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ISSUE No.9

from how we collaborate

to how we envision our future

the changing landscape


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Copyright 2015, Urban Engineers, Inc. All rights reserved. This article is protected by United States copyright and other intellectual property laws and may not be reproduced, rewritten, distributed, re-disseminated, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast, directly or indirectly, in any medium without the prior written permission of Urban Engineers, Inc. For permission to reprint any portion of this publication; to notify us that you have received more than one copy; or to be removed from the mailing list, please contact us at amcushman@urbanengineers. com or (215) 922-8080. Formulating Excellence is the trademark of Urban Engineers, Inc. registered in the United States. Other marks, names, and logos contained herein are the property of their respective owners. ÂŽ

Although reasonable effort has been made to present current and accurate information, Urban Engineers, Inc. makes no guarantees of any kind. The reader’s use of the information provided is at his or her own risk. In no event shall Urban Engineers, Inc., its officers, employees or agents, be held liable for any special, incidental, or consequential damages, whatsoever arising from the use or inability to use the information contained in this publication. Some links within this e-newsletter, or within the Urban Engineers, Inc. web site, may lead to other sites owned and operated by third parties. Urban Engineers, Inc. is not responsible for their content and does not necessarily sponsor, endorse or otherwise approve of the materials appearing in such sites. In addition, linked sites may be subject to terms of use and/or privacy policies of their owner/operators, and anyone who uses such a link is responsible for checking what those terms/ policies are for themselves. Furthermore, the opinions expressed in materials transmitted from this e-newsletter or the Urban Engineers, Inc. site are the opinions of the individual authors and may not reflect the opinion of Urban Engineers, Inc. or any of its principals, employees and/or agents.

Founded in 1960, Urban Engineers is a privately owned (ESOP), ISO 9001:2008-certified, multidisciplinary design, construction management, construction inspection, planning, and environmental consulting firm. urbanengineers.com


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E x e cut iv e Pe r s pe ct iv e

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Q & A wit h mat t hijs bo uw

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A bbe y Ga ncz

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a d o ct o r a nd his g r e e nho use

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bl ig ht is br ig ht

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a cit y f o r a l l

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t o t he s k y

Mark Kinnee Senior Vice President

IS S UE No. 9

In this issue From topics on climate, to collaboration, to culture, we’re excited to explore the ever-evolving landscape of engineering through the perspectives of engineers, architects, artists, scientists, politicians, and everyday citizens.

Contributors Authors

Photographers

DesignER

Andrew Cushman Corey Fenwick Cody Lowry

Luke Cloran Andrew Ludewig Kaytalin Platt

Luke Cloran

Editors

Videography

Director

Andrew Cushman Cody Lowry

Urban Video Productions®

Andrew Cushman

Special Thanks Matthijs Bouw Philadelphia Mural Arts Elizabeth Thomas University of Pennsylvania Dr. Henry Daniell Roxana Azar

CTfastrak City of New Britain City of Philadelphia Licenses & Inspections

On resiliency, the Big U, and changing the way we collaborate.

Faces of Formulating Excellence ®

Advancing research to deliver medicine to the global population.

A glimpse into the world of psychylustro.

How New Britain, CT, developed a “Complete Streets” Master Plan, and in the process gained so much more.

Urban’s Special Inspections practice continues to reach new heights.

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A da m o s t ino ws k y

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mo d e r nizing t he t ur npik e

Faces of Formulating Excellence ®

Newly constructed lanes open on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.


EXECUTIVE PERSPECTIVE Mark Kinnee, PE Senior Vice President


We need to have the infrastructure that allows for the safe and efficient movement of people and goods throughout the country.

The federal transportation funding bill is due to expire in May

Several states, including Pennsylvania, Maryland,

and Democrats and Republicans acknowledge that a long-

Massachusetts, and Ohio, have stepped up during the

term transportation funding solution is needed. Investing in

past few years to address the transportation funding

our infrastructure is not a partisan issue but how we pay for it

problem themselves, but without a robust federal

remains the big question.

program, this positive momentum will be lost. In Pennsylvania, Act 89 will add approximately $2.3 billion

Although there are many different options being discussed, we

in transportation funding during a five-year period by

believe that an increase in the gas tax should be part of the

removing the cap on the Oil Company Franchise Tax. It

answer. Gas prices are the lowest they have been in six years

is estimated that the average driver will pay about $2.54

with the national average at $2.30 a gallon according to

per week, which will allow 7,000 bridges and more than

AAA. After paying close to $4.00 a gallon just years ago, this

10,000 miles of roadway to be improved or rebuilt.

would seem to be our best opportunity for an increase. It is imperative that we pass a long-term funding bill The federal gas tax has not been increased since 1993. While

if we are going to remain competitive in the global

the tax generates approximately $34 billion per year, the

marketplace. We need to have the infrastructure that

federal government typically spends approximately $50 billion

allows for the safe and efficient movement of people and

on highway and transit projects annually. Although there may

goods throughout the country. Many of us in the industry

be better long-term solutions to funding our infrastructure

have been instrumental at the state level in educating our

needs, the gas tax is still the most-effective means at this time

elected officials on the need for additional funding. We

to assess a “user fee� for those on the roads.

here at Urban urge everyone to put forth the same effort in communicating the need to our federal legislators.

excellence / 2


California Dreamin’

Urban launches Los Angeles office to manage major transit projects.

