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BRIDGE CONNECTION How Michael Baker’s iconic New River Gorge Bridge helps transform a West Virginia mountain region every day We Make a Difference

“… the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack…”



A message from our Chairman, Thomas J. Campbell, and our CEO, Brian A. Lutes

04 CONNECTING COMMUNITIES Connective infrastructure by the numbers


Connecting Cars

How Michael Baker is helping to lead the way with new technology to make our roads, bridges and drivers safer and to make traffic flow better


12 Connecting Trains and Trucks

How Michael Baker is helping two major rail companies develop a new generation of efficient, cost-effective intermodal rail terminals that connect cities, producers and consumers

20 Raising the Bridge to Chesapeake

Bringing construction engineering, inspection and community outreach to a project that greatly improves connections for commuters and boaters

28 40-Year Bridge Connection

How Michael Baker’s iconic New River Gorge Bridge helps transform a West Virginia mountain region every day


A compendium of places, projects and people demonstrating how Michael Baker International makes a difference in the communities it serves


Why 'Complete Streets' Matter

The importance of greater mobility choices in the community and five things communities need to do to launch their own transformations

56 ON THE BOARDS Stations With Style

Michael Baker designs state-of-the-art 'Hartford Line' train stations to blend into New England town settings

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.

Chief Communications Officer: Leanna Anderson Corporate Communications Director: Brian Peiritsch Editor: Daniel Bates Art Director: Matt Michalko Contributing Writers: Daniel Bates, Evan Pattak, Dianne Stetzer, Justin Falce, Claire Carrell, Lainna Garrow Contributing Photographers: Harry Giglio, Daniel Bates Fall 2017 © 2017 Michael Baker International. All rights reserved.

Cover photo: The New River Gorge Bridge in Fayette County, W.Va., designed by Michael Baker International, is celebrating the 40th anniversary of its completion.







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ecently, Engineering News-Record named Michael

and consumers across the country and around the

Baker International as one of the top five bridge

world. We’re also helping improve the connections

design firms in the country. We are honored by this

between commuters and towns along New England’s

ranking and know it’s a result of the exemplary talent of

Hartford Line while making sure our train-station

our dedicated bridge, structural and civil engineers, and

designs reflect the communities they serve.

the many other gifted specialists in our Company, who collaborate as part of our “wolf pack” team philosophy

Chesapeake, Va., a Michael Baker team has guided

and deliver innovative solutions to our clients. Every day,

the city in addressing the disruption of a regularly

throughout our offices across the country, our teammates

rising drawbridge over an inland waterway. A new

are building distinct bridges – bridges that are enduring,

elevated bridge deck and boulevard now create a

that overcome obstacles like rivers and canyons, and that

more permanent, long-term connection over the river

connect people, places and ideas. We believe our work as an engineering, planning and consulting firm is about making strong and lasting

and open an important emergency corridor. •

connections that matter because they improve quality of

pedestrians and public transit on city streets.

outreach, we work hard to make our communities safer, •

a Difference.”

to roads, improving traffic congestion and safety. We also are providing an expert voice when it comes to

learn more about our work with clients to:

New River Gorge Bridge in Fayette County, W.Va., connects isolated mountain communities. It establishes a corridor connecting North and South and, in doing so, has become a destination unto itself, attracting more than a million visitors a year. •

Develop Intermodal and Rail Solutions that Link

Commerce and Commuters – Norfolk Southern Corp. and CSX have turned to Michael Baker to help them design and construct more effective connections between raw materials and producers, and producers

Transportation – Across the country, we’re contributing

transportation systems that better connect vehicles

efficient, effective and enduring connections. Explore and

Create and Connect Economic Corridors - The iconic

Develop Strategies that Advance Intelligent important technological advances in intelligent

This issue of Signature focuses on how we’re creating more

Mobility Options – Our teams work with communities

that rethink the co-existence of drivers, bicyclists,

hubs, intelligent transportation technology or community

prosperous. That’s what we mean when we say, “We Make

Improve Safety, Health and Economies by Increasing to help them adopt Complete Streets strategies

life. Whether it’s with a bridge, a safer interchange, new rail

more accessible, more sustainable and, ultimately, more

Efficiently Reduce Gridlock and Improve Safety – In

creating new government policies. •

Apply Our Expertise to Bring Vital Resources to a Community in Need – Michael Baker colleagues from across the country and across practices partnered with the nonprofit Bridges to Prosperity to build a suspension footbridge that now serves more than 200 residents in a Bolivian community.

Our work to connect communities, people and ideas is what really matters most for our clients, and to us at Michael Baker. We take pride in bridging gaps for the communities we serve and, in doing so, improving the quality of life for all.

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DID YOU KNOW? Every dollar spent on improvements to roads, bridges and highways returns $5.20 in lower vehicle maintenance costs, fewer delays, lower fuel consumption and better, safer travel.

21% 33% of the nation’s highways are in poor condition, which costs motorists $121 billion a year in extra vehicle repairs and operating costs.

*Source: American Society of Civil Engineers 2017 Infrastructure Report Card

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Increase in transit riders from 20 years ago.


614,387 bridges in the U.S., with 40% at 50 years old or older.



The number of states that have deployed connected vehicles so far.

$27.1 billion In 2015, freight rail companies spent $27.1 billion on maintaining, growing and modernizing the U.S. rail system.

Built 31 bridges in six countries...

That’s what the nonprofit Bridges to Prosperity and its partners, including Michael Baker International, did in fiscal 2016, ultimately connecting nearly 178,000 people to education, health care and commerce via walking bridges over treacherous rivers and rough terrain.

$3.9 billion The amount requested from “smart cities” through the DOT Smart City Challenge.

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Michael Baker joined Carnegie Mellon University and policymakers in Harrisburg, Pa., last year to demonstrate to the Pennsylvania governor and others the use of an eight-intersection, connected/automated vehicle test bed – one of the first in the nation. Michael Baker designed, configured and installed the infrastructure for the test bed.

C O NNECTING CAR S H ow M i cha el Baker is h elping t o lead t he way wit h new t echno l o g y to make ou r roa ds , br idges and dr iver s s afer a n d t o ma ke traffic flow bet t er All around us, transportation and the infrastructure to

support it are changing rapidly. Consider the following: •

way signs for identifying wrong-way drivers and notifying the traveling public about wrong-way

A dynamic message sign that warns you of a lane

drivers at highway interchanges.

closure ahead and suggests alternate routes. •

A traffic signal that lets you know it will change colors in 11 seconds.

A network of cameras and communications links that provides real-time traffic updates to a central command station.

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An automatic detection system with flashing wrong-

And driverless cars and trucks being designed and tested by Uber, Google and every major automobile manufacturing company.




All represent an emerging, technology-driven approach

Greg Cerminara, transportation practice executive in

to traffic management – with profound current and

Michael Baker’s Pittsburgh office, observes that this latest

future implications – fueled by our country's burgeoning

phase of Intelligent Transportation

emphasis on creating a smart

Systems (ITS) is still in its infancy.

transportation system that’s safer,

“Our core competency puts us right at the forefront of intelligent transportation.”

more efficient, less expensive and largely automated. Behind the scenes, Michael Baker International has emerged quietly as an engineering leader in this field with an expanding, ever-more-important role going forward. Says Matthew Smith, associate vice president and manager of the firm’s Connected and Automated Vehicles program: “Michael Baker has a strong

“Intelligent transportation has had traffic engineering as its core but has evolved to include computer science, electrical engineering and software engineering,” he says. “We have to work all of this together to accommodate the industry’s needs and to address issues.” Michael Baker is positioned well, Cerminara says, as a leader in this system phase, collaborating with

Matthew Smith | Michael Baker International

history in developing, designing,

top institutions and manufacturers, as well as progressive government

constructing and operating traffic signals. Our core

agencies, to shape smart transportation of the

competency puts us right at the forefront of intelligent

future. In Pennsylvania, for example, Michael Baker

transportation, and it has given us opportunities to take

serves as an adviser to state government, supporting

the next step.”

the Automated Vehicles Testing Policy Task Force, a

Smith notes that Michael Baker, through its work with the

public-private partnership.

design and implementation of traffic signals and other

“They’re looking at what needs to happen legislatively to

transportation technology solutions since 1960, was

encourage development of this technology

well positioned to transition into the new world of

for deployment on public

intelligent transportation.

roadways,” Cerminara

“In a nutshell,” he says, “intelligent transportation is using technology

says of this active task force.

to reduce traffic crashes and their severity, better manage traffic along roadways, help motorists and users of transportation systems and increase capacity for roadways by improving traffic flow.” That next step for Michael Baker






of and

robotics technologies to create connected cars – those that enable communication with infrastructure, devices, networks and services outside the vehicle – and automated vehicles.

A camera used to capture real-time traffic data.

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still may be in its nascent


stages, Michael Baker already

When public agencies make decisions

Although the technology

has partnered to provide planning, policy or deployment services on some significant connected-vehicle projects and initiatives.

A TEST BED FOR HARRISBURG, PA. In Pennsylvania’s capital city, Harrisburg, Michael Baker worked with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) in a pilot program in which Carnegie Mellon University’s automated Cadillac SRX received information from the infrastructure, namely traffic signals. This is one of the first connected/automated vehicle test beds in the nation. The test bed spans eight intersections and broadcasts information about each signal’s phase and timing information via dedicated short-range communications, also known as DSRC. Michael Baker designed, configured and installed the infrastructure for the test bed.

DEVELOPING BRIDGE-INSPECTION BOTS Inspection of bridges clearly is an important function, yet it also is inherently dangerous for inspectors forced to dangle hundreds of feet in the air to do their job. But what if that job could be performed by aerial robots using sophisticated technology to relay images of bridge components to inspectors safely on the ground? That’s the target of the Aerial Robotic Infrastructure Analyst (ARIA) initiative that includes, among others, Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), Northeastern University and Michael Baker, with funding from the National Science Foundation National Robotics Initiative. The goal is to develop a tabletop-sized, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that will deploy photography, video and laser-scanning technology to create high-resolution 3D models of the bridge for analysis by inspectors.

