Smale Riverfront Park at the Banks

October 1st, 2015

Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Client: Cincinnati Parks
Services: Geotechnical

THELEN performed the geotechnical services for the Smale Riverfront Park. Our services were performed in different phases for various portions of the project. The following are the most recent 2 phases of the project: Site Walls and Boat Dock: The project site is located along the north edge of the Ohio River between the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge and the Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, Ohio. THELEN’s services consisted of performing nineteen (19) test borings – eleven (11) of the borings were advanced from a barge on the river, and the remaining eight (8) borings were performed on land, laboratory testing and preparation of a report of conclusions and recommendations.

Prior to the geotechnical report, the proposed development was to consist of a 1,400-foot long retaining wall supported on piles and a 1,000-foot long boat dock. The proposed retaining wall will begin at the river’s edge. A structure similar to the serpentine wall will then step up from the river’s edge wall to a walkway. A ramp will be located in the mid portion of the project and additional serpentine steps will be located to the west and east of the ramp section. A relatively flat walkway or a short, sloped section will then be constructed at the top of the existing retaining wall.

The proposed grading was to require up to 11 feet of newly placed fill in the portion of the walkway immediately adjacent to the river’s edge wall. It is noted that there are two (2) existing retaining walls to the north of the majority of the proposed river’s edge wall. The closest existing retaining wall consists of a large concrete pile-supported retaining wall and the upper northernmost retaining wall consists of a smaller concrete spread-footing cantilevered retaining wall. The proposed grading will require portions of those walls to be cut off near the western end of the proposed rivers edge wall. The existing river bottom will be dredged to create a minimum depth of water between the river’s edge wall and the boat deck.

Lot 22: This portion of the project involved constructing an elevated structural slab over an existing parking lot that is near the elevation of Mehring Way. The elevated structural slab will be at or near the elevation of Theodore M. Berry Way and the north approach of the Roebling Suspension Bridge, and will support a carousel and fountain. Additionally, the eastern half of the elevated slab will support approximately a 4-foot depth of soil for planting trees. At the west end of the structural slab will be a stairway to permit pedestrian traffic from the elevated slab and Theodore M. Berry Way at the northwest corner of the project site to Mehring Way at the southwest end of the project site. We understand that the lower level area beneath the elevated slab will consist of a reception hall, conference and office rooms, mechanical/electric control equipment, and storage.

THELEN’s services consisted of performing six (6) test borings, laboratory testing and preparation of a report of conclusions and recommendations. During construction of the Park phases, we have performed construction review services including augercast pile review, soil and concrete testing.


Work performed by Thelen Associates, Inc.




The Bank of Kentucky Center

October 1st, 2015

Location: Highland Heights, Kentucky
Owner: Northern Kentucky University
Client: GBBN Architects, Inc.
Services: Geotechnical, Construction Materials Testing

The Bank of Kentucky Center is a 10,000 seat multi-purpose venue located on the Highland Heights Main Campus of Northern Kentucky University. THELEN performed the geotechnical exploration and geotechnical design for the project as well as the review of the foundation installation, and soils and concrete testing and Special Inspections. The project was completed in 2008 and had a construction cost of $64 million.


Work performed by Thelen Associates, Inc. 



Kentucky Speedway

August 14th, 2015

Location: Sparta, Kentucky
Client: Kentucky Speedway, LLC
Services: Geotechnical, Materials Testing

Thelen Associates, Inc. has been providing engineering and testing services for the Kentucky Speedway since 1997. Most recently, the team performed a 2008 Geotechnical Exploration for the grandstand additions. Two (2) new seating structures were proposed to complete the 69,000 seating grandstands.


Work performed by Thelen Associates, Inc.




