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  • Prestonsburg Passage Project

    PRESTONSBURG, KY “Happy Trails” to the Prestonsburg Passage at one year of service to the local residents and regional travelers! At just past the year anniversary of trail completion, a local news outlet reports that traffic is continually busy and is inspiring property development near the trail that will help the region leverage its continued economic development. This news would be no surprise to Trail Champion and Prestonsburg Mayor Les Stapleton, who affirmed the transformative power of the Rails-to-Trails “Prestonsburg Passage”, saying, “This trail is very important to us. It is appropriately named the Prestonsburg Passage Rail Trail as it is another step for Prestonsburg’s passage from what it was to what it will be.” Indeed, Prestonsburg is located in the historic coal-producing region of Eastern Kentucky. The abandonment of coal production in this region has severely impacted this community and its citizens. As part of its efforts to seek alternative economies, the area’s significant natural resources are being leveraged to create destination-driven tourism attractions that draw statewide outdoor enthusiasts and local nature-lovers alike. As a premier civil engineering and surveying firm rooted in our communities, Vaughn & Melton is dedicated to the delivery of quality, value, and innovative solutions to our clients and the communities they serve. Our commitment is so strong, we have adopted “Connecting People and Communities” as our brand positioning line. We are proud to have been a part of the Prestonsburg Passage “Rails to Trails” project as it is an excellent example of how our commitment is helping a community rebuild its economy for resilience in the 21st century. The Prestonsburg Passage project was initiated and sponsored by the City of Prestonsburg and championed by Mayor Les Stapleton. The project’s $1.95 million funding was provided by an Abandoned Mines Land Grant (AMLG). Though challenging, the engineering and design requirements were greatly facilitated by the fact that the former railroad bed where the trail is located had little to no elevation changes to be considered. Still, there were several goals the city wanted to achieve with the project. First, and most pragmatic, was to transform the 8.6 mile stretch of abandoned CSX railroad bed into an asphalt-paved multi-use trail that would become a significant tourism asset. What’s more, the City was very invested in the new trail being easily accessible to anyone who wanted to use it. Thus, the final design and completed trail had to be able to accommodate a wide variety of user traffic, including hikers, runners, bike riders, horse riders, as well as support usage by people of all mobility-levels and wheelchair-bound visitors. Finally, the City wanted to further infuse the local economy by encouraging smaller, local contractors to competitively bid on the project’s various phases, so they requested that project bids be broken into four separate packages. To assist the client in reaching these goals, Vaughn and Melton applied our expertise in a variety of engineering and surveying services and disciplines. First, we conducted a preliminary scoping study to identify problem areas or existing issues along what was formerly known as the Middle Creek Subdivision Railroad. This study determined the feasibility of converting the old railroad bed to a recreational trail from West Prestonsburg to David, Kentucky. It also included design analysis, cost estimates, and bridge inspection that was used to determine the scope for the final design and create a set of plans that could be constructed within the projected budget. Next, Vaughn & Melton provided construction plans and bid document preparation for the construction of the trail. The construction plans included signing plans, plan sheets for the construction of the trail, and tie-ins for trailheads at Archer Park. Detail sheets were also created for signs and gates at both the public and private road crossings, and pavement details were also provided for those crossings that had existing asphalt. Preliminary plans for the bridge repairs and retrofit were provided along with all required permit applications. The final bridge structure repair plans were prepared by J.M. Crawford & Associates out of Lexington, Kentucky. On September 5, 2020, the Prestonsburg Passage Trail hosted an in-person grand opening, preceded on August 13th by the first-ever virtual ribbon-cutting ceremony by U.S. Rep. Harold Hal Rogers, Ky-05, and Gov. Andy Beshear in the Capitol Rotunda. Both events lauded projects that Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Goodman said, “…are bringing jobs, tourism dollars and economic vitality to these communities.” The Prestonsburg Passage and its amenities are featured on travel websites, trail blogs, outdoor enthusiast non-profit sites, news outlets and even realty listings, showing that it has been enthusiastically accepted by the community and is attracting both tourists and local visitors of all ability-levels. Prestonsburg and Vaughn and Melton understand that to produce a quality enhancement that is inclusive of all ability levels is key to creating community spaces that serve all members of a community. A great example of this equity is the accessibility afforded individuals whose mobility is dependent on a wheelchair. This trail was designed specifically to reduce traditional barriers to access nature, thus providing an easier opportunity to get out and explore the rich natural resources of the Prestonsburg area for one and all. In addition, the Mountain Bike Trails Association has included Prestonsburg Passage in its national ranking of trails and given the trail a four-star rating. Finally, the trail and associated outdoor adventure activities are spawning additional tourist development with the opening of the Falcon’s Nest Cabins tourist attraction in David, Kentucky, adding to the growing critical mass of other attractions in the area such as music, theatre, arts, and history. At the virtual ribbon-cutting ceremony, Kentucky State House Representative Ashley Tackett-Laferty said she hopes that the Passage will serve as an avenue which will connect Eastern Kentucky communities not only around the region, but also the state. Through projects like the Prestonsburg Passage, Vaughn & Melton is truly “connecting people and communities.”