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about traffic operations and highway improvement investments, they often rely on data analytics of “Big Data” – information gathered on speed, variability and reliability, travel times, and average and total vehicular delay of the existing highway system. These measures may seem obscure, but they help transportation planners determine investments into highways and traffic operations in the best interests of motorists and communities, according to Pittsburgh-based Jim Katsafanas, national sub-practice leader for traffic and ITS for Michael Baker. “Big Data helps government agencies understand how highway systems are performing and identify trends and problem areas so they know where they want to invest their dollars,” Katsafanas says. A Michael Baker team, he says, is collaborating with the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission (SPC), which is the metropolitan planning organization for a 10-county area, on just such a project. Michael Baker’s software engineers and traffic engineers are teaming to gather pertinent travel and performance data on the region’s highways, which then will be compiled for PennDOT by the University of Maryland, and write software programs for SPC that automatically analyze and process the information and convert it to easy-to-follow summaries. Katsafanas says it’s a vital process for SPC, as the agency oversees state and federal funding for all of the region’s roads, including interstate and interstate-like highways. Traditionally, gathering, coordinating and reporting the Big Data has been a manual process that takes SPC weeks. That’s about to change, thanks largely to Michael Baker. “We’re building a software platform that basically does all that work for them,” Katsafanas says.


JOINING FORCES FOR SMOOTHER INTERSTATE TRAVEL Perhaps one of Michael Baker’s most ambitious initiatives is a joint project of transportation agencies in Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania called the “Smart Belt Coalition.” The group brings together leaders in the field to support research, testing, policy, funding and deployment that could lead to shared, consistent policies and programs across state lines. “Each of these states is doing work independently, which is great, but how much better it is to combine efforts, thereby improving effectiveness and attracting investment,” Smith says. “It’s a cool concept.” Michael Baker serves as consulting engineer to the coalition, which includes the Michigan Department of Transportation, University of Michigan, Ohio Department of Transportation, Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission, Ohio State University and its Transportation Research Center, PennDOT, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission and Carnegie Mellon. Initially, the coalition intends to focus on technology applications in work zones, incident management and an innovative concept called “platooning,” where moving vehicles are linked by automated functions. Mark Kopko, manager, traveler information and advanced vehicle technology for PennDOT, indicates the collaboration could provide several important benefits for all participants, including improved communications among the three states. Says Kopko: “This system would allow agencies to improve situational awareness of active and planned construction activities (including



MATTHEW SMITH, P.E. Matthew Smith joined Michael Baker International in Detroit in May 2017 as associate vice president and Connected and Automated Vehicles Program manager after nearly six years as administrator of the Michigan Department of Transportation’s Intelligent Transportation Systems program. There, he established and implemented the strategic direction for the state’s intelligent transportation systems and connected and automated vehicle programs. He brings more than 23 years of transportation engineering and intelligent systems experience to Michael Baker. A graduate of Pennsylvania State University, he also is a member of the Vehicle-to-Infrastructure Deployment Coalition, the National Cooperative Highway Research Program, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials subcommittee on Transportation Systems Management and Operation, and the Transportation Research Board’s standing committee on Vehicle-Highway Automation.

maintenance and utility work) and allow the three states to share their data with third-party companies in a single, unified data feed.”

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Jim Windsor, deputy state engineer with ADOT’s


Transportation Systems Management and Operations

In Phoenix, Ariz., confused or impaired drivers along

Division, reports.

Interstate 17 had become a serious menace to other

To address that hazard, ADOT now is implementing an

motorists over time as many of them would enter exit

innovative wrong-way detection system along a 15-mile

ramps and drive the wrong way on major highways there.

stretch of I-17, and Michael Baker is playing a key role.

That problem had become so severe that the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) undertook a study of wrong-way driving on I-17 from 2004-2014.

The scope of the project may prove unprecedented. While such systems usually offer “spot” detection at a single interchange, the ADOT approach is much

“Our study showed that, in an 11-year period, the metro

more comprehensive, according to Don Tappendorf,

Phoenix portion of I-17 had the highest rates of overall

ITS department manager and technical lead in Michael

confirmed wrong-way crashes and fatal wrong-way crashes

Baker’s Phoenix office.

per mile among urban divided highways in the state,”

“This is an integrated system that covers 15 interchanges,” he says. “It may be the first of its kind in the nation. Clearly, we’re breaking new ground.”



A Michael Baker team designed the system, which uses

Designer/installer of connected/automated vehicle test beds.

know there’s a wrong-way driver is from 9-1-1 calls.”

Partner in the development of bridgeinspection UAS.

as fast-track.

Designer of wrong-way driver detection system in Phoenix.

system is scheduled to debut by the end of 2017.

Member of a three-state "Smart Belt Coalition."

“with project parameters changing nearly every day,

thermal cameras for detection. Says Tappendorf: “Right now, the only way authorities

From the outset, he explains, ADOT viewed the project

Michael Baker met the compressed schedule, and the

“It was a complicated process,” Tappendorf says, if not multiple times per day. The governor’s directive to deploy the system as soon as possible added an additional sense of urgency. So we sprinted even faster than we were sprinting, with a true team among ADOT and Michael Baker staff.”



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Workers install a wrong-way detection system in Phoenix, Ariz.

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TRUCKS How Mi c ha e l B a ke r is h el pi ng t wo m aj o r ra il co mp ani es deve l o p a n ew g e n e rat i o n of e f f i c i e n t , co s t -e ffect i ve i nt e r m od a l r a il t e rmi nal s t ha t co n n e ct cit ies , p r o duc er s a n d co n s umers


or 25 years, an old rail yard straddling McKees Rocks and Stowe Township, Pa., along the Ohio River just beyond Pittsburgh’s city limits, sat vacant, an overgrown reminder of the region’s once-

thriving steel industry. The rail yard – located on a flat, industrialized edge of the borough known as The Bottoms, had served over the previous century as a rail interchange, locomotive rebuilding facility and rail maintenance shop for the former Pittsburgh and Lake Erie (P&LE) Railroad, which hauled coal, coke, steel and passengers. Until it didn’t. That was in 1992. Twenty-five years later, you might hardly recognize this 70-acre site amidst what could be described as another remarkable riverfront transformation for the Pittsburgh region led by visionary business, civic and community leaders and Michael Baker International. That is, except for the site’s railroad tracks.

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We Make a Difference CSX's new Pittsburgh Intermodal Rail Terminal and its gantry cranes.




“Intermodal terminals are critical to the efficient movement of containerized freight and consumer goods,” says Tom Zagorski, practice lead, construction services for Michael Baker. “I like to call them inland ports. You get the same benefits, except there’s not a boat involved.”

TRAINS, TRUCKS… AND GROWTH OPPORTUNITIES Development of intermodal terminals has become a key priority for the freight transportation sector, providing a variety of benefits. They facilitate transport, of course, ultimately helping industry reduce costs and pass along savings to consumers – while delivering significant environmental and public benefits. U.S. freight railroads, projecting solid growth over the next 30 years, have been investing significantly in maintaining and modernizing rail infrastructure. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, in its 2017 Infrastructure Report Card, the freight railroad industry in 2015 spent $27.1 billion on maintaining, growing and modernizing the railroad system. And the U.S. freight industry projects a 40 percent increase in shipments over the next 30 years. Michael Baker’s involvement with rail yards and terminals Loading a tractor-trailer at the Pittsburgh Intermodal Rail Terminal.

began in 2006 with a small Ohio project – Gest Street Yard expansion in Cincinnati – for railroad giant Norfolk Southern Corp. This was an expansion of an existing

Today, the site – developed by railroad giant CSX into a state-of-the-art intermodal rail terminal as part of its $850 million National Gateway Initiative – stands as a testament to the resurgent freight transportation

intermodal terminal that enabled Michael Baker to build a foundation for rail yard and terminal design experience. The size of the projects and complexity grew, as did Michael Baker's collective experience and credibility (see

industry and the importance of moving raw materials

sidebar article).

and manufactured goods efficiently and cost-effectively

“We designed access roadways, drainage, tracks, rail

across the country and around the world. But we’ll come back to that. It also speaks to the opportunities ahead for Michael Baker to help engineer and manage the construction

bridges, walls, tunnels, lighting and power and air systems, and we handled environmental permitting,” says Kirsten Bowen, a project manager in Michael Baker’s Cleveland office, of those earlier projects. “That enabled

for such intermodal transformations – a notion for

us to put our finger on the pulse of client needs.”

which Michael Baker has prepared well when it comes

From those experiences, Michael Baker has established

to amassing the right expertise and experience to take on these unique engineering and construction management challenges.

itself as a major player in rail yard and terminal development. Working with clients Norfolk Southern and CSX, Michael Baker is providing such services as design, permitting, pre-construction, construction, construction management, quality assurance and inspection.

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Here’s a look at four of these innovative projects – three completed, one in the pipeline:



AN 'AMAZING TRANSFORMATION' Preparing the long-vacant industrial site in the Pittsburgh


area, though, did pose its share of challenges for Michael Baker and its construction partners. As is the case with

CSX, based in Jacksonville, Fla., considers intermodal

most brownfield sites, years of industrial operations can

terminals so vital that it created the $850 million National

leave behind contaminants and old materials that require

Gateway Initiative, a public-private partnership, to

removal and mitigation measures. So the Michael Baker

develop an interconnected network of strategically

team worked to ensure the site was fully restored in a

located terminal sites and routes with double-stack

safe, environmentally friendly manner, navigating strict

clearance for intermodal trains, maximizing the ability

guidelines and preserving an important Stowe Township

to efficiently serve markets in the Midwest and mid-

water line that runs through the site.

Atlantic corridors. For the new Pittsburgh-area facility, which opened in September 2017, CSX acquired a vacant, 70-acre rail yard, located just west of Pittsburgh’s city limits along the river in Allegheny County, to support its hub-and-spoke approach to national intermodal freight transportation. Then it engaged Michael Baker to help develop its state-of-the-art terminal and serve as the owner’s representative in overseeing the construction of the project.

“The key to the success of the project,” says Giuseppe

“Our newest facility in Pittsburgh will connect southwestern Pennsylvania to markets across the country and around the world.”

