4 Halff Projects That Embody Innovation (E-Week 2024)

February 20, 2024

EWeek 2024 header Halff projects

Welcome to Engineers Week 2024!

Engineers Week (EWeek) provides us with an opportunity to celebrate how engineers make a difference in the world.

This year’s EWeek theme of “Welcome to the Future” celebrates today’s achievements as we pave the way for a brighter and more diverse future in engineering. Engineering is at the forefront of innovation and plays a vital role in shaping the world of tomorrow.

Take a look back at four Halff projects that have embraced new technologies and techniques as they improved lives and communities.


Bachman Flood Loss Prevention Study

Bachman Flood Loss Prevention Study
Flood damage marks from April 1966 on Bachman Branch Peak can be seen on the curtains of the house.

Halff paved the way for a new era of flood mitigation efforts when the City of Dallas experienced tremendous flooding events in September 1964 and April 1966.

Previous mitigation plans that were proposed didn’t satisfy the need of the residents affected by the floods, and Dr. Halff heard them. When he had an opportunity to undertake a study for Bachman Branch, he took a different approach. He knew he had to look at the entire watershed; he couldn’t just do it piecemeal.

Halff utilized the SCS TR-20, a state-of-the-art computer program at the time, to run the hydrology and hydraulics. It led to a green approach — the attempt to secure open space, preserve it by ownership, trails and parks — and one that satisfied residents.

Dr. Halff saw what the conventional thinking was at the time and thought there was a better way. The Bachman Branch Flood Loss Prevention Study became the first of its type in Dallas. The study was a bold step; it had structural and non-structural floodplain management alternatives, inspiring others to think outside the box when tackling complex environmental challenges.


“At that time, nobody knew how to define a flood plain. Today a 100-year flood plain is in everybody’s vocabulary.”

– Former President and Chairman Joe Novoa (Quote courtesy of Dallas Morning News)


I-10 Bridge Modeling and Construction Verification

I-0 Bridge verification projectThe I-10 bridge point cloud data shown above is created from tremendous amounts of overlapping data.

Conducted for the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) El Paso District, the I-10 multiphase roadway transportation project addressed challenges for the densely populated and growing urban environment in El Paso.

Halff was tasked with collecting data across three roadway sections, as well as at an interchange, to verify the bridge columns were placed properly. Because these bridge columns had been placed several months before the road’s construction, TxDOT needed to verify these columns had not shifted after the concrete set.

To do so, Halff used data that was collected through surveying and geospatial technologies such as manned photogrammetry and lidar, mobile lidar, terrestrial-based lidar, UAS photogrammetry and lidar, and conventional field surveying.

TxDOT used Halff’s data to look for any abnormalities by checking the new data against data collected six months previous.


“Halff has worked hard with TxDOT to ensure we use state-of-the-art technologies and that we come up with innovative strategies to make the work we do for them more efficient, but also more cost effective.”

– Technical Leader Bill Swope (Richardson)


Mill Creek Tunnel Excavation

Mill Creek Tunnel Excavation

The Mill Creek/Peaks Branch/State Thomas Drainage Relief Tunnel project in Dallas reached the end of the excavation phase in July, when the tunnel boring machine (TBM) broke through the shaft wall

The large‑diameter TBM, nicknamed “Big Tex,” completed its 5-mile journey with 2 miles of 38.5-foot-diameter excavation and 3 miles of 32.5-foot-diameter excavation.

Big Tex was the largest hard-rock TBM in operation in the U.S. during this phase. The project’s next phase includes construction of the tunnel’s concrete liner.

Halff led the design effort for this $320 million drainage relief project, including the centerpiece Mill Creek Tunnel, which is being constructed at depths reaching 170 feet underground.

Once completed, the project will provide flood protection during the 1% annual chance flood (or 100-year flood) for nearly 2,200 commercial and residential properties in East Dallas.


“The Halff teams working together truly set this project apart. It was indeed a team effort — personnel from multiple Halff practices worked together to deliver this project, which will improve the lives of those residing in the Mill Creek and Peaks Branch areas of Dallas.”

– Vice President and Richardson Deputy Operations Manager Todd Woodson


Delta Region Water Reclamation

Delta Region water reclamation project

The Delta Reclamation project is pioneering water reclamation by reducing dependency on conventional water systems.

Working in conjunction with Hidalgo County Drainage District No. 1, the project recaptures water from hundreds of miles of drainage ditches and creates a new regional source of water while lessening water dependency on the Rio Grande.

Part of the project involves the creation of a 225-acre reservoir that not only facilitates water reclamation but helps the region with drainage.


“The Delta Region Water Reclamation is unique in the way it bridges the gap between flood mitigation and water treatment. Providing new perspectives on water reuse in order to safeguard a better future for all of our communities.”

– Civil Engineer Russell Limas (McAllen)


About the Firm

Halff is an award-winning, employee-owned, diverse and multidiscipline professional engineering firm that improves lives and communities by turning ideas into reality. For more than 70 years, Halff has provided smart solutions for clients throughout the United States. The people-first firm is committed to continuously investing in its employees and fostering a culture of collaboration.

Halff has 32 offices in Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas. The firm was recognized as the Texas & Louisiana Design Firm of the Year by the Engineering News-Record. Halff is ranked No. 85 in the latest Top 500 Design Firms rankings by ENR. Halff is the No. 15 Top Workplace nationally in 2023 as ranked by Energage for businesses with 1,000 to 2,499 employees.

For more information about Halff, visit halff.com.