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Tech Camp 2023 - NHGRA Partners with UNH

Over the past couple of years, the New Hampshire Good Roads Association (NHGRA) has partnered with the University of New Hampshire (UNH) to offer Tech Camp students field trips to bridge projects in New Hampshire. This year NHGRA member companies Weaver Brothers Construction Co. and Evroks Corporation opened their projects for the trip.

The UNH Tech Camps are one week, stay on campus, educational experiences for 6-12 grade students. There are many camps such as robotics, rocketry, and medical to name just a few. The Bridge Tech Camp is for students in grades 8-10 who are interested in civil engineering. It is the only camp experience where the students take a field trip to see real applications of the concepts they are studying. You can learn more about the UNH Tech Camps at this website: tech-camp.

Weaver Brothers Construction Company’s Interstate 93 Exit 4A project includes the construction of a new bridge in Londonderry over Interstate 93 and Evroks Corporation is rehabilitating a bridge on NH 28 in Allenstown/Pembroke over the Suncook River. Two excellent bridge jobs that highlighted different scales of work and types of construction with different challenges.

The first stop was on the southbound side of I-93 Exit 4A where the students were able to observe the concrete placement of the west abutment of the overpass bridge. They witnessed the forms set up with architectural molds and were able to ask lots of questions. They even got to use rebar tying guns! Many thanks to Beck & Bellucci’s crew for their hospitality and especially Matt Harrison for his prep work and participation for the tour.

We ventured over to the east abutment to see the new roadway to the east toward Derry and the boring of footings for the sound wall. Pat L’Heureux (Severino Trucking Co.), NHGRA President Jason Riley (Maine Drilling & Blasting), Adam Bates, Peter Bates, and Ben Inman (Weaver Bros. Construction Co.) all demonstrated various technologies that are being used on the project. Drones, total stations, and software were all on display while excavators, haul trucks, and loaders were working on the other side of the new road. It was a great display of the tools of our trade!

After lunch on the bus, we headed for the Evroks Corporation project on NH 28 in Allenstown. Mike Ferrari (Evroks Corporation) met us onsite and led a very informative tour of this bridge being rehabilitated over the Suncook River. This labor intensive project is conducted behind jersey barrier with live traffic using the opposite side of the bridge for travel. A good deal of work is conducted at the water and the students got to see an excellent example of how de-watering is conducted in a flowing river to make repairs of existing structures below water level possible.

Bill Saffian of the New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT) conducted a show and tell session with some simple props that he brought along. These demonstrations focused on tension, compression, and loading of bridge structures. Mike was able to elaborate on these concepts and how they applied to different bridge projects he has worked on.

Last year, after a schedule disruption, we tossed in a stop in Northwood for ice cream at Johnson’s Dairy Bar. Well, that is now part of the program! So, the final stop was Johnson’s before we headed back to UNH.

The weather was fantastic! The projects and participation of our New Hampshire Good Roads contractors and Workforce Development committee members were outstanding. This collaboration keeps getting better every year. The students’ presentations at the end of the week are always great to see.

A big THANK YOU to Hannah Miller and Lisa Nash of the UNH Tech Camp Program for taking a chance on Good Roads with our project tour idea in year one and staying with us for year two. I can’t wait to see what we do in year three!

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