“CSX is committed to serving

Mammana, project manager for Michael Baker in Pittsburgh, “was working closely with the owner and the construction team members and being able to roll up our sleeves and work side by side with the team." After two years’ construction, the




Intermodal debuted


September 2017, featuring two processing tracks, one support track, one lead track and

Fredrik Eliasson | CSX

the growing needs of our








The three

current intermodal customers and others who can benefit

large, rubber-tired gantry cranes capable of stacking

from the speed and efficiency of intermodal service,”

containers four high between trucks and trains, which

says Fredrik Eliasson, CSX executive vice president and

gives the facility an annual lift capacity of 50,000

chief sales and marketing officer. “Our newest facility

intermodal containers.

in Pittsburgh will connect southwestern Pennsylvania to markets across the country and around the world.”

“To witness the amazing transformation from a vacant, overgrown rail yard to this clean, high-tech intermodal

CSX describes the Pittsburgh facility, which required a

facility has been a fulfilling experience,” says Adam

$60 million investment by the rail company, as the “last

Walkowiak, on-site construction engineer from Michael

key component” of CSX’s national initiative, a public-

Baker’s Pittsburgh office. “Even more rewarding now is

private partnership designed to create what the company

seeing the final completion of the project and knowing

describes as a highly efficient network of double-stack

the positive impact it will have on this community.”

rail and intermodal terminals. By design, CSX notes, the network will connect East Coast markets to consumers, manufacturers and businesses in the Midwest.

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Giuseppe Mammana (left), project manager for Michael Baker, and Adam Walkowiak, Michael Baker's on-site engineer at the Pittsburgh Intermodal Rail Terminal.

Says Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald: “The

additional freight capacity, improved transit times, and

terminal will not only help connect Western Pennsylvania’s

put shippers closer to their markets, which helps reduce

businesses to the global marketplace, it also will help

their overall supply-chain costs.”

stimulate McKees Rocks’ and Stowe’s economies."

PUTTING SHIPPERS CLOSER TO THEIR MARKETS Norfolk Southern, based in Norfolk, Va., meanwhile has established, with help from Michael Baker and others, an East Coast artery it calls the Crescent Corridor, a 2,500mile grid of rail and intermodal terminals that facilitates shipping, diverts long-haul trucks from roadways and

As part of the $2.5 billion public-private partnership, Norfolk Southern has introduced four new intermodal facilities along the Crescent Corridor, including in Birmingham, Ala.; Memphis, Tenn.; Charlotte, N.C.; and Greencastle, Pa., near Pennsylvania’s capital of Harrisburg. Michael Baker provided engineering and construction management services for the Greencastle facility.

sparks local economic development across 11 states,

Norfolk Southern located its $97 million Greencastle

spanning Louisiana to New Jersey.

facility on a 200-acre greenfield. Development therefore

“Norfolk Southern has invested in the Crescent Corridor to provide customers with a fast, direct route between

brought a different set of environmental considerations, including wetlands and stream relocations.

the Southeast and the Northeast while offering a range

“We were connecting with the local water and sewer

of truck-competitive shipping options that include

systems and affecting local roadways,” says Will Snyder,

connections to the West Coast and Mexico,” says

a project manager for Michael Baker who managed the

Christine Traubel, assistant vice president, intermodal

project. “We met regularly with the township to discuss

and automotive, for Norfolk Southern. “The intermodal

these matters.”

facilities we’ve developed on the corridor have created

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How Michael Baker built its reputation in rail yard engineering

Norfolk Southern's Moorman Rail Yard in Bellevue, Ohio.

Michael Baker International project manager Kirsten Bowen remembers well her early work with Norfolk Southern Corp. to expand what today is called the Moorman Rail Yard in Bellevue, Ohio. And why shouldn’t she? After all, this and several other successful rail projects, she says, helped build the experiential foundation for Michael Baker to take on the recent state-of-the-art intermodal facility development work for Norfolk Southern and CSX. “It was a fairly complex project, especially from an environmental standpoint, and we had to become more creative in our design to minimize the footprint,” Bowen, based in Michael Baker’s Cleveland office, says of the Bellevue project. “It was a major accomplishment.” As part of the multi-faceted project, the Michael Baker team helped Norfolk Southern expand the classification yard from 42 tracks to 80 tracks and added external tracks, for a total of 37 miles of new track on the 620-acre site. And the project had to be completed in six months. Michael Baker provided surveying, geotechnical investigation, utility identification and relocation

Photo courtesy Norfolk Southern

coordination; environmental and construction permitting; class yard analysis and rollability studies as a subconsultant; and design of the air system, lighting and electrical power distribution and civil site design. Bowen says one of the biggest challenges for her was coordinating the work among a large number of team members to complete the project in a timely fashion and “learning better ways of communication and coordination. “At any given time, we had 40-plus people from seven different offices working on the project to meet our schedule requirements,” says Bowen, who joined Michael Baker in 2001. “So we leveraged our ‘Bigger Baker’ and our work-share capability. Performance was the key.” That experience, she says, has paid off significantly in landing even bigger and more complex rail projects over the past couple of years. “You need time to show your capabilities,” Bowen says. “But it’s really about building relationships and how we respond to our clients and manage our projects."

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Michael Baker also faced another construction management challenge during the Greencastle build: maintaining railroad traffic during construction – an objective that became particularly difficult when Michael Baker realized it would need to shut down a mainline track to install a 72-inch drainage pipe. But it solved

THE CAROLINA CONNECTOR . . . AND BEYOND Of all the intermodal facilities in the works, CSX’s Carolina Connector (CCX) in Rocky Mount, N.C., may prove the most ambitious. The $270 million CCX project,

the problem.

funded in part through the state of North Carolina’s

“We took that track out of service and ran the trains on

in an innovative, state-of-the-art intermodal hub and

the new yard track so that we could install the drainage

transfer facility that will leverage the economic and

facility,” says Pat Gardiner, construction services manager

environmental benefits of rail while connecting North

in Michael Baker’s Harrisburg office. That sequencing

Carolina ports, businesses and consumers to hundreds

helped minimize disruptions to rail traffic.

of domestic and international markets. The Carolina

Strategic Transportation Investment program, will result

CSX's new Pittsburgh Intermodal Rail Terminal, with downtown Pittsburgh in the background.

When the facility was completed in January 2013, it offered 670 paved trailer/container parking spots and capabilities that, when combined with other

Connector is expected to create about 300 long-term terminal operations jobs and, over time, more than 1,500 additional long-term jobs across the state.

Norfolk Southern terminals in Pennsylvania, now can

For the initiative, Michael Baker is serving as

divert as many as 800,000 long-haul trucks from the

“owner’s representative.” The project will feature a

Commonwealth’s roadways.

“construction manager-at-risk” approach that allows

In Rutherford, Pa., about an hour’s drive from Greencastle, Michael Baker worked with Norfolk Southern on a $60.5 million expansion of this existing intermodal facility. As at Greencastle, the partners emphasized development in harmony with the environment. The expanded terminal, which features an annual lift capacity of about 350,000 intermodal trailers, opened in 2015. It’s expected to generate 48 direct jobs and as many as 400 spinoff jobs.

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for construction to begin before plans are finalized, with the construction manager locked in – with some exceptions – to the contracted fee. Michael Baker has served successfully as a construction manager-at-risk and brings valuable experience to the selection/ oversight role. “We’ve grown rapidly to become a premier provider of intermodal construction management services,” Zagorski says. “It’s an important business for us, and it’s very exciting.”

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One of three gantry cranes at CSX's new Pittsburgh Intermodal Rail Terminal. Outside at the Chino Desalter, which provides potable water for Chino Hills, Calif., and other communities.




Bridge, 2The 0 new/ Veterans S I G N AT U R E which - FA Lrises L 2 095 1 7feet above the Elizabeth River in Chesapeake, Va., replaces the low, 50-year-old drawbridge that stopped traffic 16 times a day to let boats pass.






CHESAPEAKE B ri ngi ng co ns t ruct i o n e n g i neeri ng, i ns pect i o n and co mmuni ty o ut reach t o a V ir gi ni a project that great l y imp roves co nnect i o ns for commuters and boaters


ixteen times a day, year-round, the residents of Chesapeake, Va., would hold their collective breath as they idled in their vehicles, waiting for the Dominion Boulevard drawbridge over the Elizabeth River to rise

and allow river traffic below to proceed. Sixteen times a day, those residents had to tolerate complete gridlock caused by a drawbridge that carried more than 33,000 motorists along U.S. Route 17 and over the inland waterway, which bisects the city. With so many motorists using the bridge each day, this was more than just a minor annoyance. Traffic jams that formed routinely on Route 17 also could block emergency vehicles en route to hospitals or accident scenes. And because Route 17 links up with Interstate 64, the raised drawbridge continually imperiled the city’s most vital hurricane evacuation route. The city calculated that the 50-year-old steel bridge stopped traffic along Route 17 a total of 42 days a year on average – good for passing boats, perhaps, but not so much for idling commuters and the town of Chesapeake.

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The new Veterans Bridge to Chesapeake versus the old – and much lower – drawbridge across the Elizabeth River.

Not so today, thanks to the City of Chesapeake – and

Chesapeake Public Works and its prime construction,

Michael Baker International and a host of construction

engineering and inspection (CEI) consultant, MBP, Inc.

partners. While residents might continue to wax nostalgic about the old drawbridge over this Chesapeake Bay-area inland waterway, they no longer have to endure long waits at the bridge, nor do boats passing under it.