The LA Metro is closer than ever to

destinations such as Miracle Mile, Beverly

and Director of Contracts. He brings a

connecting western LA to the region’s

Hills, Century City, and Westwood.

360-degree experience in diversified

growing rail network, and improving

engineering management duties involving

mobility for everyone who lives, works, and

Urban has recently launched a new

planning, designing, and implementing

plays throughout LA County.

office to provide Project Management

heavy, light, electric multiple unit, and

Oversight Consultant (PMOC) services for

commuter rail projects.

The long-awaited Metro Purple Line

the Federal Transit Administration (FTA)

Subway Extension is now under

for this project. Al Scala, who has been

construction. From the current terminus at

charged with leading Urban’s efforts, has

Wilshire/Western, the Purple Line Extension

more than 33 years experience, including

will expand westward for about nine miles

serving in various consultant roles, as well

with seven new stations. This will provide

as a six-year tenure with the Los Angeles

a high-capacity, high-speed, dependable

County Metropolitan Transportation

alternative for those traveling to and

Authority where he acted as Deputy

from LA’s “second downtown,” including

Project Manager/Systems Engineering

3 / urbanengineers.com

Office Address: 515 S. Flower Street, 36th Floor Los Angeles, CA 90071

Contact Al Scala: 213.236.3514 avscala@urbanengineers.com


How They Put an Ice Skating Rink next to Philadelphia’s City Hall For more information on the Rothman Institute Ice Rink, visit the Center City District’s website: http://www.ccdparks.org/dilworth-park

This winter, the transformation of Dilworth Park’s central fountain into the Rothman Institute Ice Rink, left many asking, “How did they do that?” To ensure that the rink would be able to be setup and dismantled for the winter season, three key permanent infrastructure aspects were ingrained into the park’s design. They were:

1) Underground chiller lines - These keep the rink

frozen, as well as prevent people from tripping over large insulated hoses on the plaza surface. 2) An ice melt pit - located next to the rink, It captures

the shavings from the Zamboni. 3) A dedicated electrical service to power the chiller -

It is crucial to keep the rink frozen, so its own utility line was required.

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Q&A with Matthijs Bouw

On resiliency, the Big U, and changing the way we collaborate.

Matthijs Bouw, principal of One Architecture,

148 international applicants. The six winning projects

based in the Netherlands, likes having the ability

have received initial funding of $920 million, with

to select RFPs based on where his company can

the Big U receiving $335 million of its $1.2 billion

make the most impact. When the Rebuild by Design

first phase. The six designs are just the start of a

Competition was announced, he knew it was a once-

nationwide effort that will ultimately change the way

in-a-lifetime opportunity.

we think of infrastructure.

Rebuild by Design was organized by President

What attracted you to the competition?

Barack Obama’s Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force as part of a larger $60 billion federal aid package for the NJ-NY-CT region in response to the natural disaster’s devastation in 2013. One Architecture teamed with the international architectural company Bjarke Ingels Group and focused their efforts on resiliency in Lower Manhattan. Their submission, called the Big U, was eventually selected as one-of-six winning solutions among 10 multidisciplinary design teams that feature

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Coming from Dutch culture, where there is a collective narrative about how things are shared, the prospect of multidisciplinary teams working collaboratively with the communities and agencies of the New York region to change the culture of urban design was super exciting.


Matthijs Bouw is the Rockefeller Urban Resilience Fellow at University of Pennsylvania.

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“Resiliency is about fixing your boiler and wiring to the Big U and everything in between. It’s a very exciting theme.”

The “Big U” Rendering by: The Big Team

what are the next steps? In some ways, we’re going to have to go through the same phases all over again. Specifically, we have to better understand how the Greater New York City implementing agencies work and see how we can align

the ability to calculate whether it’s better to prevent these disasters, such as in Manhattan, or prepare like in other cities. Resiliency is about fixing your boiler and wiring to the Big U and everything in between. It’s a very exciting theme.

their working methods. We also need to find a way to involve the engineering teams because they have had a limited part in the process. I tend to believe that this type of integrated, multidisciplinary work is the approach of the future. We all need to learn it - the engineering companies, designers, agencies, and communities - all of us.

What has influenced your design approach?

What are the advantages of the Big U? In the United States, issues that could be looked at and designed from a collective point of view often are not. After Hurricane Sandy, you saw all these transit authorities and DOTs who were sort of covering some holes, changing some wiring, etc. These are band-aids that need to be there now, but it would be helpful if the funding for all these projects could be linked together.

In the Netherlands, we are very good at preventing

With the Big U, we think a lot of the work could be done

disasters from happening because we have this century-

up front and for a much lower total cost.

old planning machinery that is relatively top down. Also, because the country is below sea level, the only option we have is protection and prevention. Otherwise, the country would simply flood. In the U.S. though, you have 7 / urbanengineers.com


The “Big U” Rendering by: The Big Team

Why is risk management important?

preparedness or prevention?

Risk management is the crucial element of every

Right now, insurance programs are based on

plan. Basically, if you don’t organize a process

the wrong models and very heavy subsidies, so

well, you will lose a lot of money. The amount

it is hard to determine this. While they might get

of money spent in the United States is sizeable,

updated 10-15 years from now, my assumption is

but spent very inefficiently. For instance, there’s

that the cost-benefits analysis will look completely

$60 billion in Hurricane Sandy aid. If agencies

different then. In terms of market research, you

would collaborate, the amount of money would

could start inputting stronger storms into your

go much further. Approximately $1.5 billion was

models and then identify where the cost-benefits

spent on Lower Manhattan and for that we could

ratio between preparedness and prevention starts

have built that part of the Big U and there would

to change. Knowing how this would help you

have been enough money left over to build a

prepare from a market view where these tipping

school and museum there as well. Now, all the

points are and what to be ready for.

