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2007 News Archive

Department of the Army Outstanding Civilian Service Medal
Presented to: Dr. William H. Espey, Jr., P.E., D.WRE
February 12, 2007

KatrinaIn Washington, D.C., at a formal Department of the Army ceremony on February 12, 2007, Lieutenant General Carl A. Strock and Assistant Secretary of the Army, John Paul Woodley, Jr., presented Dr. W.H. Espey, P.E., D.WRE with the Department of the Army Outstanding Civilian Service Medal. Dr. Espey was awarded this medal for his commitment and contribution as a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) External Review Panel (ERP). The ERP provided an independent and objective review of the work of theHurricane Katrina Interagency Performance Evaluation Task Force (IPET). As stated in this award, Dr. Espey’s hard work enabled the direct application of that knowledge in order to rapidly repair and reconstruct the critical civil works structures along the Gulf Coast. Dr. Espey also challenged the IPET by asking difficult questions that kept them OSCM Espeyfocused on the important issues raised by the Hurricane Katrina disaster. Dr. Espey’s technical expertise improved the quality ofthe performance evaluation of the New Orleans Hurricane and Flood Protection System. As stated by Assistant Secretary John P. Woodley, Jr., “Dr. Espey’s historic work will not only ensure the safety of the people of New Orleans, but many others throughout the country who depend on our nation’s civilworks projects for protection of their livelihood.” 

 

 

Waller Creek Tunnel Project

On August 30th of this year, the Austin City Council authorized negotiation and execution of an amendment to the professional services agreement with a joint venture comprised of Kellogg Brown & Root Services, Inc. and Espey Consultants, Inc. for Phase 2 (design/bid) and Phase 3 (construction management and warranty assistance) engineering services for the Waller Creek Tunnel Project. Notice to proceed was received from the City on October 23rd. The project’s principal in charge is Dr. W.H. Espey, Jr., P.E., D.WRE, and project manager is Brian K. Reis, P.E., CFM. Dr. Espey and Mr. Reis have been working on the project since it was first awarded to the JV in 1999.

Diversion of flood flow in Waller Creek has been a goal of the City of Austin since the 1970’s to reduce the risk of flooding to businesses downstream of Waterloo Park (15th Street) and to allow for the creation of a linear urban park, thereby encouraging planned development close to the creek and at the street level above. Through an agreement with Travis County earlier this year, the project will become a reality by the establishment of a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District. Tax increment financing is a way to use future revenue to pay for improvements now. Essentially, a project is funded through bonds, a dedicated area or TIF district is defined and the amount of taxes the area generates is measured and used as a baseline. Once the project is complete, real estate values and development in the TIF area increase and generate more tax revenue than the initial baseline. The incremental increase in taxes within the district is dedicated for a specific period of time to pay off the bonds.

Waller Creek has long been a problem area for the City of Austin. Floods have claimed lives and destroyed property over the course of many years. Many past improvements to the creek area have been washed away by flooding. This has served to underscore the need for flood control in the area. Trash, debris, sediment, bank erosion, and wastewater are continual problems. Building the Waller Creek Tunnel and stabilizing creek flow is expected to eliminate these problems, thereby improving the quality of life for fish, birds, plants, and other wildlife that rely on the creek for habitat. Economic development will improve as structures and roadways are removed from the floodplain.

The proposed tunnel varies in depth from 60 feet to 80 feet, has a diameter of 22 feet, and will extend over 5,000 linear feet from Waterloo Park to Lady Bird Lake. The inlet includes a morning glory spillway, drop shaft, and recirculation system to maintain base flow in the creek. The outlet includes a dewatering facility, drop shaft, and spillway to Lady Bird Lake. While the inlet will divert approximately 85% of the 5.75 square mile watershed, the lower portion of the watershed (approximately 15% of the area) is still susceptible to flash flooding; therefore, additional capture is required along the creek to control the residual flood flow generated by the lower watershed. Design will be completed in 2010, and construction will be completed in 2014. For more information on this landmark project, go to http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/wallercreek/default.htm.

Lake Michigan Sixth Technical Committee

Dr. William H. Espey, Jr., P.E., D.WRE, President of Espey Consultants, Inc., has been selected as Chairman for the Sixth Technical Committee for Review of Hydrology and Flow Measurements for the Chicago District, United States Army Corps of Engineers. Dr. Espey has chaired the First through Fifth Technical Committees to conduct assessments and evaluations of the accounting procedures and methodology used in the determination of diversion from Lake Michigan and to ascertain whether or not the methods were in accordance with the “best current engineering practice and scientific knowledge,” as stipulated by the 1980 modifications of the 1967 Supreme Court decree.

SJRA Raw Water Supply Canal Evaluation

In October 2007, the San Jacinto River Authority (SJRA) contracted Espey Consultants, Inc. to provide professional engineering services to conduct an evaluation of the SJRA’s raw water canal system. This project includes: a detailed field assessment, security/risk assessment, hydraulic models for the Highlands Canal System, water storage capacity of the Highlands Reservoir, water quality terminal storage investigation, Highlands System geodatabase and map, and the development of a capital improvement program for long term improvements. The project will be completed in 2008.

Espey Consultants, Inc. (EC) received its first work order under the New Orleans District, United States Army Corps of Engineers Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity Contract, which includes general design support services and multidisciplinary planning. EC (prime) has been selected to provide professional engineering services for the design and preparation of plans and specifications for a Breakwater on the lake side of the Bonnabel Pumping Station. The project is part of the Lake Pontchartrain and Vicinity, New Orleans, Louisiana, Hurricane Protection Project. 

Bonnabel Pump Station, New Orleans

Espey Consultants, Inc. (EC) received its first work order under the New Orleans District, United States Army Corps of Engineers Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity Contract, which includes general design support services and multidisciplinary planning. EC (prime) has been selected to provide professional engineering services for the design and preparation of plans and specifications for a Breakwater on the lake side of the Bonnabel Pumping Station. The project is part of the Lake Pontchartrain and Vicinity, New Orleans, Louisiana, Hurricane Protection Project. 

Land Development - Mason Ranch Subdivision

Espey Consultants, Inc. has been selected by McGuyer Homebuilders, Inc. (MHI), of Houston, to provide development consultation and engineering design for the Mason Ranch development in Leander, Texas. Mason Ranch is a 330-acre site planned to include over 1,000 homesites and future commercial tracts. The development is in the contributing zone of the Edwards Aquifer.

The development will include construction of water quality and storm water management facilities in addition to street, drainage, water, and wastewater improvements. EC is providing preliminary and final subdivision platting, engineering construction documents, and subsequent construction phase services. MHI, Inc. is located in Houston and is a leading developer and home builder in Houston, Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio. MHI builds homes under its signature brands: Pioneer Homes, Plantation Homes, Coventry Homes, and Carmel Builders.

 


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