Everybody needs structure—including the projects we work on. Nearly every infrastructure component in our world has some type of structural design component woven into it. Without structural design, pipes would break, bridges would fail and buildings would collapse. Spicer is proud to have an in-house group of structurally focused experts. Our Structural team is a unique group of professional engineers and designers who are depended on significantly throughout the company and by our clients. They work daily with many other groups and provide important structural advice and design solutions to everything from pump stations to bridges to seawalls. They calculate whether walls can be moved, if buildings can be demolished and how shipping docks can accommodate 1,000-foot-long ships. They design skeletal support systems for waterfront piers and concert stadiums and engineer 100-foot stacks for industrial clients. They truly are a structured group of individuals, and having them in-house adds value to our projects and minimizes our clients’ costs by eliminating the need to sub this service out.
Spicer recently worked with Consumers Energy on a $21-million- project at the mouth of the Saginaw River that consisted of completely replacing an existing 3,000-foot-long shipping dock to accommodate fully loaded 1000-foot-long ships to moor and unload. Th e new dock was designed to both blend in with the natural aesthetics of Bay City and withstand the extremely harsh conditions of the Saginaw Bay that are common throughout the seasons. Th e new sheet pile sections that were installed are the largest manufactured in the world and were shipped to the site via barge and rail. Th e tie-back system used was designed using high-tension (250,000 pounds each) grouted anchors extending through 70 feet of soft clay and embedded 30 feet into hardpan/ sandstone. Spicer was responsible for completing the initial evaluation of the dock as well as the fi nal design for the new dock. Spicer also provided construction inspection assistance throughout the entire project. Th is project was presented with an engineering excellence award from the American Council of Engineering Companies for its unique and innovative engineering solutions.
Spicer Group assisted Oscoda Township by designing a new waterfront recreation and fishing pier on Lake Huron. The public can now enjoy the new 8-foot wide, 150-foot-long wooden boardwalk that leads to a 14-foot-wide, 320-foot long pier. Some of the amenities incorporated into the design were accessible fishing areas, new ADA benches as well as lighting that will give the pier identity in the evening hours. The pier creates a link between the existing Oscoda Beach Park Boardwalk and the Lake Huron waterfront. Funding for the project was provided through a DNR Trust Fund Grant with a local match.
In 2013, a new outdoor pavilion venue in downtown Saginaw was planned at the 2-acre site of a recently demolished shopping center. The $1.275 million outdoor pavilion was built in 2014 and holds 5,000 to 7,000 people for various types of events that include concerts, performances, festivals and special events.
Spicer Group assisted with the structural design and site engineering for the final design of the pavilion and bringing the project to construction-ready status. The pavilion was constructed almost entirely out of square-steel tubing. In total, nearly 900 pieces of steel, totaling 12,000 feet in length, were welded and bolted together to form a unique-looking 65-ton outdoor pavilion.
Spicer assisted with routing new electrical conduits, engineering a vendor access to the site and ensuring storm water was directed away from the area. A unique feature of the site design also includes the construction of slope seating, which simulates a bowl. This type of seating feature provides optimal site lines from all direction, giving attendees of any event the best possible viewing experience and enhances audio quality for visitors.
Built in 1906, the State Street Bridge spans the Cass River in Bridgeport. It is listed on the State Historic Register. According to MDOT, the structure is one of only six surviving late 19th century and early 20th century multi-span through-truss highway bridges left in the state. It is also one of two key surviving examples of Michigan bridges produced by the Joliet Bridge and Iron Company of Illinois.
Spicer Group, along with Bridgeport Charter Township leaders and a historic bridge preservationist, began work in 2006 to preserve the bridge. Spicer Group researched and wrote an MDOT-TE grant that was awarded for $2,148,160. Following receipt of the grant, Spicer Group worked with MDOT and the Township on design and construction plans. The bridge was removed from the foundation and rehabilitated offsite. In the summer of 2010, the restored bridge was put back into place. Spicer also helped construct a new guardrail for the bridge and developed the paths and landscaping that lead to the bridge’s entry points and through the park beyond.