Wall Street businesses are trying to fortify their buildings one by one. It’s very inefficient.

Final thoughts? As designers, we have this broad scope where

What is most costly about projects? The problem is not the very simple construction costs. In engineering and urban projects, once you strip everything down to labor and materials, it’s actually only 40% of the total amount spent. What actually ends up costing the most time and money is the process. Our world is complex and if you deny it, you’ll find it on your plate again later. Therefore, we have to embrace the complexity in

we can be of service. Of course, our design skills can be used for an engineer’s project, but we also need to be able to reposition ourselves as storytellers and facilitators so that we can bring individuals, communities, and agencies together around one vision. We should use design not only to attract people to certain issues and get them to congregate around them, but also to shape narratives about how people can benefit.

the beginning and find a way to make it simple again. If you don’t find a way to cut the red tape early, you’re going to repeat steps, which costs more money in the long run.

For more Information, VISIT: onearchitecture.nl excellence / 8


FACE S OF F o r m u l ati n g exc el l en c e®

Abbey Gancz HIGHWAY ENGINEER Abbey Gancz has more inspiration than a

is most excited the project has

motivational speaker’s handbook.

improved safety at six intersections with additional intersections in design.

- Never stop learning and improving yourself - Uphold high quality for each and every project

She is also particularly proud of the team’s ability to work on a fast-track schedule and coordinate between the numerous stakeholders, including

- Personal satisfaction in all areas of life

the City, Pennsylvania Department of

- One day at a time

Transportation, and utility companies

- Focus on things within my control; let go

among others.

of the rest It’s not all work for Abbey. She considers But for anyone who knows Abbey, the

having a baby her best decision, likes

diligent Highway Engineer with a passion

to hit the gym to lift weights, and enjoys

for her craft and an insatiable quest for

crafting. But one of her true passions

training and knowledge, this is not a

is serving others. Abbey is an active

surprise.

member of the Scholarship Committee of the Philadelphia Engineering Foundation

Abbey joined Urban in 2007 after

(PEF); a WTS member on the Scholarship

graduating from Drexel University

and Membership Committees; and, most

and immediately looked for growth.

recently, became an Instructor for Urban’s

Professionally, Abbey has worked on

Training Institute. Her first course, offered

some of Philadelphia’s most important

to internal and external professionals, is

projects, including the Benjamin

‘Curb Ramp Implementation and Design’.

Franklin Parkway and the ARLE Funded Citywide Intersection Improvements.

“Urban,” says Abbey, “invests in my

As Lead Highway Designer on the

development and in turn, I invest myself in

Citywide Intersection Improvements

Urban.”

for the Department of Streets, Abbey

For more Faces of Formulating Excellence, click here.

excellence / 10


11 / urbanengineers.com


a Doctor and his greenhouse At the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Dental Medicine, molecular biologist Dr. Henry Daniell is advancing the use of plants to deliver medicine to the global population.

Dr. Henry Daniell is a real-life superhero. A native of India, he grew up watching children die because they did not have access to medicine. Inspired to make a difference, he has been researching a more cost-effective way of getting the global population the medicine it needs. His solution? Plants. Drugs made in plants can be orally delivered in capsules, thus eliminating the need for the expensive production methods of today.

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VIDEO


“I have seen children die from not having enough medicine. So I challenged myself to find another way of doing things.” Dr. Daniell is only the 14th American in 222 years to be elected to the Italian National Academy of Sciences founded by Galileo. The others include Ben Franklin and Albert Einstein.

In 2013, Urban’s engineering team worked with JLL, the

and less humid inside. The doctor explained that the greenhouse’s

international commercial real estate and investment management

side and roof panels shift in reaction to the amount of daylight.

firm, on the expedited construction of a $2 million, 2,900-SF

This, in coordination with the internal cooling fans, help keep the air

greenhouse, funded by Penn’s School of Dental Medicine, for the

temperatures between 73.4 degrees and 75.2 degrees Fahrenheit to

doctor’s research. Urban’s corporate development team had the

ensure optimal plant growth.

privilege of getting to know Dr. Daniell while photographing his high-tech greenhouse. Here is what we learned.

The living Greenhouse We entered the first room, which contained rows of tables of lettuce plants at various stages of growth. The doctor, standing next to

