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September 2020

Huntington Levee named Excellence in Safety Best Project By ENR Mid-Atlantic

FAIRFAX COUNTY, VIRGINIA – The Fairfax County Huntington Levee Project has been named the 2020 Excellence in Safety Best Project by ENR Mid-Atlantic, the project was also named the Best Regional Project within the Water/Environment category. Archer Western constructed the 2,800-foot-long levee in conjunction with Fairfax County’s Department of Public Works and Environmental Services.

On all Archer Western projects and at Huntington Levee, employees follow The REAP (Review Employee’s Actions & Performance) program. The program encourages all craft and management to track daily safety/quality actions and behaviors and how they were addressed or communicated. At Huntington Levee, all levels of craft submitted daily REAP cards and provided consistent participation in the morning jobsite huddles and Task Hazard Analysis meetings. Employees were empowered to bringing up any concerns or issues that may be present.

The daily REAP discussions brought all team members together to tackle concerns and protect their fellow workers. On the Huntington Levee, over 4000 linear feet of buried pipe was installed for storm water, sanitary sewer and potable water, meaning there was almost always a trench onsite. Due to this constant hazard, project management stressed the importance of maintaining slopes and providing adequate access/egress. In order to ensure excavations were safe, Archer Western treated every excavation as Class C soil and 1.5 to 1 slopes were cut. When excavations got too deep for sloping, the team resorted to other methods such as trench boxes and slide rails. Management continually inspected these engineered systems to confirm they were setup and functioning properly. Archer Western also checked that team members were not altering these systems in the field without an approval from the manufacturer.

The community of Huntington, Virginia lies just west of the Potomac River in Fairfax County, 10 miles south of Washington, DC. Cameron Run, a three-mile-long tributary stream of the Potomac, creates a natural northern border for Huntington and separates it from neighboring Alexandria. After torrential storms in the summer of 2006 caused major flood damage to the northern section of Huntington, officials organized a plan to protect Huntington from future flood damage.

Archer Western was tasked with constructing a levee running parallel to Cameron Run consisting of an earthen embankment and a series of steel reinforced concrete panels formed in the shape of an I, known as an I-wall, as well as a two stage pumping station located at the east end of the levee. The earthen embankment portion of the 2,800-foot-long levee is up to 11 feet high, with a 4-foot high I-wall situated on the top. The top of the levee is 13 feet wide and includes an 8-foot wide asphalt recreational trail. The pumping stations were designed to protect against 1-in-100-year floods, or floods that have a one per cent chance of occurring within any given year.

The excavations for the pump stations required installing a dewatering system to keep the excavations dry and pumps ran non-stop to divert groundwater. The project site was flooded from severe storms several times during the project, but thanks to the teams diligent planning there was no significant loss in work or schedule. As the project neared completion, Archer Western simulated a 100-year storm event by manually flooding the site and then drained it using the new pumping stations.

The levee project also received the Envision Bronze award from the Institute of Sustainable Infrastructure for meeting criteria for community, quality of life, management, planning, materials, energy, water, environmental impacts, emissions and resilience.

Gerry Highland, the former supervisor of the Mount Vernon District, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and one of the main facilitators for the project, commended the levee as a catalyst to “keep the community whole.” Highland concluded, “I guess my final words are let it rain, let it rain, let it rain!”



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