Fort Worth’s New Thoroughfare Plan Aims for More Variety in Street Design

Fort Worth is launching a review of its master thoroughfare plan, aiming to broaden the kinds of streets in its arsenal, accommodate more multi-mode transportation like buses, trains, and bike lanes, and address needs in high-growth areas like the far North and far South.

Continued suburban growth and central city redevelopment, numerous gaps in continuity within the city’s transportation system, a narrow range of street classifications that doesn’t match up well with various land uses and development, and greater need to move people by means other than cars is driving the need for the update.

“We’re trying to get ourselves back to thinking that we make sure everybody is well-connected,” Mark Rauscher, Fort Worth’s program manager over the plan, said.

The city staff has launched what will likely be an 18-month review and update of the master plan, last updated in 2009. On Nov. 17, an all-volunteer task force began meeting to help guide the process.

A key principle of the review – “one street design does not fit all contexts” – furthers a change in the city’s direction during the 2009 update, when it went “from moving cars to moving people.”

The city’s goals for the update include:
• Increased sensitivity to surroundings and building “complete streets” that interact with uses;
• Maximizing potential for redevelopment and economic development;
• Increasing linkages to public transit and improving bike facilities;
• Using more roundabouts when possible to create smoother-moving, cheaper, and safer intersections;
• Striking a balance between mobility and access to roads that optimizes convenience and minimizes congestion; and,
• Creating more efficient travel routes.

The update should improve orderly growth and sustainable development and give direction to developers, while preserving future opportunities for growth in multimodal transportation, city officials said.

Texas Votes to Move Forward

Voters in Texas sent a clear message that road improvements are very important for economic development, safety and quality of life. Taxes from the oil and gas industry will be a new source of revenue for cash-strapped Texas roads after voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 1 Tuesday night.

More than 80 percent of the ballots cast approved Proposition 1. For more information, including facts and figures, see 35W Coalition and Move Texas Forward.

Custom-Built Equipment Used on LBJ Express Project in Dallas

An innovative piece of structural engineering equipment was introduced to the LBJ Express project in Dallas County: a beam placement system – or  beam truss – tailored specifically for the setting of beams for the future westbound general purpose lanes under Marsh Lane. LBJ Express construction and design managers opted for this truss system because it was not possible to use conventional cranes under the Marsh bridge for setting precast beams.

Traditional cranes typically used along the project weigh hundreds of tons and require clear level paths and large set up areas.  In contrast, this custom built truss system moves along the caps of the bridge, ideal for low clearances and takes out the need for massive crane paths or pads. Built at 270 feet long (8 ft. tall and 6 ft. wide), the bright blue truss system included an electrical generator with wireless remote control, two electrical trucks to move the truss along tracks set on the caps, and two electric winches to lift and place the beams.

Another project challenge included finding space for the trucks delivering the bridge beams to maneuver in the tight, activity-packed site, which the team ended up resolving by constructing a very level and complex haul road to allow the trucks to back into specific areas under the bridge.

When the LBJ Freeway opened in 1969, it was designed to hold about 180,000 vehicles per day. Current traffic counts put that number at 270,000 vehicles per day, and by 2020 estimated demand will increase to 500,000 vehicles per day traveling this road.

Peloton Names Randy Alexander as Principal

Peloton Land Solutions, Inc. announced Randy Alexander as Principal making him the newest shareholder of the fast-growing company.  Based at Peloton’s headquarters in Fort Worth, Alexander joined Peloton in 2010 as the senior environmental scientist and office manager.

“Over the course of his 20-year career, Randy has earned the respect of his industry peers and took a chance in joining our newly formed company back in 2010,” said Peloton President and CEO Aric Head.  “Having a corporate structure now allows us to formally recognize leadership and offer our team opportunities for growth and ownership within the company. The success of Peloton has been and will continue to be directly tied to the individual and combined contributions of employees like Randy,” he concluded.