The doctor As we arrived at the greenhouse, the doctor was waiting expectedly to greet us and welcome us into his facility. Tucked away at the back of an industrial property on the south bank of the Schuylkill River, the greenhouse is the first new construction on this site in many years. Penn acquired the site in 2010 and aims to repurpose it as “Pennovation Works” a hub for research and innovation. The greenhouse is definitely unique, one of only a few like it in the world. The doctor walked toward us with his hand extended, a smile on his face, and eagerness in his approach. He was wearing a tie that was appropriately adorned with strands of DNA. Given his stature, you would suspect him to carry an air of conceit. On the contrary, right away everything about the doctor exuded friendliness and sincerity. We entered the front door into a holding area where we waited before entering the main part of the greenhouse. The doctor cautioned us that the outer door needed to be shut first before entering because of strict climate controls. It was hot and humid, in the high-80 degrees, yet the greenhouse was noticeably cooler 13 / urbanengineers.com

one of the lettuce plants, began explaining, “Insulin is a drug that has been commercially available for 50 years, yet is simply too expensive for the majority of the world to pay out of pocket,” he says. “Especially when you consider that one-third of the global population earns less than $2 per day.” Protein drugs like insulin, or interferon for cancer, are currently produced in fully sterile fermentation systems that cost hundreds of millions of dollars to maintain. The drugs, which are cultivated in cell cultures of yeast and bacteria, are required to be purified to 99.99%. “Many vaccines are based on ‘killed’ or inactivated viruses, but there’s no such thing as 100% killed,” he claimed. This process results in each batch costing millions of dollars. Additionally, the required “cold chain” of refrigeration increases the cost of vaccines and makes them difficult to transport to remote areas in developing nations where electrical connections are scarce. This past year, for instance, issues with the availability of cold storage facilities led to polio outbreaks in Asia. Another advantage, Daniell said, of using plants to deliver vaccinations is that plant cells have fibrous walls made of cellulose, which cannot be broken down by human enzymes, though they can be degraded by the microbes that reside in the gut. “All we


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2

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1. A researcher prepares the tiny cassette containing the vaccination, which he will later “shoot” into the plant’s cells.

2. The plants with vaccines are dried and placed in capsules.

3. Cultivation of the plants containing vaccines at Dr. Daniell’s lab within Penn’s Leon Levy Center for Oral Health Research.

the nearly 700-mile round trip numerous

irrigation is used and connected to each

times from Boston to Ithaca to test the new

individual plant to ensure optimal moisture.

method. Eventually, they made it work.

Growing a cheaper Drug By discovering this technology, he was able to accelerate his research. Today, in the lab he uses a “gene gun” very similar to the one he developed years ago. But instead of

needed to do was add a tag that enables the vaccine to be able to cross the epithelial wall,” he said. “I looked into nature for other tags that cheat our system and observed how cholera and HIV tags worked. I attached the cholera tag to the insulin and watched where it went.” The experiment worked. As a result, the doctor was able to develop a variety of tags to effectively get vaccinations into a plant’s genome. He had yet to develop a way to get the tags into the plant’s fibrous cell walls. Fortunately, at about the same time, scientists at Cornell University were testing a “gene gun” concept. “They were actually trying to shoot dye into pollen and playing around with that concept,” Daniell said. So, the doctor made

real bullets, which were used at one time, this contemporary method utilizes a highlevel of helium pressure of 1,300 PSI. As a reference, the doctor reminds us, a car’s tire pressure is just 32 PSI. Now, Daniell can grow all the different tissues of a plant starting from a single cell in a culture dish. He can make modifications to one plant cell and, from that, grow a plant in which every cell has those modifications. We continue walking through the greenhouse, passing through three separate doors into rooms housing various plants. In the first two rooms were lettuce plants. The last contained tobacco plants. The plants are grown on elevated tables to permit ideal working height for the researchers and drip

At the back of the greenhouse, there was a small room for monitoring the greenhouse’s climate controls. At any time, Daniell’s colleagues can check and change heating, cooling, humidity, and irrigation from their research offices on main campus. As the plants grow to maturity, they are harvested and taken back to the lab for drying and testing. After drying, they become just like kitchen herbs commonly used for cooking and similarly, they have long shelf-lives. We asked him if people could actually eat one of the lettuce plants to receive their dosage of medicine. Dr. Daniell thought that this would be risky. He said that plants are made almost entirely of water and therefore have to be dehydrated first to help measure the exact dosage. In his grand vision, though, the doctor believes that one day people afflicted by diabetes or hemophilia could actually grow their own medicine. excellence / 14


Dr. Daniell’s concept has already been shown to protect from several infectious diseases, including Anthrax, plague, cholera, malaria, and tuberculosis, while providing numerous other effective solutions: - Oral drugs made in plants removed plaques from human and animal Alzheimer’s disease brains

The greenhouse’s climate controls and lighting are on display in this photo.

- Oral drugs have demonstrated the ability to lower blood sugar levels in Type 2 Diabetes and prevent the onset of Type 1 Autoimmune Diabetes - They have prevented and treated hypertension and diabetic retinopathy - Oral delivery of blood clotting factor made in plants prevented the devastating pathogenic antibody formation that predisposes to lifethreatening anaphylactic reactions that drug can cause

The greenhouse is helping train the next generation of scientists to develop affordable drugs.

- A non-invasive oral delivery platform to achieve prophylactic treatment and prevention of deleterious immune responses in both Hemophilia A and B - Several more drugs are in development to restore muscle strength in muscular dystrophy patients or prevent several autoimmune disorders

Tobacco plants being cultivated at the greenhouse. 15 / urbanengineers.com


According to the doctor, one acre has been shown to produce more than 300 million doses of anthrax vaccine, enough to protect all Americans from a bio-terror attack.

their own medicine. This leads to discussing the other

progress with three other pharmaceutical companies.

major advantage of using plants. They can be easily

On the way back to Urban, we talked about the amazing

grown. In addition to low cost, he said, production

impact that Dr. Daniell’s research could have on future

capacity is unlimited. According to the doctor, one acre

generations. Beyond just learning more about the

has been shown to produce more than 300 million doses

greenhouse, we were honored to have become friends

of anthrax vaccine, enough to protect all Americans from

with the doctor and feel privileged to help share his

a bioterror attack.

mission of saving lives irrespective of their economic status, race, or origin.

