Civil engineering is more advanced than ever. The basic idea of modifying the earth for construction projects predates the written word, and ancient peoples built dams, irrigation canals, retaining walls, ziggurats, and more for farming, irrigation, and much more. The ancient Romans were known for their very advanced engineering, and some of their brides, roads, and irrigation structures are still standing (and even used) today. But technology has moved forward, and today’s geotechnical engineering firms are sesential for evaluating pavement, aerial lidar and digital imaging services, and many other civil engineering services. Lidar detection and 3D image studies can help these geotechnical engineering firms determine where and how to build a bridge or a tunnel, and that may involve some advanced engineering, math, and physics work. A civil engineering company and geotechnical engineering firms will make today’s foundations, roads, dams and canals, and more built to last.
What sort of projects are these geotechnical engineering firms responsible for? Today’s American infrastructure is a broad and varied one, and aging materials should and often are replaced with newer ones. A good example of this is the extensive highway system found across the U.S., and while car-friendly roads have existed since the late 1800s, the 1950s saw a major expansion of highways. During World War II, general (and later president) Dwight D. Eisenhower saw many of the effective highways across Germany, and resolved to have them built in the U.S., too. With the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956, countless miles of highways were built across the nation.
Meanwhile, the U.S. is also home to many bridges that allow cars or trains to pass over rivers or gorges, and dams such as the Hoover Dam can help reshape an entire region. Retaining walls, big and small, can help clear up more room for construction or roads, and they can hold back a large hill from spilling over. Don’t forget other civil engineering features, such as sewage treatment plants, power plants and electric grids, and more. Now in the 21st century, engineering projects also include clean energy arrays such as wind farms and large-scale solar panel arrays. Often, solar panel arrays are found out in sunlit, arid areas, where they don’t get in the way of traffic or urban expansion. Texas and California in particular are home to many of these massive solar panel arrays.
The Work of Geotechnical Engineering Firms
Building anything from a solar panel array to a skyscraper to a bridge means understanding the natural terrain that is already there. Many different types of soil and rocks can be found across the U.S., and not understanding their properties may lead to an engineering project collapsing or sinking into the ground. But that doesn’t happen, since geotechnical engineering firms offer experts who can survey a piece of land and thoroughly understand its properties. This includes lidar scanning and 3D image studies, and this is critical reference for engineers to use when designing something and choosing where to place it.
This sort of work is also a helpful reference for excavation companies. When a construction project begins, the first steps include deciding where to place the building or structure, as well as digging the foundation. This means understanding the local terrain and knowing how to excavate it safely, as well as avoiding underground man-made products such as pipes or cables. Excavation crews may then use large vehicles to dig a foundation, and after that, concrete companies will move in. They will set up wooden board as boundaries, then pour all necessary concrete and smooth it over before it hardens and cures. Only the work of geotechnical engineering firms allows these workers to make a foundation that is both effective and safe.
These geotechnical engineering firms can also prove helpful for mining or digging tunnels, and it is typical for tunnels to be dug into large hills or mountains so that roads or railways can pass right through. No one wants these tunnels to collapse, so geotechnical engineering firms can survey the area and help engineers dig through the area just right and build a tunnel that is durable for many years to come. If a hill is vertically excavated, a retaining wall can be built to keep the hill from collapsing, like an earth-based dam.