Lakeview Commerce Center – Building III

April 15th, 2015

Owner: Panattoni Development Company
Client: Brinkmann Constructors
Location: Edwardsville, Illinois
Services: Construction materials testing, special inspections

Scope of services: The project consisted of a new single-story 400,000 square foot tilt-up concrete panel warehouse. The building was designed to be founded on shallow column and continuous foundations with a slab-on-grade. Site improvements consisted of an asphalt-surfaced and concrete-surfaced parking lot, drive lanes, and roadways. Geotechnology provided construction materials testing for soil, aggregate, concrete, hot-mix asphalt, floor flatness and levelness, shallow foundations, reinforcing steel, and structural steel.

Problem: The project site consisted of potentially expansive, high plasticity clay soils.

Solution: Instead of removing and replacing the unsuitable soil with a low plasticity soil, the owner elected to treat the existing soil with code-L, a by-product of the lime manufacturing process. Code-L is blended with the soil at predetermined percentages causing a change in the soil’s chemical and physical properties. This reaction changes the soil plasticity and subsequently reduces the swelling potential.

Benefit: By adding code-L to reduce the plasticity of the soil, there is a reduced risk of the soil swelling, which could lead to damaged foundations costing the owner money. Additional benefi ts include increased soil strength and reduced moisture content.

St. Louis Arch Grounds – City+Arch+River

January 15th, 2015

Client/Owner: National Park Services CityArchRiver 2015 Foundation
Location: St. Louis, Missouri
Services: Drilling, Geotechnical, Special Inspections

In fall 2010, Michael Van Valkenburgh & Associates (MVVA) won The City+The Arch+The River 2015 International Design Competition to develop a new concept for the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial (JNEM) commonly known as the St. Louis Gateway Arch Grounds. Elements of the new design for the grounds include expanding the Arch Museum and adding a major new entry facing Memorial Drive; creating a beer garden/restaurant that converts to an ice skating rink in the center; an urban ecology center; a wetland/bird sanctuary, a cobblestone walkway and three new parking garages. Final design and construction is to commence by 2015, the 50th anniversary of the completion of the Gateway Arch.

In 2012, Geotechnology provided subsurface exploration and engineering recommendations for the Park Over the Highway portion of the project which includes the landscaped bridge and replacement bridge over the depressed section of I-70. In coordination with MoDOT and the City of St. Louis special traffic control procedures were used and drilling was performed at night when there was less commuter traffic. Difficulties during drilling included working around the Cardinal’s Post-season games, numerous utilities rubble fill and varying rock quality. In addition, Memorial Drive was required to be open by 5:00 a.m. each morning. The structure was designed with minimal impact to the existing retaining walls (i.e. foundations were installed behind the walls). Special hybrid drilled shafts were also designed to expedite construction and reduce vibrations on neighboring structures (predominately the Old Cathedral).

Geotechnology provided a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment, a geotechnical desk study, and an archaeological desk study. The purpose of these services was to identify potential ground hazards and corresponding primary risks at an early stage so that these risks could be better managed during the design and construction processes. The geotechnical report addressed deep foundation excavation and shoring considerations, impacts of soil types, obstructions and environmentally impacted material on site grading, structural foundations considerations, and groundwater related considerations. The purpose of the Phase I ESA is to provide a professional opinion as to the potential for Recognized Environmental Conditions (RECs) to exist on the site, particularly hazardous substances or petroleum products on the property or that may have been released onto the property, the subsurface or surface waters in the past.

Geotechnology also provided utility locating services and detailed geotechnical exploration for the new visitors center, regraded slope over TRRA rail tunnel down to the Leonore K. Sullivan Boulevard, and new Rangers Station. Geotechnology provided specialist sampling and analysis services for soils nutrient assessment.

