Alvi Associates, Inc.

Awards

Our major engineering awards are perhaps the best evidence of our commitment to technical expertise and innovative creativity.  We have won numerous engineering awards from national, state, and local organizations, including two major national awards.  This record of accomplishment is a reflection of our passion for providing engineering services at the highest level achievable within the profession.  Highlights of these award-winning projects are described below.

Forensic Investigation for Edenville Dam Failure

  • ACEC/MD Engineering Excellence Grand Award

With a length of more than a mile, Edenville Dam impounded a lake with about 36,000 acre-ft of storage. In 2020, a storm caused the lake to rise to a record level and then the dam experienced a sudden static liquefaction instability failure at a section of the embankment, resulting in the release of almost the entire volume of the lake. About three hours later, the resulting flooding overtopped the downstream Sanford Dam and caused failure of that dam as well. As a precautionary measure, evacuation of about 11,000 people had been ordered several hours before the dam failures, and this fortunately prevented loss of life, although the property damage resulting from the flooding was estimated at more than $200 million.

The regulator required the dam owner to have an independent forensic investigation conducted, and the President & Chief Engineer of Alvi Associates was selected as one of the five team members, leading the team’s investigation of human factors. Alvi Associates also participated in all aspects of investigation of physical factors in the areas of hydrologic, hydraulic, geotechnical, and structural engineering.

This complex and high-profile investigation involved thousands of hours of effort, with about 2,700 hours spent by Alvi Associates. The forensic team managed the delicate balance of maintaining its independence while working cooperatively with the owner, the regulator, and other parties, and worked cost-effectively. The investigation identified lessons learned to help improve dam safety throughout the United States and the world. Learn more

Route 91 Bridge over Laurel Creek

  • ACEC/MD Engineering Excellence Honor Award

This project involved superstructure replacement for an existing four-span bridge and adjacent trail modification.  The objectives of the project were to create a jointless structure to increase the durability of the existing substructure, and to provide additional vertical clearance to the proposed spur to the Virginia Creeper Trail to be aligned under the bridge in order to minimize trail traffic crossing the busy roadway. 

The structural design required a refined design approach to properly account for the effects of the highly skewed bridge geometry for the new steel beam superstructure.  Substructure elements adjacent to the trail received architectural treatments using actual stone from a local quarry, rather than a typical form-liner finish.  This atypical approach not only enhances the bridge aesthetic, but also supports a local business and adds a sense of pride for people in the community who know the stone is from a nearby site.  Learn more

Forensic Investigation for Oroville Dam Spillway Incident

  • ASDSO Joseph J. Ellam President’s Award

With a height of 770 feet, Oroville Dam is the tallest dam in the United States.  In 2017, the main spillway suddenly experienced failure of a section of the concrete slab and, due to storm inflows, the reservoir rose until the crest of the emergency spillway was overtopped for the first time in its history, resulting in unexpectedly severe erosion which prompted evacuation of about 188,000 people.  This was one of the most serious dam safety incidents in the United States, with international media attention, and the estimated cost for the recovery was $1.1 billion.

The regulator required the owner to have an independent forensic investigation conducted, and the President & Chief Engineer of Alvi Associates was selected as one of the six team members, leading the team’s investigation of human factors contributing to the incident, as well as participating in all aspects of investigation of physical factors.  This was the first major investigation of a dam incident in which human factors were given the same level of attention as physical factors.  The forensic team worked cooperatively with the owner and other parties, proceeded cost-effectively, and its findings have been well-received by dam safety professionals around the world. Learn more

Human Factors in Dam Failure and Safety

  • ACEC/MD Engineering Excellence Honor Award

Since 2010, Alvi Associates has pioneered award-winning applied research on the role of human factors in dam failure and safety.  This research has resulted in numerous peer-reviewed papers and conference presentations, including a keynote address, as well as several webinars as part of ASDSO’s expert series of webinars.

