AASHTO re:source Q & A Podcast

Geotechnical Investigations at Oklahoma DOT

July 11, 2023 Oklahoma DOT Season 4 Episode 7
Geotechnical Investigations at Oklahoma DOT
AASHTO re:source Q & A Podcast
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AASHTO re:source Q & A Podcast
Geotechnical Investigations at Oklahoma DOT
Jul 11, 2023 Season 4 Episode 7
Oklahoma DOT

We are joined by Siv Sundaram and Bryce Hanlon with the Oklahoma DOT to learn about how their geotechnical investigation processes are evolving. 

Related information: 

Show Notes Transcript

We are joined by Siv Sundaram and Bryce Hanlon with the Oklahoma DOT to learn about how their geotechnical investigation processes are evolving. 

Related information: 

AASHTO re:source Q&A Podcast Transcript

Season 4, Episode 07: Geotechnical Investigations at Oklahoma DOT

Recorded: April 28, 2023

Released: July 11, 2023

Hosts: Brian Jonson, AASHTO Accreditation Program Manager; Kim Swanson, Communications Manager, AASHTO re:source 

Guest(s): Siv Sundaram, PE, Process Improvement Engineer, Office of Chief Engineer, Oklahoma Department of Transportation; Bryce Hanlon, P.E., Geotechnical Design Engineer, Oklahoma Department of Transportation

Note: Please reference AASHTO re:source and AASHTO Accreditation Program policies and procedures online for official guidance on this, and other topics. 

Transcription is auto-generated. 

[Theme music fades in.] 

00:00:02 ANNOUNCER: Welcome to AASHTO resource Q & A. We're taking time to discuss construction materials, testing, and inspection with people in the know from exploring testing problems and solutions to laboratory best practices and quality management, we're covering topics important to you. Now here’s our host, Brian Johnson.

00:00:21 BRIAN: Welcome to AASHTO Resource Q&A. I'm Brian Johnson.

00:00:23 KIM: And I'm Kim Swanson. And we have two exciting guests today.

00:00:26 BRIAN: I'll start by saying we've got these two guests from Oklahoma DOT. First is Siv Sundaram, who is a Process Improvement Engineer. Welcome to the podcast, SIV.

00:00:38 SIV: Thank you.

00:00:40 BRIAN: And second, we've got Bryce Hanlon, a Geotechnical Engineer with the Oklahoma DOT, correct?

00:00:46 BRYCE: Correct.

00:00:47 BRIAN: Welcome to the podcast Bryce.

00:00:49 BRYCE: Cool. Thank you.

00:00:50 BRIAN: We wanted to talk about geotechnical investigations today, but I think before we get too deep into that, let's talk about what Siv's job is because she's got a very interesting position. Siv is a Process Improvement Engineer with the Office of Chief Engineer at the Oklahoma DOT Siv. Can you give us in layman's terms what that means?

00:01:09 SIV: Basically, that means I don't get to complain about anything at ODOT, I get to fix everything. We, as many DOT's, we have our we, we have a lot of procedures and policies all over the place. A lot of it is in people’s minds, in heads, and when they leave the organization, we are losing a lot of institutional knowledge with them, a lot of people leaving retiring, so I'm trying to capture a lot of those processes and update a lot of the policies and procedures so.  And we're also going through a lot of changes and the way we deliver projects going from a 2D to a 3D model. So what we need to make sure that our whatever processes we have currently is compatible with how where we are headed.  So that's what I do.

00:02:03 BRIAN: Wow, that is a lot.  And you're a PE as well.  Professional engineer.  And this seems like it really has a lot of quality aspects to it.  When you approach these challenges.  What do you think about?  I mean, are you thinking about the engineering aspect of it or are you thinking more of the quality aspect of it or all the above?

00:02:23 SIV: All of the above, you know, start off by talking to people who are actually doing their jobs.  And sometimes when you are doing the job all the time, you kind of fail to notice some of the efficiencies you could be putting in.  So we start off by looking at it and then say hey, is there something we can do here to improve it or we can make it easier for you especially we are strapped for resources even if we can hire somebody today, it'll be two years before they become close to being productive and there's so much institutional knowledge and like price. : For example, he brings a lot of geotechnical knowledge to that, but O dot itself takes 2 years to learn because a lot of the EIT's we hire, we put them on a two year rotation and it still takes a long time to get into the culture and get understand.  And that so?  Trying to I start off by talking to the people to see how it what are the areas we can improve on.  Then we don't want to do things in a vacuum.

