Posts by adminjohn

PLANT ELECTRICAL SYSTEMS EXTREME MAKEOVER

Modernization without downtime

When you think of drinking water, you probably take it for granted that your tap never runs dry of clean refreshing water to drink as well as to irrigate your lawn, and you probably don’t think about the challenges faced by aging and obsolete electrical equipment at water treatment plants that is essential to keep the plant running smoothly.

All too often, electrical power and control systems that originally were robust, slowly age over time and don’t always keep up with plant improvements while requiring ever more maintenance, equipment replacement, and potential costly downtime.
It’s one thing to be inconvenienced by a power disruption or electrical equipment failure in your home, but another thing entirely when such an event occurs within any of the critical infrastructure of your community, which could endanger your drinking water quality and availability and even deprive water to fire departments to fight fires.

This is why water treatment plant staff and municipal authorities closely monitor the condition of all the electrical and standby power systems in their plants, to ensure uninterrupted continuous operation 24/7/365, even in the event of loss of utility power to the plant. In addition, plant staff are always trying to gain greater efficiency and productivity with limited resources by leveraging new technology and equipment that include surge protection and greater capabilities. But when the time comes for an extreme makeover of the power and control systems, can this be accomplished with limited and out-of-date record documentation as well as the necessity to continue to operate the plant without interruption? The good news is YES!

A recent example of such a project was the extensive modernization of the electrical power and control systems at the City of Naples Water Treatment Plant located inconspicuously just across the street from the Coastland Center Mall in Naples Florida, which provides all of the potable water for the city. With some electrical equipment dating back as far as the 1950s, plant staff recognized the pressing need for replacement of the existing electrical systems due to the deteriorating condition of the equipment. The major types of equipment to be replaced were switchgear, motor control centers (MCCs), control panels, distribution panelboards, transformers, wiring, and raceways. There were several primary project objectives that were identified for this upgrade:

  • Replace two large existing generators with a new set of modern generators that could all work collectively to provide standby backup power to the plant in case of loss of utility power. The new generators were designed to utilize integral fuel tanks that allowed for a much more robust and straightforward standby power arrangement as well as the elimination of old environmentally increasingly troublesome diesel lines and diesel tanks within the plant.
  • Replace the existing major electrical and control equipment that was currently located throughout the plant floor in various locations and instead create a modern dedicated temperature-controlled electrical room to house most of the new major electrical and control equipment. This not only provided a much better working environment for the electrical equipment, but freed up valuable floor and wall space in the plant which could be used for other purposes as well as eliminate some obsolete equipment and associated components.
  • Replace several electrical distribution panelboards that were obsolete and lacked expansion capability.
  • Provide the related programming and startup services to optimize and better integrate the equipment design with the intended equipment functionality while each piece of equipment was gradually replaced. Upgrade the power quality and motor control equipment to yield much more data and greatly improve the ability of plant operators to monitor and control the various systems involved in the water treatment processes for the plant.

Despite the many construction and schedule challenges entailed by an extreme makeover of the water treatment plant electrical systems, all work was completed without any interruption of service to the city.

If your plant also needs an extreme makeover, we can help! For more information, contact Wayne Wright, PE at mkt@johnsoneng.com.

 

 

 

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Intersection Revolution

Changing directions in today’s traffic control

If you drive in Florida, you’ve undoubtedly noticed an increasing number of non-traditional intersections. Though traffic signals and stop signs are still the most common type of intersection traffic control in use today, alternative intersections are quickly gaining popularity throughout the state. Modern roundabouts, in particular, have seen a tremendous uptick in recent years. So why the shift in intersection traffic control methodologies?

As a confluence of vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians, roadway intersections have the greatest impact on the general safety and efficiency of a given transportation network. For these reasons, safety and efficiency, alternative intersections are becoming more common. From a safety perspective, by minimizing the number of conflict points and lowering the relative speeds of conflicting vehicles, you can decrease the chances of crashes with serious injury. Also, by reducing delays and increasing “green time” at intersections you can improve the intersections efficiency, thus reducing traffic congestion. The roadway designers’ goal is to maximize both safety and efficiency, and there can be multiple ways to do that.

