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Signature

FALL 2016

ECONOMIC REVITALIZATION

LIBERTY ‘LEGACY’

Transforming Naval history into a vibrant new community

We Make a Difference


WE MAKE A DIFFERENCE.


FALL 2016 | ECONOMIC REVITALIZATION

03 CEO NOTE 04 IMPACT 4 Transit-Oriented Revival

Managing a complex public-private partnership to improve access, future growth in Pittsburgh’s East End

12 Bridge to Revitalization

Balancing innovation, stakeholder coordination to rehabilitate Milwaukee’s iconic Daniel Hoan Bridge

20 Liberty Legacy

Transforming Naval history into a vibrant new community

32 ACROSS THE CONTINUUM 40 INNOVATION

40 Big-Data Boom

How Michael Baker is using LiDAR to develop new data-rich structural asset management opportunities

42 LEADING CHANGE 42 A Sense of Place

Five keys to creating experiences that ensure placemaking success in your community

44 ON THE BOARDS 44 JAXIS

Designing an iconic gateway to Jacksonville

Signature Signature is published quarterly by the Corporate Communications department of Michael Baker International to showcase our full continuum of people, places, projects, innovations – and how We Make a Difference in the communities we serve around the world.

Corporate Communications Director: Brian Peiritsch Editor: Daniel Bates Art Director: Matthew Michalko Contributing Writers: Daniel Bates, Tim Hayes, Justin Falce, Christina Glenn, Claire Carrell Contributing Photographer: Terry Clark Fall 2016 © 2016 Michael Baker International. All rights reserved.

Cover photo: A restored building at the center of San Diego’s Liberty Station. Photo by Terry Clark. WINTER 2017 | SUSTAINABILITY


CEO NOTE

OUR IMPACT

ON ECONOMIC REVITALIZATION

Kurt C. Bergman | CEO Michael Baker International

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CEO NOTE

W

elcome to the first issue of our re-

This issue also looks at how we’re using LiDAR

launched quarterly magazine, Signature.

and related technologies to help communities

We’re proud to share with you some of

more effectively monitor and manage their

our signature projects that best demonstrate our

infrastructure and building assets as they face the

impact on the communities we serve – how We Make

challenges of economic sustainability and growth.

a Difference.

Our national practice lead for Planning brings her

We should take a moment to ask ourselves “why”

thought leadership to bear in this issue’s Leading

– why we do what we do, why it’s important. For

Change column as she advises communities on

most of us, it’s because it enables us to have a

how to work with economic development leaders,

direct and meaningful impact on the communities

businesses, residents, and other stakeholder

and environment in which we live and serve. Across

groups to create a more meaningful sense of place.

the continuum of our expertise and projects, our work: transforms the world; enables economies; creates healthier and more engaging cities and neighborhoods; and engineers, plans and designs the very infrastructure that sustains and improves our world. Simply stated, the work we do every day matters. We

Our “On The Boards” section, which showcases our design successes, features our JAXIS project, an innovative multi-modal transportation hub planned for Jacksonville, Florida, which was designed to serve as a catalyst for economic

Make a Difference every day with every engagement.

revitalization in the region.

The theme of this first issue is our leadership in

We’ve had some meaningful opportunities to

economic revitalization to support communities around the world. To see thousands of people living, working, shopping and enjoying San Diego Bay from a decommissioned Naval Training Center that had been transformed into a new community called Liberty Station makes us proud to have been an integral part

design, plan and navigate enormous economic revitalization transformations for the communities we have served throughout our 76-year legacy. We have amassed a dedicated team of more than 3,000 professionals who share their expertise, diverse experience, and an innovative and impassioned

of that historically significant mixed-use development.

entrepreneurial spirit to lead change.

Another

Thanks for celebrating with us the impact we

innovative

team

of

Michael

Baker

engineers helped rehabilitate the Daniel Hoan Bridge in Milwaukee, creating a bridge to economic revitalization for this important city gateway. The bridge, which carries thousands of commuters into the

make on our communities, the environment, residents, businesses and society. Thanks for giving us such transformational opportunities to make a difference.

economically vital heart of the city, threatened the area’s future after suffering from years of wear and tear. We also are honored to participate in a booming revival of Pittsburgh’s East End neighborhoods, knowing that the new East Liberty Transit Center – which we helped to enable – brings greater accessibility and development opportunities, including new businesses and housing, to a once-struggling area.

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TRANSIT ORIE NTED REVIVAL Managing a complex p u b l i c - p r i va t e p a r t n e r s h i p t o i m p r o ve a c c e s s , f u t u r e g r o w t h i n P i t t s b u r g h ’s East End

P

ittsburgh’s East Liberty neighborhood, once considered this Pennsylvania city’s thriving “second downtown,” had suffered over the years from the effects of the city leaders’ well-meaning

urban planning vision of the 1960s. As part of that vision, the planners in that decade converted a rectangular business-district street grid into a pedestrian mall with a one-way traffic circle around it. The redesign served only to isolate the business district more than it already had been while also requiring the demolition of homes and some existing businesses in the process. Other businesses fled, as did some residents. The 1980s, in an early effort to reverse the neighborhood’s fortunes, saw construction of the Martin Luther King Jr. East Busway, which used an existing railroad right of way to provide direct public transit access to downtown Pittsburgh. But it still fell short in improving the deteriorating reputation of this East End neighborhood. In time, the community would hit more than one new low as big-box stores came and went and Nabisco shuttered its old brick cracker plant.

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We Make a Difference East Liberty Transit Center development, Pittsburgh


IMPACT

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E C O N O M I C R E V I TA L I Z AT I O N

Times are changing, thanks to Google, Target, Whole

To accomplish this feat, the partnership, with Michael

Foods, The Mosites Company, Bakery Square, local

Baker’s help, had to develop an extensive plan

universities, UPMC, a residential building boom and

to relocate, expand and upgrade the site into an

a flurry of other recent renaissance activities. The key,

accessible, more welcoming transit center that would

however, could well be an overarching partnership

include: pedestrian bridges over the railroad and

that brought together government and civic leaders,

busway; new infrastructure for pedestrian/car/bicycle

universities, businesses and private developers to

traffic; a new parking structure; new residential and

create and promote a transportation-oriented solution

commercial buildings; new street designs and traffic

that should further solidify a lasting revival for this

planning; and streetscaping to improve access to the

once-proud area.

center itself.

Through this new partnership, the new East Liberty Transit Center (ELTC) development was born. This solution revolves around a critical factor in any modern urban renewal effort – improving access and connectivity. Who better to help manage such a complex development process than Michael Baker International

and

its

construction

management,

transportation and planning experts? “We believe we were chosen for this role because we cared about what they cared about,” says Michael Grosso, a project manager for Michael Baker’s construction practice who served as resident senior construction manager helping the developer to coordinate the many contract packages, design and architect teams, inspectors, owner parties and other stakeholder groups. “We became one of the strongest advocates for the success of this project.”

TRANSIT-ORIENTED DEVELOPMENT Many participants came to the initial planning table with their own perspectives, their own value propositions, their own desired outcomes, even their own sets of property rights. In response, the City of

“The Michael Baker team really was the eyes for the developer.” Dan Friday | The Mosites Company

“This is the first time the city has put an emphasis on a transit-oriented project,” says the URA’s Rebecca Schenck, who served as the city agency’s primary point of contact for the project. “Pittsburgh had been built that way with streetcars decades ago. We’re getting back to that, and it’s starting to pay off.”

Pittsburgh, its Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA),

Adds Tom Zagorski, senior vice president and

the Port Authority of Allegheny County (PAAC), Mosites

construction services practice lead for Michael Baker:

and a number of regional community development

“Certainly, we recognize the importance of a project of

organizations formed a partnership to develop this

this nature and its significance to the local community.

mixed-use transit center.

This is the revitalization of an important bus system.”