00:03:23 SIV: So, the way you I came across you is we started sending out a lot of surveys through AASHTO to other state and I have to tell you I have been, they have been very, very helpful.  The community of all the state dot support each other and they were very forthcoming in sharing the information.  And that has helped us.  SIV: So anytime we want to try a new process that we start off by looking at what other states are doing and say, OK, what are your successes, what are you, you know, what are the things we need to watch at.  So we're not starting off from scratch on fixing something and also it gives you credibility when you're trying to change something.  Say that, hey, somebody else has tried it and this is what they have found.

00:04:06 BRIAN: That's a great idea and very wise to look around to see what else work, what other departments are you working with?  So, I mean this is geotechnical, but are you working all across every part of the dot?

00:04:18 SIV: Focusing mostly on the pre-construction side but also reaching across to the operation side to have the communication better.  For example, we're doing the multi-dimensional delivery which is a lot of states are going into that into 3D.  Models. So, in the design world we are working on delivering models in 3D and we have contractors who are already taking our design files and building 3D models and they're creating 3D models using design files. But if you can deliver that 3D models to them, they can construct that.  But we have construction in between. We need to get them ready for inspecting things in a 3D model and then if we have ultimately ideas to go into 3D models without having paper copies.  If we do, then we have to bring maintenance on board because we have to keep up with any.  Changes we do and then storing those models.  So, there's a lot of things we have going on trying to get that part of it.

00:05:23 SIV: Then on the construction side, we're working on a construction manual and then our construction survey is.  The last annual was done was in 1989 and we don't do anything like how it's done now.  So those are things really charted them and provide them the resources to get that going so that they can update their procedures.

00:05:47 KIM: It's really interesting. I don't know the inner workings of like, DOT's in general, but do other DOT's or does every dot have your position or is this unique to O DOT?

00:06:00 SIV: I have not come across anybody yet, but if there are, I would love to meet them because there are a lot of things I like to share.

00:06:07 KIM: I think this is so great like what you're describing is all about continual improvement and that is a culture that we have at AASHTO that we love to have process improvements and things like that.  So, it would be great if all the DOTS had a position like yours.

00:06:21 SIV: I think it came from Senior Staff Secretary Gates.  He's fully involved in cash too and I think he has been with the department for a very long time.  So, and he's seen all the different areas where we need some help.  And chief engineer Brian Taylor.  He came from construction and he is all about providing resources and making sure that we are doing putting the right people in the right place and getting things efficiently.  So, we used to have this system of like, hey, you have only so many sessions assigned to each job.  Now we as long as we don't exceed those number of positions, we can move it around and.  Change it around like Bryce’s.  Job is created in the last six months because that was the position which was very much in need.  We had bridge division who was looking at bridge foundations.  We had bridge division who was looking at  pavement design and we had materials divisions who was doing the salt testing but. x We had roadway in between we nobody was really paying much attention, something like slope stability, settlement, rock excavation.

00:07:31 SIV: So even though we were identifying them in the geotechnical report, it wasn't being conveyed to the designers.  So that they could design around it.  And then in construction, the information wasn't always provided to the contractors.  So, we were running into some overruns change orders when we they encounter rocks or something where we could have saved some money by.  Making the slopes steeper.  Those are things, and that's where price is here to help.

00:08:04 BRIAN: Us great Segway and I think you are also giving us some process improvement on how we can host.  This by moving to the.  Next step efficiently.  So, thank you for that, Bryce.  Now we're going to get into the geotechnical aspect of this conversation. So, let's start uut with the basics.  Tell us about what a geotechnical study is all about.

00:08:25 BRYCE: So just in general geotechnical studies are mainly, you're figuring out what's going on below the ground because a lot of times you see construction, you see all this stuff that's built on top of it and you a lot of people don't realize that it's what's underneath that's supporting everything.  There's a lot of issues that can come.  Soil related groundwater related.  There's just a lot of issues that a lot of people aren't educated on and kind of what you do is you develop a plan to identify all the potential issues and allow the designers to be able to design for it and then allow contractors to kind of know what they're getting into prior to bidding a project.  And yeah, it'll allow things to go more efficiently, but then allow whatever they're building, it'll last longer than just kind of going after Willy nilly.  I, like I said, I've been at.  ODOT now for.  About a month and my previous job I worked for a consultant where we did and just do like ODOT projects.  We did commercial work.  We did residential work.  And various ranges for sure.