  • V&M Appoints Four New Leaders as We Continue to Grow

    Vaughn & Melton, a preferred provider of civil engineering and surveying services in the Southeast region, announces the appointment of four new leaders - Brett Abernathy, PE, PLS as Office Leader in Boone, NC and Transportation Services Manager for its Mid-Atlantic region, Barry Moose, PE as Client Services Manager for the Mid-Atlantic region, Hayden Gellineau, PE, IMSA as Office Leader and GA Transportation Services Manager in Kennesaw, GA, and Pete Falkenberg, PE, as Office Leader in Nashville, TN. Mr. Abernathy will focus on leading the transportation services sector with the continued goal to provide exceptional design products. Brett brings more than 33 years in the transportation service industry where he has been active in all aspects of the project delivery process from planning to project oversight. Prior to joining Vaughn & Melton, Brett served as the Division Project Development Engineer with the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) where he managed a wide variety of comprehensive transportation projects. “I have watched Vaughn & Melton grow into a highly respected provider of transportation services for NCDOT—and more—over the past three decades”, stated Abernathy. “When it came time for me to make a change in my career from NCDOT to the consulting world, I knew Vaughn & Melton was the right choice for me. I look forward to helping my new company grow and continue being a trusted advisor for its client base.” Brett and his wife Beth have two beautiful daughters and live in East Bend, NC with their yellow Labrador retriever Sandy. Mr. Moose will focus on building client relationships and lead the company’s program to deliver enhanced client experiences and satisfaction. Barry brings more than 37 years in the transportation service industry where he has been active in all aspects of the project delivery process from planning to project oversight. His responsibilities at Vaughn & Melton will include client management, business development and mentoring project managers. Initially, he will focus on the company’s client base in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, as well as strategic teaming with design/build teams. Prior to joining Vaughn & Melton, Barry served as Senior Vice President for SEPI Engineering in Raleigh, NC. Previously he served as Division Engineer with the North Carolina Department of Transportation where he managed a wide variety of comprehensive transportation projects. Barry stated, “I have known DeWayne [Brown, V&M Executive Vice President] and his team for many years and I have always respected the quality of work and work ethic present at Vaughn & Melton. My goal is to assist with the overarching vision of the company, creating a culture where the best and brightest want to work”. Mr. Gellineau will assume the role of office leader at the Kennesaw, GA office while providing transportation services leadership for the company’s Georgia Operations. Before joining Vaughn & Melton, Hayden served as Transportation Group Leader for TY Lin International and Traffic Operations Division Manager for Douglas County, GA. He brings more than 28 years of transportation services leadership, with a specific knack for being a dynamic problem solver and analytical thinker. Hayden is an organized, self-motivated professional with extensive diverse experience in his field. He possesses a wealth of general and technical knowledge. He will bring his leadership skills, optimistic attitude, energetic personality and ethical values to each engineering project he touches. He will quickly establish himself as a change maker focused on teamwork, collaboration and delivering excellence for our clients. Hayden has led numerous governmental and private sector projects. His multi-functional experience in project management and operations will be beneficial to the Vaughn & Melton client base. Hayden has one daughter and is expecting his first grandchild (a girl) in January 2022. Mr. Falkenberg takes the helm of Vaughn and Melton’s newest office in Nashville, TN. His 43 years of experience in the engineering profession—40 of those with the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT)—will serve this market well. Pete is well-respected around the state of Tennessee and knows from experience how to provide the high-quality service that the state expects from its consultants. Pete was born in Holland and is a very easy-going person who has never met a stranger. He is married to his wife, Janie. They have 3 children and 7 grandchildren, ages two to twelve. They share their home in Brentwood, TN with two Goldendoodles: Spunky and Bruno Mars. “We are very excited to have Brett, Barry, Hayden and Pete join our team. Each person brings a great wealth of expertise and experience in the transportation industry to our firm,” said V&M Executive Vice President DeWayne Brown, PE, PLS. "Our four new leaders are highly respected in each of their areas of expertise and will champion our firm’s growth and provide world class operational and organizational oversight to improve service for our clients throughout the southeast."