Former Forest Park Hospital – St. Louis Zoo Expansion

October 20th, 2014

Location: St. Louis, Missouri
Client/Owner: Saint Louis Zoo
Services: Environmental

Geotechnology was selected to provide a wide range of environmental consulting services for the demolition of 9 buildings at the 13.5 acre former Forest Park Hospital site. The St. Louis Zoo acquired the site to create greenspace as they plan future expansion alternatives. Building footprints ranged from under one thousand to several hundred thousand square feet, and the site structures were in various states of disrepair as the site had been vacated. Geotechnology worked closely with the Zoo and their design and construction administration teams to develop a scope of work that would adequately address the following:

  • Preparation of a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Report
  • Conducting limited soil and groundwater sampling and testing for screening purposes
  • Conducting asbestos and hazardous waste surveys
  • Conducting heavy metals-based paint (including lead) surveys
  • Preparing abatement cost estimates
  • Assisting with bid solicitation and review of contractor bids
  • Third party monitoring during the 7 months of abatement activities and removal of hazardous waste
  • Underground storage tank closure, including regulatory notification, soil and waste characterization sampling and the submission of a closure report for which the Missouri Department of Natural Resources issued a No Further Action letter
  • Periodic perimeter dust monitoring during demolition

Underground Storage Tank (UST) Geophysical Survey

February 17th, 2014

Client: Hospitality Builders of America
Location: Memphis, Tennessee
Services: Environmental, Geophysics

Geotechnology conducted geophysical surveying at the subject property consisting of a 1.21-acre asphalt-covered parking lot located at 235 Union Avenue in Memphis, Tennessee. In the northern portion of the subject site (approximately 120 foot by 200 foot area), ground penetrating radar (GPR) was used in an attempt to locate possible
underground storage tanks (USTs) that were associated with a former service station that was located in the northern portion of the subject site (based on the preliminary findings of our Phase I Environmental Site

The remainder of the site will be surveyed using frequency-domain electromagnetics with an EM31. A Scope of Services is attached. The field survey required only one day to complete. Preliminary findings of the geophysical surveying were provided to the client within 5 business days of data acquisition.

After collecting and analyzing the GPR and EM31 data, Geotechnology summarized the geophysical survey results in the Phase I Environmental Site Assessment report that included a description of the geophysical methods, data collection procedures, a contour map of the EM data, representative GPR data, and a site plan showing interpreted locations of USTs based on the geophysical data.

The Pyramid

December 27th, 2012

Client/Owner: Memphis Development Company
Location: Memphis, Tennessee
Services: Geotechnical

Since 2004, the City of Memphis had been seeking a tenant for the vacated Pyramid.  The Pyramid and its unique presence was exactly what Bass Pro Shops, Inc. was looking for; however their exacting standards and risk concerns required the outdated facility to be upgraded. The Pyramid was built in 1982, before there were specific seismic design requirements. As part of the seismic upgrade needed to accommodate the major commercial development, Geotechnology performed detailed seismic evaluation of ground conditions, liquefaction and seismic slope stability. Having demonstrated that the project fell short of current standards, Geotechnology developed the performance criteria needed for specialty design‐build foundation contractors to evaluate and cost the improvements.

Geotechnology inside of the PyramidGeotechnology’s services between 2009 and 2013 included desk studies, site specific seismic assessment, geotechnical data report (GDR) and interpretative report (GIR), performing cone penetration testing (CPT), laboratory testing in Geotechnology’s USACE validated and AASHTO certified laboratory, geotechnical consultation, construction observation, materials testing for pile lateral load analysis, assessment of sulfate exposure requirements for concrete, and preparing the technical specifications and monitoring the below-grade portions of the seismic retrofit. Geotechnology also assisted the design team with foundation design analysis and value engineering assessments, and was on budget.

For the geotechnical exploration, one of Geotechnology’s staff Geologists was on-hand to provide technical direction during field exploration, observe drilling and sampling, record and monitor CPT operations and prepare descriptive logs of the material encountered. Geotechnology’s full complement of environmental, geotechnical, laboratory and field staff were involved with the project including contributions from St. Louis Geotechnical and drilling groups, Kansas City drilling, and Memphis drilling, soils testing and construction materials testing groups.

Throughout the construction phases, work on the Pyramid is estimated to create roughly 16,000 construction jobs. Once the facility is open, it’s estimated to provide 300 – 400 jobs for the length of its 55 year, $1,000,000 annual lease, and provide a huge boost to the area’s economy.

2014 Engineering Excellence Competition Honor Award – ACEC, Missouri