Roundabouts are not a new concept. They are widely used in other parts of the world, and more common in other states within the US. In more recent history, some of the kinks with older “traffic circles” have been worked out lending to improved design and better functionality, hence today’s common reference as “modern roundabouts”.

While some remain skeptical, the use of roundabouts is relatively simple. All traffic moves in a counterclockwise circle (and yes, they flow clockwise in the United Kingdom). Approaching vehicles must yield to vehicles already in the circle. You enter the circle when there is gap and simply exit in your desired direction. Multiple lane roundabouts will typically have sufficient signing and marking at the approach, instructing drivers which lane they should be in depending on their desired destination. Once accustomed to them, many folks prefer them over traditional stop sign or traffic signal-controlled intersections.

The safety benefit of roundabouts is two-fold. First, by forcing all vehicles to slow down, the severity of collision and chance of serious injury is greatly reduced (remember Newton’s second law?). Secondly, by having all traffic move in a similar direction, the total number of conflict points is reduced. Similarly, pedestrians are crossing where vehicles are traveling at slower speeds. “Splitter Islands” on the approaches also give pedestrians a refuge, allowing them to cross only one direction of traffic at a time.

While there are decided benefits, there are also a couple drawbacks to roundabouts. One is the increased area needed for the circle. In urban situations or intersections with very tight right-of-way there may not physically be enough room. Roundabouts are also not typically used, at least in Florida, on six lane or higher roadways due to the increased complexity of movements.

Roundabouts are not the only alternative intersections gaining popularity, but most work under the same general premise…get rid of the left turn. Left turns take a lot of “green time” away from other movements. Think about it, to turn left at a traditional intersection, you need to cross the opposing through traffic and both lanes of cross traffic. That means three out of the four major movements have to stop for you to turn left. With a finite amount of green time available in any cycle, signal timing becomes a question of which movement needs it the worst. Effective alternative intersections are those that are able to “get rid of the left”. In roundabouts, everyone makes a right to get in, and a right to get out. The counter-clockwise flow is essentially a continuous left. Some examples of other common and successful alternative intersections are displayed on the right.

There is not a “one size fits all” solution for every intersection. To help engineers decide which is best the Florida Department of Transportation has developed the ICE (Intersection Control Evaluation) analysis method. Finding the right solution is not always an easy answer but the good news is… we have options!
For more information contact Ryan Bell, PE, PTOE at mkt@johnsoneng.com.

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The 2018 Florida Greenbook is now in effect

 

The Florida Department of Transportation’s (FDOT) 2018 Manual of Uniform Minimum Standards for Design, Construction and Maintenance (aka the Florida Greenbook) is now effective as of July 20, 2021.

The purpose of this manual is to provide local agencies uniform minimum standards and criteria regarding the planning, design, construction, and maintenance of all public streets, roads, highways, bridges, sidewalks, curbs and curb ramps, crosswalks, bicycle facilities, underpasses and overpasses used by the public for vehicular and pedestrian travel.

Each year the Florida Greenbook Advisory Committee reviews the handbook’s content and provides comments, questions, and suggestions to be reviewed to ensure the handbook remains current. This committee consists of four professional engineers within each of the FDOT’s seven district boundaries representing an urban center, a rural area, one FDOT employee, and one non-government employee This diverse group brings practical knowledge, first-hand experiences, real world scenarios, and years of education to the table to keep this book current and up-to-date. The date on the book reflects the year the committee approved the language prior to it going through the State approval process.

It is available for use or download at https://www.fdot.gov/roadway/floridagreenbook/fgb.shtm. For more information contact Andy Tilton, PE at mkt@johnsoneng.com.

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Johnson Engineering Employees “Support Our Schools” with Much Needed Supplies

 

The Florida Department of Transportation’s (FDOT) 2018 Manual of Uniform Minimum Standards for Design, Construction and Maintenance (aka the Florida Greenbook) is now effective as of July 20, 2021.