00:09:20 BRYCE: When it comes to geotechnical investigations, like the dot actually commits quite a bit of effort into making sure they know what they're getting into prior to building things, because obviously, if there's a lot of roads that are built that are just torn out, there's going to be.  A lot of.  Complaints by the public.  And you know, a lot of these residential willing to take.  The risk just because you know it's more of a profit.  Ribbon kind of thing where they you know, they they're like, oh, I built something this one time it worked.  It's going to work everywhere and you know, obviously a lot of commercial companies and dots are more educated and they know that that's not the.  So yeah, the.  Idea is, you know, understand not every side is the same when it comes to soul.  So like we got.  To figure out what's.

00:09:57 BRIAN: Going to be able to plan for it.  And I think traveling public does not realize the importance of that aspect of the job because they always look at what's on the top right or this must be bad asphalt or it must be bad concrete.  Or maybe they didn't do it correctly, but it might have nothing to.  Do with that.

00:10:16 BRYCE: No, it's usually actually with pavements.  It's, you know, probably 90% of the time it's drainage or water issues are so great.  Issues like yeah, that's people only see the surface and then they complain about that.  But yeah, it's usually an underlying problem.  And then once the support system goes away, everything else.

00:10:32 BRIAN: So how do you conduct one of these geotechnical studies?

00:10:36 BRYCE: Could the dot, the main people that I'm helping are the roadway divisions and the?  Bridge divisions and.  For bridge, it's pretty simple.  Obviously, with bridges they're supported, usually on piles or Piers, and in Oklahoma we have relatively shallow bedrocks. So, I'd say 90% of.  The bridges are built on bedrock.  We take the foundation systems down the bedrock, minimize the risk that is associated with settlement, and go from there so you know it.  It's a lot of from like an engineers perspective, the most of the work is really implementing the projects like getting out there and seeing where the project is going to be like where the new structure is going to be for a bridge.  Sometimes there's new alignments, so you have to deal a lot with land.  And gaining access.  And then once you do that, then it's a lot of just.  It's this process is obviously I'm sure you guys are aware of kind of what goes in the geotech process, but you know it's drilling, it's sampling, it's testing in the field, collecting a lot of data when it comes to the strength of the soil, the strength of the bedrock, the type of soils, the type of bedrock and all of that well in in groundwater, like I said, groundwater is.

00:11:44 BRYCE: The big thing, you know, you get all that information together.  You can kind of come.  Up with an idea of.  What conditions you have and then the designers have guidelines that they follow based on all the data to be able to.  Design whatever structure they're building.  Bridge, like I said, a simple pavement is actually pretty complex.  How we do that here is there's, you know, a bunch of different ways.  You know, I guess roadways can be built.  There's new alignments, there's widening.  Existing alignments, there's overlays on existing pavements, there's new  pavements that are being, you know, same alignment, but they're raising the grade of it, changing the grade.  There's all different things we kind of have different methods at O dot where we.  Kind of go in and test the.  Different areas see what souls are they have at each location.  We have a  pavement design engineer that basically she takes all of this data and is able to get all the test results and everything and be able to run the  pavement design analysis using.  You know, there's AASHTO’s method. Obviously that a lot of people use the 93 method and.  Then there's pavement in need.  Which is a mechanical.  Empirical method that a lot of people.  Are using, so yeah, it's basically being able to collect the data.

00:12:44 BRYCE: So the design engineers can do what they need to do to design whatever structure they want, and then also be able to identify issues.  That, you know, contractors in the field may run into. Like Siv kind of. Mentioned it earlier, a big issue in Oklahoma is you know like shallow better off in certain locations where you know contractors will bid a job and not realize that there's shallow sand center limestone.  It's very difficult to excavate on the job and they don't bring the proper equipment on site.  Well, they get on site and start digging.  They realize they can't get the rock out of.  The ground and.  They called and ask for a change order, which makes things just difficult.  And causes problems and it's basically trying to get all the information available at the beginning and allow everyone to make the proper decisions early on, so you're not having to make changes later on and make things it allows things to be more efficient and timely.

