Posted in Civil Engineering

Fill and Grade Work for Christmas

Recently I posted a video for my university course, Soil Mechanics: Compaction and Soil Improvement. At the beginning of the lecture I posted this Biblical reference:

There is a voice that cries;
Prepare a road for the Lord through the wilderness,
clear a highway across the desert for our God.
Every valley shall be lifted up,
every mountain and hill brought down;
rugged places shall be made smooth
and mountain-ranges become a plain.
Thus shall the glory of the Lord be revealed,
and all mankind together shall see it;
for the Lord himself has spoken. (Isaiah 40: 3-6 NEB)

Although there are many interpretations of this, the literal one is that it’s talking about is fill and grade work, especially for transportation infrastructure. It’s been a part of construction and civil engineering since ancient times; the best known evidence are the Roman roads, although there are others. One of the joys of maintaining this site is knowing that representatives of those ancient civilisations are frequent visitors to this site, keeping up the traditions of both the civilisation and the profession.

Although it’s not generally regarded as a Christmas passage, thanks in part to Handel’s Messiah it’s been associated with it. Once you make the association with fill and grade work, however, listening to this will never be quite the same.

Our Christmas wish at for you is that your civil work in 2021–fill and grade work and otherwise–and your own personal “fill and grade work” will be fruitful.


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