Keeping Communities Ready & Resilient
This National Public Works Week—and every week—we’re grateful for the public works professionals dedicated to making sure we all have access to the essentials today and well into the future. We’re honored to have collaborated on the following public works projects to help our communities stay ready and resilient.
Restoring Safety When Hurricanes Wreak Havoc
For public works professionals based in the South, hurricanes are an ongoing threat to the safety and security of their stakeholders and communities—one they need to be ready to respond to swiftly. CONSOR is proud to have work closely with dedicated public works staff to support response efforts for several hurricanes, including Hurricane Florence in 2018, which brought historic rainfall to parts of North Carolina and northeastern South Carolina.
Just prior to the storm, CONSOR was contacted by the executive office at South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) with a request to mobilize professional engineer-led inspection teams to perform post-storm safety assessments, document and categorize repair needs, and authorize bridge openings and closures.
As SCDOT predicted, floods brought on by Florence impacted 30 major bridge crossings and hundreds of minor bridges. But thanks to the agency’s forward-thinking approach, CONSOR was able to complete 340 assessments in just 14 consecutive days once the storm conditions ceased, allowing the damaged bridges to be evaluated and repaired accordingly. Due to the urgent need to ensure public safety and well-being, our team had to coordinate daily, and sometimes hourly, with SCDOT maintenance staff.
When Hurricane Ida hit Louisiana last summer, Pat Landry deployed with the Nashville Search and Rescue Task Force to assess the safety of damaged buildings and provide guidance for emergency shoring installations before any personnel entered the structure. Pat, a Project Engineer and Bridge Inspection Team Lead, was backed by 35 CONSOR team members from all over the county who signed up to help public works staff in the restoration efforts.
“Whether we’re preparing for future emergencies or taking action to help communities repair after natural disasters have struck,” says Pat, “helping communities in times of need is part of CONSOR’s mission. It’s an honor to work alongside people who have dedicated their lives to serving the public in such a tangible and necessary way.”
Risk Assessments for Readiness and Resilience in Oregon
When America’s Water Infrastructure Act (AWIA) was signed into law in 2018, it required drinking water systems serving more than 3,300 people to perform risk and resilience assessments of their infrastructure. These assessments look at a wide range of potential water threats and identify what poses the highest risks so that countermeasures (like facility improvements) can be implemented.
“Rather than see the new law as a bureaucratic burden,” says Project Manager, Carissa Shelley, “the City of Oregon City decided to play the long game, looking at AWIA’s requirements as a chance to develop a risk and resilience assessment that would benefit their community in the decades to come.”
With this outlook in mind, our team worked with City staff to evaluate an array of potential risks associated with the water system facilities, operations and maintenance, monitoring practices, and financial infrastructure. With our assistance, the City defined and prioritized countermeasures, which fell under either ongoing maintenance improvements or the City’s Capital Improvements Plan. This project not only helped streamline ongoing water system asset management across the City’s operations, engineering, and IT/security departments but also established a culture of risk awareness and emergency preparedness.
Bridging Communities Through Public Works Partnerships in Arizona
In 2018, an employee of the City of Eloy, Arizona, noticed a fractured pier cap cantilever, preventing it from supporting the east side of the Florence-Casa Grande Canal Bridge deck. Traffic diverting cones were set up immediately to shift traffic to the west side of the bridge while the City of Eloy contacted CONSOR’s Senior VP and Bridge Engineer, Nathan Palmer, to provide plans to repair the fracture.
“When it came to doing the right thing for community members, public works staff at the Cities of Eloy and Casa Grande were willing to do whatever it took to get the Florence-Casa Grande Canal Bridge safe and back online,” says Nathan. “At the time of the emergency, the City of Eloy didn’t have a contract with CONSOR, but knowing the dangerous situation must be remedied immediately, the nearby City of Casa Grande allowed Eloy to use their on-call contract to hire our team to develop the repair detail for the pier cantilever. The partnerships we create with public works professionals—and the value it provides communities—is what fuels our work every day.”
Thanks to everyone’s willingness to cooperate and put the community’s needs first, Nathan and his team had plans for the City within a week, which enabled a contractor to quickly replace the pier cap cantilever and restore safe travel.