The Great Lakes Bay Regional Trail is a collaborative effort between Bay, Saginaw, and Midland Counties, several municipalities and many local interest groups to construct nearly 40 miles of new pathway and connect nearly 60 miles of existing multi-use trailways. To do this, two abandoned railroad bridges along the portion of the trail extending through Frankenlust Township in Bay County needed updating.
Besides being old, vandals had tried setting both the 207-foot-long and 322-foot long wooden trestle bridges on fire. Spicer structural engineers completed a structural analysis of both bridges, which had not been in use for many years. The inspection and evaluation identified that the structures were capable for re-use as non-motorized pedestrian use and the existing piers, abutments and most of the existing substructures were adequate. However, the decking had to be removed and segments of the substructure needed to be replaced.
The project was awarded the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund Development Grant in the amount of $300,000. Spicer Group provided advisory planning services, final design, surveying, grant funding assistance, engineering evaluations/recommendations and construction administration needed to convert the bridges for safe pedestrian travel.
The Dixie Highway bridge in Saginaw County included complete demolition and reconstruction of the 265 foot long, 67-foot-wide, four-lane bridge over the Cass River. Prior to construction, the bridge dated back to 1931. This was the third bridge put into this location so the old foundations were still intact including a lot of buried concrete, making it more difficult to demolish. Spicer Group was originally hired by the Saginaw County Road Commission to do biannual bridge safety inspections. As a result of these inspections, Spicer Group recommended the bridge be replaced, which included both demolition and reconstruction.
In addition to design services, Spicer was responsible for providing survey and construction inspection services as well as the development of a HEC-RAS model and submittal of the hydraulic report to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality for compliance with the State’s floodplain regulations.
The Fort Road bridge in Saginaw County was reconstructed during the summer of 2010. The project included the complete demolition and reconstruction of the bridge due to structural deficiencies. Spicer Group provided the inspection of the original bridge, conducted a road rating study and provided the design and inspection of the new bridge.
One of the ways it was improved was by reducing the number of spans from four spans to three. The two-lane bridge was also made wider, allowing engineers to make the bridge safer by adding an 8 foot sidewalk with a vehicular railing separating it from the road. Another way the bridge was upgraded was raising the elevation and making the road even with the nearby railroad tracks. Previously, there was a speed bump at the railroad tracks because the road was much lower, now it’s raised and smooth.
In the middle of a harsh Michigan winter, the roof of stores at the Tanger Outlet Center, in West Branch collapsed. No one was injured, but before any of the stores at the outlet center could be occupied again, and demolition of the collapsed building could take place, a structural review of the shopping complex was necessary.
Spicer Group was hired to provide valuable structural engineering assistance for the project. Structural engineers inspected the original drawings, the collapsed portion of the building, and performed a structural inspection of the rest of the complex to ensure the safety of the occupants. It was determined that a portion of the collapsed building would have to be demolished, a temporary wall would be constructed, and the rest of the buildings were structurally sound and safe to occupy.
Without being able to determine where the structure had failed, and where it would be safe to begin the demolition, the entire network of businesses within that portion of Tanger Outlets could have had to be demolished, potentially costing the company millions.
Spicer Group was hired by the Yspilanti Community Utilities Authority to conduct an important structural investigation of a 123-year-old stone water tower located in the City of Ypsilanti. The tower is 147-feet-tall, has a capacity of 250,000 gallons and is made of unique Joliet stone which was quarried in Illinois and known for its yellow color. The tower is one of the most distinguished landmarks of Ypsilanti and known as a symbol of the community. In 1975 it was chosen as one of the few American Water Landmarks in the country by the American Water Works Association. It has also been designated a Historical Civil Engineering Landmark by the Michigan Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
The Stone Tower was constructed by the City of Ypsilanti in 1889 and put in service in 1890. It brings value to the community not only in its use as an elevated water tower, but also as a historic landmark.