The mission: To transform the existing site of the

The ELTC footprint required demolition of an old

busway’s East Liberty commuter stop into a so-called

athletic club, portions of an existing transit station,

Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) area.

busway infrastructure, an existing city street, a drivethrough bank and two older pedestrian bridges.

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IMPACT

It promised some disruption to the East Liberty

MANAGING A SHARED MISSION

neighborhood, but also promised significant benefits

The large number of organizations invested in

in the long run. The

project

the success of the ELTC also meant that careful received

Transportation

partial

Investment

funding

Generating

from

a

Economic

Recovery (TIGER) grant from the Federal Transit Administration. It received additional funding from

coordination of schedules, budget, safety, community relations and quality would become paramount. Ultimately, Michael Baker was selected as construction manager to orchestrate the overall project.

public-private coalition Eastside Limited Partnership

III, as well as from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Pennsylvania Department of Community and

Economic

Development,

the

Southwestern

Pennsylvania Commission, the Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group, Allegheny County, East Liberty Development Inc., the Pittsburgh Parking Authority, several charitable foundations, and a number of banks and private investors.

“Our job included tasks such as assisting the owner/ client team with implementing funding source management guidelines,” Grosso says. “There are very strict boundaries when it comes to federal funds. We helped build the project to budget while meeting various performance metrics and managing change orders to meet scope requirements. Michael Baker enjoys a great local reputation for construction management, and a high understanding of managing a federally funded project with all of the nuances and rules related to that funding.”

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Dan Friday, project manager for The Mosites Companies

Michael Baker’s Mike Grosso, left, and Tom Zagorski

The project’s

from local businesses

developer, The Mosites Company, agrees.

and the nearby residential areas of East Liberty and

“Mike and I were out here when they were doing the midnight concrete pours,” says Dan Friday, a project manager for Mosites, in describing their partnership in overseeing the project. “We were in the trenches together. The Michael Baker team really was the eyes for the developer to ensure that the project was being installed and delivered as planned. There were lots of

neighboring Shadyside.

KEEPER OF THE BIGGER VISION Perhaps not surprisingly, the challenges inherent in carrying out such a large project with so many interested and invested parties could mount easily and rapidly. But here again, Michael Baker’s experience and expertise

moments where [the team] ‘fought the fight’ for quality.”

kept those challenges in check, according to Grosso.

Michael Baker’s primary role consisted of providing

“An integrated project like this uses different design

comprehensive

on-site

construction

management

services for the transit-oriented development project. Services included: construction inspection; utility and stakeholder coordination; integrated master scheduling; contract schedule analysis and monitoring; contract administration; budget monitoring; independent cost estimating; claim prevention and support services during change-order

negotiations;

third-party

agreement

reviews and impact assessments; problem prevention and resolution; and communications controls. The Michael Baker team also participated as contract manager with the owner’s contractors and designers with upgrades and modifications to local streets and intersections, such as improving access, safety, and business development through signalization, architecturally aesthetic pavement treatments, and landscaping to encourage pedestrian traffic to and

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teams that have to work in a cohesive effort,” Grosso explains. “With variables like that in play, it’s easy to get busy with everyday matters. But our job always was to keep in mind what the project was going to look like down the road. Michael Baker’s job was to make sure designers’ ideas and plans matched up, to prevent future issues and costs by being very thorough construction managers. Michael Baker also focused on managing safety across the project. “We made sure all of the contractors had safety programs in place,” Grosso says. “We paid great attention

to

immediately on the job.”

safety, in

addressing

cooperation

with

any our

problems partners


E C O N O M I C R E V I TA L I Z AT I O N

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IMPACT

Of course, like most complex development projects,

U.S. could handle it. The cost became prohibitive, so

this one generated its share of unanticipated

we went with an alternate design. We also had wanted

challenges. As part of the existing busway underwent

concrete pavers but learned they would require too

demolition, project engineers had trouble locating a

many replacements, so we went with an adapted design.

water line which they knew was under the roadway but

We had to look at long-term costs at every step.”

for which no documentation could be found. At one point, work crews accidentally hit the line, and they

A ‘MODEL’ APPROACH

projected that repairing it would create additional

Today, as the ELTC and related development efforts

traffic problems around the location for a few days. “The Mayor’s office called and said we can’t hold up traffic this way,” Grosso recalls. “So we worked with our partners to find a supplier of a concrete mix that would set in three hours. They did the work overnight, and the road opened the next day. That’s the kind of quick

near completion, this six-acre, $90 million mixed commercial and residential TOD development already is providing a direct link from residences and businesses to the MLK Busway and Downtown Pittsburgh. It sports a new apartment complex with 360 units, a 554-space parking facility, a 120-space bicycle shelter,

problem-solving we managed all through this project.”

and 43,000 square feet of retail and landscaped space,

With PAAC owning one side of the property along

shopping, university, and residential establishments.

the busway, and others owning the facing side, agreements and coordination of plans needed to be carefully determined so that the pedestrian bridge, for example, could be built in proper fashion to meet in the same place in the middle. Also, the contract structure allowed design to be done in phases, reducing change orders, with sequential bids helping to coordinate who takes on which phases, depending on funds available. Michael Baker maintained a sense of continuity throughout the entire project on issues like these, Grosso says. “We tried to be a lot more than a guy with a clipboard taking pictures,” says Grosso. “Our partners were great, working in the same spirit to help everybody think through issues. From Michael Baker’s viewpoint, we had to always remember that we’re not building it,

tying together a renaissance of commercial, office,

360 554 120 43,000

HOUSING UNITS

PARKING SPACES

-SPACE BIKE SHELTER SQ. FT. RETAIL

“ELTC is a model for public/private partnerships,” says Grosso. “A transit agency, various city agencies, private developers, all coming together for the greater good –

we’re not funding it, we’re the ones making sure it all

we would love to clone this approach.”

happens and it all fits.”

“The new center serves a more dispersed mixed-

Michael Baker’s team also worked with the partners

income population,” adds the URA’s Schenck. “The

throughout the process to navigate budget issues and

site is much more welcoming now. People feel safer.”

keep costs down.

That sentiment is borne out by PAAC ridership results

“We had put ELTC out for bid, and it came back $2

already documented since the ELTC opened.

million over budget, so we joined [Michael] Baker to go back to revisit the specifics,” says the URA’s Schenck. “For example, the pedestrian bridge originally had glass walls, and only one provider in the

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The approach to the transit center’s Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza

RIDERSHIP RESULTS • Ridership has increased 19.5 percent in one year at the new ELTC center. • Transit ridership at bus stops within a quarter-mile walking distance of the ELTC has increased 5.25 percent in one year. • 24 one-way weekday trips have been added, with 12 added on Saturdays and eight on Sundays. • Increases in transit use, plus walking and bicycle trips in and around the ELTC, are forecasted to reduce vehicle miles traveled (VMT) by nearly 650,000 each year, reducing congestion and improving air quality.

Says Friday, himself a city resident, of this transitoriented development as it nears completion: “It adds so much value to the community. It makes people want to come down and live in the city.” Why has the ELTC succeeded as it has? As Grosso puts it, “The ELTC has added to the idea of having the whole area share an identity.” The development, Grosso says, offers a brighter, safer environment that functions well as a center for movement and access. As a greater number of younger people move into East Liberty to take advantage of technology startups and other career opportunities happening there, they will be more apt to use public transit. And the ELTC creates more opportunities for retail and residential development. “This is very important to what Pittsburgh is and what Michael Baker is,” Grosso says. “It’s happening in our back yard. We have people who work and live here. That was important to the client, and that’s what made it important to all of us at Michael Baker, too.”

