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Puget Sound Chapter Meeting
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When: October 19, 2017
Where: Best Western Executive Inn
200 Taylor Ave N
Seattle, Washington  98109
United States
Contact: Justin Vetter

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Thursday, October 19, 2017—AEG Dinner Meeting

Topic: Emergency Response to a Rockslide on BNSF Snowshed #4, Stampede Pass, WA

Speaker: William Gates, McMillen Jacobs Associates

Time: 5:30 – Social Hour, 6:30 – Dinner, 7:30 – Presentation

Place: Best Western Executive Inn, 200 Taylor Avenue North, Seattle, WA 98109 ( map ), 206-448-9444

Dinner: Plated dinner - please choose between the following when registering for the meeting:
● Penne Primavera served with fresh seasonal vegetables sautéed and tossed in a white wine garlic sauce with penne pasta, topped with shaved Parmesan
● Grilled Mahi Mahi served with a saffron infused rice pilaf and a mango buerre blanc & seasonal vegetable medley

RSVP: Register at Brown Paper Tickets website: by 3 PM Friday, October 13 , no exceptions . Registering by the deadline assures you get a meal and a seat.

Cost: $40 for members; $45 for non-members; $15 for students. Non-members always welcome!
Note that the pay at the door option is only intended for use if you cannot use a credit card when registering for the meeting - if you are paying at the door, please pay by cash or check (check payable to AEG).

Our gracious sponsor, Holocene Drilling, has made it possible for the AEG Puget Sound Chapter to provide meals at a reduced rate for AEG Student Members. Please go to for more information. Thank you, Holocene Drilling!

Student membership in AEG is free! Please go to and click on the “Join AEG” tab if you are interested in becoming a member of AEG.

Presentation Abstract:
One of BNSF’s primary freight lines cross the Cascade Range in Washington State at Stampede Pass. On November 27, 2015, a large rockslide occurred above the east portal of Tunnel #4, at MP49.4 within the Stampede Subdivision. Approximately 50 cubic yards of rock debris hit and penetrated the snowshed roof, breaking some of the timber set members, ASSOCIATION OF ENVIRONMENTAL & ENGINEERING GEOLOGISTS
PUGET SOUND CHAPTER Meeting Announcement and fouled the track. Rock debris was spotted by the BNSF track inspector and traffic was
stopped, averting a derailment. BNSF requested that McMillen Jacobs Associates mobilize to the site to evaluate the damaged snowshed and rockslope conditions. We inspected the structural integrity of the snowshed and worked closely with BNSF maintenance-of-way personnel to safely remove a
large boulder lodged in the roof over the tracks. We oversaw rock scaling above the snowshed to establish safe working conditions for BNSF staff and rail traffic. After completion of the initial rock scaling, BNSF constructed a temporary roof cover over the open holes. Rail traffic was restored within 72 hours of the incident. When conditions improved in 2016, authors directed additional rock scaling during live track windows. Once scaling was completed, we characterized the existing rockslope conditions using rope access techniques to evaluate geologic kinematic stability and rockfall characteristics. Based on the results, we produced conceptual designs for mitigation measures, including rock anchors and wire mesh, and then provided construction management during final repair of the snowshed. Presently, we are designing a rockfall deflection shed above the Snowshed #4 based on the rockfall characteristics.

Speaker Bio:
Dr. Gates is retired Army Special Forces (Green Beret) officer and is a Principal with McMillen Jacobs Associates as a Rock Engineer specializing in geotechnical, rock engineering, blasting and hydrogeology with more than 50 years of practical, hands-on experience dealing with various engineering geology and geotechnical problems worldwide. He is a registered professional engineer and geologist in several western states. He has completed numerous rock engineering, emergency rockfall and blasting projects with railroad industry.

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