  • Just because you don’t have to doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.

    By Patrick Gallagher, PE, SE | Senior Bridge Engineer This is a story about how COVID-19 came into my home, how it progressed through my house, and presents a reasonable case to consider getting vaccinated, particularly as it related to our company values. This is based solely upon my own experiences and is my plea to you. So please give this a read all the way to the end. When the COVID crisis hit, I was in the midst of a long phase where the bulk of my assignments at Vaughn & Melton were bridge inspections, requiring I spend days and weeks on the road each month. At that time nobody knew for sure what we were in for, and basic elements of inspection life became very complicated very quickly. I spent the next year and a half cleaning otherwise clean hotel rooms, eating dinner in my inspection truck or a hotel lobby, and spending hours cleaning my work truck just in case I got this mysterious disease because I didn’t want to give whatever it was to my coworkers. I was careful to touch elevator buttons with my knuckle and wipe down surfaces in my empty office, just in case someone I didn’t know entered. It was a very weird time and I was trying to do my part to get by. So, when COVID came into my house in the manner it did, I was surprised. To set the tone of this story, it’s important to recognize my values and how I live my life. My wife and I proudly live a traditional life. My wife generally tends to the house, while I work at the office and I am the sole breadwinner in the house. We homeschool our children, and attend church each Sunday, including Sunday School in the morning and the evening. I have been elected to public office three times as the conservative candidate in my hometown and am on the board of my Homeowners Association to protect the values I have. We live the life we preach as best as we know how. We are reluctant to vaccinate our children because we are sincere in our fear of autism. We are like most of those we know who do not want to get a COVID Vaccine. For reasons I explain later on, we decided that my wife, my oldest daughter and myself would get vaccinated. COVID entered our home from Katie’s friend. Katie is my oldest daughter, 17 years old. Katie is in the high-risk category, as I describe in the company values section below, and concern for her life was very real to us. The family of Katie’s friend shares our conservative way of life but did not get vaccinated. Her friend’s family spent some time waterskiing a day or two before they came over to my house. When they returned home and felt symptoms of COVID, they mistakenly ascribed them to the physical toll of a day of waterskiing. I wish they would have taken COVID more seriously. Ironically, the way COVID entered my home wasn’t from a bridge inspection trip or one of any number of road trips our family took in the last year and a half. It was from a friend of the one child of mine we were most concerned with, and she got it first. I’m not trying to tout my own awesomeness. I am far from perfect. But what concerns me is these friends of mine were not vaccinated and they fit the profile of many I know who insist upon not getting vaccinated. Had they been vaccinated, had they cared a little more to learn more, had they been a little more patient with their symptoms, the ones I love would not be suffering. The severity of the entire situation would have been diminished and the risk of spreading the disease would have been lessened with a vaccine. Life with COVID in my house is scary. Since half of us got vaccinated this story could have been much worse. The Delta Variant is able to infect some of those with the vaccine, but the severity of the sickness is lessened. And even in this lessened state, dealing with COVID has been a real struggle for us. For the three in our family who were too young to get vaccinated, there was no hope other than the statistics that suggest children handle it better than adults; not a statistic I want to bet on. As I stated, Katie was the first one to contract COVID. Given her health history, watching this virus progress through her body was scary. We didn’t know just how bad she would react to the virus and we were fearful for her life. We have four children. Imagine the fear in the hearts of my other three children as they see their brothers and sisters fall victim to this unstoppable virus, waiting for their turn to come. My youngest son doesn’t have the virus as of right now, and it’s almost comical the lengths he’s going to in an effort to protect himself. And we’re encouraging it! That boy’s life is very bizarre right now as he wanders the house seeking cleanliness. The sounds in my home have changed. We used to hear my children play the piano, act out something they were doing in a game they made up, tell stories of something they saw in a video they found interesting, or hear them yell with their friends as they run through the