Today, the Dominion Boulevard Veterans Bridge, as the new structure has been named, soars majestically over the river, carrying traffic with nary a sign of a bottleneck. Emergency vehicles don’t find their routes clogged by

Starting in 2004, the city began to develop plans to

traffic jams, and the evacuation route remains clear. The

reconfigure the bridge and boulevard to solve the traffic

improvements have proven so substantial, it seems,

problem. Then in January 2013, construction began on

that motorists appear to have accepted the $1 toll

what would become a four-year project that included the

imposed by the city to help pay for the bridge’s

replacement of the drawbridge with a fixed, elevated

construction and maintenance.

span rising 95 feet that would allow for free-moving river


traffic at all times while also creating an uninterrupted connection across the river. This ambitious, complex, $345 million initiative ultimately became the largest locally administered project in the history of Virginia. The Virginia Beach office of Michael Baker played a key role in the initiative, providing construction engineering and inspection services, as well as an innovative public awareness program, for

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Had replacement of the two-lane drawbridge with a fourlane permanent span been the only objective, the project would have been challenging enough. Yet much more was involved, including the widening of Dominion Boulevard; repair or replacement of connecting highways, ramps and bridges and development of a bike path/pedestrian


walkway on the southbound span. In all, the Dominion


Boulevard initiative featured construction of nine bridges

the project, but

and associated roadways, an undertaking so complex it

it turned out to

required several phases.

be a positive one

“We all focus on the big bridge, but the other bridges were just as important,” says Beth Drylie, office executive

because of the great teamwork.” Falbe says the

complicated project with high visibility.”


of the 166 privately owned properties touched by the project. Says Earl Sorey, Chesapeake’s assistant director of public works and also a licensed professional engineer: “They ranged from homes to businesses to churches. In some cases, we purchased slivers of property; in other cases, we needed to purchase the property in total. Our right-of-way team did a fantastic job.” At the same time, the city was assembling an innovative financing package that included federal funding as well as a first-ever loan from the Virginia Transportation Infrastructure Bank (V-TIB). The final piece was the issuance of $150 million in municipal bonds. “If you’ve never done municipal bond financing, you don’t have an appreciation for the expertise you need at the table,” Sorey says. “It took a huge team to get us to the finish line.”



for Michael Baker in Virginia Beach. ”It was a highly

One of the early, critical stages was acquisition of some








management capacity


tapping the local

Winchester Falbe

engineering talent at Old Dominion University. One of them, Zach Eavey, now works for Michael Baker full-time.

“SPLICED-BULB T” DESIGN AND SWAMP-SOIL CHALLENGES The unusual design of the Veterans Bridge presented a major construction challenge. Called a “spliced-bulb T” design, this approach allows for precast concrete sections to be spliced together in three-span groupings. Says Philip Quillin, transportation lead for Michael Baker out of the company’s Virginia Beach office: “You can get longer spans with a lower profile. I’ve seen a few of these, but this is the only one I’ve seen over a curved alignment. It introduced a whole new aspect of construction and

Adds Kevin Lundgren, who served as project manager for

quality assurance to make sure all the pieces came

Chesapeake and later joined prime contractor MBP: “We

together properly.”

normally design and build things, not fund them. I never thought I’d be out meeting with Wall Street types. It was a good learning experience.”


Michael Baker also deployed as many as six inspectors at a time during construction of the bridge, which was completed in December 2014. “That’s more than the usual number,” Quillin adds. “When

Just as challenging, though, was the actual construction,

you’re overseeing a project that large, you need a good-

according to Winchester Falbe, Michael Baker’s resident

sized staff.”

bridge engineer who coordinated the company’s team. He describes the work as so multifaceted that “it was like having three separate projects all at once. “We had one roadway contractor and three bridge contractors with multiple crews,” Falbe recalls. “I basically had three projects going on, coordinating with three supervisors, multiple foremen, multiple pile-driving hammers. We actually had nine of those hammers working simultaneously. This coordination was one of the biggest

Yet another difficult aspect of the initiative was providing adequate support for the new and strengthened ramps

that connect to the Veterans Bridge, many of them anchored in poor soil. “The area is basically a swamp – the soils are terrible,” says Mike Prezioso, who managed the project for prime CEI consultant MBP. “The challenges included getting different types of foundations installed; we used some

We Make a Difference

/ 23

The Dominion Boulevard overpass under construction.




unique applications to overcome those challenges. We



used pile-supported embankments for the approaches that lead to bridges because the soil is so unstable. You don’t see that too often. In other areas that weren’t quite so unstable, we used wick drains 30 to 50 feet deep to


remove ground water from the underlying layers.”

To support the Dominion Boulevard project outreach efforts of Chesapeake, Va., Michael Baker International developed an animated video that drove viewers through the new corridor.

1,532 bridge piles, and 638 ground improvement piles

Created by Michael Baker’s Ken Mobley, practice manager, planning, and his team, the video simulated the entire construction process, taking viewers on a before-and-after virtual ride along Dominion Boulevard. At the bottom of the screen was the highway as it looked before the project; the top half of the screen showed animated artists’ renderings of the new bridge and roadways. When viewers contrasted the top half of the screen with the bottom, Mobley explains, they got a clear indication of the improvements. “Some clients create a video themselves, or they don’t do it at all because they don’t see the value of it,” says Beth Drylie, office executive for Michael Baker's Virginia Beach office. “We developed the storyboarding and the production of the video ourselves. It provided a great overview and helped people appreciate the magnitude of the project.”

The need for extra piles created some eye-popping project numbers: 2,170 driven concrete piles, including for a total length of 28 miles of piles; 16 mechanically stabilized earth walls, including 14 wrap-around abutment walls; four soil nail walls, four gravity-retaining walls and two sound-barrier walls.

CONNECTING THE CONSTITUENTS Just as impressive as the physical scope of the initiative was the communications plan created and implemented by the Michael Baker team to keep the community informed of project progress. Information included overall objectives and a detailed look at phasing, new traffic patterns and the toll that would be imposed on the new Veterans Bridge. Lundgren, who briefly retired as project manager for Chesapeake at the completion of the project but later signed on with MBP, spoke regularly at community updates – and took many props with him, including a YouTube video of the planned roadway changes produced by Michael Baker (see sidebar article). “People used to kid me about it,” he says. “They called it my Dominion Boulevard Traveling Road Show.” Sorey notes that the video enhanced the community outreach effort in a variety of ways. “We took the model used for the simulation and made snapshots from that,” he says. “Not only were those tools for educating the community and elected officials


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about the project, but they also helped us in the property acquisition process. Those kinds of things are a tremendous asset for public education.”




‘THUMBS UP’ FOR SAFETY, EFFICIENCY One half of the Dominion Boulevard Veterans Bridge – considered by many as the principal component of the project – opened in December 2014, long before other elements of the project had been completed (the old steel span was cut up and floated away). Ask team members about the most important outcomes of the project, which was completed within budget, and they’ll cite different aspects of safety. Falbe notes that the Michael Baker team and contractors logged roughly 991,000 man-hours on the Dominion Boulevard project with no worker injuries. “The thing I’m most proud of was our safety record,” he says. “Safety is our priority. You want to make sure everyone goes home every night.” Sorey observes that the new bridge and roadway network have improved safety for Chesapeake and its residents.

“It’s a much safer facility, and it provides much safer access to the city when help is needed.” Dominion Boulevard overpass as it was being built. Earl Sorey |

Assistant Director of Public Works, Chesapeake, Va.

“When we flipped the switch and activated the tolling

“That’s the biggest thing for me,” Sorey says. “There

system,” Prezioso recalls, “there were no complaints

was a safety element associated with inadequate lane

because the message was put out there well in advance.

and shoulder width, another with gridlock hindering

People like the fact they can get through the corridor in

emergency response. That’s completely gone away. It’s a

three to four minutes versus the 20 to 30 minutes they

much safer facility, and it provides much safer access to

were used to. They’re willing to pay a buck for that.

the city when help is needed.”

“When we opened the first phase after eliminating the

Motorists using the bridge appreciate that as well,

drawbridge and traffic was moving freely," he adds,

Sorey adds – even though it now costs them a dollar

"motorists blew their horns and gave a ‘thumbs up’ to the

per trip. Commuter usage has increased by roughly 40

workers. When you see that, you realize you’re making a

percent above initial traffic projections for the bridge

positive impact.”

and boulevard.

We Make a Difference

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40 - Y E AR


C O N N E CT I O N H o w M i c h a e l B a ke r ’s iconic New River Gorge Bridge helps transform a We s t V i r g i n i a m o u n t a i n region every day


enjy Simpson beams like a kid, even at age 69, as he approaches the giant New River Gorge Bridge atop these steep Appalachian Mountains in the heart of Fayette County, W.Va. Despite knee

problems borne of years of mountain climbing, rappelling, whitewater rafting and jumping out of airplanes, this outdoorsman-turnedbusinessman hardly can wait to lead yet another group of visitors across a catwalk just below the deck of his beloved arch bridge. At the center of the bridge’s iconic steel arch, 1,515 feet across the catwalk, Simpson points down to a convoy of river rafters bucking in the world-class rapids that rip through the gorge some 851 feet below – far enough down to make some bridge walkers gasp, grip the hand rails even more tightly and cautiously measure the distance to the other side. Simpson, a West Virginia transplant, runs a popular business next to the bridge called Bridge Walk, which has been providing guided catwalk tours of the bridge since his company opened in 2010 in a partnership with the West Virginia Department of Transportation and the National Park Service. As perhaps the bridge’s biggest ambassador, Simpson

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We Make The iconic New River Gorge Bridge rises 876 feet above the New River Gorge in Fayette County, W.entrance Va. a Difference Northern into Liberty Station




Benjy Simpson, president of River Walk, which gives catwalk tours beneath the deck of the New River Gorge Bridge.

seems to know every detail of the bridge and its history: its


corrosion-resistant steel beams, made by U.S.X. Corp. and

Location studies

back him up.

Preliminary design of three alternative bridge styles (suspension, truss, and steel arch)

In many ways, Simpson serves as the honorary keeper of the

Final design

his countless bridge tales captivate his visitors, like the time a

Environmental assessment

in his wheelchair – during a recent Bridge Day festival. Or how

Construction-phase services

In-depth inspection and analysis

constructed by its subsidiary, American Bridge; the fact that inspectors can climb inside those beams; the unique expansion rockers where vertical beams meet the arch; the number of ironworkers who built the bridge; and even the spot where the Oprah Winfrey Show once had a woman rappel off the bridge to conquer her fear of heights. He has framed pictures to

bridge, resident historian, and, as he sometimes refers to himself when watching out for mischief, the Bridge Troll. And paraplegic man BASE-jumped off the bridge with a parachute – kids used to sneak up on the bridge’s arch during construction in the 1970s and jump off, into a safety net below. “It was a rite of passage,” he says of the illegal antics, shaking his head.

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But there’s one fact about this bridge – memorialized

destination for tourists and outdoor enthusiasts from

on a U.S. quarter, postage stamp and countless tourist

around the world, all looking to explore unique habitat

collectibles – which Simpson can’t seem to wait to remind

and the region’s coal history, rappel down the side of a

his patrons, and he declares it with a sense of genuine

mountain, or take on the world-class white-water rapids

reverence and admiration: The New River Gorge Bridge

of the New River Gorge and Gauley River. Or just see

was designed by Michael Baker International.

the bridge.