00:13:36 BRIAN: Obviously there's new testing and then there's collection of data from old tests, I assume because I know just from being in.  In school, you know, you see these old geotechnical maps or other soil classification maps or some other maps that are that look ancient that exist.  How do you incorporate the existing knowledge with new information that you've got cause obviously like the soil and the geotechnical conditions?  Just there's not, you know, it's not like they're constantly changing or evolving, but there could be some changes.  How do you tackle that?

00:14:10 BRYCE: In general you have an idea of what you're getting at, because there are, you know, we have the Web soil survey that you can get online and check that out and see in general what kind of.  Soils you're going to encounter.  But a lot of times we get on.  These sites and like you don't know if the soil that you're going to be.  Is that it's in a like an in-situ state it could be.  The grade could have changed overtime where someone brought in import soils, and you know that that's the soil that's potentially going to be supporting whatever structure you're going to be building. So yeah, it having an idea of. What you're getting into is.  Important we use the web.  Soil survey a lot for we do a preliminary.  pavement design so a lot of times in the.  Planning process.  You need to have a pavement design kind of in place to be able to develop your grades and stuff for your roadways.  So kind of the process that we've used at O dot is looking at.  From the Web soil survey kind of generic soil properties that.  They have on site.  And with that, we're able to use correlations to get an idea of what we're going to be getting into.  We have resilient modulus which is a big test that's used for pavement design.  We have, you know, an idea based on the actual class of what.  This will likely the strength will be and they can develop a.  Preliminary design from that.  And then obviously we have to check it.  I mean, you can rely on references and.  Resources so much, but it's the actual.  Data in the field.  You need to have that confidence level to be able to design something and.  And be able to build it.

00:15:35 SIV: We have over 50 years.  Data we found out like a materials division was developing a database GIS database and our bridge was trying to do the same thing and pavement was designer engineer was trying to do the same thing so we brought everybody together and we are working with our GIS group and getting the old data in a PDF form.  Put in GIS reference locations.  And making it available to our consultant, we do 95% of our work with consultants for design projects or making it available to them so that they can use that to refine their scope and it will save us money and will save them money and time in abusing all this.  The old date, as you said, this all doesn't change that much.  It's still important to get more recent one, but at least it gives a good starting point.  I think Bryce wishes said he had access to some.  Of the old data.

00:16:33 BRYCE: That's right.  I mean, ODOT has a massive library, that's what they've been.  They have so much information all.  Over the state.  Yeah, probably over the last probably 7080 years. They have reports kind of dating back that far. So, a lot of the projects that were built however many years ago, they're having to rebuild it even like bridges and stuff are being replaced within that time.  So having that data where you can go.  Back and see.  Oh, the rock.  Is approximately this depth whenever you're scoping the project you.  Probably know what you're getting into, and if the consultants doing it, we can educate them on kind of what they're getting into and what to expect.  And we're doing.  It we'll know as well and then same for souls like for roadway.  Unless there's a massive grade change, this soul isn't going to change a lot.  So, if you know that there wasn't.  A massive grade change and you have that information in your database.  Maybe you could do potentially less testing.  Then you would normally need to do because.  You have a level.  Of confidence on the site that you wouldn't have.  Had if you're just going in blindly.

00:17:23 SIV: And moving into the future, we're trying to collect data in a 3D format so we can use it with our 3D model.  So when we deliver a model, we're not going to deliver a PDF copy of a report.  With that, we want to actually deliver the how the service.  At based on the data we collect and you probably are aware of the Dags program by the CDC, the Federal Highway.  So we're looking at methods how to collect the future data, which would make it compatible with design software.  The designers are using now.  Right now we use.  And road but but for a lot of our consultants use civil 3D, so we need to make sure that whatever.  From we're collecting the data.  It can be readily imported into both of those software so that you don't have to have the geotechnical engineer having to enter the data multiple times.

00:18:17 BRIAN: Another reason why you need to work with others to develop how you're going to solve this problem right.

00:18:23 SIV: Yes, we did an initial survey of the industry and we found out a lot for contractors use civil 3D for their model.  Filing, whereas the state and a lot of the DOT's use open roads for their in-house projects and half of our consultants use open roads and half of them use civil 3D. So, we need to be able for those to talk to each other. So this we need the same thing with the geotech data to be compatible.