CONCLUSION In addition to furthering Dr. Daniell’s research, the greenhouse is helping train the next generation of scientists develop affordable drugs for world. On several occasions during our visit, the doctor spoke about it with wonder. We thought, ‘this man’s a genius, yet he’s amazed by how the greenhouse works?’ According to Daniell, Penn has already signed a $100 million agreement with a major global pharmaceutical company

For more information on the project, contact: Christopher G. Gubeno, PE 215.922.8080 cggubeno@urbanengineers.com

to produce two protein drugs. Research on polio vaccines made in plants is now funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and is pursued in collaboration with the Federal Drug Administration. Negotiations are in

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B l i g h t IS

b r i g h t If you have traveled the Northeast Corridor to or from Philadelphia recently, you’ve probably noticed something quite unique among the landscape. It’s called psychylustro – seven eye-catching art installations commissioned by the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program and created by German artist Katharina Grosse in 2014. Extremely colorful, these massive swaths of paint cover the post-industrial blight that characterize this stretch of the corridor, bringing greater awareness of the space and surroundings for the nearly 34,000 daily passengers.

Artist: Katharina Grosse Curator: Elizabeth Thomas How you can view it: By train between 30th Street and North Philadelphia stations: Amtrak, SEPTA (Chestnut Hill West, Trenton Lines), and NJ Transit (Atlantic City Line).

19 / urbanengineers.com


psychylustro © 2014 Katharina Grosse All Rights Reserved All​psychylustro photos in this article by Steve Weinik

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The City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program (Mural Arts) is the nation’s largest public art program, dedicated to the belief that art ignites change. For over 30 years, Mural Arts has united artists and communities through a collaborative process, rooted in the traditions of mural-making, to create art that transforms public spaces and individual lives. Mural Arts engages communities in 50–100 public art projects each year, and maintains its growing collection through a restoration initiative. Core Mural Arts programs, such as Art Education, Restorative Justice, and Porch Light, yield unique, project-based learning opportunities for thousands of youth and adults.

More on psychylustro from an interview with Project Curator Elizabeth Thomas: How did you become involved? First, Mural Arts approached the artist, Katharina Grosse, to visit and develop a project in Philadelphia. I was brought on before her initial site visit, so together we could find a situation that took advantage of the strengths of both Mural Arts’ and Katharina’s work.

What were some challenges related to the project? The interesting thing about the railway corridor is how many different entities own the space that looks, to an outsider, like one space (a single bridge can have multiple owners, for example, from the wall at ground level to the upper span). So, after identifying the sites we wanted to paint, we went through the process of vetting them with Amtrak and other entities for both permissions and feasibility. Some sites we didn’t pursue because they didn’t allow for access of lifts and equipment for us to reach the parts of the wall we wanted to paint. In the end, we needed permission from multiple agencies and private property owners, a complicated process, but one that was met with positive responses from most everyone we approached.


How does the community factor in with large-scale abstract installations like psychylustro?

(as we’ve seen in the way that public monuments have generally shifted from representational to abstract, the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial being the prime example of this shift). I think abstraction

Well, there are lots of different ways to think about the word

for Katharina opens a way of seeing the world without limits, and

“community.” In reality, there were at least 100 people who

a world that can be made and remade. I hope that some of that

were intimately involved in making this happen. In terms of the

spirit comes across in the project.

way Mural Arts has typically worked, an artist will usually go

was crafted much more purposefully as the vision of the artist,

What were the considerations for creating a sitespecific project that was meant to be experienced through a small train window?

curator, Mural Arts, and other partners for the community. This is

We thought as much about the viewing conditions of the window

not at all atypical of how public projects are conceived generally,

per se as the ideas of speed and continuous movement, since this

but it was a bit of an experiment for Mural Arts. In this case, we

really is an unprecedented viewing situation for a work of art (we

were all interested in what the possibilities were for imagining a

could find no real examples of something on this scale, conceived

new kind of public art experience, one that took advantage of the

as a total artwork, having happened before). So, I wouldn’t say

existing system of train travel to create something unprecedented

we gave privilege to the idea of the window, but instead tried to

in scale and in experience for a very broad audience, within the

think about all the different dimensions of this viewing experience

patterns of their daily life. We were also very interested in how an

in terms of the rhythm of the work and its placement, the scales of

abstract work would take advantage of these viewing conditions

verticality and horizontality, the idea of soundtracks for viewing,

to open up a conversation about abstraction and its relationship

the relationship of each individual painting at the seven sites to

to the world itself, not as an isolated phenomenon confined by the

the whole experience, and the relationship of what was painted

edges of a canvas.

and not painted along the way.

What is the value of bringing the abstract into the everyday?

For further information, call 215-685-0750 or visit www.

I really believe that there are no better or worse forms of art for

on Twitter and Instagram, phillymuralarts on YouTube, and

public space. I believe that thoughtfully considered, original,

MuralArtsPhiladelphia on Facebook.

into a community to meet with people and then make a work in response to their concerns. This project was very different as it

muralarts.org. Follow along on social media: @muralarts

site-responsive works in all forms should be encouraged and supported. In my opinion, the form isn’t the point, the intent is. So, the abstract as a form could be deployed to all different ends excellence / 24


How New Britain, CT developed a Complete Streets Master Plan, and in the process gained so much more.


