Responsibilities include preliminary engineering with respect to subsurface geotechnical conditions and surficial geology as applied to proposed design of transportation projects. Project responsibilities include expediting the construction process and assistance with future maintenance. This Activity provides engineering data including geotechnical design parameters for structural foundations, soil embankment foundations, surficial construction soils, undercut and subgrade stability, subsurface water control, bridge-end backfill recommendations, stability of rock and soil slopes and fills, geologic studies and the effective use of naturally occurring materials.
Procedures include investigative borings, collecting undisturbed soil and rock samples, geophysical testing, and installing and monitoring geotechnical instrumentation. This Activity operates both a soils laboratory and a geotechnical strength laboratory. The results of these studies are combined with a graphic Subsurface Profile Plans Sheet and written recommendations are then presented to the designers. Projects are coordinated with the offices responsible for the project such as Bridge Design, Roadway Design, Operations, Local Government Assistance, Office of State Engineer and other governmental agencies.
Engineering Geologist: Jay Tople, 605.773.3788
The primary responsibility of the Engineering Geologist is to evaluate new or proposed roadway alignments with respect to rock excavation, muck undercut, rock and soil slope stability design and contractor's drill and blast plans. Mitigation of geotechnical slope stability failures and rockfall is an important role of this group. The main tools of the Engineering Geologist are geologic mapping, geophysical field investigations, instrumentation and field drilling investigations. Drilling operations are furnished by the Foundation or Soils Drill crews. All DOT slope stability instrumentation records are maintained by the Engineering Geology Section.
Foundation Engineer: John Weeldreyer, 605.773.8174
This group produces design recommendations for various structure types including bridges, box culverts, walls, poles and towers. Operations involve a full-time field drill crew of four performing deep and shallow investigations of rock and soils, sampling and geotechnical instrumentation. Samples are processed in the Foundation Strength Laboratory and soil strength parameters, along with a subsurface investigation plan sheet, is produced under the direction of the Foundation Engineer. A Foundation Report covering geotechnical design parameters, ground water condition and constructability is written and transmitted to a requesting design unit. Following letting to contract, the Foundation Engineering staff trouble shoot construction problems that may arise with respect to foundation construction. The group remains involved if maintenance problems occur in the future. Construction records such as pile driving records, spread footing evaluations and drilled shaft records revert to the Foundation Section for project filing.
Soils Engineer: Chris Leibrock, 605.773.3725
The Soils Engineer produces a Soil Report that includes design recommendations for Roadway Designers and Pavement Designers that pertain to shallow or surficial soils that are or will be involved in roadway construction. Near-surface groundwater control is also addressed in the Soils report. In addition, methods of subsoil improvement and reinforced slopes with products such as Geogrid and Geotextile are generated by this group. A Soils field drill crew samples proposed roadway cut-sections and occasionally determines base course thickness in existing roadways scheduled for reconstruction or pavement rehabilitation. A modern Soils Classification Laboratory is operated under the direction of the Soils Engineer. As with the Foundation Engineer, the Soils Engineer is available to assist with soil problems that may develop during construction or in future maintenance projects.