Spicer Group compiled a history of prior work performed on the tower, performed a structural condition inspection to serve as a baseline, assessed the structural safety of the tower, and recommend any required repairs. The stone tower was in good condition for its age. And at the conclusion of the inspection, Spicer Group’s structural engineers determined the tower to be in structurally good condition. Suggestions for future repairs to fix localized areas where deterioration was starting were also made.
In downtown Saginaw, several historic buildings along South Washington Avenue near Genesee Avenue were slated for demolition. Neglect, vandalism, weather and time had all taken their toll on the four buildings that ran between 100 and 110 S. Washington, leaving them in a severe state of disrepair.
Spicer Group performed a structural and architectural review of the buildings and recommended that the entire block should be demolished because of their state of disrepair and the amount of money it would take to refurbish them – regardless of the building’s historical significance. Mechanical, electrical and plumbing issues were cited, along with the need to restructure floor plans for life safety and accessibility code issues. Saginaw County used funds from a federal grant to begin the demolition work, with Spicer Group as a consultant on the project.
An investor was interested in keeping some of the buildings, so Spicer’s structural department developed a plan to safely keep the 100 and 106 S. Washington buildings, while demolishing 108 and 110 S. Washington. A solution was engineered to brace the façade of 106 using high-strength steel threaded rods and brackets, tying the front façade of the building that had never been structurally connected, to the back. Those tie-ins are now a permanent part of the building. And after bracing work was complete, demolition continued and brick-by-brick the buildings that once stood at 108 and 110 S. Washington were taken down safely.
In the winter of 2008, the original pedestrian bridge that spanned the Shiawassee River at Cole Park in the Village of Chesaning was swept away and irreparably damaged by high flood waters and ice. To build a replacement bridge, the Village raised funds and also received a Trust Fund Grant from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Spicer Group was responsible for grant administration, along with the design, permitting and construction administration on this project. The new 141-foot- long pedestrian bridge connects the two portions of Cole Park on either side of the river. It is elevated on modified bridge abutments to raise it out of the reach of potential flood waters. The bridge is made out of reinforced steel and was pre-fabricated in two pieces before being shipped to the park, assembled and placed onto the abutments.
Spicer was hired by GM to design upgrades to the shipping dock at its Service Parts Operations plant to maximize the amount of heavy truck traffic entering the facility and create a larger and safer area for the semi trucks to unhook and hook up their trailers. Spicer designed a plan that removed an existing masonry wall and replaced it with a structural metal-framed and insulated metal sided wall with seven 30’ by 17’ openings complete with power doors. Spicer also provided structural modeling, traffic and circulation modeling and the development of a 3-D rendering that helped provide a better understanding of the design to GM officials.
Spicer Group has been chosen as a structural engineer for several Tri-Mer projects. Tri-Mer Corporation specializes in advanced air pollution control systems with a variety of uses and sizes. Utilizing RISA-3D software, Spicer Group has created three-dimensional finite element models of the pollution control systems, and load parameters were input into the model. Spicer Group engineers can then determine the structural adequacy of the control system structure and offer assistance in satisfying the design load requirements. Spicer Group has been chosen as a structural engineer for several Tri-Mer projects.
Originally built in 1868, the church located at 203 South Front Street in Chesaning added on a bell tower in the 1880’s. When the bell tower was added on, no additional support beams were constructed to hold the weight of the tower. The building had otherwise been maintained well for the span of its life, even undergoing renovations in 2012, after Creative Passions business purchased the property.
On a windy afternoon in early April of 2016, large wooden rafters crashed to the floor inside a historic building. Less than 48 hours later, Spicer Group’s structural experts were called in to complete an analysis on the structure using forensic engineering to determine the cause of the collapse.
The bell tower extended 12 feet above the center peak of the church building and provided a great amount of leverage that induced high stress on certain beams within the roof structure. On the day of the collapse in April, the wind was blowing north to west in the area, and wind loads generated from that are what caused the structure to fail.
Spicer not only provided the forensic engineering on the project, but also designed a building stabilization plan so construction crews could cleanup, remove the bell tower, and build in a tension cable assembly to ensure structure stabilization for the future.