Skelly and Loy efforts recognized on three of its best projects

Feb. 13, 2007
At a banquet held at the Hotel Hershey on Feb. 1, The American Council of Engineering Companies of Pennsylvania presented Skelly and Loy with 2007 Diamond Award Certificates for Engineering Excellence for three of the firm's outstanding projects. These include its Hollow Run Stream Restoration, Market Street Underpass Mitigation and Opossum Creek Restoration Project and Fluvial Geomorphic (FGM) Assessment projects...

Skelly and Loy projects earn ACEC/PA 2007 Diamond Award Certificates for Engineering Excellence

HARRISBURG, PA, Feb. 13, 2007 -- At a banquet held at the Hotel Hershey on Feb. 1, The American Council of Engineering Companies of Pennsylvania presented Skelly and Loy with 2007 Diamond Award Certificates for Engineering Excellence for three of the firm's outstanding projects.

"Skelly and Loy is very pleased to have received these prestigious awards and it is especially nice to share such accolades with our distinguished clients," remarked Sandi Loy Bell, the firm's Chief Executive Officer.

Hollow Run Stream Restoration
The first certificate given was for the First Hollow Run Stream Restoration Project, completed on behalf of the Carbon County Conservation District. First Hollow Run is located just west of Nesquehoning Borough in Carbon County, PA, and its headwater is listed as an Exceptional Value (EV) stream by the PA DEP and supports wild trout.

Historical coal mining activity in the area resulted in the relocation of the stream onto the lower slopes of Broad Mountain and a second small headwater stream, Second Hollow Run, was also diverted into this new stream location. When the flows combined, the stream rapidly eroded a deep, V-shaped ravine more than 100 feet across and 30-40 feet deep.

Concerns by the local water authority prompted the initial interest in the impacted reach of First Hollow Run when they noticed that a formerly buried water pipe running along the margin of the stream had been exposed by erosion and was now at risk of failing. Beginning in 2001 and over the course of four years, three Growing Greener Grants were awarded to the Carbon County Conservation District CCCD to repair the reach. Skelly and Loy completed the project design, permitting, and construction oversight for this stream restoration project. By using a new natural stream channel design approach based on sound fluvial geomorphic (FGM) principles and the use of very large boulder steps or "keystones" in step-pool channels, more than 1,300 feet of the extremely steep and rapidly eroding stream channel of First Hollow Run were restored and stabilized, and excessive sediment discharges to Nesquehoning Creek and the areas downstream of its confluence with the Lehigh River were eliminated.

Market Street Underpass Mitigation
The second certificate was given to Skelly and Loy and its clients and project stakeholders Urban Engineers, The Harrisburg Parking Authority, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, the Federal Highway Administration, the Delaware Tribe of Indians, the Delaware Nation, and Harrisburg School District for the Market Street Underpass Mitigation -- Archaeology Lesson Plan. This project involved the replacement and widening of the underpass to the Market Street Bridge on City Island in the City of Harrisburg. Built in 1934, the single-span reinforced concrete rigid frame bridge needed replaced because it was structurally deficient and functionally obsolete, vehicles and pedestrians could not share the limited horizontal clearance under the bridge, and the ramps were so near to the west bridge abutment that sight distance was severely limited. Skelly and Loy completed the environmental analysis required for this project. Because it was anticipated that by driving pilings into the bedrock for the western bridge abutments, construction of the new bridge would affect significant cultural deposits and that to successfully complete the Section 106 process, an alternative mitigation measure was needed. A Programmatic Agreement was negotiated between project stakeholders to prepare a lesson plan that would document the migration of Native Americans to City Island for use by fifth and sixth grade students in the Harrisburg School District and surrounding school districts. Skelly and Loy developed and published the Archaeology Unit, Those Who Came Before Us, in consultation with the project stakeholders. The lesson plan will be combined with field trips to City Island during archeological month and with trips to the Pennsylvania Museum where many artifacts recovered from City Island are on display. By developing a lesson plan instead of excavating, the HPA ensured the protection and preservation of a known significant archaeological site while providing knowledge and inspiration to broaden middle school students' understanding of their history and the importance and science of preserving it.

Opossum Creek Stream Restoration
The third ACEC/PA 2007 Engineering Excellence Certificate was given to Skelly and Loy and the project owner and client, PennDOT Engineering District 8-0 and Benatec Associates, for the stream restoration and fluvial geomorphic (FGM) assessment and design for the improvement of Opossum Creek at the bridge spanning the creek at S.R. 4008 in Menallen Township, Adams County, Pennsylvania. Opossum Creek is classified as a Trout Stocked Fishery and has been found by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission to support a wild trout population. An old two-span concrete bridge located along S.R. 4008 and spanning Opossum Creek immediately west of the intersection with the private entrance drive to Bear Mountain Estates had significantly deteriorated and narrowed to one lane; the alignment of the existing bridge abutments and pier was severely skewed from the approach angle of Opossum Creek; and the creek itself was laterally migrating to the east, severely eroding the narrow embankment between the stream and the entrance to Bear Mountain Estates. Skelly and Loy used big-boulder vane structures and designed a stepped boulder bank revetment with soil lifts constructed from amended topsoil and biodegradable mattings, resulting in the stability of the Opossum Creek embankment along the Bear Mountain Estates; as well as a realigned bankfull channel, significantly enhanced aquatic habitat, and a naturally vegetated embankment. The in-stream rock structures that were constructed within Opossum Creek near the S.R. 4008 bridge are functioning today as they were intended to function during design, focusing and harnessing, not fighting, the scour potential of the stream.

Based in Harrisburg, PA, and enjoying its 37th year in business, Skelly and Loy ( is a 180-person, engineering-consulting firm that is continually ranked by Engineering News Record (ENR) as one of the top 200 environmental firms in the United States. The firm provides expert engineering, environmental, geologic, waste management, water resources, and cultural resource services throughout the United States and abroad.


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