Road Reconstruction Design Review

Challenge & Solution

During the design phase of the reconstruction of a state road running through Pittsburgh, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) required a third-party review of all design drawings, reports, and any other submittals necessary to gain design approval from PennDOT officials.

Rhea was one Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) firm selected to perform this critical function.

Project Description & Highlights

The roadway improvement project is a massive undertaking by PennDOT to improve the major highway connecting the City of Pittsburgh to the northern suburbs.  The increased traffic, narrow travel lanes, and complicated off-ramps that rely on red lights and stoppage of traffic in both directions necessitated large-scale improvements to the roadway through Pittsburgh city limits and into the surrounding neighborhoods.

Unfortunately, many obstacles, including existing buildings, rock cliff walls, bordering railroad tracks, and the adjacent Allegheny River, created many engineering challenges that were overcome in order to provide adequate roadway improvements.  Along with a large engineering firm, Rhea, provided third party geotechnical design review of the documents submitted to PennDOT.  A thorough design review by Rhea was required for drilled-in rock sockets, rock anchors, retaining walls and wall drainage, and bridge foundation piers. Foundation recommendations were also reviewed for accuracy against various PennDOT publications, including PennDOT Design Manual 4, Volumes 1 & 2.

In addition, Rhea compared the recommended designs with the soil-testing results, rock-core strength testing results, and laboratory electrochemical testing results that served as the basis for the designs.  Following the design review, Rhea submitted a detailed list of comments and recommendations that were considered prior to final submittal to PennDOT.

The Rhea team used their in-depth knowledge of the site’s unique geotechnical and engineering attributes to critique the design for this large-scale, $100M construction effort. 


North Carolina