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E C O N O M I C R E V I TA L I Z AT I O N

Pittsburgh City Councilman Dan Gilman agrees. “The public-private partnership behind the multimodal East Liberty Transit Center transformed a previously dangerous, car-centric swath of land into a more pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly entrance to the busway,” Gilman says. “The transit-oriented development and streetscape improvements surrounding the East Liberty Transit Center have led to a denser, human-scale environment in this important corridor.” And that means a better quality of life for residents of many East End neighborhoods of Pittsburgh. “Improving quality of life – this is what Michael Baker does,” adds Zagorski, who grew up in Pittsburgh’s East End neighborhood of Oakland and has witnessed the area’s dramatic transformation in recent years. “Making places more desirable is what gives our team the motivation to do the best job it can for the communities it serves.” •

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“Improving quality of life – this is what Michael Baker does.” Tom Zagorski | Michael Baker International

BICYCLE BLISS

Cyclists pedaling to the East Liberty Transit Center will have a trendy, state-of-the-art bike shelter within which to park their bikes and ride into the city. Known by some as The Nest, this enclosed two-level bike rack sits right alongside the Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza, a pedestrian bridge and gathering place at the transit center. The bike shelter has played a prominent role in the development of the transit center, as well as the surrounding mixed-use development, according to Mike Grosso, a project manager with Michael Baker International. He says it served as a key attraction for funding grants from the state and federal governments.

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ofAT BillUBedell, Wisconsin 1Photo 2 /courtesy SIGN R E - FA L L 2 0 1 6Department of Transportation


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BRIDGE TO

REVITALIZATION Michael Baker balances innovation, stakeholder coordination to rehabilitate Milwaukee’s iconic Hoan Bridge

M

ilwaukee’s iconic, picture-perfect Daniel Hoan Bridge not only connects the Port of Milwaukee with Interstate 794, it also serves as a primary commuter route into the city for 42,000 vehicles a

day. The bridge is a dramatic gateway to Milwaukee’s historic Third Ward and Maier Festival Park – home to Summerfest and ethnic festivals drawing more than 1 million visitors annually. The Hoan Bridge served the city well for most of its 40 years. However, four decades of steady traffic and changing weather took their toll, leaving the two-mile-long bridge and adjacent roadway badly deteriorated and in dire need of rehabilitation. So how would the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) replace 34,000 cubic yards of deck concrete, install 11 million pounds of deck-reinforcing steel and repaint 1.5 million square feet of bridge infrastructure without virtually shutting down the city and its nearby shipping port in the process? WisDOT in 2011 ultimately turned to a team of surface transportation engineers from Michael Baker International in Wisconsin, in partnership with engineering firm GRAEF, a sub-consultant, to address those issues and help lead this complex project. The Michael Baker team served as the lead engineering consultant on what would become a $193 million construction project for the region.

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Other

awards

include:

ACI

Notable Projects of Milwaukee; and Daily Reporter - Top projects of 2015. “We’re honored by the accolades,” Zinn says.

CHALLENGES FROM THE START For those involved with the project, though, December 2015 likely seemed a distant aspiration, given the many challenges that had to be addressed throughout the life of the project. The Hoan Bridge, built originally in the mid-1970s, provides a key link in southeast Wisconsin’s transportation

network

by

connecting I-794 in downtown The project, which began in 2011, was completed in December 2015. “The Hoan Bridge is an iconic structure that plays an important role in the region’s transportation infrastructure, and our team knew we would need to bring the company’s full continuum of innovative solutions to bear on this project,” says Kent Zinn, vice president and office executive for Michael Baker’s Wisconsin operations. “We delivered on that challenge by minimizing disruptions during construction and introducing engineering innovations that can stand the test of time.” Such issues didn’t go unnoticed. The project recently earned Michael Baker the “Best of the State Award for Structural Systems” from the American Council of Engineering Companies Wisconsin for the team’s work on the bridge and roadway project, and a 2016 “Excellence in Highway Design Award for Consultant Structure Design” from WisDOT for the project.

Milwaukee to the Lake Freeway across

the

Milwaukee

River.

Following repairs for a past major failure and multiple previous rehabilitation projects, the Michael Baker team had to quickly develop a long-term solution to keep this critical route open for business, according to Chad Halverson, PE, who served as the deputy project manager for Michael Baker on the project. “The Hoan Bridge is a complex steel structure made up of nearly 50 individual units, including a steel-tied arch, post-tensioned box girders, steel plate girder and girder-stringer-floor beam spans,” says Halverson of the complexity of the original design. Moreover, the bridge crosses 120 feet over the Milwaukee River Harbor inlet, where large cargo ships traverse frequently. And it spans the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewage District (MMSD) and port terminal, which includes several railroad lines as well as significant crane activity to load and unload freight. The Michael Baker-led project team had to coordinate with the port, its tenants, MMSD and even the U.S.

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Coast Guard to establish a staged-construction approach to the work to minimize disruptions as sub-contractors attempted to safely and efficiently execute the work. “Though

the

daunting stakeholders

project

with

was

multiple

involved,

the

team handled it professionally and

efficiently,”

says

Brian

Kasprzyk, field engineer with the Port of Milwaukee. “They were very receptive to our needs at the port. We appreciate the team’s effort in successfully completing this massive project with minimal disruption to daily operations at the Port of Milwaukee.”

BRIDGING STAKEHOLDER INTERESTS Coordination with stakeholders during the design process also contributed to helping construction proceed smoothly, Halverson says. Members of the project team conducted more than 80 stakeholder meetings during the planning process to discuss elements ranging from construction impacts to project aesthetics. Proactive coordination, for instance, allowed the Milwaukee Public Market, a unique year-round indoor specialty food market located under the east-west structures, to maintain parking and remain open for business throughout the duration of construction. The festival grounds, located directly adjacent to a portion of the bridge, represented the biggest coordination challenge, Halverson suggests, in terms of both design and construction since the site’s many festivals throughout the year attract more than a million visitors.

The Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) and Wisconsin Coach, which provide for festival attendees

non-stop

access

to

grounds,

required

additional

and

from

the

coordination

to

identify viable detour routes to ensure unimpeded operations. Major demolition also required extensive stakeholder coordination. The project, which encompassed nearly 100 structure units (equivalent to 18.5 lane miles), involved substantial repairs on numerous structures and structure types, so time-sensitive and precision advanced planning, while a major challenge, became critical. The Michael Bakerled team delivered the preliminary and final designs of this major rehabilitation project in only 17 months, versus typical delivery time for this scale of project of two to three years. This included more than 3,200 final design drawing sheets completed in only nine months.

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“ Our team knew

we would need to bring the company’s full continuum of solutions to bear on this project.”

Kent Zinn | Michael Baker International

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WASTEWATER CONSIDERATIONS

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• Movable concrete barriers (MCB) – In its

Given the proximity of the bridge to the MMSD’s Jones Island Water Reclamation Facility, the Michael Baker team also had to navigate the potential for problems at the facility caused by demolition, construction, stormwater design, painting and other challenges. The team found success there as well.

inaugural use in Milwaukee, this approach maintained two peak direction lanes in the peak periods. MCB minimized impacts to the traveling public during peak rush-hour traffic volumes by allowing the number of traffic lanes to be adjusted to match daily traffic patterns, reducing user delays and impacts as well as the

“The Hoan Bridge project had significant potential to impact operations on the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District’s Jones Island Water Reclamation Facility and sanitary sewers,” notes Debra Jenson of the MMSD. “Early in the planning process, Wisconsin’s Department of Transportation recognized the issues and proactively worked with MMSD to make sure our efforts to protect public health were not adversely impacted, especially since the Jones Island facility sits directly under the Hoan Bridge.”

potential for crashes and injuries. • Staged-construction approach – The staging was critical to meet the project’s aggressive schedule and received enthusiastic public acceptance. The use of MCB minimized the projected peak-hour delays and queue lengths. These reductions were critical given the twoyear construction time frame for the project and the need to maximize access to the many lakefront events.

