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From Fields and Forest to Millions of Square Feet of Office Space


The Crescent is a new mixed-use neighborhood with 2,300 residences; several parking garages; a 250-room hotel; 1.475 million square feet of office space; 313,000 square feet of retail and 225,000 square feet of civic and cultural uses spread throughout four development areas in Columbia, Maryland. The Crescent will become a live-work location as well as an employment center with buildings that will frame the Merriweather-Symphony Woods neighborhood in a distinctive curving arc. The neighborhood will have many distinctive features including its natural setting amidst preserved and enhanced woodlands and tributaries to Symphony Stream and the Little Patuxent River.

The neighborhood will include over 20 buildings ranging from 2 to 16 levels. Some of the buildings are to be podium style, with above grade parking, and others with two to four levels of parking below grade.Significant site development was required, including new roads, bridges, culverts, mass grading, rock excavation, and mass grading. Hundreds of stormwater management facilities are required at the site, each of which needed to be integrated into the site features and structuresAdditional project elements include stormwater management facilities, bridges, and culverts.

The Robert B. Balter Company (Balter) is providing Geotechnical Engineering, Subsurface Explorations, Materials Testing and Quality Assurance (QA), and Special Inspections (SI). As the QA/SI firm, Balter is performing field visits, construction recommendations, materials testing and review of inspection reports to ensure the job is constructed in accordance with the project requirements.

To obtain the necessary geotechnical information, Balter performs field exploration programs consisting of a review of available geologic information, soil borings, rock coring, in-situ permeability testing, and geophysical analyses. Our Geotechnical Reports include the resulting boring logs, rock coring logs, test results, geophysical analylsis and laboratory soil test results. The geophysical analysis consisted of seismic refraction testing which is used in conjunction with the soil borings to further define the depths of the soil, weathered zones, and rock surface. Our Geotechnical Reports also include recommendations for design and construction of various building types and include recommendations for shallow (conventional spread footings), intermediate (stone column supported footings) and deep foundations (drilled shafts) of the proposed bridges, culverts and buildings. The reports address design and construction, and cost issues related to earthwork, rock removal, pavement design, stormwater management. Balter worked closely with the Owner to limit site development costs based on the soil, rock, and groundwater conditions at the site.

Balter’s QA testing includes onsite testing of soils, concrete, reinforcing steel, structural steel and asphalt pavements. Our field representatives are supported by the engineering staff to prevent site delays and construction cost implications such as existing fill soils, wet soils, and the reuse of excavated rock. Balter’s team works closely with the owner, design team, and construction contractors to ensure that the requirements of the project documents are met, while limiting construction costs.


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