ERA recently welcomed Samantha Heatherly to the team! She is a design engineer in our structural engineering department. Learn more about Sam below.
The Bliss Road culvert reconstruction was completed this summer in Sugar Grove, IL for the Kane County Division of Transportation as the initial improvement included in the upcoming realignment of the Bliss Road, Fabyan Parkway, and Main Street intersection project. The structure replacement was initiated because the existing culvert was a hydraulic restriction, causing significant flooding upstream and severe downstream erosion during flood events. It was constructed while maintaining northbound traffic using staged construction. Southbound traffic was detoured utilizing County routes.
Streambank stabilization measures were implemented along the downstream, northern bank of the Lake Run Drainage Ditch to address streambank erosion and enhance the native vegetation in the area. Vegetated rock vanes and rock toe were planted with native, wetland plant plugs. Various native seed mixes were also used to restore the disturbed area including a prairie mix, wet-mesic prairie mix and a wetland mix.
ERA welcomes Tom Stenslik, PE! He is a Senior Project Engineer in our Transportation Department. Learn more about Tom below.
Groundbreaking and heavy earthmoving continues this week for the Avenue Marketplace 7.5-acre planned development project located along the Randall Rd corridor in Batavia, IL. Every successful land development project includes geotechnical earthwork balancing and a firm foundation for the proposed improvements. Both the Starbucks and Chipotle will have free standing buildings with double drive-thru lanes along the Randall Rd frontage as part of this high-profile project anticipating completion in 2022.
The newly constructed Kishwaukee Valley Road bridge located near the City of Marengo is open to traffic in time for Thanksgiving holiday travel in McHenry County. The single-span, reinforced slab bridge features the first Test Level 4 (TL-4) steel railing to be installed in the State of Illinois that meets MASH 2016 requirements. The TL-4 railing was developed and tested by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and was able to be manufactured in Illinois because the main tube beams are the same size as the standard IDOT Type SM steel railing.
The railing consists of a post and three (3) tube beam metal railings on a concrete curb with a height of 3-ft above the bridge deck for vehicular traffic. The top portion of the selected railing also doubles as a pedestrian railing with a steel tube connected to the top of the post that is 3.5-ft above the bridge deck. This open steel railing will be an integral design element of McHenry County DOT bridge projects moving forward and will pave the way to provide increased safety measures for the traveling public.
Snow in the forecast means we are dreaming of summertime! We can’t wait to show you the new parking, pedestrian circulation, stormwater, and ADA improvements at Batavia Park District's Hall Quarry Beach located along the Fox River in downtown Batavia, IL when it re-opens for the season next summer.
ERA welcomes Laura Boldt as our new office coordinator! We are thrilled to have her on the team. Learn more about Laura below.
ERA Engineers Molly and Natalia attended the WAFSCM & MNAFP “Flooding Knows No Borders” Joint Conference this week in La Crosse, Wisconsin. They had the opportunity to speak with consultants and federal agencies from Minnesota and Wisconsin and attended presentations that covered information on floodplains and stormwater management. The conference had approximately 170 attendees and 10 exhibitors, which was a great networking opportunity for ERA!
ERA had a great social event at Topgolf in Naperville last week. It was so nice to enjoy some friendly competition and see everyone again!
This week we will wrap up the plant of the week feature with a Halloween special edition organism of the week!
This week’s organism of the week is Witch’s Butter! Witch’s Butter refers to a wide variety of jelly fungus in the family Auriculariales known to inhabit many parts of the world.
Yellow Witch’s Butter (Tremella mesenterica) is appropriately named due to the color and perceived texture of the fungus as well as the now-dismissed notion that it was used by witches to hex people in the area it was first described, Sweden. It is commonly found on maples, alders, pine, and poplar in wet to mesic wooded areas and can also be found on dead (but still attached) branches and freshly fallen limbs. Fruiting bodies appear as gelatinous amorphous blobs with a glossy finish and a semi-solid consistency. They are noted by some groups as being edible but are generally known to have very little flavor and an unpleasant texture. There are also a few species of fungus that resemble T. mesenterica with minor physical differences such as a matte finish or differing size of folds or creases.
Black Witch’s Butter (Exidia glandulosa) is much the same despite being placed into a different genus. It is also found on recently dead and decaying wood, but tends to associate primarily with oaks, hazel, or beech. E. glandulosa is known to primarily consume a layer of woody plants called the cambium. The cambium is the only living and growing part of woody plants. It is a very thin layer of cells located between the bark and center wood of the plant. As a result, woody plants colonized by this organism will lose bark and help to improve the decomposition process.
To recap, both species are known to have a metropolitan distribution, meaning they are found widely throughout the globe. They are known to colonize recently dead branches and limbs and can be found throughout the year following a period of rain or high humidity. Should you ever come across the mysterious looking Witch’s Butter on your travels, thank it for its contribution in helping keep woody debris to a minimum in our forests, and watch your back for whoever might be seeking ingredients for spells!
Engineering Resource Associates, Inc. (ERA) is a consulting firm providing civil engineering, structural engineering, environmental science, and surveying.