By working together, the project team minimized impacts to:


• Stainless steel reinforcement – A Wisconsin first for a project of this size, 11 million

• Wastewater

treatment

at

Jones

Island,

Wisconsin’s largest water reclamation facility.
 • Worker protection from falling construction debris and paint overspray.


pounds of stainless steel reinforcement were used in the new decks, to effect lower future maintenance costs, a longer deck life and lower life-cycle costs. Most bridge decks include epoxy-coated steel reinforcing bars to resist

• Wastewater from storm sewer cleaning on the

corrosion introduced by chloride ions from

bridge, discharging it into MMSD’s sewers to be

de-icing chemicals. Although stainless steel

cleaned at the district’s treatment facilities and

reinforcement has a higher initial cost than

therefore protecting area waterways.


epoxy-coated reinforcement, recent studies

• Maintenance equipment access by designing special access paths to MMSD facilities that supported the equipment. • Truck traffic ability to reach Jones Island during construction.


metallurgic structure of the steel. • Light Detection & Ranging (LiDAR) – Used to collect and process bridge component data, defined the scope of needed repairs while minimizing traffic disruption and saving time

To successfully reconstruct the bridge, the project team challenged itself and its stakeholders to create a plan that balanced the project needs with stakeholder concerns. To do so, the project several

resistance to corrosion by virtue of the

this geospatial information technology better

INNOVATION APPLIED

incorporated

have shown that it provides more consistent

technical

and

and money. 
 “Through the use of multiple structural engineering technologies and techniques, this project captures

material

innovations, including the following:

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the spirit of engineering innovation,” says Terry Bay, an awards judge with the American Council of Engineering Companies Wisconsin, upon Michael Baker’s winning of the “Best of State Award” for the bridge project. “The project stands out because of its complexities in project construction and its dynamic approach to maintaining the accessibility of a major transportation link.”

GIVING BACK TO MILWAUKEE In addition to the planning, design and construction innovations, the project also included the incorporation of innovative stormwater quality best management practices for the removal of pollutants from highway runoff. As part of that effort, the new designs called for the rehabilitation of existing stormwater treatment units and added more than 100 enhanced catch basins. Additionally, the team worked with the City of Milwaukee and the Historic Third Ward Association to provide bridge and wall aesthetics, landscaping and decorative street lighting. The project also included construction of a raised-platform stage, amphitheater seating, landscaped retaining walls, programmable lawn space, plantings, connections to the Milwaukee River Walk and a central sculpture garden. Overall, the project: mitigated safety concerns; reduced congestion; improved emergency response time and travel reliability; supported freight and commerce throughout the process; and expanded public transit access. “We had been working as a consultant with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation for fewer than 10 years, so this project says a lot about the kind of reputation we have built there in a very short time,” says John Dietrick, senior vice president and highway and bridge national practice lead at Michael Baker. “This was a real success for us.” •

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LIBERTY ‘LEGACY’ I

Tr a n s fo r m i n g N a va l history into a vibrant new community f you drive into San Diego’s Liberty Station through the northern gate and aren’t paying attention, you quite possibly could pass the historic mission-style sentry buildings, carved stone trim work and

ornamental iron entry arch without even noticing the sign. This unremarkable billboard to the left of the entry drive projects from the top of a tall, single blue pole above the sentry roof and into the southern California sun. But its straightforward message might very well sum up this community’s transformation – and Michael Baker International’s prominent role in supporting it – better than any National Register of Historic Places placard. It states, simply: “The future depends on what you do today.” An apt message, perhaps, for many of the estimated 1.75 million young U.S. sailors who entered through that gate between 1923 and 1997 to receive training at what was once the 360-acre U.S. Naval Training Center (NTC) along San Diego Bay. The sign, whose origin on the base remains a bit of a mystery, seems to speak just as profoundly today to Michael Baker and others involved in planning and developing the NTC property’s future after the U.S. Navy decided to close the training center and turn it over to the City of San Diego.

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We Make a Difference Northern entrance into Liberty Station


IMPACT

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Fountain in a public plaza within Liberty Station

Today, that future – as a massive mixed-use historical

the Navy, in collaboration with the city, historical

development with residential areas, business offices,

societies, economic development agencies, arts

retail shops, restaurants, hotels, schools, a mega-

organizations and other interested stakeholders, to

church, arts organizations, a public golf course,

determine re-use of what the city considered prime

publicly accessible promenades and a 46-acre public

real estate along the bay, at the edge of Point Loma.

waterfront park – has never looked so good.

In fact, the development sits directly across the bay

“What’s most significant about this project,” says Rob Gehrke, a vice president of

channel from San Diego International Airport, with the city’s skyline only a few miles beyond that.

Michael Baker based in San Diego and

Eventually, the Michael Baker team of engineers

project manager for the Liberty Station

would participate in determining which historical

project, “is that we took this major piece

buildings to keep. They would map existing

of San Diego’s and the country’s history

“horizontal” infrastructure and conduct hazardous

and preserved the integrity of its past

materials surveys. And they would wrestle with

while providing for the region a dynamic

challenges such as stabilizing the soil and complying

economic boost. Today, it’s

with Americans with Disabilities Act regulations while

a

thriving

development

that attracts thousands of residents and visitors. It

has

become

a

having to preserve original sidewalks and curbs, among other major infrastructure considerations.

SOMETHING FOR EVERYBODY It certainly didn’t transform overnight, though.

local hotspot.”

To help move the project forward, Michael Baker Engineers

22 /

who

later

engineers developed a public participation program

of

to share with the community the benefits of a Navy

Michael Baker worked on

family housing development on the property and

the project from as early

ultimately worked with the Navy to select the right

as

builder for that job.

would

become

1992.

S I G N AT U R E - FA L L 2 0 1 6

They

part

helped


E C O N O M I C R E V I TA L I Z AT I O N

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IMPACT

“We were asked to become members of a Navy

stormwater treatment train approach aimed at

technical advisory board, and we performed studies

cleaning the stormwater before entering into San

and made recommendations for the best use of the

Diego Bay.

property,” Gehrke says of the engineering team.

distinct considerations for residential, education,

The district mapping would require

“We helped to facilitate the Navy’s agenda, and that housing development is a beautiful project today.”

“Today, it’s a thriving development that attracts thousands…”

Then in 1995, two years before the NTC’s final closure, the Navy transferred the remainder of the property to the city through an economic development conveyance. The city’s ultimate plan, according to Gehrke, was an extensive redevelopment effort that would honor historic designations, limit changes to historic infrastructure and remap the base into seven separate districts.

Rob Gehrke | Michael Baker International

The first order of business, he says, was to conduct a master grading study for NTC to set the stage

arts groups, commercial, hotels and public spaces,

for the “unitization” and redevelopment, with

all packaged in a way that would blend well

stormwater issues creating one of the greatest

with the character of the existing adjacent Point

development challenges. The stormwater quality

Loma community.

had to be approved by the California Coastal which

required

an

extensive

61 9

LIB ER TY STA TIO N

FER R Y

TO HO

COU RTYARD S AN D IEG O

TE LS

HOM EWOO D SUITE S

Commission,

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C

B

A

09 4

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03 5

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19 5

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TO 5 FREW E AY

03 7

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03 6

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VON S

02 9

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Drawing of San Diego’s 360-acre Liberty Station development

ROSECRAN S

We Make a Difference

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S I G N AT U R E - FA L L 2 0 1 6


Michael Baker played a key role in developing soil compaction, grading, stormwater systems and other infrastructure for Liberty Station’s 350-home residential district.

