Tuesday, July 8, 2014

45 Years Later...

Remember the good old days when engineers and architects drew plans by hand? Drafting tables were common place scattered with straight edges and tee squares. Handheld calculators were considered “high tech.”  And Bill Gates was still in high school, yet to invent our favorite software company, Microsoft.

For the younger generations, these tools are only something to be seen in a Google search. In 1969 when GBA was established, these were the tools of the trade.

Although the tools of the trade may have changed, our passion has not. 45 years later we’re a thriving company with headquarters in the Kansas City metro and five satellite offices in four states.

GBA is proud to be celebrating 45 years of great engineering and architecture.

And we owe a big thanks to all the people over the years that have helped to make us the company we are today. We are looking forward to many more.

Happy 45th, GBA Team!!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Answers to Those Construction Questions

Ever wonder, when you’re sitting in snakes of summer road construction traffic, the street before you a mess of orange cones and fluorescent-shirted workers, exactly WHY you’re sitting there?

I mean, what are they doing? Besides making you late to work?

For those of you wondering what exactly is going on while you are waiting your turn to finally get through the nearest stoplight and on your way, here are a few answers to what’s happening outside your window:

Why are they off to the side of the road? What’s in the grass over there and what does it have to do with the lane that’s closed? Even if workers are off to the side of the road, it is common to close a lane to provide a safe work environment. If you see crews working underground—either off to the side or along the road—they are likely relocating utility lines (phone, cable, underground electric, fiber optics, natural gas, waterlines, etc.) or placing storm sewer. These utilities could also be located under the road itself.

Why do they only remove the top couple of inches of pavement? Why not replace it all? When the road is ground down a few inches, road crews are performing a “mill and overlay.” The condition of the existing pavement dictates whether maintenance or complete replacement is required to return the road to satisfactory condition. A road in need of maintenance is milled down several inches and new asphalt is overlaid on top. Mill and overlay is more cost-effective and takes much less time than complete replacement.

Why can I drive over a bridge if they’re working on the other side? Isn’t that unsafe? If a bridge is open to one lane of traffic while a crew is working on the other, the bridge is structurally sound. Crews are probably re-decking, patching areas of deteriorated concrete or repairing girders or supports under the deck. Engineers confirm the structural integrity of the bridge before and during maintenance to ensure it is satisfactory for travel.

The article I read said they were supposed to finish here last week. Why are they still working? Weather, utility conflicts and unanticipated field conditions, such as geotechnical surprises—all can affect the schedule.

Why are they working on this road anyway? The one a mile down has huge potholes and cracked curb. Funding sources and projected growth patterns or safety concerns such as sight-distance issues or poor drainage can affect why one street or bridge is chosen for reconstruction/rehabilitation over another. Municipalities maintain an annual road maintenance programs that prioritizes those areas most in need of attention.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

GBA Life Sciences at #BIO2014

This week, a member of our Life Sciences team is at the 2014 BIO International Convention in San Diego, CA. BIO is the largest global event for the biotechnology industry and brings together more than 14,000 people representing nearly 1,100 biotech companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers, and related organizations. GBA is attending alongside many of the companies for which we provide engineering, architecture, process design, construction and commissioning services.

BIO members are involved in the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products. For more information, visit www.convention.bio.org.

#BIO2014 kicked off Monday evening with a welcome reception on the USS Midway.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Gateway Project in Johnson County is Under Construction

GBA is a major participant in KDOT’s first ever design-build project.  The Gateway design-build project includes 26 structure projects to help improve this corridor in Johnson County, KS.  GBA is in charge of 15 of these structures.  With design activities to end early in 2015, GBA’s bridge team was called upon first to get this project started.  Since the notice to proceed, in about three months, GBA’s design teams have met the early design schedule challenges.  They have been responsible for providing two early steel
packages, early bridge widening package, two widened and rehab bridge packages, two new bridge design packages and preliminary designs for two new bridges. GBA’s team has quickly provided these plans, following the required quality process for this project.  Along the way, GBA has eliminated bridge girders and found hundreds of thousands of savings on the bridges since the proposal was submitted.
For more information, follow the progress with #jocogateway.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Summer Welcomes Interns

Four of the eight interns including: Allison Bruner, Cody LoMonaco, Katie Cortis and Eric Babb.

Summer brings sunshine, thoughts of lazy days and interns. We are excited to welcome eight interns this summer. The interns will work in the water/wastewater, storm water/environmental, highways/streets, life sciences, bridge and traffic groups.

We are excited to get to know our interns and their ambitions for the future. If you would like to get to know each one of them, please visit the GBA website as we feature each intern throughout the summer.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

National Public Works Week: Building for Today, Planning for Tomorrow

This week is National Public Works Week. It’s a time of celebration and recognition for those who have devoted their careers and creating a higher quality of life for the residents of their communities.

We here at GBA are proud to work with several public works clients on projects that add value, safety and convenience to communities across the Midwest.

Since 1960, the American Public Works Association has sponsored National Public Works Week as a time for the organization’s 28,000 members to “energize and educate the public on the importance of the contribution of public works to their daily lives: planning, building, managing and operating the heart of our local communities.”

The theme plays into public works’ effect on communities, with “building” pointing toward the day-to-day quality of life piece, while “planning” hints at the sustainable nature of the public works mission and the hope of improving future quality of life today.

The week is observed the third full week of May.

Several GBA employees will be attending the Kansas City Metro APWA Chapter’s annual National Public Works Week Luncheon at 11 a.m., May 22nd at the Overland Park Convention Center.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Relay for Life 2014

Each year more than four million people in 20 countries participate in a Relay for Life event, which offers an inspiring opportunity to honor cancer survivors, support caregivers, promote how individuals can reduce their cancer risk, and raise money to help end cancer.

On Saturday, May 10, the GBA Team participated in Relay for Life-Lenexa at Sar-Ko-Par Trails Park, and raised $5,373. As part of the superhero theme for 2014, we chose the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by incorporating characters and costumes into our event communications. We kicked off the campaign featuring Donatello as our hero! Because he’s depicted as the smart, quick-witted and most intelligent of the four turtles, with a natural aptitude for science and technology. And we had a Raphael look-alike serving up s’mores roasted on his signature sai during relay as an on-site fundraiser.

Following the opening ceremony and a few laps around the lake, Zach Sperry and Patrick Hilderbrandt took 2nd and 3rd place in the frozen t-shirt contest. Contestants were given a t-shirt frozen into a ball and had to melt, smack, and pull to get the cold shirt on their body!

After many relay laps, the sun began to set as luminarias were lit in honor of cancer survivors and in memory of those who lost the fight, including loved ones and former employees of GBA.  

We want to share a special thanks to everyone who donated to our team and participated in Relay for Life this year.