Lincoln Park Lagoon Bridge

The Lincoln Park Bridge and Lagoon restoration project is a priority for the Park District. The project includes three phases. Phase I, in which Western Waterproofing was involved, covered the renovation of the existing bridge, including its infrastructure. Phase II will encompass the engineering and surveying of the lagoon hydrology and shoreline issues. The Park District will include the dredging of the Lagoon within Phase II. Phase III, the beautification of the surrounding area, will add the finishing touches to the project. The plans for Phase III include a walking path system around the lagoon, plantings, new lighting, and more.

The stone and concrete bridge over the Lincoln Park Lagoon was originally built in 1911 by the J. S. Culver Stone Company. The bridge was designed for vehicular traffic but during the 1930’s the road was closed and the bridge was turned into a pedestrian crossing. Over the years the bridge had become neglected and the concrete on the underside of the bridge was severely delaminated and spalled.

Before Western could start their portion of the work, the park district had to lower the level of the lagoon by three feet. This left the underside of the bridge a mud filled hole. Plywood was brought in to create a floor for the men to work from. This step was very important because it drastically increased the productivity of the crew. Once the site was setup, work began on the concrete on the underside of the bridge. The deteriorated concrete was chipped and cut back until sound concrete was found. The concrete was sandblasted with Black Beauty to clean the concrete and exposed rebar. The underside of the bridge was then power washed and the patching process was completed.

San Jacinto Monument

San Jacinto Monument, Deer Park, Texas, near Houston. Shot at dawn.

In 1936—a century after their forefathers battled to secure Texas' independence—proud Lone Star residents gathered at the site to break ground for the San Jacinto Monument. The 44th Congress had pledged the sizable sum of $250,000 for a 570-foot memorial tower in San Jacinto State Historical Park, alongside the Houston Ship Channel.

Last year, the legacy limestone structure—towering 570 feet tall and crowned by a star stretching 60 feet wide—emerged beautifully from a complex, four-year restoration. The historic significance and complexity of the effort led to its winning an Award of Merit from Texas Construction as one of the state's best projects in 2000. Crews from two of Western's branch offices—Houston and Dallas—are pleased to have played a starring role in the success.

San Jacinto Monument


The catalyst for the monument's restoration had occurred in the summer of 1989 during Hurricane Allison. A 30-pound chunk of limestone had tumbled from the side of the structure, crashing through a skylight into the museum below. Subsequent investigation revealed moisture from the Gulf had caused the cold-processed steel anchors securing the limestone to rust over time, leading to delamination and splitting of the stone.

In the view of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials, the restoration project was as complicated as the original construction, given the structure's ingenious design. The octagonal obelisk contains thousands of soft, porous limestone blocks alternating in size by one inch to offset the load, thus transferring the gravity load to the steel-reinforced concrete.

That single-inch difference on the monument's surface would suggest a similar symmetry inside. Not so, says Floyd Parks, divisional superintendent of Western.


In the original scope of work,”


Parks states,


we based our repairs on stones of 3.5″-4.5″ in depth. When we got into the project, everything changed.”


More than 500 stones in various areas of the base shift ranged from 5.5″-9″ in depth, with some as deep as 16″.


“In most projects, the solution would have been to build out the concrete behind the stone,”


Park adds. Not here.


“Because this is a historic monument,”

San Jacinto Monument

he explains,


“maintaining the authenticity is very important.”


The revised restoration plan called for every stone of the San Jacinto Monument to be re-anchored with a stainless steel rod. Approximately 60,000 rods were installed in the course of the project, each requiring that a hole is drilled at a 30-degree angle into the stone and concrete substrate. The hole was then injected with latex-modified grout before a new anchor was inserted.

Worked from specially designed swing stages, crews also replaced more than 4,000 stones. The new limestone pieces were backed with masonry mortar and wedged in place until set. The wedges were then removed and the joints pointed. More than 3,500 Dutchman pieces were installed, along with 4,500 circular, three-inch limestone plugs. These plugs covered the core holes left after the removal of the old anchors.



With work completed on the shaft of the monument, attention shifted to the San Jacinto star—a 34-foot-tall, 220-ton structure of limestone with cementitious coating. Here, three challenges arose: scaffolding, given the structure's odd shape; unusual working planes, with virtually none square to horizontal or vertical; and lightning rod repair.

The scaffolding solution involved a custom design using a tube-and-clamp system and outriggers. Extensive engineering allowed crews to complete work on the various points and corners. The restored lightning dissipation system includes rods at the apex and four other points, all anchored through the structured steel. These are grounded in dissipation mats around the monument at ground level.

Despite the complexity f the project, the monument's museum remained open throughout the process.

Western congratulates the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, project engineer Wiss, Janney & Elstner Associates, Inc. and its own Dallas and Houston branches on the completion of this award-winning restoration.

Conowingo Dam & Hydroelectric Station

Completed in 1928, the Conowingo Dam and Hydroelectric Station is located on the Susquehanna River between Maryland's Harford and Cecil Counties. The massive structure is nearly a mile long and 100 feet high.

During 1998 and in the spring of 1999, the Washington, DC branch of Western Specialty Contractors replaced the roof on the facility. For the owner and roofing consultant, finding the best firm to handle the high volume, high profile task meant assessing safety records as well as past performance.

The company's safety history was a major factor in the selection process. The entire corporate loss-control manual was submitted with the proposal.

What the owner, Peco, saw was an Experience Modification Rating—of 0.69. The mean is 1.0, so anything below that number is better than average.

In practical terms, that focus on safety meant Western would string reinforced netter in all 60,000 square feet of the work area. But that was just the beginning of the Conowingo challenge. The plant is located on top of the dam, over the Susquehanna, so access for material and debris was a problem. Mechanics and laborers would be working during the winter, when Maryland weather can be something less than hospitable. Moreover, the station was to remain fully operational throughout the roof replacement.

Western's 20-member crew took it all in stride. Beginning in June 1998, they removed existing tile-paver and concrete toppings, as well as the roof membrane. Concrete repairs were then made, and a new roofing membrane installed. More than 1,000 cubic yards of fresh concrete topping was pumped, and deck coating applied. The $2.24 million project was completed in April 1999—on budget, on schedule and with no safety problems.