Monthly Archives: July 2015

McCormick Taylor Heads to Austin for StormCon 2015


McCormick Taylor’s Will Carpenter, Jason Hetrick and Jamie Jones are headed to Austin, Texas for StormCon 2015, an annual surface water quality conference and exposition. This year’s conference kicks off on Sunday, August 2nd, at the JW Marriott Austin. Stormwater professionals will spend four days sharing their expertise and hearing from other experts during this educational event. On Tuesday, August 4th, Will, Jason and Jamie will present on Field Data Collection for Environmental Compliance, which features an overview of the process and procedures for collecting field data required to ensure compliance for linear construction projects. Project owners and operators have many reporting requirements to comply with permits and with local, state, and federal laws. Data collection capabilities have improved because of mobile devices and applications, improved GPS technology, use of real-time enterprise level geo-databases updated through online spatial applications, and other technologies.

Find out more here:

Two Projects Recognized by FHWA for Environmental Excellence

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) revealed the 2015 Environmental Excellence Award recipients, and two McCormick Taylor projects were chosen to receive honors. The Potters Mills Gap (PMG) Transportation Project was awarded for Excellence in Environmental Streamlining and the PB-85 Stream, Floodplain and Wetland Restoration for Excellence in Wetlands, Watersheds and Water Quality.

About the Projects

Potters Mills Gap: Excellence in Environmental Streamlining

The PMG Transportation Project a large-scale safety and operational improvement effort along 3.75 miles of Route 322 in Potter Township, Centre County, Pennsylvania. Beginning west of the Route 322 and Route 144 intersection and extending east to the Centre County/Mifflin County line, the project falls in an area known as “Potters Mills Gap,” formed by the Triester and Kohler Mountains. The area exhibits a crash history in excess of the statewide average, in addition to heavy motorist delays. Now a priority project under Pennsylvania’s Act 89, improvements consist of multiple roadway and structure upgrades – including the installation of two full interchanges – to alleviate safety, congestion and access concerns, while enhancing and preserving environmental and historic resources.

The project has a $105 million construction cost and presented complex environmental issues. McCormick Taylor and PennDOT utilized a number of innovative approaches to collaborate with environmental agencies and the public, including online collaboration tools, context sensitive design features and creative mitigation strategies to produce concise, high-quality environmental documents. By applying these measures, project stakeholders were able to anticipate and address environmental issues, avoiding delays and reducing project costs along the way. The issuance of a FONSI in July 2014 has allowed this important project to move forward as planned.

On the success of Potters Mills Gap, PennDOT District 2-0’s Design Services Engineer Steven Fantechi said, “PennDOT’s values of safety, modernization, customer service and communication were met with this project. We recognize the hard work of the project team and also the drive and cooperation that lead the team to the innovative way to compress the schedule, coordinate effectively with environmental agencies and meet the goals of the project.”

To successfully advance the project, McCormick Taylor utilized our team’s extensive permitting and NEPA regulatory review and documentation experience. Since 2003, McCormick Taylor has developed and delivered nationwide training on a variety of environmental and regulatory subjects to local, state and federal agencies on behalf of the National Highway Institute—the training arm of FHWA.

Route 322 travels through two state forests and DCNR’s Penn Nursery.  The project was designed to minimize impacts to the multiple resources present in the area.  The bifurcated design and provisions for wildlife and recreation corridors were part of the context sensitive design used throughout the project area.  The proposed roadway held the northern edge of the existing Route 322 pavement to avoid encroachment into Potter Run and to minimize impacts to wetlands.

Route 322 travels through two state forests and DCNR’s Penn Nursery. The project was designed to minimize impacts to the multiple resources present in the area. The bifurcated design and provisions for wildlife and recreation corridors were part of the context sensitive design used throughout the project area. The proposed roadway held the northern edge of the existing Route 322 pavement to avoid encroachment into Potter Run and to minimize impacts to wetlands.

PB-85: Excellence in Wetlands, Watersheds, and Water Quality

To mitigate for impacts anticipated from the construction of the Intercounty Connector (ICC) in Maryland, the Maryland State Highway Administration identified restoration opportunities along portions of the Paint Branch and Little Paint Branch waterways within Prince George’s County, Maryland. Referred to as PB-85, the project was included as part of the compensatory mitigation and environmental stewardship package for the ICC. In 2010, McCormick Taylor was selected to provide design and construction oversight. The project incorporated stream, floodplain, and wetland restoration efforts along Paint Branch extending from MD 193 (University Boulevard) upstream approximately 4,180 feet. In addition, the project included portions of Little Paint Branch from the confluence with Paint Branch upstream approximately 3,116 feet.

PB-85 used innovative techniques to improve ecological and geomorphic conditions not only at the site but for miles of channel downstream in a cost-effective way. By returning 12 acres of agricultural fields to a natural wetland system, the project improved floodplain reconnection, reduced channel boundary erosion, enhanced and reforested over ten acres of land along the Paint Branch and Little Paint Branch tributaries, and improved habitats for fish and other aquatic species. Approximately 425 tons of suspended sediment will be removed from Paint and Little Paint Branch collectively per year, with a sustainable design life of over 25 years.

Floodplain wetland cell of Little Paint Branch three months after construction.

Floodplain wetland cell of Little Paint Branch three months after construction.

