Urban Improvement Project

Challenge & Solution

To encourage the use of Market Square as a downtown hotspot for outdoor dining, the City of Pittsburgh, along with the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, proposed an improvement to make the space more pedestrian-friendly. Unfortunately, historical documents, dated July 31, 1930, indicated several three-story buildings once occupied the reconstruction areas, raising questions regarding geotechnical stability and probable drainage pathways.

Rhea was subcontracted by a large engineering firm to perform the geotechnical exploration and evaluation of both geotechnical and hydraulic site properties.

Project Description & Highlights

An extensive review of the in-house soils survey, geotechnical, geologic, and mining literature of the project area, as well as plans, reports, and additional literature regarding the site was completed prior to field reconnaissance. Field reconnaissance included the evaluation of the following: existing pavement conditions; proximity of existing structures; site drainage; evidence of groundwater; evidence of mine subsidence, and/or other site conditions that could impact the proposed construction.

Rhea designed and executed a Subsurface Exploration Program based on the results of the field reconnaissance. The program consisted of eight test borings, drilled by a subcontractor, excavation of test pits with subsequent infiltration testing, and laboratory analysis on soil samples to determine physical characteristics. Following completion of field work, a Geotechnical Engineering Report was promptly prepared and delivered to the client.

Successful completion of the project required detailed coordination between Rhea, the drilling subcontractor, and City of Pittsburgh officials because drilling was required within city right-of-way, making street closure permitting necessary. 

In addition, in-depth construction recommendations were provided to the Client, detailing foundation requirements for the proposed reconstruction effort. 



North Carolina