Page T1.3. 09 December 2009                     
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    Inspiring Infrastructure


    Light Rail in Phoenix

    The Central Phoenix/ East Valley Light Rail System links Phoenix, Tempe, and Mesa, Arizona. This 20-mile (32-kilometer) light rail system was recognized by Bentley in the rail and transit category. For the six-year, $1.4 billion project, MicroStation V8 was used for all aspects of design, with deliverables sent to the client in Autodesk DWG format.

    General engineering consultant Parsons Brinckerhoff led a group of seven primary design subconsultants and 56 sub-subconsultants to deliver the project, including contracts for seven segments of rail, six park-and-ride lots for 26 stations, one 1,500-foot- (460-meter-) long bridge, and a maintenance and storage facility.

    Bypass in Upstate New York

    The $15.2 million Route 85 Slingerlands Bypass Extension in Bethlehem, New York, was a pilot project for the New York State Department of Transportation to test the integration of automated machine-control grading and the use of Bentley technology's quantity managing capabilities.

    With transportation engineering and planning by Creighton Manning Engineering, the project involved converting three traditional intersection designs to roundabouts. The project had to take into account forested wetlands mitigation and minimize visual impact on existing businesses and residences. Bentley recognized the project for innovation in roads.

    Creighton Manning made use of MicroStation V8i 3D modeling to develop 3D digital terrain models (DTMs) and worked with the estimating software; the quantity manager capability linked the InRoads DTM features to the pay items database. The engineers report that stakeless survey (grade control) technology was particularly useful for significant earthwork. Using the DTM and GPS-based survey and machine controls, the contractor moved over 200,000 cubic meters (260,000 cubic yards) of earth in a relatively short time.

    Hydropower in Brazil

    The Brazilian government's aggressive growth plan drives the construction of the Coqueiros hydroelectric power plant. Located in Cachoeira Alta, Brazil, on the Claro River, the 90-megawatt plant that will generate energy for 650,000 people in the state of Goias.

    To design the $180 million plant on an accelerated schedule, Engevix Engenharia S.A. deployed professionals to geographically distant units, some in cities 700 miles (1,100 kilometers) apart, using ProjectWise to connect the project teams. That coordination was honored by Bentley.

    Bentley 3D tools such as MicroStation, Triforma, and PlantSpace were used to identify interferences during the development phase of the project.

    Additional Awards

    The 2009 Be Inspired Awards also included seven other categories, focused on sectors such as mining and metals, oil and gas, and water and wastewater treatment plants. The awards were announced on October 14, during Bentley's Be Inspired: Infrastructure Best Practices Symposium in Charlotte, North Carolina.

    All winning teams cited tight schedules, fewer qualified professionals, and collaboration with other project teams as challenges to project completion. True integrated project delivery seems still a distant "holy grail" to which most project teams cannot currently aspire, in spite of vendor promotional efforts in that direction.

    Given the severity of environmental challenges facing civilization and our biosphere, and the broad scope of potential direct and indirect impact of infrastructure projects, we hope future award cycles will contribute to stewardship by explicitly foregrounding environmental considerations among the selection criteria.

    The 2010 conference is planned for May 17 to 21 in Philadelphia.

    Susan Smith is the editor of AECCafe, an online news portal for the architecture, engineering, and construction industry, as well as GISCafe and GISWeekly, an online portal and weekly magazine for the geographic information systems industry. She has been writing about architecture and technology for over 15 years and resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico.   More by Susan Smith


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    ArchWeek Image

    Cut-fill gradient site map of the O'Hare International Airport modernization project in Chicago.
    Image: Courtesy CH2M Hill Extra Large Image

    ArchWeek Image

    3D rendering of the Route 85 Slingerlands Bypass Extension in Upstate New York, including project design elements integrated with a satellite photo-mapped terrain model.
    Image: Courtesy Creighton Manning Engineering

    ArchWeek Image

    Axonometric drawing of the full Slingerlands Bypass Extension.
    Image: Courtesy Creighton Manning Engineering Extra Large Image

    ArchWeek Image

    An accelerated construction schedule drove digital collaboration between geographically remote project teams working on the Coqueiros hydroelectric power plant in Cachoeira Alta, Brazil.
    Image: Courtesy Engevix Engenharia S.A. Extra Large Image


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