Johnson Engineering’s “Support Our Schools” initiative grew out of our belief that private enterprise has an ongoing responsibility to contribute to the education and learning of the young people in their local communities. We also believe that their teachers, who play such a vital role in their student’s growth and development, are truly the unsung heroes of our communities. They deserve every opportunity possible to have whatever supplies and equipment they need to teach effectively. This perspective led to Johnson Engineering’s “Support Our Schools” Program, which is designed to benefit K-12 schools in the Counties in which we have offices by participating, sponsoring, and donating to a variety of community relations efforts to directly and positively impact the school’s teachers and students.

This fall, Johnson Engineering employees donated hundreds of school supplies to the School Districts of Lee, Pasco, Hendry, and Charlotte Counties. Community support is such an important resource for our schools. Improving education resources can better prepare our children who will become our future workforce. We wish the teachers and students a successful 2021-22 school year.

For more information contact Dana Hume, PE at or mkt@johnsoneng.com.

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The City of Fort Myers Adopt-A-Canal Program Still Making an Impact

 

In 2010, the City of Fort Myers launched their Adopt-A-Canal program. This program was designed as an attempt to decrease the amount of litter that flows through the City’s municipal separate storm sewer system, ultimately affecting the health of the Caloosahatchee River. The City selected 10 canals covering 12 miles of waterways and encouraged local businesses to adopt one canal and remove debris on a quarterly basis.Johnson Engineering chose to adopt Carrell Canal, the vital water way that discharges directly into the Caloosahatchee River and runs through a water basin we designed at the Fort Myers Country Club. By keeping this portion of the canal clean, it not only helps maintain the pristine appearance of the Fort Myers Country Club, it allows our water management system to run more efficiently and helps to improve the water quality before discharging into the river.

Johnson Engineering previously received a first place Community Service Award from the City of Fort Myers for our successful efforts removing more trash than any of the seven other businesses participating in the program.

Although originally committing to two years, our employees have continued to donate their time on a regular basis throughout the last 11 years to collect trash and debris from the canal. To date, volunteers have collected an astonishing 454 bags of debris, totaling nearly 25,000 gallons of trash from the one mile stretch of canal.
We made this commitment because of our deep roots in the community dating back 75 years. Our firm has worked, in one capacity or another, on all of the canals in this program throughout our long history and we want to continue doing our part to help improve the health of our community.

For more information contact Juli-Anne Kern at mkt@johnsoneng.com.

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City of Fort Myers Downtown Development Progress

 

A decade in the making, the City of Fort Myers downtown waterfront River District is bustling with activity and becoming the lively epicenter that was once envisioned.

Back in 2009 the City of Fort Myers City Council adopted the Fort Myers Downtown Riverfront Plan to revitalize the City’s downtown waterfront area with new businesses and public amenities to attract visitors and stimulate the economy, while also creating a water management system to help collect and treat stormwater prior to discharging into the Caloosahatchee River. Our team was involved early on in the planning process and became the civil engineer for many of the future improvements.

The first phase of the plan included designing the stormwater storage basin, which has now become an appealing focal point in the downtown riverfront area. Once a parking lot and exhibition hall, the water basin was designed to combine a unique mix of waterfront pathways, educational components, aesthetically appealing architecture, and landscaping, while inconspicuously collecting and treating stormwater to help reduce pollutants before discharging into the Caloosahatchee River via a hidden weir.

Today, the second phase of the plan is in full swing, as the Luminary Hotel has now opened its doors to guests. The 12-story, 243 guest hotel offers luxurious accommodations and breathtaking views of the downtown basin, the Caloosahatchee River, and historic downtown Fort Myers. The hotel is connected to the newly renovated Caloosa Sound Convention Center, making it more convenient for visitors to stay when attending conventions, weddings, and other events. This opens up many new opportunities for the City, as it makes the convention center a much more attractive destination for diverse and large events.

