VJ Engineering, working with Fusion Architects and Hodge Construction has recently completed Phase 1 of the Dubuque and Prentiss apartment complex in downtown Iowa City.  This building features 2 floors of underground parking with 4 floors of residential units above.  The Phase 1 building features 38 units ranging from 1 to 3 bedrooms.  The phase 2 building will feature 2 levels of underground parking and 5 stories of apartments, as well as commercial spaces on the ground floor.  The project also includes a courtyard which will be located between Phase 1 and Phase 2 which is to be completed later this year.


This project was a rehabilitation design of the Highway 965 Bridge over the Iowa River in Johnson County. The project consisted of a feasibility study, preliminary design, final design, and construction engineering services. The bridge was constructed in 1956 and is a four span, 432 foot steel girder bridge with a 28 foot wide roadway. Deterioration of the deck forced the southbound lane to be closed. The rehabilitation included removal and replacement of the bridge deck meeting current width requirements, open guardrails, approach pavement, cleaning and zone painting existing girders, strengthening of girders in some areas, and substructure concrete repairs. To minimize the bridge being reduced to a single lane, the design phase was only 45 days. The design was completed on schedule and within budget. Construction was completed on schedule in Fall, 2016.

Project Manager: Tim McDermott, PE

Client:   Johnson County Secondary Roads, Rob Winsted, PE


This 48-unit apartment building has parking on the lowest level, commercial on the street level, and 4 levels of apartments of above. It is located near the downtown pedestrian mall in Iowa City. The construction is precast planks bearing on steel beams above the parking and commercial levels, and wood framing above. The foundation is spread footings. The footprint of the building is 13,900 square feet. There are twenty-eight 2-bedroom apartments, and twenty 1-bedroom apartments. It was built in 2016.


This 24-unit apartment building has parking on the lowest level and 4 levels of apartments above. It features nicely sized balconies for each apartment. The construction is precast planks on steel beams above the parking and wood framing above. The foundation is spread footings. The footprint of the building is 8700 square feet. There are six 3-bedroom apartments, six 2-bedroom apartments and eight 1-bedroom apartments. It was built in 2016.


An unknown volume of gasoline was released from a leaking gasoline underground storage tank site in Cedar Rapids, Iowa that presented a risk of petroleum vapor intrusion into nearby commercial structures and sanitary sewer utilities in the area. VJ Engineering designed a remediation plan to reduce the risk of petroleum vapor intrusion by means of an injection of chemical oxidizers into the subsurface in order to degrade residual petroleum hydrocarbons residing in soil and shallow groundwater at the site. Recent soil sampling and analysis revealed that previously high concentrations of benzene in the in soil at the site have declined below applicable risk target levels. Additional groundwater sampling and analysis is scheduled for the site.


[UPDATE:] As of October 21st, 2015, Mehaffey Bridge is fully open to the public! The unique design and construction of the bridge has also caught the eyes of statewide engineering and public works societies, winning Iowa’s chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) award for “Outstanding Civil Engineering Project” for 2016, and the Iowa’s chapter of American Public Works Association (APWA) award for “Project of the Year” for the 2016 category of transportation projects costing more than $2.5 million.

The new Mehaffey Bridge will replace the aging existing structure with a wider bridge, capable of supporting up to 4 lanes of traffic in the future. To help minimize the inconvenience of construction to the general public, the new bridge was designed such that the majority of the structure could be built around the original bridge without having to shut down the road. The new bridge also features tower piers that suspend floor beams, reducing the required number of piers in the lake to allow for more boat traffic. The suspended features of the new bridge utilize post-tensioning elements to allow for the unique shape. The bridge will require almost 3,000 cubic yards of concrete and over 850,000 pounds of reinforcing steel.

A new 3-cell controlled discharge lagoon system designed by VJ Engineering is currently under construction at a Monsanto seed corn processing facility in rural Iowa County. The new wastewater treatment facility will replace an existing evaporation pond. In fact the new primary cell is being constructed on top of the existing pond. The facility is on schedule for completion in 2014.

The project consists of full reconstruction of five blocks and three intersections of Wilson St. from Penn St. to North St. and about three blocks of new water main on Chatham St. from Oak St. south. The project includes 5,000 square yards of 7” concrete paving, 1,550 lineal feet of sanitary sewer main, 1,083 lineal feet of storm sewer pipe, and approximately 3,100 lineal feet of water main. Construction started in May 2014 and was completed in October 2014.

Engineers Without Borders (EWB) is a non-profit humanitarian organization that partners with developing communities worldwide. Our mission is to improve quality of life by implementing environmentally and economically sustainable engineering projects. Through the Iowa Professional Chapter of EWB, engineers at VJ have been involved in El Salvador since 2010, working to provide potable water to rural villages in south central El Salvador. If you would like to become involved, please contact Mike Saeugling at saeugling@vjengineering.com or call him at 319-338-4939.