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R.A. Smith National, Inc. Knowledge Blog

Protecting Class 1 Trout Streams in Wisconsin

by Eric Sturm 20. March 2017 12:03

Eric Sturm

Did you know that, according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR), there are “5,289 miles of Class 1 trout streams in Wisconsin?” That’s a significant amount of trout stream waters that WDNR has classified as “high quality and having sufficient natural reproduction to sustain populations of wild trout, at or near carry capacity.”

While many Wisconsin trout streams have remained untouched, there are some streams that have been disturbed over the years for agricultural purposes and are now being restored. Because it is important to understand the original location of these streams before they can be reconstructed, WDNR works with a professional land surveyor such as R.A. Smith National to both identify the original location of the stream as well as stake the path for the reconstruction.

Scuppernog River

Our survey crews at R.A. Smith National recently provided construction staking and topographic surveying services to the WDNR for the reconstruction of 3,900 lineal feet of Bluff Creek Class 1 trout stream in Whitewater and previously provided the same services for 5,250 lineal feet of Scuppernong River Class 1 trout stream in Eagle.

Our survey crews identify where the stream was originally located (typically referencing historical photos), measure the existing elevation at each end of the section of stream to be reconstructed, collect topographic data every 50 feet along the stream’s path using GPS, and provide construction staking to identify exactly where the new stream should be constructed to most closely match the stream’s original location.

R.A. Smith National’s working partnership with the WDNR to restore Class 1 trout streams represents our organization’s commitment to the environment as a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Green Tier company.

Map of Scuppernog River

In order to identify where Scuppernog River was once located, and in an effort to restore this important trout stream, our land surveyors collected topographic data and measured existing stream elevations.

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Ecology | Surveying

Diekfuss Publishes Three Articles in ASCE Journal of Structural Engineering

by Jessica Pairrett 11. October 2016 10:34

Joe Diekfuss, Ph.D., P.E.

R.A. Smith National structural engineer Joe Diekfuss, Ph.D., P.E., co-authored three articles recently published in the Journal of Structural Engineering, an American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) scholarly periodical. Each of the three articles detail recently completed research on reliability-based fatigue inspection and evaluation of sign support structures. The technical papers were co-authored by Dr. Christopher Foley, Marquette University Professor and Chair, Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering.

“It is a great feeling to know the work I did at Marquette University will be disseminated via the Journal of Structural Engineering for the engineering community to use,” Diekfuss said of the rigorous review process.

Follow the links below to view more detailed information regarding this research effort and to access the recently published articles.

Diekfuss, J.A., and Foley, C.M. (2016). “Detail Categories for Reliability-Based Fatigue Evaluation of Mast-Arm Sign Support Structures." J. Struct. Eng., 04016044.

Diekfuss, J.A., and Foley, C.M. (2016). “Modeling Error Uncertainty Characterization for Reliability-Based Fatigue Assessment in Sign Support Structures.” J. Struct. Eng., 04016042.

Foley, C.M., and Diekfuss, J.A. (2016). “Reliability-Based Inspection Protocols for Mast-Arm Sign Support Structures.” J. Struct. Eng., 04016043.

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Structures

R.A. Smith National Attends, Sponsors Brookfield Showcase

by Justin Schueler 7. October 2016 08:17

The Wisconsin chapter of NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association, held a municipal showcase featuring the City of Brookfield. It’s quite the exciting time in Brookfield because the city is growing. What better way to learn about current and future developments than by taking a tour? R.A. Smith National’s Justin Schueler, P.E., traffic engineer, and Steve Miazga, P.E., business development manager, participated in the event. R.A. Smith National was pleased to be a gold sponsor of the October 6, 2016, municipal showcase event.

Justin praised the event and shared the following:

The Municipal Showcase started at the Brookfield Embassy Suites by Hilton, where Steve Ponto, the mayor of Brookfield, provided an overview of the many active and planned construction projects in the city (many of which R.A. Smith National has been involved with, including Portillo’s and The Reserve at Brookfield apartments to name a couple), and then we took a bus tour of three sites:

1. Brookfield Square Mall: The general manager of the mall presented on active and proposed improvements, including a new Chick-fil-A restaurant replacing the Associated Bank and new restaurant/retail uses planned around the outside of the exiting Boston Store.  Chick-fil-A’s opening of the 124th Street location in Brookfield was its largest in company history, which factored into them considering the second site in Brookfield. 