VIDEO


A CITY FOR ALL

The Complete Streets Master Plan Working Group

The Foundations A once-thriving industrial city, New Britain (City) is working hard to regain momentum after years lost to economic downturn. For the first time in a long time, the City has a comprehensive plan in place to do so. The Complete Streets Master Plan for Downtown New Britain (Plan) is a guide that leverages the City’s rich assets to create a more pedestrian-friendly, attractive, and livable environment throughout downtown.

New Britain has a Complete Streets background.

Funded through a HUD Sustainable Communities Grant, the

has also helped the City identify and prioritize the projects that will

Plan was developed by an Urban Engineers-led team, whose

bring the vision to reality. In 2014, the project received the Award

work was guided by a large group of stakeholders that included

of Excellence for Public Space from the Connecticut Main Street

residents, business leaders, members of the arts community, and

Center.

public officials. The Plan has been supported by three mayoral administrations and embraced by local leaders, leading to an

Although master plans can easily be derailed by numerous

invigorated belief in the future of the downtown by the community

variables, such as funding or lack of political support, this one has

as a whole. Improvements outlined in the Plan have already been

found the right mix of elements to be successful.

used successfully to help the City convey its vision to developers, funding agencies, and those already living and working there. It 27 / urbanengineers.com


of a successful master plan

The Champion, Mark Moriarty, PE #1

Vision

The Director of Public Works for New Britain for the past 10 years, Moriarty was not content doing the “normal job” of a public works official; he was committed to realizing a greater vision. “I wanted to capitalize on all the great things that New Britain has,” he said. Moriarty believed that by focusing on the downtown area, the City could change its future.

#2

Opportunity

The City previously identified the $572 million CTfastrak Project as a tremendous opportunity for transit-oriented development in its 2008 Downtown Development Plan. CTfastrak will provide Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) along a 9.4-mile dedicated busway corridor

“Complete Streets”

between New Britain and Hartford, and also includes a five-mile,

are streets designed, operated, and

multi-use trail from Downtown New Britain to Newington Junction.

maintained with everyone in mind, regardless of age or physical ability.

With the CTfastrak’s BRT terminus station opening just blocks from

They enable safe access for pedestrians,

New Britain’s core, the City hopes to maximize transit-oriented

bicyclists, motorists, and public

development and employment opportunities downtown, as well

transportation users. Complete Streets

as support bus ridership and improve the quality of life for those

provide more transportation options,

who live and work there. This major infrastructure investment

and offer attractive, dedicated facilities

will provide residents, commuters, and visitors reduced travel

for each mode, which increases the

time for employment, recreational, residential, and commercial opportunities throughout the region.

likelihood they will be used.


Phase ONE Master Plan Improvements

Bike Lanes

#3

Leveraging Rich Assets

New Britain rose to prominence as an industrial and manufacturing city, and in the early part of the 20th century became known as the “Hardware Capital of the World.” Like many industrial cities though, New Britain later fell on hard times. Urban renewal efforts during the 1970s and 1980s further degraded the downtown area by creating a street network that heavily favored vehicles over pedestrians. Today, many of the City’s best assets are still in place, such as the dense, walkability of downtown, the many beautiful, historically significant buildings, and open spaces. Steve Schiller, the City’s planner, said, “The street system has good bones and the street wall of buildings being close to sidewalks gives a human scale.” While working for the City for 29 years, Schiller has seen his share of attempts to remake the downtown, but nothing as comprehensive as this plan. “It’s an enormous change in thinking from how things have been done in the past,” he said.

Pedestrian-friendlY Spaces

The Mayor, Erin Stewart #4

Political Continuity

Often, planning documents are directly affiliated with a single mayor’s agenda, and are disregarded if there is a change of

parking solutions

administration. Not so in New Britain. While the planning and implementation process associated with the Plan has spanned three mayors representing both major political parties, the strong support of City leaders has never wavered. Mayor Erin Stewart, a lifelong resident of New Britain, said, “We’re not talking about what New Britain used to be anymore, but what it’s going to be. The Master Plan has us all moving in the same direction with a main goal at the end.” Mayor Stewart is not the only one with a stake in the success of the Plan. Her father was the mayor in 2008 at the time the City began initiating some of this groundwork. “I hope to finish what he started,” she said.

29 / urbanengineers.com


A CITY FOR ALL

The Cheerleader Craig Frederick, Working Group Member Artist and sculptor Craig Frederick is one

a competition for public art. Frederick’s

Complete Streets Master Plan. According to

of five generations of family members who

submission called “Home,” which was

Frederick, “Too often urban designers and

have been born and raised in New Britain.

designed to reflect the City’s diversity and

the like see only the “map view” value with

However, he grew up in a time when people

industrial history, won among 300 entries.

limited ability to design from the pedestrian

didn’t feel very good about the city. When

In addition to paying homage to New

perspective. Urban’s designs and solutions

he was 16 years old, he left New Britain

Britain, “Home” was also a family memorial.

speak to the broad range of factors

hoping for better opportunities elsewhere.