yard (yes, we make them play outside). Now we hear the groans of my wife as she aches, the hacking of phlegm as one of my kids coughs up another ball of goo, or me snoring on the back patio because I was too tired to do anything that day. We don’t play at the neighborhood pool. We don’t go to parks. And all of this is happening during the last few good days of summer. We don’t socialize with anyone unless there’s a street or screen between us. An exciting day is now when one of us goes for a drive just to escape the monotony of being home all day. My home is usually very clean. Typically, our kids do chores, my wife cooks most of the food we eat, and I clean most of the dishes. With so many of us sick at the same time, the usual functions of the home have all but stopped. Nutritious home cooked meals are replaced with whatever mom or one of the older kids can muster the strength to cook. And if I cook, it’s not usually very good. Counter tops are cluttered with dirty dishes because nobody has the strength to wash them. Finding a clean glass often means someone pulls a dirty one from the heap in the kitchen sink and washes it themselves. And nice, neat drawers filled with clothes ready to wear has turned into a series of laundry piles with varying levels of cleanliness on the floor. This is not healthy living mentally or physically. Then there’s the complications with homeschooling, being cramped in our house with each other for a week or two, and the usual strain of sibling rivalry as one sibling gets whiney and irritates the other. Plus, there are no friend’s houses to run to for refuge! Our adult friends can’t do much to help us either because we are isolated, doing our part not to continue the spread. It’s a stressful and unhealthy event, further making recovery more difficult. It’s a vicious cycle that only ends when the last one of us recovers and we are able to scrub every corner of the house and cars we’ve neglected. This is my life right now. And while I tell the story in dramatic fashion, the reality is this seems to be a temporary inconvenience for us. Life is getting better as each one of us recovers and take on more responsibility. We’re about a week into this and it seems as if it will all be over by the end of the month. And honestly, I’m not feeling too bad! But it could all have been avoided if one key person in our life would have been vaccinated. And we’re lucky! Our story is one of inconvenience. For others we know well, their stories have ended with a funeral. Now I want to reflect on the company’s values and make a reasonable plea for those with a similar world view as me to get vaccinated. To do the Right Thing: As with many of the topics that divide us, establishing the right thing can be a very messy and complicated exercise. Since we are mildly in the anti-vax crowd, deciding to get the COVID vaccine did not come lightly. My wife and I believe Katie contracted Swine Flu about 10 years ago. Ever since then Katie has had complications with her respiratory system, even under normal conditions. So, when we learned how boldly COVID-19 attacks the respiratory system, we had to seriously reconsider our intentionally laid-back stance on vaccines. We vaccinate, but not to the level some would suggest we do. In the end we decided the right thing to do for us was get THIS vaccine. Diseases of my grandfather’s generation have been all but wiped from the face of the earth (due to vaccines, I know). But this current disease is actively killing hundreds of thousands of Americans and millions of people worldwide. And I did not want Katie, or anyone really, to be counted among them. Katie fit the high-risk profile and the traveling nature of my work further increased that level of risk. So, all of us who became eligible were vaccinated in April and May 2021. This only included three of the six members of our household, since three of my kids were too young. But the reasons to get vaccinated go further than that for us, as I outline throughout the rest of this post. To be Team Players: I want to step back from my own life a little bit and reflect upon how different our work life is now. Last year we all worked in the same space, enjoyed those little conversations about our lives, and we got to know each other. And this is how coworkers came to know each other for generations. Some people turn their nose up at these little conversations in the workplace, and you can be assured these conversations with me will likely be shorter than with others. But they need to happen. I am a firm believer that morale is one of the better indicators of a company’s effectiveness, and those little conversations boost morale. The more we understand the people in the office around us, the better our morale, the better we communicate, the more efficient we are, and the better products we produce for our client. As with anything, these little conversations can be abused. But to be better humans, we need to do as humans do, and make at least some time