2. The Corridor: A mixed-use development on the former Ruby Farms site. Retail development is planned to the north along Bluemound Road and is anchored by Dick’s Sporting Goods and is home of the first Wisconsin Portillo’s (which was the company’s third-largest opening in its history). Free samples of their world-famous chocolate cake shakes were provided. The Corridor has a flex area in the middle for hotel/medical/fitness/retail development. Three large office buildings or corporate headquarters are planned to the south along I-94. 

3. The Corners: A mixed-use retail/residential “lifestyle” development. It includes the first Wisconsin Von Maur department store, planned grocery, retail and 244 apartment units. Enough concrete was used on the site to build a 46-story high-rise building. The site features an outdoor shopping setting (similar to Bayshore Town Center in Glendale, Wis., but about one-half the size). 

The event ended with a cocktail happy hour with appetizers back at the Embassy Suites by Hilton.  The developments are expected to generate thousands of new jobs and further entrench Bluemound Road as a premier commercial corridor.

In the photo immediately below: Renderings and site maps of the city’s growth.
In the photo further below: Learning more about The Corridor.

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General | Land Development | Municipal

Better Headlights are Critical for Nighttime Roadway Safety

by Laura Zavadil 27. June 2016 11:02

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently conducted its first-ever evaluation of headlight performance.  Government standards allow a wide range of illumination available to the consumer, so the IIHS tested 31 midsized vehicles with available headlight options for a total of 82 vehicle and headlight combinations. 

The IIHS study measured illumination with high beams and low beams on a test track including straightaways, various curved sections, and roadway obstacles.  Only one of the 82 combinations tested – the Toyota Prius v with LED headlights and high beam assist – earned a good rating. About one-third of the midsized cars tested can earn an acceptable rating by upgrading the headlights to the best available on the market, but another one-third cannot be purchased with headlights that rate higher than poor. This could be because some headlights are designed with aesthetics in mind, not illumination.

Headlights are a vital factor in roadway safety. About half of fatalities occur during the night or when lighting is dim such as at dawn or dusk. Better illumination does not correlate to a higher priced vehicle. For example, the IIHS study showed the best available headlights for the Toyota Prius v (rated “good”) illuminate roadway obstacles on the test track much better than the best available headlights for the BMW 3 series (rated “marginal”). Better illumination from headlights allows drivers more time to react and longer braking distances to avoid hitting obstacles in the roadway. Improved headlights could reduce nighttime fatalities by preventing drivers from hitting roadway obstacles such as deer or pedestrians, or from veering off the road by better illuminating curves in the roadway. 

The news release from IIHS and a video with additional information on the recent study can be viewed here.   

Currently there is not a great recommendation to consumers for the best possible headlight illumination. Future studies from IIHS should drive the need to improve headlight design to focus primarily on illumination rather than aesthetics.

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Traffic

Driver Alert! Recent Updates to Wisconsin’s Traffic Laws

by John Bruggeman 13. June 2016 02:37

Joanna Bush, state traffic signal systems engineer at the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT), provided an informative presentation at the 2016 Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) Traffic Engineering Workshop regarding recent updates to Wisconsin traffic laws. Some have received a lot of publicity over the last year, but there are others you may not be aware of. Updates include:

  • Maximum speed limit on freeways and expressways
  • Rules of the road when a traffic signal goes dark
  • Clear definition of the terms “flashing yellow arrow,” “pavement marking,” and pedestrian traffic signal indications
  • Right-turns on red from the left-most lane when two right-turn lanes are provided
  • Right-of-way in roundabouts for large trucks
  • Use of cell phones in construction zones

Check out Joanna’s presentation here.

Image courtesy of ITE Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation Bureau of Traffic Operations.

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