The design and construction of these projects has been thought-provoking due to the history of the area. This entire area was originally part of the Caloosahatchee River, submerged underwater up to Bay Street until it was filled in during the early 1900s. Our design team had to be ready to make any adjustments based on what was found during construction, since there were a lot of unknowns that laid below the surface. It made for some interesting challenges and unique solutions during construction of this urban redevelopment project.

Our team was also responsible for the design of Edwards Drive, from the basin to Monroe Street, which in the past was often closed and used for various events. Due to the Luminary Hotel parking garage entrance, the street no longer can be fully closed, so a creative design had to be used to allow single lane closures and pedestrian friendly design elements such as gentle roadway curbing and a bus trolley pull off.

Currently in the works, is the design of the waterfront amphitheater, to be located between the convention center and the river. The new open-air venue will be an attractive location for upcoming concerts and other events such as the monthly Music Walk and the annual Island Hopper Songwriter Fest. Luminary hotel guests and visitors of the Beacon Social Drinkery rooftop bar, will also have a front row view of these events. Future plans include additional waterfront restaurants, shops, and more hotels for this riverfront gathering space.

Shouldering the responsibility for the civil site design and water management for such diverse projects within this riverfront district takes strong collaboration and simultaneous coordination with the design team throughout the entire process. As we emerge from the pandemic and visitors begin trickling back to this area, those of us involved in designing and building these projects will proudly see revitalization success socially, culturally, and economically.

For more information, contact Kevin Winter, PE at mkt@johnsoneng.com.

 

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FORT MYERS NEIGHBORHOOD GETS NEW COMMUNITY PARK

 

Johnson Engineering and the City of Fort Myers Public Works Department embarked on a project to upgrade a pump station and replace a large transmission force main on Coronado Road off Cleveland Avenue in the City of Fort Myers. This multifaceted project evolved to include the renovation of a small community park known as Coronado Park.

Our landscape architecture team took the lead and prepared multiple community vision concepts for the outdated and deteriorating neighborhood park. The improved park was designed to facilitate various community activities. A few of the upgrades included an updated age-specific playground structure, pavilions, new lighting, ornamental fencing, hardscape, benches, picnic tables, water fountain, improved bicycle parking, and security fencing for the renovated lift station. The space also includes a new dog park with pet friendly embellishments, such as a doggie fountain and rinse down area. The playground area was designed using pervious rubber surface to allow water to flow through into a subsurface stormwater drainage system designed by our team. A combination of concrete walkways and Flexipave® permeable rubberized walkways were used strategically throughout the park to reduce impacts to existing tree roots of the mature oaks and other shade trees.

The key to the success of the park renovation was an ongoing dialogue between our entire design team and the City’s Parks and Beautification team. It’s a park this community can enjoy for decades to come. For more information contact Jeff Nagle, RLA at mkt@johnsoneng.com.

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Researching Effects of Mosquito Spray on Other Species

During the summer of 2014, Sr. Ecologist, David W. Ceilley was co-investigator on a research grant from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) for “Measuring the fate and non-target impacts of Dibrom™ using aerial ultra low volume (ULV) spray technology in mangrove and open marsh wetlands”. The research team also included Edwin M. Everham, III, Ph.D., Talal El-Hefnawy, M.D., Ph.D., Jonathan Hornby, Ph.D., Neil Wilkinson, Katherine Nelson, and Rachel Morreale. Several undergraduate student employees and employees of the Lee County Mosquito Control District also assisted with this research project conducted in Lee County preserves.

This study looked at the impacts of adult mosquito control spray on honey bees, peacock butterflies, and hundreds of non-target insect species by comparing sprayed wetland sites and non-sprayed (control) wetland sites before and after a single nighttime aerial spray event.

The study showed that low altitude ULV spraying of Dibrom™ takes about an hour to reach the ground with a potential to drift for a mile or more depending on wind speed. Residues of Dibrom™ and its degradation product dichlorvos, may remain on the surface of plant leaves and on water for several hours before evaporating.

