It’s what lies beneath that tells the whole story.


Tom Kettler

Lincoln, Nebraska


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So, we dig right in, exploring the subsurface soils, bedrock, and groundwater conditions on the project site to determine the best practices for site development for your proposed project.

At Olsson, our team of in-house experts offers a full spectrum of investigative services for your projects, from roller coasters to hydroelectric power plants. We can handle small to large-scale horizontal and vertical construction—from roadways, bridges, and dams, to convenience stores, multistory office buildings, retaining walls, and high-rise hospitals. There’s truly no project we can’t tackle.

Investigation and Design

Desktop studies

Peer reviews

Shallow and deep foundations

Slope stability, seepage, and settlement studies

Commercial, industrial, and residential developments

Utility and treatment plant infrastructure


Rail and roadway embankments, bridge foundations, and pavement design

PCI (Pavement Condition Index) studies

Dams, levees, and embankments

Elevated and at-grade towers and tanks

Lagoon investigations/percolation tests

Soldier, tangent, and secant pile wall design

Soil Nail and MSE retaining wall design

Post tensioned rock anchors

Geotechnical forensic studies

Instrumentation design and installation

In-situ testing

Geophysical surveys

Seismic site classifications (ReMI, MASW)

Thermal and electrical resistivity

Pre- and post-construction video survey


Asphalt Laboratory Services  (AASHTO and DOT accredited, USACE certified)

Asphalt Binder Content and Aggregate Gradation

Theoretical Maximum Specific Gravity

Volumetric Properties of Compacted Paving Mixes

  • Marshall
  • Superpave


Concrete, Masonry, and Cement Laboratory Services (AASHTO and DOT accredited, USACE certified)

Compressive Strength

  • Hardened concrete
    • Destructive
    • Nondestructive
  • Block and block prisms
  • Cement, mortar, and grout
  • Drilled cores and sawed beams


  • Fluid/plastic concrete, grout, and mortar
  • Hardened concrete (cores/beams)
  • Concrete masonry and related units
  • Aggregates for concrete

Flexural Strength

  • Third-point loading
  • Center-point loading
  • Splitting-tensile

Length Change of Hardened Concrete

Alkali-Silica Reactivity (ASR) Testing


Soil and Aggregate Laboratory Services (AASHTO and DOT accredited, USACE certified)

Soil Classification and Identification (USCS/Visual-Manual/AASHTO)

Atterberg Limits

Particle Size Distribution (Sieves and Hydrometer)

Specific Gravity of Soils

Moisture Content, Density, Void Ratio, and Saturation of Intact Specimens

Moisture-Density Relationship (Proctor)

  • Standard effort
  • Modified effort
  • Soil-chemical mixtures (cement, lime, fly-ash, etc.)


  • Consolidation
  • Swell
  • Collapse

Unconfined Compressive Strength

Triaxial Compression

  • Unconsolidated-undrained
  • Consolidated-undrained
  • Consolidated-drained

Direct Shear

  • Consolidated-drained

California Bearing Ratio (CBR)

Dispersive Characteristics

  • Crumb
  • Pinhole

Organic Matter

  • Organic (ash) content of soil
  • Organic impurities in aggregates


  • Flexible wall permeameter
  • Permeability of granular soils

Aggregate Quality Testing

  • Soundness – magnesium sulfate
  • Abrasion – Los Angeles
  • Specific gravity and absorption
  • Clay lumps and friable particles
  • Percentage of fractured faces
  • Lightweight particles in aggregate