Brierley Associates professionals have served in various capacities including evaluations, mapping efforts, explorations and computer modeling of rock mass behavior in the area of the former Gorsline Building at High Falls in Rochester, New York. Once associated with the boon of the industrial activity spawned by water power of the Genesee River, the Gorsline Building was converted into office space after many years of neglect. However, there have been ongoing concerns on the condition and stability of the rock mass that is exposed in the gorge wall below the northern most part of the building.
In the late 1990’s a series of rock anchors were installed as means to provide interim support to the rock mass which contains continuous and discontinuous jointing sets. As concerns of rock stability became more evident, Brierley Associates was part of a subsequent team to map the rock discontinuities and gain additional information of the gorge wall profile through a series of laser scans.
That mapping information was utilized by Brierley Associates to perform a stability analysis using SWEDGE, which is a 3D computer model that helps identify the intersection of mapped discontinuities which may result in potential rock instabilities. Further information was acquired by Brierley Associates during the making of two angle borings (45 degrees from vertical) that were located at the top of the gorge wall and adjacent to the building. Difficult access required a crane to lift the drilling platform into place. Given the anticipated condition of the rock and need to obtain cores that could be observed relatively intact, a triple tube core barrel was utilized. Although future work might include additional monitoring of the gorge wall erosion rate and building movement, the City of Rochester decided to structurally decouple the former vertical turbine structure from the main building to mitigate affects of a sudden rock slope failure.