Bridge Scouring

Scouring is one of the most common causes of bridge failure. This process is the removal of sediment such as sand and rock from the area around bridge abutments or piers. I recently conducted research to gather data that will help to better understand this phenomenon. I ran tests using a flume, two pumps, and a 50 mm hollow plastic cylinder which served as a model pier. I adjusted the total pump speed and water level for each trial and then measured the resulting scour for evaluation. I then drafted a 3-D model of the scour hole from the data points collected when measuring and determined a batch of new trial criteria based on the number of trials that failed in the previous batch. The results I obtained from these trials will be helpful when determining the likeliness of bridge piers failing in the future. I then used what I had learned in a GIS (Geographical Information Systems) course to help determine what bridges in Worcester County Massachusetts were at risk of failing due to scouring. After finding enough useful data, I was able to identify at least eight bridges that were at risk. Conducting research was very interesting and I was able to learn a lot but getting the chance to then use that research and apply the knowledge I had gained from one of my classes helped me learn a great deal more about my research topic as well as the GIS program for my class. As I near the end of my time at RIT, I look forward to applying more of my knowledge to my future career.

~Tatianna Auguste


Plain Language in Construction

As I continue my education in Civil Engineering, Construction Management specifically, I am realizing just how important plain language is. In the construction field, information gets passed around constantly and it can be sent out to several different parties at any given time. A set of plans will go through at least three separate departments before it reaches the contractor. Engineers and project managers must be able to communicate clearly with clients, peers, supervisors, and contractors. Often times, the project manager serves as the liaison among all groups which is why communication is a vital skill in the construction field. If an unexpected change needs to be made on a job site, it is the project manager’s responsibility to fully comprehend the issue and then translate that problem to the design engineers so that a solution can be devised. The project manager must also inform the owner/client of the change in a way that makes sense to them. This sometimes requires them to simplify the problem because the owner is not always someone who understands construction terminology. Finally, the project manager must update their supervisor on any decisions that have been made or are under consideration. Since project managers must communicate with so many distinct groups, they usually benefit from using plain language with everyone involved; this ensures everyone is on the same page and no information is misinterpreted. As I take the next step toward my professional career, I will be sure to make clear communication a top priority in all my work.


~Tatianna Auguste

Is the Concrete Canoe Competition Hard Enough?

I chose to discuss this blog because I personally would not be affected but I have been a part of other ASCE club teams (steel bridge) in the past and have helped members participating in this competition; the Concrete Canoe is a great engineering project that helps to prepare future engineers for the field. What this blog discusses is important because it is a growing part of engineering; sustainability is a large part of future construction. I believe it would be a good idea that the criteria for the Concrete Canoe competition should expand to incorporate this aspect.

They discuss what they believe should be incorporated in determining the sustainability of the canoe. They even suggest going as far as tracking the carbon footprint; even including how far the school must travel with the canoe to bring it to competition. All of these factors that should be included are things that the practicing engineering would have to consider when developing a sustainable design.

These competitions are designed to prepare us students for what we will encounter when we get to the real world. I know from experience with the steel bridge team they have in past started asking more questions about what is done with previous steel bridges. In my mind this would be a great addition and would add an extra element to the competition bringing it to the next level.

ASCE Blog (

Subcategory: Sustainable Engineering

Title: What is the Carbon Footprint of a Concrete Canoe?

Blogs URL:

By Erhard Marcus Uhmann

The Role of a Site Engineer

The article I read was actually more of a well organized list of information. It listed out all the jobs a Site Engineer has to do during the construction of a project. The reason I picked this article is because it shows what I want to do in the civil engineering field. I don’t want to be stuck behind a desk all day doing design work for hours on end. I want to be out in the field on site overseeing the project and making sure it’s up to specifications. Pretty much the job of a site engineer is to take the plan drawings of a building and facilitate the real life construction of that building. They also act as a liaison between the designers and the company officials involved in the building process. They play the role of a technical communicator and help construction companies interpolate the drawings and order the right materials for the construction of the building. Lastly, the site engineer keeps a log of the entire construction process to keep the project managed and on track with schedule. Also this provides a record of any mistakes that may have been made during the construction process. Overall, A site engineer is a manager that oversees the project as it progresses. They are there to make sure everything is executed to the highest standard of precision and accuracy according to the design engineer’s specifications. They are the last line of defense to make sure a building is built properly and safely.

Ian Crell

“Maximizing the Investment in Transportation Projects” by Becky Moylan Summary by Patrice Golbourne

In this blog post, it briefly discusses the importance of Life Cycle Analysis (LCCA), which helps to determine the most cost-effective options that impact both pending and future costs. Beth Osborne from Transportation America believes that there should be a course to train leaders in LCCA (Moylan, 2014). This will be helpful to maintain budgets and infrastructures. After reading this post, I also felt that LCCA should be incorporated into the decision-making process for civil engineers.

Here is a link to the Life Cycle Cost Analysis Report:

The report contains information on Life Cycle Costs in transportation, existing federal policy, life cycle cost analysis at the state and local level, policy recommendations, and more.

Patrice Golbourne