This research has been led by our President & Chief Engineer, who is a member of the Association of State Dam Safety Officials (ASDSO) Dam Failures & Incidents Committee. He led the investigation of human factors for two major dam forensic investigations, namely the spillway failures at Oroville Dam in California (the tallest dam in the United States) and the failures of Edenville and Sanford Dams in Michigan.

To learn more, see Lesson Learned: Dam incidents and failures can fundamentally be attributed to human factors.

Forensic Investigation and Gatehouse Anchorage System for Prettyboy Dam

  • ASDSO National Rehabilitation Project of the Year Award
  • ACEC/MD Engineering Excellence Outstanding Project Award
  • ASCE/MD Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Project Award
  • ESB Outstanding Engineering Achievement Award

The Association of State Dam Safety Officials (ASDSO) is the premier dam organization in the United States, and they have only one national design award each year. Our ASDSO award is therefore perhaps the most prestigious award available for dam engineering in the nation.  In addition, this project also received three additional awards.

Alvi Associates performed abovewater and underwater inspection, materials testing, a thorough and complex forensic investigation, stability analysis, design of a $6 million underwater post-tensioned anchorage system which is the first of its type in the world, contractor prequalification, and extensive construction-phase engineering services.  Working in harmonious partnership with the contractor, the project was completed under budget and ahead of schedule.  Learn more

Vessel Collision Study and Fender/Dolphin Systems for Route 5 Bridge

  • ACEC/MD Engineering Excellence Honor Award

This project involved a major new replacement bridge carrying 21 spans across the Chickahominy River, just upstream of its confluence with the James River.

Alvi Associates first performed a comprehensive marine vessel collision study involving extensive data collection, tidal and storm surge analysis, risk analysis, and determination of collision forces.  This was followed by energy-based nonlinear design of fender and dolphin systems to protect the bridge, including more than 100 piles installed in water depths up to 46 feet using an elaborate 10-stage construction sequence.  The piles were designed using an innovative partially-prestressed concrete approach which optimizes both strength and energy-absorption capacity.  Learn more

Rehabilitation of MD 214 Historic Truss Bridge

  • ACEC/MD Engineering Excellence Honor Award

This project involved comprehensive rehabilitation for an existing historic steel truss bridge built in 1935 and spanning 200 feet over the Patuxent River.

Alvi Associates first performed a detailed inspection using barge access.  Next, structural analysis was performed to develop several rehabilitation options.  Rehabilitation was then designed for deck replacement, repair of numerous steel members and gusset plate connections, and emergency replacement of a primary vertical member which was badly damaged by vehicle impact after construction had begun.  Our design enabled a 62% increase in bridge load capacity, reduced detour duration, avoidance of impacts to parks and wetlands, containment of lead-based paint, and preservation of historic integrity.  Learn more.

Hollins Road Bridge over Tinker Creek

  • ACEC/MD Engineering Excellence Honor Award

This project involved a new replacement bridge consisting of a three-span concrete rigid frame.  This design is traditional in the sense that such bridges were common many decades ago, yet also innovative because it revives and adapts this approach for modern use.

Pile foundations were designed to accommodate karst terrain with depth to bedrock varying from 5 to 60 feet, and a special construction sequence was used to minimize thermal and shrinkage forces and maintain traffic.  The net result is an elegant bridge which reduces bridge length/cost by maximizing the waterway opening, improves structural redundancy and flood resistance, and minimizes maintenance needs by eliminating all joints and bearings.  Learn more.

Three Bridges at I-64/Mercury Boulevard Interchange

  • ACEC/MD Engineering Excellence Honor Award

For this project, Alvi Associates designed three innovative new bridges:

– A three-span continuous bridge with short end spans anchored against uplift using counterweight abutments.  Along with other benefits, this design saved $1.7 million, and this is the first counterweight abutment bridge in the region.

– A two-span curved steel box girder bridge with long spans, sharp curvature, a capless pier, anchored MSE abutments, and the first such bridge in the US to use high-performance steel.

– A two-span curved steel I-girder bridge with a post-tensioned integral pier cap and integral abutments, making this the first fully-integral curved steel girder bridge in the US.

Learn more and read our conference paper (IBC 2002).