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IMPACT

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E C O N O M I C R E V I TA L I Z AT I O N

feet of space; a waterfront hotel district; a retail and restaurant area utilizing at least 27 historic buildings; and 125 acres of public open space, including a waterfront “Esplanade” and a nine-hole executive golf course. Numerous maps showcase the grand plan. A giant threedimensional

model

of

the

development adorns the marble entryway of McMillin Companies’ corporate headquarters office, Michael Baker’s Rob Gehrke, project manager

Mark McMillin, president and CEO of Liberty Station developer Corky McMillin Companies

which anchors Liberty Station’s business district. Nothing brings the plan to life today like a drive through the actual development,

The city awarded the NTC Redevelopment Project

where thousands of people now live, work, shop, splash

to local developer Corky McMillin Companies and

in the public fountains, stroll and otherwise take in views

entered into a disposition-of-development agreement

of the nearby airport, cityscape, bridge to Coronado

with the developer to make sure the project adhered

Island and passing ships on the bay.

to the strict parameters that had been established in the exhaustive re-use plan. “Our company’s integrity and reputation enabled us to win this project,” says a broad-shouldered, animated Mark McMillin, president and CEO of Corky McMillin Companies and son of the late Corky McMillin, who drove this project in its early phases. “My dad loved challenges. We looked at this as a family legacy. We’re very happy with how it’s turning out.” The city’s vision for this redevelopment site – and ultimately, McMillin Companies’ plan – called for seven distinct districts within the boundaries of Liberty Station, including the following: the NTC Promenade, a 28-acre parcel that includes 26 historical buildings for arts and cultural organizations; a 22-acre educational district that includes a technology-focused high school, “Maker’s Foundry,” grade school and private churchrun school; a 37-acre residential district with 350 single-family and multi-family homes; an office district with seven Class A office buildings and 380,000 square

WAR ROOM IN BUILDING 23 What the maps, models and current hustle and bustle of a now-vibrant showcase community don’t reveal, though, are the seemingly countless hidden challenges – many literally underground – that tested the expertise, experience and problem-solving abilities of the Michael Baker team and others throughout this long redevelopment journey. Following the Michael Baker team’s initial work with the Navy, McMillin Companies then hired the team to serve as the master engineer on the project, beginning in 1999, with a site development plan incorporating an estimated $130 million in required infrastructure improvements. “It was a classic land redevelopment project,” Gehrke says. “We worked for the developer on the implementation side and had to deal with land issues such as grading, drainage, utilities, Americans with Disabilities Act compliance, roads, traffic improvements and bad soil. Technically, it presented many challenging issues for us to resolve.”

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SHOWCASE

That’s where a historic structure known as Building 23 played a catalyzing role. Gehrke affectionately refers to that building, which is located within the heart of Liberty Station’s historic retail district, as the War Room. There, he and a team consulted daily with

the

developer

subcontractors

on

and a

numerous

long

list

of

infrastructure issues and unforeseen buried obstacles.

“We lived and breathed the project there for about seven years.” Rob Gehrke | Michael Baker International

The Michael Baker team also prepared the master grading studies to establish the concept to systematically design and construct the 360-acre development. Driving the grading studies were the challenges associated with both the constraints of existing gravity-based storm drains and sewers on flat ground. “Through

our

creative

efforts,

we

were able to eliminate the sewer injector pumps, which gained Coastal Commission support and would require less ongoing maintenance,” Gehrke says. Adds McMillin of the Building 23 team: “We had some great consultants. We couldn’t do this without our consultants. The [Michael Baker] guys are the best in San Diego.”

PRESERVATION CHALLENGES How do you comply with crosswalk-related Americans with Disabilities Act requirements when historic preservation restrictions dictate leaving, as is, original sidewalks and curbs that rise as much as four feet above the road surfaces? Engineering an infrastructure plan amidst such conflicting parameters can create some formidable challenges, as Michael Baker International’s Liberty Station development team discovered time and time again. But the team prevailed. • Michael Baker’s innovative crosswalk solution? “Raised crosswalks,” says Rob Gehrke, a vice president of Michael Baker in its San Diego office and project manager of its Liberty Station development project. The team designed large crosswalks that match the height of the sidewalks while creating gradual but easily navigable speedbump-like humps across the roadway. • The plan also called for preservation of the lengthy columned promenades, as well as the grassy plazas, all running from block to block between the old barracks buildings. Still, local fire codes dictated accessibility through those plazas. Rather than design paved fire lanes through the plazas, though, the Michael Baker team combined sidewalks with grassy areas that could accommodate the weight of firetrucks and then added a concrete berm through the grass to delineate the fire lane. • Demolition teams recycled nearly 100,000 tons of building rubble, which was used as a pavement base for new roads. This reduced the amount of materials sent to the local landfill.

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IMPACT

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E C O N O M I C R E V I TA L I Z AT I O N

MICHAEL BAKER’S IMPACT Michael Baker International’s engineering team provided the following, among other services, for the Liberty Station project:

WAR ROOM CHALLENGES To a large extent, “unforeseen challenges” defined much of the infrastructure development efforts, given the property’s 74-year history. “It took a lot of time and energy as we ran into ‘unforeseen conditions’ throughout the duration of the project,” Gehrke says of those obstacles. “Records were poor, and we had lots of undocumented utilities, hydrology issues and soil problems. But we figured out how to solve them and moved forward.” For instance, as Gehrke describes it, a “severely undersized” storm drain system ran down from the

• Plot mapping, plans, staking and design

Point Loma community through the Liberty Station

• Grading design which incorporated the soil stabilization methods

engineering

• Stormwater drainage systems • Tidal and stormwater management modeling • Building permit facilitation

property at more than full capacity, according to studies

conducted

on

the

drainage

system. That was to be expected. What the team hadn’t anticipated was the discovery of a 30-inch trunk sewer running perpendicular through that same drainage system. The team’s solution: Design a new storm drain system connecting to the existing outfalls at

• Hazardous materials surveys

the waterfront, which runs along the edge of the property.

• Land use analysis

The property’s soil presented its own complications. It

• Park design and engineering

turns out that the property originally was considered

• Street and traffic improvements

tidelands and had been built up with deposits that had

• Water quality improvements • Served on the Navy’s Technical Advisory Board • Public outreach

been dredged from San Diego Bay. That left the low-lying property susceptible to “liquefaction,” a phenomenon triggered by excess water or earthquakes that cause the ground to react like quicksand. To effectively build on that land, Gehrke says, the team (which included a soils engineering company), had to devise solutions to provide “deep dynamic compaction” of the soil by dropping 150-ton weights systematically across the soil, particularly in the residential district where the developer planned to build the 350 row homes, townhomes and multi-family homes. The Michael Baker team also performed the supporting engineering for the construction of the specific home sites. Ultimately, the new homes became a hit in the local market and were honored with numerous awards.

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SHOWCASE

This represents one of many public promenades running along Liberty Wewith Make a Difference Station’s historic retail/commercial district, original sidewalks still intact.

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IMPACT

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E C O N O M I C R E V I TA L I Z AT I O N

Among other obstacles: The design team had to work around existing jet fuel lines that ran through the length of the property, as well as a 69 kv electrical distribution line. The team also had to work around the FAA middlemarker and airport strobe lights that were on the property. They had to remain powered and undisturbed at all times to provide aircraft guidance and assist pilots with landing their aircrafts at San Diego International Airport’s nearby runways.

350 46

HOUSING UNITS -ACRE GREEN SPACE

Recently, in fact, the Liberty Public Market opened for business inside a sprawling historic building across the street from Building 23, resembling the likes of the famous Reading Terminal in downtown Philadelphia and Faneuil Hall Marketplace in Boston. “During the many years of design, we often walked the site to note existing conditions,” Gehrke says of the new public market and the swarming pedestrian traffic around it during a typical weekday. “We always tried to envision the final product and what success might look like. It’s great now to see the vibrancy of people going to the public market and living here.” Developer’s model

LIVING LEGACY Today, families live in all 350 housing units. Classrooms in the education district foster technology and creativity. The Rock Church attracts upwards of 12,000 attendees to its worship services weekly and many

Still, 14 years later, the redevelopment effort continues, with ongoing guidance from Michael Baker. A large cinema currently is being built, and Mark McMillin says his family’s company is contemplating plans to transform another section of historic barracks buildings and promenades on the northern end of the site into a trendy boutique hotel.

kids to its K-12 school. The waterfront park, called

On the southern end, closest to the bay, a large

the Esplanade, swarms with walkers, bicyclists, and

pedestrian bridge connects to another parcel, where

parents with young children all along the 46-acre

excavators and bulldozers currently prepare the land

green space. The retail district houses a large grocery

– another Liberty Station parcel mapped out and

store, hardware store and a series of boutiques within

planned initially with guidance from Michael Baker –

its arcades, which are connected by long and public

for additional hotels and conference facilities.

promenades and central plazas.