With clients ranging from local municipalities, to land developers, energy exploration and production companies, Alexander conducts environmental and natural resource due diligence, regulatory permitting, as well as municipal entitlements and planning efforts for master plan, land development, energy and other projects in the north central Texas area. He and his team of biologists and ecologists ensure Section 404 and Endangered Species Act compliance and provide project-specific and strategic assistance with urban regulatory processes related to tree/canopy preservation ordinances, local storm water requirements, and other municipal ordinance issues.

Peloton Approved as a TxDOT SBE

Peloton Land Solutions is pleased to announce our approval by TxDOT as a Small Business Enterprise (SBE) under the category of Engineering Professional Services. The TxDOT Small Business Enterprise (SBE) Program offers small businesses another avenue to maximize their opportunities for doing business with TxDOT. The program applies to highway construction and maintenance projects that are funded entirely by state and/or local funds.

Almost 11″ of Rain Overnight

Some areas north of the DFW metroplex picked up close to 11 inches of rain since late last night due to a slow-moving disturbance tracking across north Texas. While this storm hasn’t been classified as one yet, now is a good time to explain what a 100-year storm is.

A 100-year storm refers to rainfall totals that have a one percent probability of occurring at that location in that year. In other words, there is a 1 in 100 or 1% chance that a storm will reach or exceed this intensity in any given year. Encountering a “100-year storm” on one day does not decrease the chance of a second 100-year storm occurring in that same year or any year to follow.  Likewise, a 50-year storm has a 1 in 50 (or 2%) chance of occurring in a year.

Peloton Austin Office Moves to New Space

Our Austin office has moved to:

7004 Bee Cave Road
Building 2, Suite 100
Austin, TX 78746
512.831.7700

Army Unmanned Convoy Uses LIDAR

The Army’s Tank-Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) and Lockheed Martin passed the latest round of tests validating the ability of driverless military-truck convoys to operate safely in a variety of environments. The Unmanned Mission Module part of the system, which includes a high-performance LIDAR sensor, and additional algorithms, is installed as a kit and can be used on virtually any military vehicle.

In the most recent demonstrations,  a series of fully autonomous convoy tests were completed involving an unmanned leader vehicle followed by a convoy of up to six additional, autonomous follower vehicles operating at speeds as high as 40 mph. The convoy negotiated oncoming traffic, followed rules of the road, recognized and avoided pedestrians and various obstacles, and then used intelligence and decision-making abilities to re-route itself through a maze of test areas to complete both complex urban and rural line haul missions, according to TARDEC. Read more here and visit the TARDEC website.

Fred Balster, P.E. Joins Peloton Staff

Peloton announces the addition of Fred Balster, P.E., Vice President of Municipal Services, to our Frisco, Texas office. Fred has forty-one years of experience in municipal design and construction, including roadway and utility design and bridge rehabilitation. He is a Professional Civil Engineer licensed in the State of Texas and has vast public works experience in project management, building and managing design teams, and cultivating relationships with clients. Fred is familiar with the policies and procedures of the cities in North Texas.

Peloton welcomes Fred Balster as an important addition to our team of over 80 professional engineers, planners, surveyors, scientists, landscape architects and support personnel in three Texas offices.

Robots Used to Monitor Infrastructure Condition

The attributes of precision, repetition and scale make robots an ideal technology for tackling one of the country’s biggest economic challenges: maintaining the deteriorating infrastructure that threatens the integrity of the U.S. highway system. One such device, the Robotics Assisted Bridge Inspection Tool (RABIT), is about the size of a Volkswagen beetle and can cover 4,000 square feet of bridge deck per hour. The RABIT (developed at Rutgers University) carries high-resolution cameras and sensors that measure electrical resistance (to measure corrosive materials in the concrete), impact echoes and ultrasonic surface waves (to evaluate concrete delamination and deck strength).  The device also uses ground-penetrating radar to map rebar and other metallic objects, and has GPS that records and marks location data. RABIT is still in the development stage, but does add terabytes of valuable data that previous methods of inspection couldn’t deliver. One current method for determining internal damage involves dragging chains on top of a bridge. After years of experience, a bridge inspector would understand how the resonance that was caused by the chain dragging could indicate areas of delamination, areas in the concrete where splitting is occurring and where a more detailed evaluation may be needed.