Fittingly, the piece was installed next to Arch

necessary for true, real life “livability,”

After becoming an internationally collected

Street in the downtown core, where at least

including safety, functionality, sustainability,

artist, and years of practicing and teaching

one member from five generations had

and aesthetics,” he said. Now that the

art and sculpture, Frederick returned in

either worked or lived. “I even met my wife

ball is rolling with the Plan, Frederick feels

1994, looking to be centrally located with

here,” he said. “I was the coffee addict who

less need to cheerlead. “I am convinced

art hubs Boston and New York City. “When

married his dealer.”

that the Master Plan will benefit the whole

I came back, I saw New Britain in a new

community. Being a town with over 20

light,” he said. “I saw a town that had a

Frederick and his wife bought a house, and

languages and a broad range of income

strong base for the arts and was ripe for

with no plans of ever moving again, he

demographics, that is very impressive. I

renewal, re-identification, and rebirth.”

became a passionate force in the design

have no worries as a property owner in New

Wanting to make a difference, he began

decisions affecting New Britain’s future.

Britain – I’m thrilled.”

cheerleading for the value of the arts as

As part of the Working Group, Frederick

an economic engine. “Thankfully a few

met Urban Engineers’ Erika Rush, who was

people listened.” New Britain then held

already busy working on New Britain’s first

excellence / 30


A CITY FOR ALL

CT fastrak opens this spring Rendering courtesy of CTfastrak

31 / urbanengineers.com


#5

Incremental Approach

Overall, the Plan identified more than $25 million of improvements. Even before the Plan was completed, the value of improvements suggested have been widely recognized and supported by many state and federal agencies. Grant funding is in place for many improvements and construction has already begun. The City has been successful getting the funds because its projects exemplify what grantors look for – economic development, infrastructure development, and community. In less than three years, the project has leveraged a small investment of federal HUD grant money ($212,500) to develop a comprehensive Plan that has already resulted in the City being awarded more than $9 million in competitive state and federal grants. This included a Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Transportation, Community, and System Preservation Program Grant for $1.3 million; a state Transit-Oriented Development Grant for $750,000; and a Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Bus Livability Grant for $1.4 million, among other grant monies.

The Partner, Gerry Amodio

#6

Commitment to the Process

The Plan was guided by a working group committed to downtown revitalization. Participants included area artists, local institutions, municipal officials, developers, the New Britain Downtown District, and the Polonia Business Association, which consists of Polish businesses and professionals throughout New England that is headquartered in New Britain. A Working Group member, Gerry Amodio, was born and raised in New Britain, and had a successful business in the City for 35 years. He remembers the New Britain of his childhood, “Growing up, we loved catching the bus, coming downtown for lunch and a movie, or just hanging out and shopping. But when the highway came through and the malls came in the 1970s, the downtown was gutted. For me, I had lost a friend.” As Executive Director of New Britain’s Downtown District, he is actively using the Plan to attract businesses and people to the City. “The Plan allows me to go out and entice people to move their business here, or come and move here. It shows that we know what we’re doing, what we want to get to, when we’re going to get there, and how were going to get there.” “From Day One, the people of New Britain have been interested in making the City better and helping shape the vision,” Urban’s Project Manager Erika Rush noted. “They were committed, and they’ve been supportive of every new idea we’ve proposed.” excellence / 32


A CITY FOR ALL It’s not often that the stars align just perfectly on a project, but for Erika Rush, Urban’s Director of Planning, working on the Complete Streets Master Plan for New Britain was such an experience.

To understand why, you first have to know that Rush has

architecture, shopping, restaurants, open space,

a couple of distinct passions – one is pretty obvious given

museums, and cultural attractions all within easy walking

her title, urban planning. The other, not so much. She

distance of each other - “It’s the people who’ve made it

is a collector of early 20th century electric toasters. Her

all possible. They share a vision for what is great about

first encounter with vintage toasters was in 1985 about

this City, and what this City can become,” Rush said.

the time she was first beginning her planning career. She recalls, “I was living in Brooklyn, earning well below the

Something else has been unique about this project for

poverty level as a city planner. I was visiting an antique

Rush. Remember the toasters? As the project began, the

store that had just opened in my neighborhood. There on

team explored many themes for the project’s wayfinding

a long table behind the owner were three shiny, chrome

signage. In a City so rich with history, there were many

things with very intricate detailing. I didn’t know what

possibilities. But one had special meaning. Of all her

they were, but they were so unique, they stopped me in

toasters, Rush’s favorites are the Universal line, made

my tracks.” Rush found out they were vintage toasters,

in the early 20th century by Landers, Frary & Clark, a

but at $45 each, much too expensive. The next spring

New Britain manufacturer. While Landers, Frary & Clark

she was walking through a Manhattan flea market and

created everything from can openers to ice skates, in

saw a table full of similar toasters for sale. At much

Rush’s opinion, their toasters were the crown jewels.

more affordable prices, she bought several and the rest

“They’re so sculptural to me. And they’re beautiful

is history. “What kept me going was the variety – and I

examples of American industrial design in so many

never saw the same one twice.”

aspects – from what they are made of, to how they look, to how they operate.”

In 2011, Rush and Urban’s Planning Group led a team to develop a Complete Streets Master Plan for New

The irony of working in New Britain did not escape her.

Britain’s downtown. The City wanted to create a more

But it was startling to find that the Landers, Frary & Clark

pedestrian-friendly, attractive, and livable environment,

manufacturing facilities were located within the Plan’s

and recognized the opportunity that the 2015 opening

study area near downtown. “Throughout the project, I just

of the $572 million CTfastrak Project - 9.4 miles of

kept thinking to myself that there must be a reason for all

dedicated busway corridor connecting New Britain and

this. It was all to ironic for happenstance.”

