Maintaining Stability on Unstable Ground

December 6, 2022
Maintaining Stability on Unstable Ground

The new Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) Iron Horse Park Operations Control Center is designed to house dispatching and administrative operations for the MBTA north-side commuter rail system and the dispatching operations of the system for a commercial freight rail operator. The new 24/7 mission-critical facility features a clerestory that allows abundant natural light into the primary dispatching area, a state-of-the-art video wall, and doubly redundant MEP systems to protect against single points of failure. The challenges associated with constructing this essential facility on a site that could liquefy in an earthquake were identified early and drove several decisions regarding the ground floor level and foundation system. The MBTA selected Simpson Gumpertz & Heger, Inc. (SGH) to lead a multi-disciplinary design team for the design of the new facility. SGH served as the project’s Structural Engineer of Record (SEOR).

The building is a steel braced frame structure on reinforced-concrete grade beams and pile caps supported by steel H-piles driven into glacial till. A steel deck carries diaphragm loads at the low roof and high roof levels, and a concrete slab on metal deck serves as the elevated second-floor diaphragm. A two-way reinforced concrete structural slab at grade that spans between grade beams carries diaphragm loads at grade.

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STRUCTURE magazine

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