to interact with those around us. That can be hard to do when not face to face. It’s been stated that 90% of what you say is not the words you use. Tone, body language, understanding the person’s nature, the changes in pitch as you form your words, all give those words context that allows the listener to better understand what you’re trying to express. Here’s an example. There was a time last year when I read an email from a coworker. The words I read made me upset and I followed up that email with a phone call, ready to pounce and fight back. When I heard the tone in my coworker’s voice on the phone and gathered the details they didn’t put into the email, I reprocessed the words in that email. My emotions went from anger to normalcy. I am thankful I had just enough sense at the time I called to listen before reacting, and thankful I knew this individual through face-to-face interactions before acting out. It’s these little details that will be forever lost if we don’t get through this and start developing those working relationships again. To Work Passionately: Friends of mine call me eccentric, a freak, or some find some friendly way to say that I’m just weird. And I proudly own those titles. I don’t know how to live any different. And the elements that give me this eccentric reputation extend to how I view COVID. Getting the COVID Vaccine was not something I ever wanted to do. But when I apply the same enthusiasm I apply to bridges into my life’s decisions, I don’t know how I could have decided NOT to get vaccinated. I take the time to study the structures around me, why wouldn’t I take the time to study something trying to kill me? I can give you details about bridges I’ve never been to and can show you some amazing photos of bridges I have been to. I can show you how to safely climb a 40-foot tall ladder, how to safely walk across an interstate, determine just how much strength is left in a bridge beam, and tell you exactly how a 600-foot long beam will deflect. I’ll take the time to do my work the hard way because sometimes the hard way is the best way. Why wouldn’t I explore COVID with the same level of effort? Why wouldn’t I look at COVID as objectively as I do a spreadsheet and try to sort out the data I have? We all work very hard at our jobs. I believe we should apply that same effort to managing Covid. To be Respectful: I like to say that “Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.” That simple expression sums up a lot of my world view in one simple sentence. For this case, I propose a slightly different wording, “Just because you don’t have to doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.” With freedom comes responsibility. I believe you should be free to do whatever you want as long as it doesn’t infringe on the ability of others to do the same. So, is increasing your risk of exposing your friends and neighbors to a disease that has killed literally hundreds of thousands of Americans, and is still doing so, an act of responsibility? I think not. The decisions my friend made not to get vaccinated and then show up at my house unwittingly harboring the virus put the ones I love most at risk. I trusted them, so maybe the fault is mine. But who wants to live like that? Who among us believes that giving our friends the 20 questions routine every time they come over is best? I believe we need to take ownership of our situations and protect ourselves as best as we can. Had my friends really embraced the responsibility that was demanded of their freedom, they would have either been vaccinated, or stayed home that day until they were confident that they didn’t have COVID. They would have known the difference between sore muscles from a day of fun and COVID, or at least stayed at home until there was clarity on why exactly they were sore. To be Good Citizens: When we think of good citizenship, we often confuse citizenship with politics. And I do not intend this to be political. But recognize that if there was political capital to be gained through this issue, the end result is a tie. One of the most effective vaccines ever created by mankind was developed under the watch and administration of one president, and then delivered to the masses under the watch and administration of another. In my opinion, these two presidents are very different from each other, yet both of these men were very effective in doing their part during their time in office. And we are all better for it. I think it’s time we recognize the good things both of these men did and take advantage of their combined efforts. I also want to look to our past and consider some of the positive aspects of how people lived in the generations before us. People with differing world views were still friends. They lived their lives in peace next door to each other and even found time to spend together, sharing life experiences together. There was once a day when inviting the neighbors over for dinner was normal, and children from homes with differing values