00:18:53 BRIAN: So, let's talk about just the project planning process.  When does the geotechnical investigation come into play as you're, let's say you're building a new road, how does that work?  Where does it fall in line with the project process?

00:19:08 SIV: Currently we are starting geotech after the 65% plan is complete. That's when the need for the environmental documents and the environmental process is complete, because that would help us identify the environmental and make sure that we are not destroying something when we are going out to do the geotech work.  However, we do have enough environmental information early in the process.  And we will. To change the process now to start it at 30% plan so that we'll have the geotech information at 60% plant before the ride phase submitted. So, we can make design decisions like steepening the slopes or doing some making the our ditches shallow in the rock where there's rock. So that we are not having to change this.  Nine, sometimes even during construction or at 90% plants.  And then having the pavement assigned earlier too.  So that's another survey we went sent out to the other states to find out if they're doing any kind of environmental review or when they are starting the geotech.

00:20:14 SIV: So, based on what we found out, we found out like we don't really have to wait till environmental process is complete.  We can start it earlier with the information we already have available.

00:20:26 BRIAN: So that's another layer of complexity that you're dealing with.  So we're not just talking about stability and longevity of the structures that are going to be built on top.  Of the soil foundations we're talking about also potential environmental impacts, what environmental concerns are there?  Uh, when it comes to those geotechnical investigations, you don't name it all.  I mean, I'm sure there's a lot, but what are the main issues that people worry about?

00:20:52 SIV: In Oklahoma, we worry about archaeological sites.  As you know, there's a lot of native tribal properties here, and there's a lot of archaeological sites related to that.  So we need to make sure that we are, first of all, we are not going to impact.  That another thing is we have a lot of old oil fails and abandoned oil fails, so we want to make sure that if we are going to be getting into that then we get to the next level of having a health and safety plan.  If we are going to.  Be doing some work out there and then other thing is we don't want to be doing so many work in waters and wetlands because if you are doing a project and you're trying to minimize the impacts on waters and wetlands.  Then you have a geotechnical a crew which goes out there and destroys what we're trying to do because when they they're doing the test.  So that's why we asked the geotechnical engineer to provide they are what they are, a boring location and where how they plan to access that and provide that to our environmental programs division.  And they review that to make sure that they are not inadvertently destroying something which we plan to save later and.

00:21:56 SIV: Other thing is we have some endangered species in Oklahoma.  And during certain times of the year, you cannot do work in the water because of the spawning season or the nesting season.  You cannot do work in that, so you need to work around that schedule so those are the main things we need to look at as part of. The review?  

00:22:16 BRIAN: Well, that's pretty complicated.

00:22:20 BRYCE: Nothing. Yeah, there's. Yeah. Well.

00:22:22 SIV: I was when.

00:22:24 BRYCE: I was about to say she's.  That was her.  That was her job here for a while, was making sure that yeah, she was.  In charge of environmental here.

00:22:32 SIV: They're going from design to environmental, that was.  You know you have to.  Look at all different aspects of.

00:22:41 BRIAN: And I'm sure many not just interdepartmental contingencies, but you're talking about external departments as well.  And I mean, how do you coordinate with all these agencies?

00:22:52 SIV: The environmental we did deal with a lot of different agency like the State Historic Preservation Office.  And then we actually our cultural resources group is located at University of Oklahoma.  There, the state archaeologist is also there so they can get look up a lot of the information right there on the archaeological file to see if the proposed plan is going to impact any archaeological sites.  Then we have a tribal liaison on who can help us coordinate with the tribes and we pay for the Fish and Wildlife liaison at the US Fish and Wildlife who helps us coordinate any kind of endangered species issue.  And we also have liaison at the core of engineers, because sometimes if we are going to be getting into the water, you have to get the 404 permit, even though it's a nationwide permit.  You may still have to coordinate that with the core, and sometimes we have to go do work in the core properties.

00:23:52 SIV: There's a lot of our bridges are over lakes which are owned by the core.  So then we have to coordinate with the core.  So, the liaisons help us a lot in getting that coordination.

00:24:02 BRIAN: There I can see why you want to move this to 30% on the timeline instead of where it was because it sounds like a lot but.  But now you know that obviously it takes a lot of.  Time to get this completed.  How do you keep everything else moving knowing that this is kind of lurking in the background as other things are being planned and contracts are being fulfilled and materials and equipment is being purchased and all these other things are going on?  How do you deal with all?

