A Day in the Life of a Civil Engineer – Day 27

Day 27

Road Project

Asphalt Paving on Anderson Blvd in Geneva IL

Now that our road project is substantially complete, we've been working on getting out a pay estimate. The project engineer prepared the estimate late last week and gave it to me yesterday. So this morning, I spent some time checking over the final quantities and comparing them to the original quantities in the contract. There was some additional work due to a bad base we discovered on one roadway, and we added striping. However we had also deleted some work that ended up not really being needed. So the net result is not too far off the original contract price, and we are defnitely below budget. It looks like there will be one final payout sometime in the next month after the contractor agrees to final quantities.

We also spent a portion of the day driving some more roads for next year. Unfortunately the ones we looked at had deteriorated quite a bit from last year. At this point, I wish we could fix all of them that are in bad  condition, but we just don't have the funds to do it all at once. I was thinking about this the other day after hearing about the jobs bill our president has been talking about. I thought, if only the federal government could set up significant funding for infrastructure in regular communities like ours for simple resurfacing or reconstruction jobs. And in order to spend the funds quickly, they could set it up so the money could be spent on engineering and construction, but  create a condition that the engineering must be done within a year and construction the next year. And if for some reason the engineering did not make the deadline, the construction funds would not be released. This would allow for engineering to be paid for, yet by putting penalities in contracts for failure to complete engineering on time, agencies would ensure the engineering would not be dragged out. Of course, the funds would have to be distributed through some funding mechanism other than FAU or STP funds. Perhaps they could follow what Kansas DOT does and have state DOTs "trade" their state funds for federal funds allocated to local governments. This ensures cumbersome requirements would not be imposed on the projects and allows funding to be used for any road in the city or county – not just federal routes. And this would put a lot of people to work fast. But they never ask us so I doubt an idea like this is even on their horizon.

Water Main Project

Later in the morning a few of us met with the owner of the property through which we'd like to run a water main. We discussed the project and where we would be interested in placing the line. Based on the discussion, I now will move forward to have the area surveyed to find out the exact locations of the property lines and find out any building setbacks that would affect any future construction on the property.

Parking Lot Project

Because the planning commission will meet tomorrow night to consider our request to build a parking lot in the downtown area, we spent some time getting together the necessary information and drawings. We also discussed the project and made sure we had the answers for any possible questions that might come up.

Development Project

At the end of the day, a few of us met at city hall to discuss a proposed development in our city. We discussed issues related to access and decided we will contact the county to continue discussions about potential solutions. 


Today an engineering firm also brought in some drawings for a project where they had already installed a utility line in our right of way and neglected to get a right of way permit. There's some concern over where they installed it, and it doesn't match the location shown on the plans they dropped off. Their indication of the right of way also does not seem to be at the location where we believe it to be. So we'll be working with them to resolve this issue.