knocked on the doors of their friends and played together. While division isn’t new, I think the degree to with which we’re divided is atypical. Look at presidential election maps throughout our country’s history. Until very recently, people would generally get behind one candidate or another. There are exceptions and trends. But people were more often willing to back the better candidate even though the candidate was different from them. I believe we should see those different than us as neighbors, men and women made in the image of God, or whatever value your religious and/or world views ascribe to people. We should love our neighbor as ourselves and seek peace among all men and women. I believe that is the ultimate sign of a healthy citizenry. I want to conclude with this one last example to consider. When you go home today, look at those you love around you. Look at your kids, your neighbors, and people you see on the highway on the way home from work. Imagine the fear in the eyes of those kids as they watch their brothers and sisters get sick. Imagine the sound of their parents groaning in pain as their body fights the virus. Imagine how filthy their house will be because nobody has the strength to maintain the home. And then imagine YOU were the one who introduced them to the virus. You may have made your point that you didn’t have to get the shot. But at what cost? After going through this experience myself, I urge you, get your COVID Vaccine. I’m going to modify a quote from Jim Carrey at the end of the movie, Bruce Almighty, “Get your COVID vaccine right away, because the life you save could be mine!”

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  • Transportation | Vaughn & Melton

    Transportation Return to All Services Vaughn & Melton specializes and is an industry leader in the design, engineering and project management of local, state, and federal transportation projects. Staffed by over 150 planners, designers, and engineers, Vaughn & Melton helps municipalities, county governments, and state departments of transportation successfully complete road, bridge, freeway, interchange, traffic management, safety and multimodal transportation projects. Utilizing integrated design strategies, cutting edge software solutions and innovative engineering experience, Vaughn & Melton’s goal is to safely and efficiently move people and commerce on our country’s roadways. Project History R-2915A, US 221/US 421 Interchange CLIENT: NCDOT This project consisted of widening 2.8 miles of existing roadway in Ashe and Watauga Counties from a 2-lane roadway to a 2-lane roadway with raised medians, superstreet intersection design, and the addition of a trumpet style interchange at the US 421/US 221 intersection. This project had numerous intersections designed to superstreet design standards to provide a higher level of safety for the traveling public having to cross over the opposing travel lanes. Read More Expertise Highways and streets Local streets/interstates Rural/urban interchanges Streetscapes Intersection improvements Work zone traffic control Rehabilitation of interstates Route survey Transportation Planning Advanced planning reports Greenways/bicycle paths Parking studies/design Traffic counts Location studies

  • Surveying & GIS | Vaughn & Melton

    Surveying & GIS Return to All Services For over 50 years, Vaughn & Melton’s surveyors have provided government agencies and commercial organizations critical information gathered from surveying and geographical information systems (GIS) systems to coordinate construction projects. Utilizing modern mapping and data retrieval software and hardware technologies, our survey teams, provide project critical information for a wide variety of projects from spanning highway projects to complex cave mapping. By combining our years of survey experience with sophisticated GIS that utilize robotic systems, satellite data and aerial imagery, Vaughn & Melton surveyors easily manage, share, and analyze data while minimizing project time and maximizing the access to key information. Project History Improving Mobility and Safety for Freight Operators and Passenger Vehicles in Georgia The I-75 Commercial Vehicle Lanes Vaughn & Melton was contracted by the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) to oversee the surveying project for the construction of two, barrier-separated, northbound truck-only lanes approximately 41 miles in length along the I-75 corridor. Read More Expertise Surveying GPS control surveys Boundary surveys ALTA/ACSM surveys Topographic surveys As-Built surveys Utility mapping Utility easements Bridge surveys Construction layout Wetlands delineation Aerial mapping control Hydrographic surveys Corridor surveys Route location Subsurface utility engineering (SUE) GIS GIS development Mapping Database/information management Asset management Data & file conversions Database design Data collection Geospatial analysis

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