00:24:33 SIV: So, we start the jet tech app, you know, before I at 60%, but at 30 and now we're going to start at 30%.  But there's a 60% is when we start the right of way acquisition process. So, and that and moving the utilities before we start the construction that usually takes about 18 months.  Two years, so geotech is not on the critical path if that, because usually right away is on the critical path.  So that could be happening while we are working on the jet.  There are sometimes we may have to actually acquire the right of way before the geotech crew can get out there because they're property owners.  Even though the state law allows us to be doing work in the property, not all the property owners corporate.

00:25:23 BRYCE: They don't like a giant drill rig driving through their property, but people in Oklahoma are very nice.  They don't like surprises, that's for sure.

00:25:30 SIV: And we send out letters, but we also have the J.  Tech consultants go out and talk to.  Then, and we also talked to the field district, so they know that we are out there, so they're not getting called out of the blue saying, hey, why are you on my?

00:25:45 BRIAN: Now, Bryce, have you been out in the field what?  Tell us about what that experience is like?

00:25:49 BRYCE: Wow, it's messy.  Yeah, that's for sure.  It's kind of known for having, like, red clays, red, red solo.  It's fits pretty famous here, so my wife knows this, but I have probably 20 pairs of jeans that are just stained.  Orange and red over the years, but yeah, I mean, field work is Oklahoma.  I love it.  That is probably one of the biggest things actually attracted me to being the geotechnical engineers.  You are allowed.  To get out in the.  Office and see this day.  Which I love. And then.  You know, have more of a hands on.  Approach to stuff a lot.  Of design I know is done microstation.  And CAD and.  A lot of times, you know the actual field part of that is isn't part of that.  But yeah, like, like I I love going and seeing the sights and like basically seeing how the location looks prior to construct.  And kind of vision how it'll look, you know, after it's done and figure out kind of.  What kind of?  Testing and field work needs to be done to be able to provide all the information that everyone will need to be able to design the project.  So, it's very cool.

00:26:43 BRYCE: I think geotech.  Like I said is, I think it's the coolest civil discipline.  People will probably argue, but I like I like the you get the full experience, you get the field.  You get the office experience, you get to be in a lab there.  There's all sorts of cool stuff.

00:26:56 BRIAN: When I talk to people who are in the geotechnical field, they seem like they are very passionate about.

00:27:01 BRYCE: It not a big pool of people that want to just go be.  But if you like it, and I mean it's very rewarding.  Like I say I've got to visit basically the entire state of Oklahoma.  That really isn't a part of.  The state I haven't got.  To work and you know that people across.  The state and.  Then you over time you kind of develop confidence and knowing kind of.  You know this part of the state has this calculus, subsurface conditions, this part of the state does this.  And whenever you go into scoping projects you have that built in knowledge and you can kind of talk to everyone a little bit more educated things, but.  It's great.  I wouldn't do anything else.  I've been doing it for about 18 years now and there's been times that I've thought about doing design and just the thought of.  Me sitting in an office all day, I can.  Can't get past it, so that's why I stuck it out.

00:27:42 BRIAN: For sure.  Yeah, it sounds like you have plenty going on there, but uh, I don't know if AASHTO Committee on materials and pavements has gotten into you yet.

00:27:50 BRYCE: I've been here a month, so I've been they kept.  Me pretty busy in that month so.

00:27:53 SIV: Direct him as a nonvoting member to the committee.  So, you you'll probably start seeing him at some of those meetings, yeah.

00:28:00 BRIAN: That's good.  Once we sink our claws into you start getting you more, more involved.  That sound negative, Kim?

00:28:06 BRYCE: Sounds good.

00:28:08 KIM: Once we sink our claws into you, that's one way to put it.

00:28:11 BRIAN: We may have to retract that one.  You know, as you start getting more involved with the test methods on the national scale and all the cooperation you've done with the other DOT's, I think it really does play nicely into you getting involved with the hashtag Committee on Materials and Pavements and trying to bring some of what you brought to the table, improving the standards overall that everybody.  Uses, so I really think I could see once you start getting more into to sharing that information, there'll be opportunities for you to help work on those committees as well.  And I think that'll be rewarding for you.  So, I hope to see you at those meetings.

00:28:54 SIV: I'm sure, yeah.  Bryce is already working on updating our specifications and the scope and the geotechnical rates.

