Press Releases 2009

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November 6, 2009

GEOSTRUCTURES, INC. of Purcellville, Virginia was named a Certified Green Contractor today by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC).

ABC’s Green Contractor Certification program recognizes construction companies that implement green practices and principles in the workplace, including headquarters, branch offices and jobsite office complexes. To achieve certification from ABC’s National Green Building Committee, GeoStructures, Inc. submitted an application detailing its green efforts and underwent a third-party onsite assessment. Read More...

May 29, 2009
GeoStructures Begins Wall Construction on Virginia’s HOT Lanes
Overall Project Will Replace More than 50 Bridges, Overpasses and Interchanges on I-495

Touted by the Virginia Department of Transportation as the biggest enhancement to the Washington, D.C. beltway in more than 30 years, the High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes project has reached the phase where GeoStructures has begun installation of sound walls. 

Along the entire 14-mile project, GeoStructures is designing, supplying and constructing 1.2 million square feet of sound walls from the Springfield Interchange to just north of the Dulles Toll Road.   In some locations, GeoStructures is performing support of excavation for new bridge construction as well as design and supply of temporary mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) wire walls for traffic phasing.  In phase eight, the company’s subsidiary EarthTec is designing and supplying MSE retaining walls, the reinforced soil structures that EarthTec also is supplying on a different project at the interchange of Telegraph Road and I-495.

“The HOT lanes concept in Virginia has emerged from evaluations of traffic patterns and congestion going back at least two decades,” says Jim Ballentine, vice president of operations for GeoStructures.  “Our wall technology will help this highway remain a viable transportation artery and mitigate road noise in nearby neighborhoods for many more decades.”

The HOT Lanes concept is in use in four other states and is under consideration in several others as a way of reducing congestion.  In Virginia, it will provide drivers with two new lanes in each direction along the busy highway.  To access the lanes, cars with fewer than three occupants can pay a toll, which will change according to traffic conditions in order to regulate demand and keep traffic moving.  Buses, carpools (HOV-3), motorcycles and emergency vehicles will have free access.

GeoStructures is operating as a subcontractor to Fluor-Lane, LLC, the joint venture partnership between Fluor Corporation and The Lane Construction Corporation that is the prime contractor.  The $1.4 billion design-build project is set for completion in 2013, but the concept will be expanded; Fluor is soliciting bids to construct more than 64 miles of HOT lanes along the I-95/395 corridor. 

April 17, 2009
GeoStructures Becomes Hub for Green Certification

Contractors Join Company-Hosted Program That Can Facilitate LEED Innovation Credit

Further enhancing its reputation as a valued partner for general contractors and construction management companies, GeoStructures provided nearly 30 percent of its staff with training under the Green Advantage® commercial program.  Employees from general contractors Balfour Beatty and T.W. Ellis participated in the eight hour course and exam, which results in a credential that helps builders qualify for LEED credits.

With their Green Advantage Environmental Certification, the engineers and field staff have mastered green building principles, materials and techniques that can be integrated with GeoStructures’ services for foundation support, earth-support and earth-retention projects.  In addition to raising awareness of the impact on the environment and more efficient energy and water usage, other outcomes of the Green Advantage program include making builders more competitive through cost savings, shortened schedules and higher-performance buildings for owners.

“We use environmentally favorable products such as recycled concrete whenever we can, and we found that they can actually cost less money upfront as well as lead to more enduring benefits of efficiency and less consumption of raw materials,” says Shana Opdyke, P.E., LEED AP, the sales engineer for GeoStructures in the Mid-Atlantic.  “With more of our staff understanding the ‘big picture’ of green building, we are in a position to meet the increasingly popular requirement for LEED contributions, which in the near future won’t be optional.”

Construction projects can receive a LEED innovation credit if a significant percentage of the building team is certified prior to construction.  Not affiliated with any LEED products or trainings, Green Advantage is a non-competitive, complementary credential that is recommended as an additional offering for developers, architects, engineers and designers.  LEED is short for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, part of the Green Building Rating System™ that encourages adoption of sustainable building and development practices.  It is promoted by the U.S. Green Building Council.

March, 16, 2009
BRAC Site Gets Ground Fortification from GeoStructures

Soil at Fort Lee, Va. Required Reinforcement Prior to Construction by Balfour Beatty

One building at Fort Lee, Va. is on track to open this summer while construction on another has begun following the foundation support work by design-build contractor GeoStructures.