“I have a passion for this bridge,” Simpson readily

“Of the 7,244 bridges in the state of West Virginia,

admits. “Not too many people love it like I do.”

this is the crown jewel,” says Jim Wriston, chief


transportation engineer for the West Virginia Department

Who could blame Simpson, though? As this entire region

local bridge expert, as he calls himself. Wriston grew up

of West Virginia comes together to celebrate this now-

nearby, he says, and watched the construction process in

historic bridge’s 40th anniversary, we can pause for a

the 1970s as he admittedly participated in his own “rite

moment, not just to contemplate the initial impact of

of passage” on occasion with his friends.

of Transportation’s Division of Highways and in-house

designing an architectural wonder that connected two mountains and their small communities, as this bridge did. Or the fact that this four-lane bridge and highway reduced the travel time, mountain to mountain, from 45 minutes down and up a barely two-lane, switch-back road – especially for big trucks – to less than a minute. “The history of West Virginia can largely be written by

Still, he credits the bridge with influencing his decision to become a civil engineer and work for the state. Walking out onto the catwalk with his visitors recently, he shares Simpson’s youthful enthusiasm for the bridge, even with his two shirt-pocket protectors full of pens and his trademark untied necktie.

its inaccessibility and isolation versus opening the door”

“This is the bridge,” he proclaims.

with the bridge, says David Perry, a local resident and


former state delegate who used to haul steel via truck to the bridge site and whose father, a local pastor, gave the invocation on the day the ironworkers brought the two halves of the steel arch together on the bridge. “It

Meanwhile, the bridge has opened up new opportunities for the National Park Service, outdoor adventure outfits, resorts, music festival producers and the agriculture

has changed the fabric of the state.” Instead, let’s consider the fact that this bridge at once captured the world’s attention and opened up a highway corridor streamlining travel from Toronto, Canada, all the way down to Miami.


the same time, the bridge has created a



Appalachian gateway and


Jim Wriston, chief transportation engineer for WVDOT's Division of Highways, and New River Gorge Bridge expert.

We Make a Difference

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Difference The New River Gorge Bridge's famous catwalk that takes harnessed visitors over the gorgeWe at a Make height ofa751 feet. Bridge Walk facilitates the tours, in partnership with WVDOT and the National Park Service.




sector, as well as for communities

According to an application submitted to the National

such as Lansing on the north

Register of Historic Places by the National Park Service,

side of the bridge and

Michael Baker engineers worked the equivalent of 15

Fayetteville, Oak Hill

years' worth of full-time man hours to design the bridge

and even Beckley on

and made more than 4,000 hand calculations. What they

the south side. And

designed was a bridge that, at the time, would be the

all of this continues

longest steel-arch bridge in the world and one that later

to evolve and grow

would attract imitators and competitors.

even 40 years later.

“From an engineering and construction viewpoint, this

Officials there have

bridge will be truly a most significant undertaking,”

been reminding the

according to then-Governor Arch Moore, as reported in

world every fall of

The Baker Engineer in 1977. “But, even more importantly,

the bridge’s impact on

the construction and completion of this project will

the region with its annual

contribute greatly to the economy of the state in general

Bridge Day celebration, which,

and the Fayetteville area in particular.” And it did.

with the exception of 2001, when the U.S. Department of Homeland Security urged officials to cancel the festival, continues to draw thousands of people annually and is said to bring into the local economy more than a million dollars in one weekend. “These are the kinds of opportunities we live for – not only to design great works of infrastructure, but also to make the communities we serve safer, more accessible, more sustainable and more prosperous,” says Brian A. Lutes, CEO of Michael Baker. “The New River Gorge Bridge exemplifies our number-one tenet as a company, that ‘We Make a Difference.’ This bridge has a prominent place in the Michael Baker legacy.”

CROSSING THE GORGE Talk of a bridge over the gorge began as early as 1963, when U.S. President John F. Kennedy directed his Appalachian Regional Commission to come up with a comprehensive economic development plan for the region. Its top priority: developing a modern highway system that would better connect the state. That

“These are the kinds of opportunities we live for – not only to design great works of infrastructure, but also to make the communities we serve safer, more accessible, more sustainable and more prosperous.” Brian A. Lutes | Michael Baker International

eventually would include Corridor L, a 70-mile stretch of


road that would connect I-79 near Sutton, W.Va., to I-77

National Park Service officials would be the first to

in Beckley, W.Va. The commission’s biggest challenge: a

acknowledge the economic benefits of the bridge over

short stretch of road that would somehow have to cross

the years. Today, the park service oversees an estimated

over the New River Gorge.

100 miles of wild rivers in the region, as well as federally

In 1967, the West Virginia State Road Commission hired Michael Baker to design an 11-mile stretch of the highway in Fayette County – including a bridge over the gorge.

protected land around the rivers, including several old, abandoned coal towns. It also maintains a bustling and historically robust visitor center and viewing decks along the north rim of the gorge, right next to the bridge and only about 100 yards from the entrance to Bridge Walk.

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Today, the National Park Service employs 120 people to manage this recreation area, including 75 permanent positions. The region attracts more than a million visitors annually. "This bridge has opened the whole area to north and south traffic and created an incredible economic opportunity,” says Lizzie Watts, a National Park superintendent who oversees the New River Gorge


Michael Baker International was hired in 1967 to design the bridge.

The bridge cost $37 million to build. It was completed in October 1977.

The design required 4,759 design calculation sheets and the equivalent of 15 years of full-time man hours.

The bridge was listed on the National Register of Historic Places after only 34 years.

The bridge rises 876 feet above the New River Gorge between Lansing and Fayetteville, W.Va.

The bridge is 3,030.5 feet long, end to end.

The arch measures 1,700 feet and is the longest steel arch in the country.

The bridge is the second-longest steel-arch bridge in the world.

region. “There are incredible resources in the New River area, ecosystem-wise. It has one of the highest diversities of plants, including rare and endangered plants, warmwater fisheries, great hiking, boating, biking and birds. “And,” she adds, “the bridge itself offers our guests a way to get here.”

A BRIDGE TO WHITE WATER Melanie Dragan, whose family is credited with basically creating the white-water rafting industry in the New River Gorge area, says the family faced tremendous challenges in 1968, when it first transplanted from Pittsburgh, Pa., to launch Wildwater Expeditions Ltd. She says her guides would take rafters on two-day “expeditions” along the river because of the isolation and inaccessibility back in those days. That all changed, she says, when the New River Gorge Bridge was built, along with the highway. “It totally opened up the area, giving easier access for more people to white-water raft,” says Melissa Dragan, Melanie’s daughter, who also guided rafters down the rivers. “The bridge became a connector and increased the popularity of the region. And it helped to develop the town of Fayetteville.” Simpson says he first came to the region to go white-water rafting while working with delinquent youth in the Pittsburgh area as part of an outdoor program to rehabilitate them. He remembers driving down with his wife and having to navigate Route 82, the narrow, barely paved road that drops down the north rim of the gorge to the tiny enclave of Fayette Station

Lizzie Watts

National Park Service

along the river.

We Make a Difference

/ 35




The Fayette Station bridge over the gorge carries motorists who traverse the now-one-lane Route 82 down to the river. The New River Gorge Bridge eliminated the need for motorists to drive this long and winding route to the other side of the mountain.

“It took me an hour to go nine miles,” he says. “My wife

and serves as senior vice president of public relations and

said we’re never going that way again.” And they didn’t

strategic partnerships for the company.“

have to after that.

During the company’s first year of business, Arnold says,

In 1982, thanks largely to the bridge, Simpson moved his

his team took about 2,000 people down the river on rafts.

family from north of Pittsburgh to Oak Hill, just south of

Today, the company boasts a sprawling resort in Lansing

the bridge, after acquiring a white-water rafting company.

that includes a lodge, cabins, a camping area, restaurant,

That’s when he says he just kept seeing the bridge during

pool and a host of outdoor activities.

rafting trips.

“About 100,000 people use our facilities today, coming

“Like everybody else, I was on the river and telling

from all 50 states and at least 15 foreign countries,”

people the best places to take pictures of the bridge,”

Arnold says. “We have 14 partners today and almost

Simpson says of his early days in the New River Gorge

600 employees.”

region. “I just thought it was a neat feature.”


Economic opportunity also brought Dave Arnold and his partners to the gorge. He says he and initially four partners launched Adventures on the Gorge in 1977 and ran their first rafting trips in April 1978. “Big outfitters hadn’t settled here before because it was a long drive – seven to eight hours – from the nearest major cities,” says Arnold, who today remains a partner

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Even the state’s agriculture industry has received a major boost over the years, thanks to the bridge and Corridor L. “It’s all about getting commerce out of the state,” says Crescent Gallagher, director and legislative liaison of the communications division of the state’s Department of Agriculture.




He says southern West Virginia has seen “a lot of

more than a million dollars in one day for the region. It’s

economic development in rural areas,” including

phenomenal; it’s iconic.”

raising livestock in the hills, for instance. The improved infrastructure, he notes, has supported what has become a $400 million-a-year industry around poultry.

Fayetteville transplant Bill Wells moved with his wife, Sally, to her hometown of Fayetteville recently to capitalize on the tourism growth around the bridge

“It opened up a whole new world,” Gallagher says, “and

and Bridge Day. The pair bought a historic 192-acre

bridged the gap to a new economy.”

farm along the main road in town and now is working


to restore the farmhouse for special events. In the

Of course, West Virginia continues to celebrate this iconic

a Bridge Day-weekend bluegrass-music festival called

bridge with its own Bridge Day festival. On the third

Bridge Jam, complete with food vendors, craft beers,

Saturday of October, the region literally shuts down the

on-site camping and music groups such as the Kentucky

bridge for a day to allow visitors the opportunity to walk

Headhunters and Georgia Satellites.

“It opened up a whole new world and bridged the gap to a new economy.” Crescent Gallagher | W.Va. Department of Agriculture

across the bridge. It’s also the one day of the year when pre-registered BASE jumpers can pay for the opportunity

meantime, the couple also is using the property to host

Last year, says wife Sally Wells, the music festival attracted 800 people. “We’ve definitely benefited from the bridge,” she says.

