Friday, June 10, 2011

Pink Spray Paint is Not Necessarily Graffiti

The pink 'graffiti' on Yale, Bonner, Koehler, and Bass Streets. These markings are where the holes will be bored for the next Geo survey for recommendations on road and slab grades. 
Its amazing sometimes to me what happens when you're nice to people. 

I happened upon a couple of polite gentlemen with a pink spray can on Bonner street this evening. After a brief joke about reporting them for gang graffiti, I asked what they were doing. 

'Its indirectly for the Walmart project' replied one of the men. 

They continued on to explain that they were supporting an additional study by Kimley Horn. If you remember, Kimley-Horn is the firm responsible for working with Ainbinder on the Traffic Impact Analysis study (TIA) for the development.

So as was explained to us, the first Geological study was done by a firm called Terracon. I'm not an expert, but what I can gather is that such a study is what is used to make recommendations for grades of roads and slabs for the development itself.  How do I know? I'll get to that in a minute ... 

According to our talk this evening, the Terracon study was not acceptable to Ainbinder, which is why they were out there; to mark with the pink spray paint where to bore holes to complete their own studies of the ground below. Apparently, the recommendations made by Terracon put construction for the development 'out of budget', and Ainbinder needed to get 'someone else to sign off' on a different recommendations.  According to the gentlemen, the recommended street grades from the Terracon study were so thick that 'a plane could have landed on them'. 

So here's the summary ... 
-Terracon did a drilling study for Ainbinder
-Terracon recommended high quality pavement, foundations, and drainage
-Terracon's recommendations = mucho dinero ($$$$$$) 
-Ainbinder doesn't want to spend mucho denero ($$$$$)
-Kimley-Horn is now doing another study so that Ainbinder doesn't have to spend mucho dinero

Love it when science is fiscally convenient. 

So, what the heck does a geological survey mean, do, or say. Thanks to the magic of the 'Les Paul' themed Google search (have you played that thing yet?), I found this, which is the 'Geotechnical Engineering Report' prepared for Ainbinder Heights LLC by Terracon consultants, April 19, 2011. 

Here are a couple of morsels: 

-Building slab and foundation performances described in this report are based on effective drainage for the life of the structures and cannot be relied upon if effective drainage is not maintained.
-Exposed ground should be sloped away from the structures for at least 10 feet beyond the
perimeter of the structures. After building construction and landscaping, we recommend
verifying final grades to document that effective drainage has been achieved. 
-we highly recommend that the near-surface soils be prepared as stated below to reduce the potential for slab movement associated with volumetric changes of the near-surface clay soils due to moisture variations to a more acceptable level. The actual movements could be greater if poor
drainage, ponded water, and/or other sources of moisture are allowed to infiltrate beneath the structure after construction.
-The final exterior grade adjacent to the building addition should be sloped to promote effective drainage away from the buildings.
-the subgrade is not suitable for heavy construction traffic prior to paving.
-Detailed traffic loads and frequencies were not available. However, we anticipate that traffic will consist primarily of passenger vehicles combined with garbage trucks and large multi- axle delivery trucks from time to time in the driveway areas.

There is a lot of detail about pavement component thickness', and other items that I am not an expert in. But fortunately, there are a bunch of experts out there that have donated their time to help those of us that aren't, understand all of this better. So, until Ainbinder decides that he has a scientific study that suits his pocketbook, I guess we can have some fun with the Terracon study. 

Sadly, the city has thus far not required drainage on the site. So despite the scientific study telling them they need it, I guess Ainbinder and Wal-Mart know far better.

Got the original report to work ... See Here ... 

What's also important to note is that this report states there must be proper drainage, yet Kimley-Horn has already stated that there will be no on-site detention  although the 380 Agreement directly obligates the city to purchase 'detention improvements' ... Really Andy Icken?  

Look folks, this isn't good for you ... the people of Houston.  These guys come in, get city funds to build, obligate the city to pay, are told by people they hire that they have to have proper water control measures, don't like the answer, and then pay someone else until they get the answer they want.  What the hell sense does this make? 

Lets not forget that next week, City Council is discussing the budget, which has already included layoffs of public workers. 

C'mon folks ... we can do better. 


1 comment:

  1. > "Lets not forget that next week, City Council is discussing the budget, which has already included layoffs of public workers."

    Awesome. They can get a job at Walmart and make minimum wage with no benefits. Ugh.