For the first project, the U.S. Army’s Logistics University Education Building and Simulation Center, the company deployed Geopier® technology to stabilize the foundation soils at the site because of the soft, coastal plain soil and high ground water.  The system included a combination of Geopier and Impact® Pier elements with unique uplift anchors to counter the overturning forces of the tall structure.  When it opens in July, the building will consolidate four of the Army’s logistics education sites in one place.

The second Fort Lee project, Central Campus, is comprised of five buildings that required Geopier elements with some utilizing uplift anchors because of the structural compressive and lateral loads.  Some are classroom and lab buildings, while others include four large vehicle bays used for training and maintenance by army personnel.  Central Campus will be completed in 2010.

“The GeoStructures’ solution was quick and easy when compared to the deep foundation alternative, and it was cost effective, too,” says Stewart Gill, director of integrated projects at general contractor Balfour Beatty

Concurs Nyle Hothem, GeoStructures’ southeast regional manager, “The soils on the sites are quite varied, but our design-build approach allowed us to provide the right combination of Geopier and Impact Pier elements in order to avoid any differential settlement.  All the upfront engineering paid off in the end because the final solution really was implemented quickly.”

Fort Lee is one part of the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) plan, the multi-year effort to close 12 major military installations and reshape the infrastructure of the U.S. Department of Defense.  At Fort Lee, the program is requiring creation of seven million square feet of office space at a cost of nearly $1 billion.

February 18, 2009
Four More States, Feds OK Use of EarthTec’s MSE Wall System
Delaware, New Jersey, Ohio, and West Virginia have approved the use of EarthTec’s mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) retaining wall systems on their highway infrastructure projects.  The four states join Maryland, Virginia and the Federal Highway Administration, the latter of which will use EarthTec for a bridge project in Washington, D.C.

EarthTec’s signature product, EarthTrac HA, is gaining in popularity because of recent improvements.  It incorporates precast concrete facing panels and ribbed-steel strips that are 60 mm wide and 5 mm thick, which is higher than the industry average.  This maximizes tensile capacity and minimizes corrosion, especially at the critical spot where the strip is bolted to the facing.  EarthTrac HA’s flexibility allows it to be positioned to avoid drainage systems, utility lines or other obstructions.

“The market is responding well to EarthTec,” says Michael Cowell, P.E., president of EarthTec and its parent company GeoStructures.  “There was a need for more competition in this specialized market, and our technology improves the performance and longevity of these walls.  And we’re able to package MSE with other technologies such as tie back walls, sheeting and shoring, and foundation improvement alternatives.”

Adds David McKittrick, EarthTec’s vice president, “departments of transportation are finding it straightforward to approve our system because it can provide a 100-year design life.”

Since 1971 MSE technology in the U.S. has met grade separation challenges with retaining and abutment walls for embankment and bridge support.  Their ability to withstand significant differential settlements without loss of structural integrity, rapid and predictable construction, and high-quality architectural finishes make MSE a cost-effective choice.    

January 9, 2009
GeoStructures Wins Second Consecutive Future 50 Award
Design-build contractor GeoStructures today announced that for the second year in a row it has been named to the Washington SmartCEO magazine/BDO Seidman LLP Future 50.  The competition recognizes the 50 fastest-growing companies in Greater Washington based on employee and revenue growth over a three year period. 

Part of the company’s growth in the last two years is attributed to an astute acquisition that made it the Mid-Atlantic’s largest design-build contractor for the combination of ground improvement systems, engineered earth structures and sound walls for transportation and commercial construction projects.  Also contributing to its size is the organic growth achieved because of GeoStructures’ expertise in cost-effective ground reinforcement that enables general contractors to build a variety of structures without fear of excessive differential settlement. 

“We have been fortunate to grow in this economic environment when so many construction firms are struggling to maintain their current level of operations,” says Mike Cowell, P.E., president of GeoStructures.  “It shows that we have the right products that the market needs and the right people to do the job.”

Winners of SmartCEO’s 4th Annual Future 50 will be recognized at a soccer-themed, black-tie event on January 29, 2009 at the Hyatt Regency Bethesda in Bethesda, Md. The keynote speaker for the event will be Kevin Payne, President and Chief Executive Officer of DC United. The 50 Greater Washington companies who receive the award are profiled in the January issue of SmartCEO Magazine. For a complete list of winners, visit

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