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E C O N O M I C R E V I TA L I Z AT I O N

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IMPACT

Gehrke, serving as a tour guide one recent spring afternoon as he drove a group around Liberty Station on an oversized golf cart, beamed as he pointed out landmarks, greenspace, grassy fire lanes and of course the people, seemingly everywhere, from one Liberty Station district to the next. Says Gehrke: “It’s very satisfying to have been part of a team that helped transform this property into this very successful redevelopment project.” •

Liberty Station’s Liberty Public Market

Liberty Station’s 46-acre Esplanade

We Make a Difference

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Photo courtesy of Gretchen Johnson

W

hen

Engineering News-Record’s

the

roof

of

a

historic U.S. Navy blimp

BEST OF THE BEST SMALL PROJECT

hangar in Tustin, Calif.

The hangar was built at the former

– a building considered one of the

Marine Corps Air Station in Tustin for

largest wood frame structures in the

the Navy in 1943 to house a fleet of

world – partially collapsed, engineers

reconnaissance blimps and planes. The

from Michael Baker International devised a clever solution to stabilize the building from the outside. That solution continues to win the company professional accolades. Engineering News Record awarded the company the

engineering project achievement from the Orange County Engineering Council.

structure has been included on the National Register of Historic Places since 1975 and continues to await possible redevelopment ahead as part of an urban destination development that would include the land surrounding the hangar.

Best of the Best Small Project Award for its emergency stabilization design using steel crane towers and cable rigging on the outside of the structure. The trade publication’s California branch also awarded the company

“We helped to preserve a piece of history.”

a “Best Small Project Award” for the work. Michael Baker also recently won the following: a historic

The

renovation project of the year award from the American

development vision alive. Says Kurt Bergman, CEO of

Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Orange County;

Michael Baker: “We helped to preserve a piece of history.”

small project of the year from ASCE Los Angeles; and

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S I G N AT U R E - FA L L 2 0 1 6

stabilization

project

has

helped

keep

that


ACROSS THE CONTINUUM

(I N L A N D) EMPIRE-BUILDING How do you get 26 contiguous

of

unincorporated communities – with

land use changes across this

more than 2 million total residents

sprawling and diverse region

– to come together over a two-year

and economic development to

period and map out a unified future

mass

that fosters growth and development

infrastructure

for an entire region? You identify

business retention, among other

your many stakeholders, buy lots

considerations. Stakeholder groups

of flip charts and Post-It® notepads

include elected officials, business

– and bring in the community

leaders and residents.

planning experts of Michael Baker

community

needs,

transportation,

from

Helping San Bernard ino County, C a l i f. , navigat e its futur e

tourism,

challenges,

and

region

of

California’s

‘Inland

Empire.’” Says

James

Ramos,

chairman

of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors: “Michael

Susan Harden, national practice

Baker’s

complex process.

lead for Michael Baker’s planning

and expertise in both community

practice,

planning

That’s what officials from San

“coordinate the complex process

engagement

Bernardino County in southern

of assessing needs, engaging

optimal choice for this important

California

the residents of each unique

exercise, one of the largest of its

a

community in a meaningful way,

kind in county history.”

resident-driven blueprint for the

and preparing a system of plans

region’s future. The process calls

designed to capitalize on the

for

opportunities

International to coordinate the entire

they

did

decided

an

recently to

integrated

when

develop

assessment

says

her

in

team

this

will

collaborative and

approach stakeholder

made

them

the

diverse

SMOOT H LAN DING

P

lanes now have another runway on which to land at Chicago O’Hare International Airport, following the opening of new Runway 10R-28L. An engineering team

that included Michael Baker International designed the runway. Company experts oversaw the development and implementation of an engineering plan for the runway’s pavement geometry and its approach lighting systems. Michael Baker also provided engineering services for a series of projects enabling the development of the runway, such as relocation of a fence, a south airfield guard post and taxiway tie-ins. The runway is part of an $8 billion infrastructure investment at the airport.

We Make a Difference

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ACROSS THE CONTINUUM

E V E RY T H I N G YO U E V E R WA N T E D TO K N O W A B O U T U . S . B R I D G E S

D

iehard bridge enthusiasts now have the perfect tool to learn everything they ever wanted to learn about the bridges they’re crossing – as they’re crossing them. A new mobile app offered free by Michael Baker International uses GPS

technology and data from the Federal Highway Administration National Bridge Inventory data base to pinpoint bridges along a given driving route. Called iUSBridges, the app shares many bridge details and even allows users to give feedback. A team of engineers from Michael Baker’s Geospatial Information Technology practice developed the tool to assist the company’s bridge engineers. Michael Baker also offers a more advanced version for bridge engineers. Go to http://iusbridges.mbakerintl.com for more

information or find both the free and pro apps on the App Store.

WTS INTERNATIONAL HONOR

W

omen in Transportation Seminar (WTS) International, following a highly competitive selection process, has named Kirsten Bowen, department manager of Michael Baker International’s highway

practice, the organization’s 2016 Member of the Year. Bowen is an active WTS member from Michael Baker’s Cleveland office. “We are so thrilled at this selection because we know that you have worked so hard for WTS and deserve this recognition,” Marcia Ferranto, president and CEO of WTS International, which supports women professionals in the transportation industry, stated in a letter to Bowen. “The process was very competitive, and we are excited to have you accept this award in Austin.”

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ACROSS THE CONTINUUM

AWARD -WIN N I NG CITY COR R I DO R

C

ommuters driving into Pittsburgh, Pa., via the Route 28 corridor from the city’s northeastern suburbs today share a transformed experience, thanks to Michael Baker International,

in partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. Michael Baker’s work on the project earned the partnership a Grand Conceptor Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies of Pennsylvania earlier this year. The once-narrow, accident-prone stretch of congestive roadway lined with old buildings and a historic church has become a wider, streamlined highway into the city’s North Side. Today, it offers

B I G E ASY B O O ST

S uppo rt ing N G 9-1 -1 in O rle ans Paris h

T

he Orleans Parish Communication District

(OPCD)

Geographic

and

Louisiana

Information

Center

have turned to Michael Baker International to

help

emergency

them

upgrade

response

their

9-1-1

operations

and

prepare for the federally mandated upgrade to a next-generation 9-1-1 system. Michael Baker landed the partnership, thanks to a new suite of geographic information

systems

(GIS)-centric

technologies and services developed by Michael Baker engineers. The innovation safer traffic patterns that work around existing railroad tracks and incorporate pedestrian trails and even retaining walls with sandblasted artwork depicting Pittsburgh people and historic institutions. Michael Baker provided the following: highway, traffic, utility, railroad, and right-of-way engineering and design; electrical and lighting design; structural engineering; geotechnical engineering; archaeological

and

cultural

resources;

environmental;

water

management; project management; construction consultation; and management of public involvement. “Our creative solutions made travel safer and more efficient for nearly 70,000 daily commuters,” says Greg Cerminara, interim office executive of Michael Baker’s Pittsburgh office and project manager of the Route 28

suite, called DataMark DX, is designed to support the next-generation call routing environment for 9-1-1 dispatch centers. The NG9-1-1 architecture will allow any telecommunications device with Internet connectivity to reach a 9-1-1 call center or public safety answering point. Says Kathrine Cargo, GISP, ENP, GIS/ mapping coordinator for OPCD. “Our collaboration and the use of this technology have the potential to reduce emergency services’ response times and save lives.”

project. “We’re proud to share this award with PennDOT.”

