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Pittsburgh, PA

This 292-acre national cemetery is located along Interstate 79 in northern Washington County, nicely situated on the rolling hills of two farms originally owned by the Morgan family. The cemetery is large enough to provide veteran burials through the middle of the 21st century. The first veteran burials took place in August 2005, and there were over 1,300 interments during the first 29 months. National Cemetery of the Alleghenies provides in-ground sites and columbaria niches for cremated remains, as well as full-casket gravesites.

The project consisted of the expansion of the cemetery over six acres to install new crypts, in-ground cremation sites and columbarium niches.  New and reconstructed asphalt roads were also constructed at the cemetery.

The Robert B. Balter Company performed a multi-phased geotechnical evaluation on the site in order to provide geotechnical design recommendations for design of the new structures. All of our drilling operations were conducted in a manner that did not disturb the funeral ceremonies.  The initial phase included a preliminary subsurface exploration comprised of subsurface borings and test pits to evaluate the site materials, which identified multiple bedrock strata ranging from sandstone to limestone to shales. Coal seams were identified across the site. Subsequent phases include additional borings across the site and in large stockpiled materials, and a seismic refraction study to further identify the top of bedrock profile across the proposed construction area.

Soil and rock samples were brought back to be tested in our AASHTO and Corps of Engineers accredited laboratory. Testing on soil included soil classification tests, Proctor Density, and California Bearing Ratio (CBR) tests. Rock cores were tested for their compressive strength.

A detailed geotechnical report was developed that provided geotechnical design recommendations for the design of the foundations of the various burial structures across the cemetery. Recommendations included bearing capacity, settlement, earth pressures, SWM, and pavement thickness design.  The report addressed the presence of coal, which is highly regulated in the State of Pennsylvania, and methods of removal or onsite containment. Numerous discussions with the state were conducted to develop the appropriate recommendations for handling coal.

Balter participated in development of construction plans and specifications related to the geotechnical aspects of the project.

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