“CONNECTING TWO WORLDS” William Laird, who served four terms as sheriff of Fayette County before retiring and held a standing position on the Bridge Day Commission, says he sees an even bigger long-term benefit from the bridge and highway corridor. “I’m a home-grown tomato, and I think this bridge had the effect of connecting two worlds,” says Laird.

to jump off the bridge and parachute into the gorge.

“I see it as an engineering phenomenon that removed

“It’s like a fair festival on steroids,” says Sharon Cruikshank

enhanced economic development. It brought together

of the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce and Bridge

communities north and south [of the gorge]. It was a true

Day Commission chairperson. “It’s the only day people

cultural unifier.”

barriers, and not just transportation-wise. It also

legally are allowed to walk across the bridge. It generates

We Make a Difference

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Inside the National Park Service's New River Gorge Bridge visitor center, which largely showcases the region's coal history. The visitor center attracts nearly 350,000 visitors a year.

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Celebrating the 40th anniversary of the completion of the New River Gorge Bridge.






Michael Baker International CEO Brian A. Lutes addresses Bridge Day crowd.


f one ever doubted the iconic status of the now-famous

remarks during the ceremony. “Others have described

New River Gorge Bridge in Fayette County, W.Va., then

this bridge as one of the Wonders of the World. In

the bridge’s 40th anniversary Bridge Day celebration

fact, no other bridge in our design portfolio has been

should put any skepticism to rest. Tens of thousands of people from across the county, state

memorialized on a U.S. quarter, on a U.S. postage stamp or on a souvenir, for that matter.”

and country gathered on and around this engineering

The region has been hosting this one-day festival, which

“Wonder of the World” to celebrate the 1977 completion

includes BASE jumping off the bridge, a zip line and

of the bridge – which was designed by Michael Baker

closure of the bridge to allow pedestrians to cross it,

International – and its profound economic impact on this

annually since the day the bridge first opened.

rugged West Virginia mountain region.

Lutes said he was honored to be invited to participate

Michael Baker CEO Brian A. Lutes joined members of

on behalf of Michael Baker in this 40th anniversary

the U.S. Congress, the West Virginia Department of

celebration of a bridge that has served as a “highlight

Transportation and the National Park Service at a special

of our 77-year legacy.”

Bridge Day ceremony to pay tribute to the bridge, its designers, builders and those who have benefited over

Said Lutes: “This bridge continues to remind us of the

the years from both the bridge and connecting highway.

importance of imagining a greater future, to challenge

“Architectural Digest has referred to the New River Gorge

laws of physics to improve the quality of life for our

Bridge as one of the top 10 remarkable U.S. bridges,

communities…We’re just as proud of this bridge today

combining monumental design, feats of engineering and

as we were when it opened.”

nature, economics, culture, technology and even the

the natural beauty of the landscape,” Lutes said in his

We Make a Difference

/ 39








A compendium of places, projects and people demonstrating how Michael B a ke r I n t e r n a t i o n a l m a ke s a d i f fe r e n c e i n t h e c o m m u n i t i e s i t s e r ve s

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Mich ae l Baker wo rk s w it h Sa n Jos e t o deve l op We b - b a se d a d d re s s d a t a b a s e p o rtal an d pre p a re fo r N G 9 - 1- 1


he City of San Jose, Calif., has moved a step


closer to transitioning to Internet-based Next


Generation 9-1-1, thanks to a contract with

Michael Baker International to develop a master address database aimed



Steve Michael project

manager: “Michael Baker’s innovative approach and state-

at improving the city’s use

of-the-art software developed for the

of location data and other

government enterprise consolidates and

vital information. As part of the project, a team of Michael Baker engineers will work with the city to consolidate multiple disparate address data sets into a master database and

validates complex address databases consistent with industry standards and best practices.” This




partnered with the Orleans Parish Communication District and the Louisiana

create a Web-based address portal for city personnel.

Geographic Information Center in Louisiana in

The team also will implement an innovative on-premises

2016 to provide its DataMark® DX geospatial

computer software system for city personnel, including

data software to support the GIS component

police, fire, emergency medical response, 9-1-1 call

of New Orleans’ existing 9-1-1 operations and

center operators and elected officials, to continually

help the region transition to the NG 9-1-1

update and maintain its new database.

technology. That district serves nearly 550,000

The work draws on Michael Baker’s database

residents, visitors and daily commuters.

management expertise as well as its proprietary DataMark® suite of geographic information systems software and support services for automating address data creation, consolidation and maintenance processes for government clients.


That same software and database system also are designed to help cities transition to an Internet-based 9-1-1 system, referred to as Next Generation 9-1-1, that allows telecommunication devices with Internet connectivity to reach public safety officials for emergency services. Such service requires precise location data, improved workflows and continuous data maintenance and refinement to route callers to the nearest public safety call center.

We Make a Difference

/ 41







hat’s what a team of Michael Baker engineers

inadequate capacity of the existing two-land connector

from the West Region have been working on

for the westbound SR-91 to northbound and southbound

as part of a contract with the Los Angeles

I-605, and closely spaced freeway entrance and exit

County Metropolitan Transportation Authority to

ramps. Michael Baker has provided traffic analysis for

tackle gridlock around the I-605/SR-91 interchange

more than 40 miles of I-605, I-405 and SR-91 since 2011.

and beyond.

“Michael Baker’s thorough understanding of the project

The company was awarded a $7.1 million contract

since its inception lets us advance it at full speed,” says

in the spring of 2017 to study the interchange,

Steve Huff, transportation practice lead in southern

along with a three-mile stretch of westbound

California for Michael Baker. “In this way, our unique

SR-91, to identify possible improvements,

knowledge of the corridor’s issues and challenges

including widening that westbound stretch

identified in the feasibility study will aid us in analyzing

of road to reduce congestion and improve

and identifying the necessary improvements.”

driver safety.

The project's approval phase is

The problems, according

scheduled for completion in March

to the Michael Baker team,

2018, with construction targeted to

include insufficient SR-91

begin in 2021.

freeway mainline capacity,

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3 D- mappi ng A t la nt a A irpor t’s l i ght ing sys t e m


artsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport,






iming for a combination of aggressive growth and operational excellence in its West Region, Michael Baker International

considered the busiest airport in the world, also

has named company veteran Michael Conaboy, P.E.,

arguably is one of the most illuminated. And

as West Region director.

that means a vast electrical system connecting the entire

In his new role, Conaboy

airfield with lots of wiring.

will focus on growing

To track the airport’s Airfield Lighting System wiring and

the West Region and is

plan for future upgrades and expansions, the airport turned

responsible for regional

to Michael Baker International with a three-year project to

leadership, marketing,

map the complex underground system, including live,

business development,

dead and abandoned wires, and create a 3D model of the

resource allocation and

system. The Michael Baker team recently completed the


first half of the project.

overall profitability and

The system includes more than 20,000 lights, 700 guidance signs, 600 manholes, three high-voltage electrical distribution vaults and an Airfield Lighting Control and Monitoring System. Michael Baker’s 3D model is designed

Michael Conaboy



efficiency of the nearly 20

regional offices across Arizona, California, Nevada, and Washington. He has relocated to the firm’s Santa Ana, Calif., office.

to create greater safety for electrical maintenance crews

“Michael Baker International is firmly committed to

and save time and money by helping those crews more

building a culture of excellence that fosters growth

accurately and quickly locate the source of outages on

while achieving operational excellence,” says Dale

the airfield.

Spaulding, chief operating officer of Michael Baker.

“Michael Baker has partnered with the HartsfieldJackson Atlanta International Airport for more than 14 years,” says Quintin Watkins, aviation program manager from the company’s

“Our West Region has tremendous growth potential as our Planning, Transportation and Water practices, among others, continue to deliver innovative solutions for our clients.”

Norcross, Ga., office. “Our relationship

Conaboy’s career with Michael Baker spans 23

evolved with the current Airfield Lighting

years and most recently saw him serve in the role of

System project, which uses a similar approach

national practice lead for the Water practice.

to detect issues in electrical equipment and provide the airport maintenance crew with a roadmap for easier identification and solutions to electrical outages and problems.”

Conaboy succeeds Anna Lantin, P.E., who has transitioned to the newly created role of senior vice president of business development. In her new position, Lantin will focus on nurturing and growing client relationships and business in the region.

We Make a Difference

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BRIDGE LEADERSHIP In a move designed to further strengthen Michael Baker International’s Bridge practice, the company has hired bridge engineering veteran Scott Roux, S.E., P.E., to fill the role of national practice leader.



ichael Baker International has taken its inspection expertise underground, so to speak, and

has been working with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), in partnership with the National Highway Institute and HDR Inc.,

Based in Michael Baker's new Seattle office, Roux brings with him

to develop a comprehensive tunnel safety

more than 20 years of experience in design, construction and

inspection training course.

inspection. He’s designed more than 200 bridges for various public transportation authorities, both domestic and international, and




ratings and visual inspections for dozens of bridges as well. His experience also includes concept development, design -build, construction engineering and contract administration for projects throughout his career.

Scott Roux

Scott comes to Michael Baker after most recently serving as vice president of U.S. operations for COWI North America, a leading consulting group for engineering, economics and environmental science that specializes in major bridges, among other verticals. In 2015, Roux also held the position of president and managing director for Jenny Engineering Corporation, COWI’s North American tunnel engineering firm specializing in the planning, design and construction management of tunnels and underground structures. “Scott’s rich experience and distinguished expertise in bridges, design-build and contractor relationships, along with his leadership, ability to drive change and track record for growth, make him a terrific addition to our leadership team as we continue on our path of excellence, pursue signature projects and drive innovation for the Bridge practice, says Bonnie Shepherd, chief practice officer for Michael Baker. “I look forward to what Scott and the entire Bridge team will accomplish together.”

Central to the course is an innovative computer-based virtual tunnel inspection training exercise developed by Michael Baker experts using virtual reality-based gaming technology. The software developed by Michael Baker allows users to walk through a virtual tunnel inspection. Michael Baker has presented this course 18 times since August 2015.