00:29:02 BRYCE: Yeah, a lot of stuff.  Has gone unchanged at O DOT for quite a while, and so I worked at a consulting firm, and I basically had to follow the rates and the spec for.  All that time and you know I it definitely needed some.  Updating which is great.  Glad I've kind of was given that responsibility.  So just be able to kind of deep dive into all the test methods.  That's literally been my last two weeks.  I've just been sitting there going through test methods and making sure it's the most up to date version.  Make sure the version that we're having makes sense for the application that we're.  We're using it for and it's kind of rewarding.  It's kind of cool to see.  I do know the people that wrote kind of the original stuff and I talked to them a little bit, but just kind of times have kind of moved forward and we're definitely trying to modernize everything.  To get to.  Where we're definitely up to date on everything.

00:29:46 SIV: And you wear this AASHTO an ASTM method.  You're just trying to.  Use or trying to.

00:29:50 BRYCE: Use mainly AASHTO stuff for the most part to have some uniformity.  I know a lot of the field stuff is ASTM still but.  For the most part, I think AASHTO has a method for everything.  So that's kind. Of the direction we're going.

00:30:01 BRIAN: We work a lot with ACM and AASHTO standards and a lot of us are involved in ASTM committees as well.  And the more you work with Committee on Materials and Pavement more, you'll get to understand how those relationships work between the two committees.  But yeah, it works out.  Pretty well and I'm glad to hear you're getting involved with that and not just keeping all that information in Oklahoma because I can tell that you guys are really passionate about getting that engagement with everybody you can and that really helps the whole community and helps the industry out.  So, thank you for that.  For Siv, you'd sent that survey out. You got results from the other DOT's. Do you feel like you?  You're on track with most of the other ones.  Do you see some changes kind of coming based on the results that you got from your survey to the other DOTS?

00:30:52 SIV: We did three different surveys.  One was about trying to decide where the pavement design needs to lie.  We're also going through modernization of trying to breakdown silos after that.  So, we bring bridge, roadway and traffic all together as designed teams instead of.  Having separate division.  I mean, they still were reporting to multiple division heads instead of just having one thing.  So one of the areas we identified was having a specialized design areas and geotechnical areas.  So, and as part of that, we've looked at where pavement design should be, what we found out.  Is there's pros and cons for having pavement design in materials and design which design you are working with the designers on looking at all the different aspects of it the things whereas in materials you are looking at what actually goes on the pavement so.

00:31:53 SIV: We figured out the best way is to still have it as part of the design, but have somebody like Bryce who can bring everybody together, so he's going to be connecting pen between having materials, bridge, and pavement together.  The other survey we did was trying to find out where the geotech how.  Other states are handling their old geotech data, and we found out most of the states are doing GIS database for storing their old reports as a PDF form.  But moving forward, we found out there's whole based and there is they're looking at open ground so.  So, we're doing some still doing some research and.  Now we want to gather our data to know what I talked about earlier and trying to get the data which can be compatible with our 3D models.  And the other one was about how starting how other states when the other states do the environmental review for their geotech.

00:32:52 SIV: So, when I started with the Environmental Programs Division, we were not doing looking at geotech at all.  We were telling the consultants to get their own permits.  So, and they don't necessarily have the resources to get their permits and they didn't know who to talk to.  404 permit.  So, we took back the process and we decided to help out, but then it kind of grew and grew and then it almost became as big as doing an EPA for the just for the geotag.  And then we did the survey of other states.  They found out that we were on the other extreme.  So we're kind of trying to come back to the middle now.  So, we can.  I get your text started with basic Recon level data for environmental.

00:33:35 KIM: With all these three surveys, what stood out to you is like the most surprising feedback and the results from those.

00:33:41 SIV: Surveys the surprising one was where the pavement design was, because we were very surprised.  We thought for most people, states would have it as part of the design because that's what we have had it.  So, we were surprised that a lot of states had it as part of the materials division.  So that was a surprising.  And then we also talked that a lot of the states would be doing more environmental review for the geotech and some of them it's not even part of their process.  I think what we are doing is somewhere in the middle and I think we are covered.

00:34:17 KIM: Yeah. Are you sharing the results of the survey with the other DOT's as well?

