1.5-Million-SF Merck USHH Campus,
Montgomery County, Pennsylvania

Overview: A 152-acre site north of Blue Bell, Pennsylvania was considered by Merck and Company, Inc. for a new 1.5-million-SF pharmaceutical campus. GeoStructures provided site characterization for the project.

Merck’s master plan included interconnected multi-story buildings, parking garages, a child care center, and several miles of loop roads. For site planning purposes and to identify the geotechnical factors associated with the underlying Triassic Brunswick “redbeds” and interlayered Lockatong shale/argillite, 89 core borings along a 200-ft grid were completed by GeoStructures.

The major influencing subsurface factors identified by our exploration were shallow (“perched”) groundwater, soft clayey soils in the upper 2 ft, and rock cuts in fractured shale and hard argillite. A separate part of our feasibility study entailed borehole infiltration testing to determine whether any of the potential stormwater basin locations could be relied on for groundwater recharge. Our geotechnical report provided a detailed comparison of shallow footings vs. drilled piers, rock mass ratings to assess rippability vs. blasting, soil improvement measures to stabilize the upper 2 ft of subgrade, and in-situ permeability values for stormwater basins.

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