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land development engineering services just received a substantial

lift on the West Coast, thanks to a newly created practice lead position aimed at driving growth, enhancing client care and instituting best practices. Company veteran Michael Tylman has been named to the position of West Region practice lead for Land Development and will continue to work from the firm’s Santa Ana, Calif., office. He will work closely with more than 300 employees in 12 offices who are working in land development. Says Michael Conaboy, senior vice president and director of Michael

Mike Tylman

Baker’s West Region: “Mike’s vast network with public agencies and the private sector, deep relationships with clients, strong operations knowledge and warm leadership style will be invaluable in bolstering Michael Baker’s position as the unrivaled leader in land development in our region.”

Michael Baker's Liberty Station project in San Diego.

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Before the widening.


Rendering of the expanded corridor.


rkansas’ Highway 70 corridor between Hot Springs and Interstate 30 has been transformed,

thanks to Michael Baker International, which

of fatal accidents, so Michael Baker’s design efforts (led

designed a widening of the 19-mile stretch of highway

by Scott Thornsberry, project manager) looked at ways

from two lanes to four and improvements

to improve roadway conditions, such as

to roadway conditions to reduce safety

straightening curves, flattening hills and

hazards for drivers.

changing geometrics of the highway,”

The firm recently completed the $4.5 million design project for the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD), including an environmental study, the design of several new bridges and the design of sweeping, long curves to allow for safer

says Michael Stengel, vice president and office executive for Michael Baker’s Little Rock, Ark., office. “Utilizing 3D modeling software, our team developed innovative and environmentally sound solutions for our partners at AHTD to improve the existing roadway and bridges.”

truck navigation while eliminating sharp curves that made

With the design phase completed, Michael Baker now

certain sections of road unnegotiable for large trucks.

is providing construction support services throughout

“The Highway 70 corridor has experienced a number

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the construction phase. Expected completion date is August 2018.




oosting its efforts to foster innovation and new technology aimed at advanced client service, Michael Baker International has created a new chief





ichael Baker International already has been leveraging its expertise in transportation infrastructure and environmental services to

support Michigan’s growth efforts. Now, the company has established a beachhead in the state.

technology officer role.

The company officially has expanded its Great Lakes

Serving the new role

The team there will focus on Michael Baker’s key practice

is Martin Miner, who brings more than two decades of military experience and nearly 30 years of professional leadership experience to the company. Miner, Martin Miner


based in the firm’s

Alexandria, Va., office, is focusing on innovation, driving growth and creating differentiated value propositions for clients via technology and information technology-driven service efficiency. “Technology integration and the operational efficiencies it creates have never been more important in the engineering industry,” says Brian A. Lutes, CEO of Michael Baker. “Marty’s hiring allows Michael Baker to expand our technology and innovation practice, as he will focus on improving our service delivery efficiency and advancing our various client-centric technologies, such as LiDAR, GIS, GIT, UAS and other emerging opportunities.” Miner previously was senior vice president and chief information officer at Leidos, the largest U.S. government information technology services contractor in the country. He also served for 10 years as an officer in the U.S. Air Force, followed

Region and opened its first Michigan office in Detroit. areas, including Transportation, Bridges, Water, Planning and Construction Services. “Michigan has long been a target expansion market for Michael Baker,” says Kent Zinn, vice president and director of Michael Baker’s Great Lakes Region. “As the state continues to experience infrastructure growth with transportation and environmental projects, the new office in Detroit is poised to demonstrate our full continuum of services to clients.” Running the office – and growing its business – is Steve Gravlin, P.E., whose background and expertise include design-build and P3 contracting, and range from bridge design and Complete Streets/urban arterial design to green infrastructure and climate change mitigation. Says Zinn: “Steve brings


leadership capabilities to





role Baker,

and his experience with transportation infrastructure projects across the state of Michigan will help to grow our presence in the market.”

Steve Gravlin

by 14 years in the Air Force Reserves, retiring as a lieutenant colonel.

We Make a Difference

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eei ng

g rea t e r





ow does a local airport authority transform a small, regional airport at the end of its useful life into a

commercial hub of future economic development? It develops a grand vision connecting its past to the future.


And it hires Michael Baker International.

international and federal work, Michael

That’s what the Ashtabula County Airport Authority did

Baker International has hired James

back in 2011, when it faced an inspection report with a

Koch to serve as senior vice president

daunting list of renovations needed to meet federal and

and the


state compliance and a Federal Aviation Administration’s

c o m p a n y ’s

recommendation to downgrade to a B-II airport that no


Mid-Atlantic Region.

longer can accommodate jets.



“They challenged us to figure out how we can get

c o m p a n y ’s

everything checked off the list” of deficiencies, says





Cleveland-based Paul Strack, aviation lead for Michael



Baker’s 10-state Great Lakes Region. “So we helped them

office, brings to the

become the first fully compliant commercial certificated

company more than

airport in the state of Ohio.”

40 years of military James Koch



experience, including

a background in federal civil programs and international responsibility. He comes to Michael Baker from international and federal leadership roles at AECOM and, previously, Hill International. He spent the first half of his career with the United States Army, retiring as a lieutenant colonel.

The complete overhaul included a new and expanded

“Jim’s background will help Michael Baker

runway and runway safety area, relocated drainage

expand our focus in the Mid-Atlantic Region to

systems and an underground natural gas pipeline, and

align with the growing business opportunities

the acquisition of additional land around the airport to

with local and state government agencies,” says

accommodate the expansion. The Michael Baker team

Dale Spaulding, chief operating officer at Michael

served as the engineer of record for the project.

Baker. “Jim’s leadership of a key federal market will help Michael Baker continue to proudly provide world-class engineering solutions to help meet complex challenges.”

Driving the authority’s vision, Strack says, was the desire to preserve local businesses that already depended on the airport – and the goal of attracting new businesses to northeast Ohio. The new airport now is called the Northeast Ohio Regional Airport. “We’ve secured this transportation asset for the next 50 years,” Strack says. "Now they can focus on bringing more real jobs into the community. And we’re part of that partnership.”

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DOI N G T HE 1 6 - DAY











to replace one of Utah’s busiest

interchanges, with reduced motorist and other impacts than traditional phased construction might cause, it turned to a team of Michael Baker International engineers. The





accelerated-bridge-construction techniques, found an innovative way to condense a normally nine-month-long construction project into 16 days for the I-15 Northbound, 10600 South Interchange. Its solution: a construction process that would include a three-sided, precast box underpass structure that literally would be slid laterally along footings and put into place, followed by the installation of a full bottom slab. This was the first three-sided box structure ever used by UDOT. The structure, which weighed an estimated 3 million pounds, with a 123-foot length and 22-foot height, took only two hours to slide into place from its original position, where it had been cast in the first place. The three-sided concrete structure was cast with a traditional forming system and didn’t require specialized equipment for construction. The keys to the slide were simple, pre-cast concrete footing sections that provided a solid and level surface for the slide system. Otherwise, the construction company would have had to construct the bridge section in three time-consuming sections over a period of nine months. Moreover, that slide part of the project was completed ahead of schedule, with the remainder of the road improvement project scheduled for completion early in 2018.

We Make a Difference

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Michae l Baker, in p a rt ne rship w i t h B r i d g e s t o Pr os p e r i t y , b u i l d s a new fo o tbr id g e t o g ive a B o l i v i a n v i l l a g e r a i n y - s e a s on a cce s s t o cr i ti cal r eso urc e s

Ten Michael Baker employees volunteered their time to build this suspension footbridge in Bolivia.


ore than 200 residents of the small village of

nonprofit organization. Bridges to Prosperity’s mission is to

Pabellón, Bolivia, now can cross the often-flooded

build footbridges in remote, underdeveloped areas of the

Rio Pabellón during the five-month rainy season,

world. In 2016 alone, the organization – along with partners

thanks to a new suspension bridge built in July 2017 by a team of volunteers from Michael Baker International in partnership with the nonprofit Bridges to Prosperity.

such as Michael Baker – built 31 bridges in six countries. “I’m both humbled and proud that our company, as a leading bridge design firm in the United States, has had this unique

The bridge, 115 feet long and painted the colors of the

opportunity to partner with Bridges to Prosperity to build a

Bolivian flag, now gives residents a year-round connection

new suspension bridge that will have such a profound impact

to the nearest hospital, government services and school.

on the people of Pabellón,” says Brian A. Lutes, CEO of

The Michael Baker team constructed the bridge as part of

Michael Baker. “This bridge, which significantly improves

the company’s three-year partnership with the international

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the community’s connection to vital education, economic

“Working alongside the rest of the Michael Baker team and

and health care resources, exemplifies Michael Baker’s

local community members, young and old, filled me with such

commitment to our philosophy that ‘We Make a Difference’

pride and energy,” says Paula Boardman, office leader, GIT,

for the communities we serve.”

in Michael Baker’s Reno, Nev., office and designated logistics

For the Bolivian project, 10 Michael Baker team members from across the country volunteered to spend two weeks working alongside local residents and others to plan and construct a bridge designed for the rugged terrain by Bridges to Prosperity. Team members prepped the job site, prepared materials, moved rocks and concrete, set the main cable

coordinator for the trip. “The experience gave me a new perspective on how transportation infrastructure, something which we take for granted in the United States, can have such a positive impact by providing opportunities for people to grow and thrive in other parts of the world.” This is the second project in Michael Baker’s three-year partnership with Bridges to

and installed both the footboards

Prosperity, which will result in another

and fences, all the while working

bridge construction project in 2018

closely with residents – and their

with new team-member volunteers

livestock, including donkeys and

in a location where Bridges to

free-roaming goats.

Prosperity has identified the greatest need.

We Make a Difference

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The importance of greater mobility choices in the community and five things communities need to do to launch their own transformations By Frederick Jones, AICP | Senior Project Manager | Michael Baker international


ontext-Sensitive Solutions, Livable Streets,

In short, Complete Streets represents both a policy and

Green Streets, Right-Sizing, Home Zones,

design framework aimed at designing roads with all

Walkable Communities, Complete Streets –

users in mind, not just motorists. Beyond aesthetics and

whatever you want to call it, we are in the middle of a

attractive landscaping, this approach emphasizes greater

paradigm shift in the way communities are thinking about

mobility choice, balancing the interests of pedestrians,

roads and roadway design.

cyclists, motorists and transit users of all ages and

Driven in part by a groundswell of communities across the country looking to substantially improve quality of

abilities with an “outside-in” philosophy governed first and foremost by placemaking and urban design.

life, the Complete Streets movement recognizes the

However, no one-size-fits-all, singular solution exists for

need for a better, more comprehensive way to design

the perfect Complete Street. A Complete Street may

our transportation infrastructure. This movement stresses

include sidewalks, bike lanes, dedicated transit lanes,

the importance of improved safety, health, economic and

comfortable and accessible public transportation stops,

environmental outcomes as intrinsic components of the

safe crossing opportunities, median islands, accessible

entire project lifecycle.

pedestrian signals, curb extensions, narrower travel

An actual city street versus a Complete Streets redesign.