The research team found temporary but significant changes to insect communities after the spray event and an increased mortality of honey bees. Peacock butterflies also showed increased mortality but results were inconclusive as to the cause. Lab experiments by Dr. El-Hefnawy with fruit flies showed 100% mortality in 20 hours at dosage rates of less than 1.0 part per million. Additional studies are needed to identify any possible long term effects on non-target organisms.

The results of this study on the mosquito adulticide Dibromtm fate and impacts on non-target species can be used to address concerns of the effects on endangered species, mangrove and marsh wetlands, and may help redefine mosquito adulticide exposure levels. These findings may also influence management decisions regarding mosquito control, particularly in public wetlands and preserve areas.

The study would not have been possible without the full support and cooperation of Lee County Mosquito control and Lee County 20/20 program.The full 175 page report is available from FGCU or Johnson Engineering. For more information on this research study, contact David Ceilley at mkt@johnsoneng.com.

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Fort Myers Country Club is Back in Full Swing

Golfers are excited about the much anticipated Fort Myers Country Club grand re-opening. The legendary Donald Ross course built in 1916 gets a much needed renovation.

Nearly a century ago, the late Donald Ross designed the 130-acre Fort Myers County Club Golf Course located between McGregor Boulevard and US 41. This iconic facility has been masterfully managed by the City of Fort Myers since its inception. The toll of brutal summer rains and decades of use has impacted the course so much in recent years, that the City began regularly closing the course after heavy summertime downfalls.

This summer the course finally received a much needed renovation, bringing it up to 21st century standards. As the lead civil engineer for this project, our team worked closely with the City of Fort Myers staff, Wright Construction and the golf course architect, Steve Smyers, to incorporate an innovative system of water retention and water quality infrastructure into the new design.

Our familiarity with the grant programs through the Department of Environmental Protection was instrumental in helping the City obtain $840,000 in TMDL water quality restoration grant funds to make this project happen.

To ensure the City’s facility would be open for the public during peak season, the team met a very aggressive construction schedule. The schedule was compressed into six months, and it ran from April to October, which is the most challenging time to renovate a golf course because it is rainy season. The course re-opened to the public on schedule, just in time for City residents, seasonal residents and visitors to enjoy the golf course during the season of cooler weather and less rainfall.

The new course kept many of the same challenging elements from Ross’ original design, yet incorporated enhancements that are suited to today’s golfer and modern equipment. The project features revamped fairways, greens, pathways, tees, roughs, and sand traps. The irrigation, drainage, and utility facilities are also now modernized and more efficient.

The new water management system retrofits are particularly beneficial to the course, because they serve a dual purpose as hazards for the golfers, and as stormwater infrastructure that improves water quality and attenuation. For maximum efficiency, stormwater runoff that flows into the ponds is being reused for course irrigation.

The City Public Works Department and the Community Redevelopment Agency collaborated to make the ponds on the golf course even more impactful to the community, because they also provide water quality credits that can benefit property owners who seek to redevelop older properties along the Cleveland Avenue corridor.

It was a rewarding project for our team, combining both history and innovation. For more information, contact Kevin Winter, P.E., at mkt@johnsoneng.com.

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Celebrating 75 Years in Business

 

As we enter our 75th year in business, we want to take time to reflect on this remarkable accomplishment
showing devotion and perseverance, instilling a solid appreciation for our rich history. Few companies can
claim to have had more of an impact on shaping Southwest Florida than Johnson Engineering.
Our team has spent decades adapting to an ever-changing industry. As regulations were imposed,
technology advanced, and the population surged, it was our duty to anticipate, guide, and provide
reliable long-term solutions for development. Our leaders’ vision and commitment collectively molded
us into the successful multiple disciplined engineering company we have become today.
We continue to add knowledgeable professionals who specialize in the various layers of civil engineering
and other services, and allow them to focus on providing the specific services needed to complete all
aspects of a project.

Johnson Engineering is a company with a historical backbone, with longevity and integrity at its core.
We are proud of our past, of those who came before us, and we continue to move into the future with
the solid foundation of values and practices they bestowed before us.

 

 

 

 

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