00:34:24 SIV: Yes, Matt Romero, who is part of the Committee on Materials, he's the one who sent out this survey.  And I have to tell you, the committee is so helpful.  I've had tremendous responses, so I really appreciate the support the community has.  He has been sharing the information then.  I've also followed up on emails and to get some additional information and I get responses right away, like within an hour of sending a.  E-mail and those people are very, very helpful.

00:34:54 BRIAN: Yeah, they are passionate about what they do.  You know, just like when we were talking about geotechnical engineers, everybody in the in that group is really eager to share knowledge and learn from each other now, Bryce.  As far as where all this is going, you know with your background and your understanding of the situation, where do you see the geotechnical investigations going at Oklahoma dot, what changes do you anticipate seeing I think?

00:35:23 BRYCE: Yeah, I think for the most part, I think we're just looking for more just kind of consistency, a lot of the spec that everyone has been.  Using, there's a lot of gray areas.  You know, if a consultant's doing the work, they're not really sure what methods to use in certain situations, and then that's really at the time ODOT didn't really have anybody to be able to guide them in the direction that makes the most sense for the designers and for the particular project. The spec that we had was very it was kind of like.  Yeah, all or not.  Like I feel like we were doing as much testing almost as possible to get as much data as possible, which is great to have that.  But all of that cost some money.  It's kind of a deal.  We're looking for a balance to get there, necessary data that we need, but also you know, make sure you're not just spending money on something you don't need, you know, get that process.  Towards good.  And then like I think.  Basically, having all of our historical data and all of our future data in reusable resource to where we can educate ourselves and the consultants in the future to where we can make more knowledgeable decisions on the future investigations and basically not having to start from scratch every time, we have a geotech project.

00:36:30 BRYCE: I think that's kind of the main goal is be as educated as possible.  To where we're doing the work that's needed on every project, not just acting like we've never stepped foot in Oklahoma before.  Every time, you know, it's one of those situations, so.

00:36:43 SIV: Bryce will be the one stop shop for everybody so that he can get the.

00:36:46 BRYCE: Yeah, that I I'm.  I know all the so.  So as a it's a very small community.  I either went to school or worked or collaborated with almost every consultant in Oklahoma.  So, me being here, I am a known.  Resource where people are comfortable to talk to me about things and definitely know I know what I'm talking about as well.  So, if I correct them, they're not just, you know, thinking that.  I'm out to get them.  Or that.  So, it's definitely I think I'll provide a.  Great resource for the DOT in that in that aspect and kind of get everyone on the same page.  A lot of it is, you know, communication is a big thing.  I mean, that's kind of my big.  This thing coming here is like I am trying to kind of bring all the geotech at ODOT together and you know, get everyone talking to each other and you know, use their knowledge and share their knowledge with each other just so that we can all I keep on saying it, but like being as knowledgeable and using the resources, everything that you have will make the future a lot easier just kind of.  And in your little corner and not sharing is not great.  For sure so.  It's a big task.

00:37:45 BRYCE: Like I said, we we're very set in our ways when it comes to geotech in Oklahoma. I have noticed that it I graduated high school in 2004 and started working immediately and for for a geotech company and it has been the exact same process the spec has changed.  Slightly in that time frame, but you know this.  Will probably be.  The one of the first decent overhauls that that will happen in a while, so we can hopefully see improvements in the process is definitely going to be reaching out to other states just to see what they use and definitely see what works for them.  And I know kind of what works in Oklahoma, but obviously I'm always open to new ideas and developer.  And it works best for here.

00:38:20 BRIAN: Yeah, I like your chances.  You guys have great attitude and a great strategy.  One thing I want to ask you before we end the conversation here is if there are any resources that we can share.  There on our website we often have links to other resources where listeners can learn more information.

00:38:40 SIV: So, we are looking on our website, so we will be posting a lot of information on our website.  So hopefully in the next four to six months eight, you can just come to the O DOT website, and you'll find a lot of information out there.  But right now, we have the construction on our website.

00:38:58 BRYCE: The website now.  A little bit.

00:39:00 SIV: They we can, they can always reach out to Bryce with me about if they have any questions they will be happy to share our experience.

00:39:08 BRIAN: Sounds great. Well.  Siv and Bryce, thank you so much for your time today.  We appreciate it.  And I think we've all learned a lot.  I know I have.

00:39:15 BRYCE: Cool. Thank you guys.

00:39:16 SIV: Thank you.  Appreciate the chance and share the information.

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