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lanes, roundabouts and more. The Complete Streets approach isn’t about adding ribbons and bows until the package looks good – it’s about rebalancing the roadway space in the right location at the right time.

WHY THE SHIFT? For the better part of the past 70 years, communities have done a tremendous job designing their roadways to accommodate the efficient mobility of the car. In combination with segregated-land-use regulations Frederick Jones, AICP, senior project manager

and housing finance policies, this has led to a state of

with Michael Baker International in its Jacksonville,

automotive dependency in many areas of the country,

Fla., office, has more than 15 years of public- and

making it largely impractical – and dangerous – for non-

private-sector experience for a variety of community

motorists to walk, bike or use mass transit.

planning and mobility projects.

From public health and safety standpoints, the

His expertise includes Complete Streets, multimodal

increasing levels of inactivity and the growing numbers

transportation planning, corridor studies, traffic

of injuries and fatalities to walkers and cyclists across the

impact analysis and public engagement as well

nation can be attributed to the lack of walkable, human-

as extensive experience in regulatory issues

scaled design in our communities. This movement away

and mixed-use development. Jones’ training in

from largely “incomplete” streets to facilities that are

anthropology led to his career in planning, as he

designed to make travel choices more safe, accessible,

believes “urban planning is anthropology.”

convenient and attractive isn’t merely a fad.

Previously, Jones served as senior transportation

Redesigning our roads to support greater transit use

planner with the Jacksonville Transportation

and multimodal trip-making improves the capacity and

Authority (JTA). In this role, he oversaw JTA’s

efficient movement of travel within the same amount of

Complete Streets program. Jones is a Certified

curb-to-curb roadway space, reducing single-occupancy

Planner with a Master’s Degree in Urban and

auto congestion while improving cardiovascular health

Regional Planning from Florida State University.

via walking and biking opportunities.

He currently serves as chairman of the City of

In addition to the obvious health, safety and mobility

Jacksonville’s Downtown Development Review

benefits, one of the primary reasons for the shift

Board and recently was elected to the City Council of

is the increasingly recognizable economic value of

Neptune Beach, Fla., where he intends to promote

“walkability.” Complete Streets can fundamentally

more livable and sustainable mobility solutions.

improve walkability. Walkable neighborhoods have demonstrably higher home values than their drivable, suburban counterparts.

We Make a Difference

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Another actual city street versus a rendering of a Complete Streets alternative.

Based on recent data from WalkScore and the “CEOs for






Cities” report, in most metro areas, for each additional

communicate the benefits of the Complete Streets

point on the 100-point WalkScore scale, home values

plan clearly and build champions early in the process

generally increase from $500 to $3,000 in value. In

to keep the message and implementation on target.

Washington, D.C., for example, walkable commercial

Leverage proposed resurfacing opportunities to get

cores yield 75 percent higher office rents typically

quick wins and build momentum.

than their suburban counterparts. Millennials and Baby Boomers have played a huge role in driving this demand as well.

GETTING STARTED Communities will find many effective ways to introduce a Complete Streets framework. For those that are just beginning to have the conversation, remember, this truly is about a paradigm shift and not merely about installing a new bike lane or sidewalk as a project amenity. Here’s how to get started:

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2. EDUCATE AND ENGAGE – This also means sticking to a personalized message or storytelling approach that resonates with the community and stakeholders to get collective buy-in. In Jacksonville, Florida, for example, the key message was for the city to get off the “Dangerous by Design” list of the top metro areas with the worst pedestrian danger index. The solution? A Complete Streets approach to transportation design. Communities should make sure they drive their Complete Streets visions


with hard data and benefits that are tangible and measurable over time – whether safety (i.e., reduced severity of accidents), economic (i.e., increased real estate investment) or environmental sustainabilityrelated (i.e., reduced emissions and runoff). 3. START WITH DEMONSTRATION PROJECTS



DESIGNED FOR COMMUNITY OR CAPACITY? As community leaders continue to revitalize their communities, they should keep in mind that the Complete Streets approach really is about creating a “network of opportunity,” through a variety of choices,

– The key approach here is to avoid swallowing

that is both responsive to community context and serves

the elephant. This low-cost “pilot” strategy tests

to enhance its sense of place. Creating a network of

Complete Streets concepts and gathers community

opportunity is about increasing multimodal accessibility

feedback. Using temporary installations such

to jobs, neighborhoods, shopping, and leisure for

as parklets or planting bollards that may only

everyone, ultimately transforming communities into ones

stay in place for a few weeks, communities can

that are lasting, livable and economically competitive.

test new ideas and designs, allowing residents to experience new concepts or design ideas that may be unfamiliar to them while proving that “the traffic didn’t get worse.” This strategy greatly reduces resistance to testing innovative solutions and provides insight on desirability and feasibility. Often these pilot projects become permanent. 4. CREATE ENGAGING COLLATERAL – Attractive, easy-to-read materials are the best way to get the attention of key stakeholders, particularly elected officials. Sometimes it’s all about telling the right story. Using creative multimedia strategies tailored for each specific project (including the production of attractive summary materials, videos, presentations, and interactive Web sites) that hit the emotional core of stakeholders can mean the difference between success and failure. Outreach efforts should be broad, especially targeting special-interest group needs.

“Communities should make sure they drive their Complete Streets visions with hard data and benefits that are tangible and measureable.” Frederick Jones | Michael Baker International

Any time communities introduce a paradigm shift, they will face resistance. Often, Complete Street efforts face opposition from both professionals in the traffic engineering community and the public. Most of this resistance, though, stems from the perception that any new design will result in a loss of road capacity and


vehicle throughput and consequently will lead to greater

Communities should begin the conversation

traffic congestion.

by defining the right context characteristics,

An open and honest assessment of tradeoffs early in the

particularly when seeking buy-in from departments of transportation. Based on the New Urbanist Transect system, the use of a context-based classification




agreement on important project elements such as speed, lane widths, potential lane elimination and other Complete Street design outcomes. Corridor planning and design flexibility should be driven by the existing or desired future form and context

process generally will result in greater acceptance in the long run, or at least informed consent, especially when the conversation about a community's street is reframed as a place designed for community versus road capacity. If communities begin with the simple question of whether they want their street to serve as an area to “come through” versus one to “come to,” most ultimately will prefer the latter.

of the transportation facility through its physical characteristics, not highway-functional classification.

We Make a Difference

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M icha e l B a ker design s stat e-o f-t he-ar t ' H ar t fo r d Line' t ra in s ta ti ons to blen d into New England t own s et t ings


he high-speed rail commute for residents between New Haven, Conn., Hartford, Conn., and Springfield, Mass., soon will get significantly better, thanks to new rail connections and state-of-the-art train stations along the

“Hartford Line,” designed by a team of Michael Baker International architects, engineers and planners. The team, primarily based in the company’s Rocky Hill, Conn., office, was asked to design 11 new passenger rail stations, complete with amenities that include an online parking revenue collection system, real-time passenger information displays that coordinate with both Amtrak and commuter rail operations, and an innovative, cost-saving, concealed snow-melt system to keep platforms free from snow and ice during the winter. “This station model focuses on state-of-the-art passenger amenities, efficient connections to future transit-oriented-development (TOD) parcels, and enhanced connectivity to other transit systems, all leading to a more viable mass transportation alternative, as well as a livelier ‘sense of place’ within the communities they serve,” says David Tudryn, project manager for Michael Baker and the chief architect of the company’s northeast region. To arrive at the stations’ current overall design, the design team worked closely with individual towns along the rail corridor to develop a look that would fit well into the context of a traditional New England main street. “The client wanted a very consistent look across the whole line, regenerating the design for each station,” explains Michael Grandelski, a deputy project manager out of Michael Baker’s Rocky Hill, Conn., office. "But we had to make sure the stations were integrated into each community.” Among the signature features of each station are stair and elevator towers on each side of the tracks connected to pedestrian overpasses; two 500-foot-high, level platforms from which to safely board passenger trains; waiting shelters; landscaping that includes erosion and sedimentation control; parking lot; LED lighting; platform signage; and closed-circuit security system. Michael Baker also is providing design services during construction. The stations, including the new connections, are part of a new service to create better links from Vermont, western Massachusetts and Connecticut to the Northeast Corridor, New York City and beyond. Partners include the states of Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont, as well as Amtrak, MetroNorth and the Federal Railroad Administration.

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Rendering of the newly designed passenger train station in Wallingford, Conn.

We Make a Difference

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John A. Roebling Suspension - Covington, Ky. SIGN AT U R E - Bridge FA L L Inspection 2017




EXCELLENCE To Our Clients… We believe in building strong, long-term relationships that put your needs and aspirations first. We will move mountains to leverage our full continuum of expertise, experience and innovation – with respect and integrity – to help you solve your most complex problems. We will serve as your change agents and trusted advisers, guiding you and your communities through transformational change. We deliver performance.

To Our Employees… We cultivate a culture of excellence that fosters collaboration, career development, diversity, creativity, differentiating innovation and an impassioned entrepreneurial spirit. We will invest in your education and training. We will seek opportunities for you to develop your careers. We will reward innovation, teamwork and leadership. We deliver careers.

To the Communities We Serve… We care deeply about the communities we serve. We will give you our best as we deliver improved quality of life, peace of mind and a more prosperous future. We also are dedicated to giving back around the world with our time, talents and financial support to lift up those in need. You represent our families, neighbors and friends. We deliver a helping hand.

We Make a Difference

We Make a Difference

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“… the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack…”

Commitment 60 /

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Commitment to Exc t to Excellence We Make a Difference

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We Make a Difference


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500 Grant Street | Suite 5400 Pittsburgh, PA 15219 S I G N AT U R E - FA L L 2 0 1 7


Signature | Fall 2017  
Signature | Fall 2017  

Michael Baker's fall issue of Signature Magazine.