Route 35 Reconstruction Improves Jersey Shore Corridor


Route 35 serves as a major route to popular shore destinations

Route 35 is a vital emergency evacuation route and major highway in Ocean County, New Jersey that carries traffic to the region’s popular beach areas. A decade ago, NJDOT initiated a study to address chronic flooding and identify drainage system deficiencies throughout a 12.5-mile corridor from Berkeley Township to Point Pleasant Beach Borough. The project was ultimately divided into three sections, and McCormick Taylor was engaged to provide final design for the reconstruction of mileposts (MP) 0.0-4.0, as well as environmental permitting and stormwater management for all three sections.


Damage caused by Hurricane Sandy in 2012

Construction was slated to begin in 2015, but devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy in October 2012 made restoration of the coastline and the complete roadway reconstruction New Jersey’s top priority. As a result, our team was challenged to fast-track the project and advanced the construction start to August 2013.

Key improvements of the $341 million project include:

  • Full-depth pavement replacement for a 50-year design life
  • Corridor-wide drainage improvements
  • Water quality chambers at all drainage outfalls
  • Installation of check valves at all outfall pipes to prevent tidal or storm surge backflow into the drainage system

All lanes of Route 35 for the entire 12.5 miles are now open, with the remaining shoulder, curb, sidewalk, and final paving of MP 4.0-9.0 to be completed by fall. Last May, New Jersey Alliance for Action presented McCormick Taylor and the project team with the 2014 New Jersey’s Leading Infrastructure Project Award for Route 35. The honor salutes leading projects that greatly impact the state’s economy.

Roadway improvements include bicycle/pedestrian enhancements

Roadway improvements include bicycle/pedestrian enhancements

For additional project information, click here.


Mullica Hill Pond Dam Makes a Splash in America’s Transportation Awards Competition

Mulla Hill Pond Dam_IMG_3763_fixed_500px The Mullica Hill Pond Dam/U.S. 322 Bridge replacement project in Mullica Hill, New Jersey was named a regional winner in the 2015 America’s Transportation Awards competition. Co-sponsored by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), AAA, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, America’s Transportation Awards recognizes the best of America’s transportation projects in four regional competitions.

The $8.1 million project, one of two New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) initiatives to be selected, was chosen by the Northeast Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials in the Quality of Life/Community Development category and will advance to compete on the national stage. The top two winners will be announced in September at the AASHTO Annual Meeting in Chicago, Illinois.

Project Overview:

Mullica Hill is a census-designated place in Harrison Township, Gloucester County, New Jersey. The scenic area was established in the eighteenth century and boasts a rich historical background, with many of its buildings dating back to the Civil War era. In 1991, the Mullica Hill Historic District—the heart of present-day Mullica Hill—was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Mullica Hill Pond Dam is located at milepost 11.51 on U.S. 322 at the Raccoon Creek Bridge crossing. The roadway is part of a major transportation route and channels a high volume of traffic to historic Main Street—known for its rows of antique shops and specialty stores. Mullica Hill’s location within the local road network was a key reason for its growth throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

The two structures exhibited signs of disrepair. The Mullica Hill Pond Dam spillway was inadequately sized to pass the required design storm, and the timber stop logs had a history of failing and emptying the pond. The bridge over the spillway was found to be structurally deficient and functionally obsolete due to poor deck and superstructure condition and inadequate deck geometry. In August 2011, conditions deteriorated when Tropical Storm Irene slammed the region with heavy rainfall, causing the dam to overtop and incur serious damage. As a result, the vital roadway was temporarily shut down while provisional repairs were made.

To address the threat to public safety and provide a long-term solution, NJDOT engaged a team led by McCormick Taylor to provide inspection, environmental services, preliminary engineering, final design, and construction support. Public information centers were hosted throughout the project to maintain two-way communication between residents, business owners, and project stakeholders. Initial construction activities and utility relocations began in February 2013.

The improvements for the Mullica Hill Pond Dam and U.S. 322 Raccoon Creek Bridge were approved by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) Dam Safety Section and included the following:

  • Raised a section of the Route 322 roadway to improve roadway drainage
  • Complete bridge replacement
  • Constructed a new dam spillway to pass the 100-year design storm and upgraded drainage pipes/inlets/outfalls
  • Minor realignment of U.S. 322 in the immediate vicinity of the dam, to improve sight distance, and the “S” curve at the western bridge/dam approach roadway
  • Installation of a new fish ladder
  • Enhancements such as exposed aggregate sidewalk, lighting and textured concrete treatments

Construction was performed with a full detour and utilized a recently completed bypass on U.S. 322. Access to all businesses along Main Street remained open. The detour shortened the overall construction schedule, provided a safer construction zone, and reduced the total project cost.

Ultimately, the finished project brought the Mullica Hill Pond Dam into compliance with NJDEP Dam Safety standards. The improvements mitigate flooding issues along the crucial roadway and the replacement of the bridge over Raccoon Creek improved safety for motorists. The quality of life within the community has been bettered not only by these structural upgrades, but through improvements to pedestrian access and safety. Additional sidewalks and lighting were added to the project site, placed behind guide rail and concrete parapets for increased public safety. The area is now a local attraction with opportunities for fishing and recreation made possible by enhanced pedestrian access and walkability to nearby Main Street.