buffumville Lake in Charlton, Massachusetts, BIL provided more than $530,000 for Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant parking lot and access improvements. From October 2022 to May 2023 work included removing a shelter, repaving the emergency access road to the beach, increasing ADA parking spaces from three to 10, and building a new paved walkway leading to an ADA-compliant ramp with handrails to the restrooms. The Buffumville team identified the need for this work in 2017 and BIL allowed it to come to fruition. The prior lack of handicapped access was a frequent comment by visitors before the improvements, and according to the site’s park rangers, the team has received many positive comments since the area reopened.
The New York District is leveraging an infusion of $126 million in BIL funding to undertake crucial maintenance and enhancement projects across several vital waterways, including Barnegat Inlet in New Jersey, New York Harbor and the extensive network of channels serving the bustling Port of Newark and Elizabeth in New Jersey. This strategic allocation of funds is poised to fortify the infrastructure that underpins an estimated $15.7 billion in economic activity, both regionally and nationally. The investment will address sediment accumulation, navigational safety, and ecological sustainability, ensuring the shipping and recreational channels remain accessible and reliable. These improvements are expected not only to sustain but to potentially boost economic vitality by optimizing the efficiency of commercial vessel transit and safeguarding the region's reputation as a premier maritime hub.
BIL appropriated $141.7 million in construction funds for the Norfolk Harbor and Channels, 55-ft. Channel Deepening project in Virginia. On Oct. 16, Norfolk District opened bids on USACE’s third construction contract supporting the project. The milestone is significant, because with this path to contract award, the 55-ft. channel project could be ready for use by deeply laden containerships and coal ships as early as the spring of 2025. The contract package also has options for the beneficial use of beach sand at two locations in the city of Virginia Beach, Virginia. Earlier contracts using BIL funds were awarded in August 2022 for the Channel to Newport News and Norfolk Harbor Inners Channels and in April 2023 for Phase 1 of the Atlantic Ocean Channel. Other portions of the project in Thimble Shoal Channel are nearly completed by the Virginia Port Authority to fulfill their share of the overall project cost of approximately $472 million.
The Inland Waterway from Rehoboth Bay to Delaware Bay project (also known as Lewes & Rehoboth Canal in Sussex County, Delaware) received BIL funding enabling the dredging of the federal channel of the canal for the first time in many years. USACE’s contractor began work in October 2023. The dredged material from the canal will be placed in a facility in Lewes, Delaware, and the contractor will be removing approximately 40,000 cubic yards of sediment at a cost of $1.6 million. The waterway is used by commercial and recreational fishing charter boats, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the Delaware Bay and River Cooperative (DBRC). BIL appropriated $3.78 million for Operations and Maintenance funding.
“Throughout the North Atlantic Division, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law brings solid investment to a variety of projects that benefit the people of the region in terms of safety, quality of life and disaster mitigation, to name just a few important aspects,” said Col. John P. Lloyd, NAD commander and division engineer. “This supplemental funding has enhanced USACE’s ability to deliver the program and meet the needs of our state and local partners on projects that will make a difference at the community level.”
USACE’s overall fiscal year spend plans and policy guidance for implementation of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law are listed on the headquarters website at: https://www.usace.army.mil/Missions/Civil-Works/Supplemental-Work/BIL/.
November 14, 2023 - Tetra Tech, Inc. (NASDAQ: TTEK), a leading provider of high-end consulting and engineering services, announced today that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Rock Island District, Great Lakes and Ohio River Division, selected Tetra Tech for a $33 million task order to provide architectural and engineering (A-E) services to design a new 1,200-foot navigation lock on the Illinois River.
Tetra Tech was awarded the task order through the USACE Great Lakes and Ohio River Division’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) Contract. Tetra Tech scientists, consultants, and engineers will design the new lock chamber to improve efficiency, reliability, and safety for navigation traffic along the river. The new lock will be twice as long as the existing lock system which will reduce wait times by more than seventy percent, accommodate larger vessels, and improve mariner safety. The project is a top priority of the USACE Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability Program.
"The USACE Rock Island District maintains navigable waterways that are essential to the transportation of goods throughout the Midwest," said Dan Batrack, Tetra Tech Chairman and CEO. "Tetra Tech looks forward to using our Leading with Science® approach to design systems that improve critical infrastructure, support public safety, and enhance the resilience and reliability of U.S. waterborne transportation supply chains."
About Tetra Tech
Tetra Tech is a leading provider of high-end consulting and engineering services for projects worldwide. With 27,000 employees working together, Tetra Tech provides clear solutions to complex problems in water, environment, sustainable infrastructure, renewable energy, and international development. We are Leading with Science® to provide sustainable and resilient solutions for our clients. For more information about Tetra Tech, please visit tetratech.com or follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.
Shelter is a basic human need that is crucial for survival. Providing shelter for victims after disasters helps to establish a sense of normalcy for the individuals and communities who have been affected.
Providing temporary housing involves a coordinated effort by various organizations to provide safe and secure accommodations for people who have been displaced.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers received a $1.9 million Federal Emergency Management Agency mission assignment Oct. 28 to provide conceptual design for temporary housing sites.
Once a design is approved, USACE will prepare the sites for FEMA to install the units. The units will house those displaced by the Aug. 8 wildfires that destroyed more than 2,000 properties on Maui.
Working alongside FEMA, USACE will prepare pads, provide plans, specifications, and construction management activities associated with the emergency temporary housing mission.
There are currently six temporary housing planning response teams throughout USACE district offices in Huntington, West Virginia; Los Angeles, California; New York, New York; Jacksonville, Florida; St. Paul, Minnesota; and Huntsville, Alabama.
Each team is comprised of a management and support element with the management element deploying in advance, and the support element following as the mission develops.
The 10-person team managing the mission on Maui is made up of USACE employees from both the St. Paul and Huntington districts. The team consists of engineers, surveyors and mission specialists.
USACE Temporary Housing Mission Manager, Jeff McCullick said, “Housing missions involve a myriad of moving pieces. Site assessments need to be done, then there’s zoning and utility needs.”
Temporary housing is a normal mission assignment for USACE. However, no two disasters are ever the same.
“The mission on Maui is unique in that USACE is not doing the installation of the units,” said McCullick. “We are preparing the pads with utilities so FEMA can procure and install the units.”
McCullick said the group is one week into the process but gaining momentum. “Although we are still in the initial stages, the team has hit the ground running and are working with FEMA to get people into homes as soon as possible,” he said.