We Make a Difference

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ACROSS THE CONTINUUM

WAT E R W I N I N G UA M Th is i sl a n d c o nt r a ct pr ov i d e s n ew d r inking wate r st or a g e d e s i g ne d to w i t h st a n d e a r t hq ua ke s an d t y p h oon s

A

team of Michael Baker International engineers, in partnership with TG Engineers, will be making its way

soon to the U.S. island territory of Guam in the Western Pacific to design and build a new

NEW CONNECTION IN CONNECTICUT

M

ore than 16,500 commuters have improved their commutes between Hartford, Conn., and the cities of West Hartford, Newington and New

Britain, thanks to the development of CTfastrak, considered one of the nation’s largest bus rapid transit systems. Michael Baker International played a key role in its development. Since the project’s completion, Michael Baker has earned two prestigious awards for its work. The American Council of Engineering Companies Connecticut chapter awarded the Michael Baker team its 2016 Grand Award, and the Congress for New Urbanism New England Chapter awarded the team the 2015 Urbanism Award.

drinking water system for its 160,000 residents. The $2.3 million contract from the Guam Waterworks Authority calls for the replacement of two existing steel water reservoirs with seismically pre-stressed concrete reservoirs and pumping stations on the northern and southern regions of the 202-square-mile tropical island. “Frequent exposure to nature’s most destructive forces, including earthquakes and typhoons, caused the current water supply system in Guam to deteriorate,” says Sal Sheikh, a Michael Baker project manager. “Michael Baker’s extensive experience designing reliable

The Michael Baker team led the design, construction and operational implementation of the nine and a half-mile bus-only roadway, which includes 10 bus-station platforms, sheltered seating, bicycle racks and pre-boarding electronic fare collection. The company also developed ridership forecasts, bus schedules, and a public-information campaign

water tanks afforded us the opportunity to

to educate residents on the new bus system’s benefits.

create a solution that ensures reliable drinking

Says Scott Delesdernier, office executive of the company’s

water is available in Guam. “

New England operations and a deputy program manager: “This state-of-the-art mass transit system now is capable of sustaining growth in and around Hartford.”

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ACROSS THE CONTINUUM

Designing a...

C R A D L E O F I N N OVAT I O N

T

here’s something to be said for creating the right environment to foster innovation and an entrepreneurial spirit.

Michael Baker International architects were asked to do just that on the campus of the University of South Carolina/Columbia, just a stone’s throw from USC’s idea-generating College of Engineering and Computing, the Darla Moore School of Business, and other research facilities. The Michael Baker design team developed a new three-story,

50,000-square-foot

US/Columbia

Technology Incubator, which is designed as a regional hub of entrepreneurial support for technology-based startups in the 12-county region. Estimated cost: $4 million. The building will include co-working flex spaces, conference rooms, classrooms, collaborate lounge areas and a coffee bar, among other amenities to spur innovation. The incubator is slated for completion in early 2017.

CONCRETE KUDOS A successful pavement replacement project for Runway 9L26R at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport grabbed the attention of the American Concrete Pavement Association. The national organization, in recognition of Michael Baker International’s work on this project, awarded the 2015 National Excellence in Concrete Pavement-Commercial Service & Military Airports Gold Award to the project’s leaders, Quintin Watkins and Joseph Snyder. Both are Michael Baker engineers serving with the company’s aviation practice from an office in Norcross, Ga.

We Make a Difference

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ACROSS THE CONTINUUM

EASING WILDFIRE WORRIES

YOUNG ENGINEER OF THE YEAR Jason Stith, a structural engineer in Michael Baker International’s Louisville, Ky., office, has been honored by the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) with its Young Engineer of the Year award. Stith joined Michael Baker five years ago and

A

team of Michael Baker International urban

since has led a number of landmark bridge repair and construction

planners is striving to bring some peace of mind to

projects throughout

the citizens of Wenatchee, Wash., in their ongoing

Kentucky. He has played

efforts to avoid, manage, and recover from wildfires.

a critical role, for instance, in the design

Michael Baker joins a team of three planning consultants

of twin arch bridges

in working on behalf of the Community Planning

at Kentucky Lake

Assistance for Wildfire (CPAW) to provide year-long

and Lake Barkley in

assessment, planning guidance and counsel for five

western Kentucky.

select CPAW communities in the western U.S. at risk of

He also has played

wildfires, according to Aaron Pfannenstiel, senior project

a prominent role

manager for the Michael Baker planning team.

in designing the

“The pressure for constant growth has driven many

replacement span for the Eggner’s Ferry

municipalities to develop within what is known as a

Bridge, which was completed in just four

wildland urban interface, where natural vegetation and

months after being heavily damaged

human development result in higher risk of wildfires,”

by a cargo ship.

Pfannenstiel says.

Says J.B. Williams, office executive of

He and his team are working to reduce that risk for such

Michael Baker’s Louisville, Ky., office, in

communities as part of the CPAW program, which is a

praise of Stith: “Jason’s combination of

collaboration between Wildfire Planning International

technical understanding, awareness of

and Headwaters Economics. The Michael Baker team

business strategies, leadership qualities

will work in particular with city leaders and other

and approachable personality make him an

local stakeholders in Wenatchee to review existing

asset to Michael Baker’s business.”

regulations and policies and strengthen current plans using innovative land-use planning tools.

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ACROSS THE CONTINUUM

FROM ACA D I A TO YO S E M I T E… I

ndeed, even national parks must work hard to remain environmentally sound and sustainable. That’s why the National Park Service has Photo by Jennifer Gottwald - Wenatchee, CC BY 2.0,

turned to a Michael Baker International/ AMEC partnership for help. The team’s charge: to support the Park Service’s Environmental

Management

Systems

Program for all seven regions of the federal agency. As part of a $50 million contract, the partnership will provide ongoing assessment of

and

hazardous

development,

management materials,

tanks,

land

asbestos,

and lead paint, among other related services.

ACADEMY OF FELLOWS Robert Schlesinger, PE, LEED AP BD+C, office executive of Michael Baker International’s San Diego office, has been honored with the appointment of Fellow of the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) Academy of Fellows. Schlesinger is a retired U.S. Navy captain with 30 years of service and was the commanding officer of NAVFAC Northwest and the Navy Region Northwest director of facilities and environment prior to joining Michael Baker in 2009. “This places you in a special category of The Society’s membership, recognizing your efforts over the years on behalf of the Society and the engineering profession,” stated Jane Penny, president of the SAME Academy of Fellows, and Captain Bill Bersson, USN (retired), chair of the Academy, in a letter to Schlesinger. Schlesinger has been a member of SAME for the past 10 years.

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INNOVATION

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E C O N O M I C R E V I TA L I Z AT I O N

BIG-DATA BOOM

H o w M i c h a e l B a ke r i s u s i n g L i DA R t o d e v e l o p n e w data-rich structural asset management opportunities

W

hen a large client with many building

widespread assets such as oil and gas pipelines, utility

assets asked Michael Baker International

poles and traffic signals for clients around the world.

to help survey many of its regional office

facilities as part of an Americans with Disabilities Act compliance assessment, the firm’s engineers and surveyors didn’t approach the project with traditional tripods and transits. They went in with their LiDAR equipment

spinning,

blazing

and recording.

and what we can extract from that data,” says Mark Anderson, a LiDAR processing manager at the firm’s Pittsburgh office. “It’s a huge amount of data. The sky’s the limit.” Michael

has

propelled

its

the big-data age, thanks to a growing

dimensional data of buildings grounds,

Baker

traditional surveying business boldly into

The result: Terabytes of threeand

“I’m in awe of the size of data, the clarity of the data,

GIT-based

including

practice

supported

by

LiDAR, unmanned aerial systems and

detailed photos, supported by a color-

its own proprietary mobile-app data

rendered point cloud made up of billions

platform, which has been adapted for a diversity

of meaningful geospatial data points.

of applications.

The client ultimately received the information it needed, as well as a huge

The firm now collects more than a petabyte (one million

amount of additional data that could be used

gigabytes) of raw, engineering-quality data annually

later for a variety of other asset management analyses.

for analysis, according to Robert Hanson, senior vice

LiDAR, which stands for light detection and ranging, automatically technology

collects (GIT)-based

geospatial data

as

information the

president and practice lead for GIT at Michael Baker. “With our mobile LiDAR capabilities, a single vehicle

device

has the potential to record billions of LiDAR shots,

spins 360 degrees and uses laser technology to

take tens of millions of photographs, and generate

record more than a million topographical data

hundreds of thousands of individual LiDAR-based

points per second, while also taking thousands

files in a relatively short time period in the process of

of photographs.

creating deliverables for a typical project,” Hanson

Michael Baker uses “static” LiDAR for measuring buildings and other structural assets. The company has the ability to mount “mobile” versions of the device on vans, boats, all-terrain vehicles and unmanned aerial systems to: Document critical road, airfield and bridge conditions; map large tracts of land; and monitor

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says. “We then analyze the aggregation of billions of LiDAR points within a dataset to determine any phenomena and their relevancy to an intended purpose.”


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INNOVATION

“Typical projects” for Michael Baker, though, have expanded

The data continues to grow exponentially as the

well beyond land and road surveys to include assisting

company’s LiDAR practice expands across the firm’s

client partners with the comprehensive management of

full continuum of engineering markets and practices,

assets such as buildings, bridges and even traffic signals

from transportation, aviation and utilities to land

at intersections.

development, oil and gas, and facilities management,

“Now we’re developing methods and algorithms that interact directly with these point clouds to perform conformity analysis with design standards and to analyze

among others. The challenge ahead, he says, is to leverage the raw data to solve new and even more complex client challenges.

stress and perhaps load forecasting on infrastructure,”

The technology’s big-data potential and Michael

Hanson explains. “This is the way we can extend

Baker’s efforts to explore such opportunities, Hanson

the potential for that infrastructure through effective

says, are boundless. “We’re creating new and dynamic

operation and maintenance practices, as well as predict

LiDAR solutions within entirely new professional and

the infrastructure’s ability to bear existing or additional

commercial markets. It’s exciting to ponder what the

demand loads.”

future looks like.” •

Michael Baker maintains a fleet of LiDAR vans, unmanned aerial systems and other mobile LiDAR devices.

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LEADING CHANGE

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A SENSE OF PLACE F i v e ke y s t o c r e a t i n g e x p e r i e n c e s t h a t e n s u r e placemaking success in the community By Susan J. Harden, AICP, CNU-A, LEED National Practice Lead – Planning Michael Baker International

W

hen

it

urban

comes

planning

Does your community embrace certain local values, beliefs or trends that are indicative of what your city, downtown, district or neighborhood is all about?

to

Undertake a discovery process to

and

really understand who you are as a

development, creating

community. Dig deep for the most

a sense of place and “placemaking”

interesting features.

entails much more than just good design. Sure, elements may include stunning

architecture,

strong history of music, arts, or just

dramatic

a funky and quirky approach to life

bridges and grand plazas, but a

shared by residents. Look through

real “place” evokes emotions – and

historical postcards, photographs,

creates memorable experiences.

old maps, and newspaper articles.

These experiences, then, connect people

to

one

another

Talk to residents – old and new. Then

and

visually introduce – and integrate –

inextricably connect the people to

aspects of these attributes and local

the place. Often, some of the simplest experiential,

community-based

design details, those rooted in local history, values, environment, even family, can transform a great space to one that offers a unique and lasting experience and, ultimately, a stronger sense of place. If you want to succeed in creating a profound sense of place in your community, consider the following five keys to authentic placemaking:

1. Know who you are. Every community is distinct and offers unique characteristics. What’s so remarkable about your community’s history? What significant cultures, cultural influences or industries have impacted your community?

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Maybe it’s a

colorful local personality or icon, a

Susan Harden has spent more

stories into the public realm.

than 20 years leading public

2. Know where you are.

participation and community-

Your community’s physical setting

based

and

planning,

including

natural

environment

should

downtown and neighborhood

present plenty of inspiration for

revitalization,

placemaking. Take advantage of

comprehensive plans,

interesting flora, fauna, geology or

and urban design projects.

a distinct climate. Understand the

She holds Bachelor degrees

historical architecture or perhaps

in

the alignment of past rail lines,

planning,

mobility

Architectural

Environmental

Studies Studies,

and both

the

importance

of

agriculture

from the University of Kansas,

or maybe even the influence of

and a Master of Science degree

military installations.

in Environmental Planning from Arizona State University.

Weave these character attributes into the design of your spaces.

Harden is an American Institute

Every community offers a unique

Certified

LEED

combination of defining physical

Accredited Professional, and a

characteristics that can become part

Certified Main Street Manager.

of the public aesthetic. Think wind-

Planner,

a

activated sculptures, use of locally


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quarried stone or creative signage along important

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LEADING CHANGE

5. Leverage local resources. Funding, or the

sites and routes.

lack of it, sometimes hinders the pursuit of placemaking.

3. Identify the physical canvases. Communities

However, if your community has been involved in the

present a myriad of “canvases” upon which to tell that story of who and where they are. This is where the magic of placemaking happens. Potential community canvases might include architecture (individual homes, common

discovery process, and the emerging placemaking concepts resonate with them, you’ll find that many financial resources needed for implementation already likely are available.

buildings, blank walls, fences and other physical

Residents, organizations, social services, foundations

structures), infrastructure (sidewalks, streets, utilities,

and the private sector can help fund projects through

benches, street lights or bicycle racks), and landscape

“buy a brick”-style campaigns or by sponsoring

(parks, gateways, gardens and plant materials).

benches, trees, signs, lights, tile squares and

For instance, a blank wall or fence offers space for murals or public art projects, backdrops for a performance stage. The sidewalk, street or other hardscape provides sites for integrating icons and stories, or color and materials specific to whom and what your community represents.

other lasting design features. Robust community engagement also likely will improve the probability of winning grants from foundations, government agencies and others to support your development efforts. When possible, you might invite members of

4. Involve the community. What’s the best way

your community to invest their sweat equity in the

to conduct an effective discovery process?

project, which enhances local ownership.

Involve

key members of your community. Connecting your community represents the most important aspect of placemaking. Engage residents in storytelling, walking workshops and even design charrettes to not only better understand local values, history, culture and environment, but also to help you develop inspired placemaking projects and ideas. Such engagement will generate a powerful and sustainable level of energy and enthusiasm in your residents and other key stakeholders who care about

Placemaking will allow you to foster greater residentto-resident and resident-to-place connections in your community. This process doesn’t have to be about big, flashy projects. It’s more about touching people by developing projects they can relate to and ones that prove meaningful to them, make them smile, and make them feel good. • This article is based on Placemaking on a Budget, a publication co-authored by Susan J. Harden.

your community. Remember, placemaking is as much about the community involvement process as it is about the outcome.

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ON THE BOARDS

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D ES IG N I N G A N IC O N I C GAT E WAY TO JAC KSO N V I L L E

W

hen the City of Jacksonville, Fla., and the Jacksonville Transportation Authority sought competing designs to bring their vision of an iconic regional transportation hub to life, Michael

Baker International, in partnership with Pond & Company, took on the challenge. And won. This design partnership applied the concept of placemaking at an urban scale and designed the Jacksonville Regional Transportation Center, referred to as the JAXIS project, to reflect what the partnership describes as its civic importance as a gateway to the region, a gateway to downtown Jacksonville, and the heart of the neighborhood. The center will be built next to the region’s historic Prime F. Osborn III Convention Center, which originally was the Union Station Terminal. The convention center will connect to the new transportation hub via a pedestrian skywalk. The JAXIS project is designed to connect the movement of people with urban form, “bonding people to places, and empowering social equity with economic viability,” according to the partnership’s proposal. This regional transportation center will serve as a hub for intercity bus transportation, bus rapid transit, monorail, taxi and rental/Zipcar services. At the heart of the project is a landscaped plaza with fountains, a café, grass softscape and stepped terraces surrounded by streetlevel arcades to the buildings. The designers’ goal: To transform a “daily travel routine” into an experience with lasting significance. The JAXIS project is targeted for completion in 2019. •

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ON THE BOARDS

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We Make a Difference.

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Signature | Fall 2016  

Signature | Fall 2016