Hartford - presented. These days, Rush’s team is engaged in an on-call The Complete Streets Master Plan for Downtown New

engineering contract with New Britain, where they will be

Britain has become an award-winning project that

helping the City implement various tasks from the master

the City embraces. New Britain has already begun

Plan.

implementing initial phases with great results. “This has been an urban planner’s dream project,” Rush said.

Standing near the former Landers, Frary & Clark factory, Rush holds Universal #E9410 circa 1920. By pushing the

While New Britain already had the fabric for a

ivory buttons on the base, the heart shaped baskets, which

livable environment - its walkable scale, great history,

hold the bread, pivot 180 degrees to toast each side.

33 / urbanengineers.com


Why toasters? “The design, the engineering, the manufacturing - they are such an interesting window into that time.”

How many do you have? “Let’s just say somewhere north of 350 and leave it at that.”


21 / urbanengineers.com


TOTHESKY “I always wanted to be part of a team that transforms the city’s skyline.” - John DiValentino, PE, LEED AP (pictured left)

Construction is underway on the new Comcast Innovation and Technology Center (CITC) at 1800 Arch Street in Center City Philadelphia. The new $1.2 billion, LEED Platinum glass and stainless steel tower is a bold design and headlines the unprecedented $4.7 billion of development in the works for Philadelphia. It’s also a major milestone for Urban’s growing Special Inspections practice. The 59-story, 1,121-foot tower is expected to be the tallest building in the United States outside of New York and Chicago. It will also gain recognition as being the largest private development project in the history of Pennsylvania. For Urban’s John DiValentino, PE, LEED AP, the project is the realization of a dream. “I always wanted to be part of a team that transforms the city’s skyline,” said DiValentino, who is overseeing a team of special inspectors, who will carefully monitor the project from its first foundation to its completion in 2017. His crew will be drawing upon Urban’s experience from working on major building projects like One World Trade Center in New York City, where Urban monitored construction on behalf of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Recently, DiValentino’s team oversaw one of the largest concrete pours in Philadelphia’s history. During a 12-hour period, 370 trucks delivered 3,700 cubic yards of concrete for the CITC’s 10-foot-thick, 15-millionpound foundation mat. Urban’s special inspectors oversaw the quality of the material stream and its placement. Prior to the pour, they were responsible for checking the overall conditions of the placement area. As a testament to his work-ethic, DiValentino was the first one there and

excellence / 36


The Curse of Billy Penn A “gentlemen’s agreement” once stated that Rendering of the new $1.2 billion LEED Platinum Comcast Innovation and Technology Center.

no building in Philadelphia could rise above the William Penn statue on top of City Hall. The agreement was broken in 1987 when One Liberty Place became the first building to do so, rising 397 feet above Penn’s hat. Until that time, Philadelphia sports teams had enjoyed an unprecedented string of successes. After One Liberty Place, however, a drought of championships followed. The City was “cursed” for breaking the agreement. In 2007, attempting to end the curse, workers attached a small figurine of William Penn to the top of the Comcast Center, Philadelphia’s tallest building at the time. What happened the following year? The Philadelphia Phillies won the World Series - the first title in the City since 1983, when the Sixers were NBA champs. It remains to be seen if workers will attempt the tactic again when topping out the CITC in 2017. But if Philadelphia’s sports teams have not won another championship by then, you can bet we’ll be seeing Billy Penn at the top once again.


the last to leave. A three-sport star

York City practice gained accreditation

Code® (IBC). More often than not, in

at Upper Moreland High School in

with the International Accreditation

the past, these tasks were delegated

Montgomery County, PA, he compares

Service™ (IAS™), a subsidiary of the

to the building contractor, not the

this work to grinding from the five-yard

International Code Council. Urban is one

project owner or registered design

line for a touchdown. “It takes teamwork,

of few firms that is accredited in over 30

professional as required by the IBC. “The

endurance, and sheer determination,”

special inspections categories in New

pace of construction is so great that if

he said.

York City. The firm is also poised to be

documentation is lost, material records

one of the first to gain accreditation in

not followed, it could go real wrong, real

Philadelphia.

fast,” said DiValentino. “Then it becomes

Selected by Liberty Property Trust, the joint developer with Comcast, in a competition involving multiple local and national firms, DiValentino was integral in positioning Urban to provide special inspections service. Urban has been ahead of the curve as recent changes in building ordinances in New York City and Philadelphia are requiring building owners to hire accredited special inspections agencies

a huge issue and you’re backtracking

“People who really know the science of engineering make accurate decisions that not only lead to a better constructed building, but also directly and positively affect the bottom line.”

the records you need for the permit, which could really delay the process.” The IAS is trying to raise the credibility of special inspections, which has largely been viewed as a commodity until now. “It’s great for the consulting industry,” said DiValentino. Now as more local governments are recognizing the importance of these

for their projects. Special inspections are conducted during the construction

The genesis of these new special

process to verify that work is being done

inspections requirements comes from

in accordance to approved plans and

Section 17 of the International Building

specifications. In 2012, Urban’s New

administratively and forensically to get

requirements, they will be calling for more appropriate oversight to ensure competent performance and completion of work as specified and approved. excellence / 38


How are tall buildings ranked? The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTUBH), a not-for-profit international organization located in Chicago, announces the title to “The World’s Tallest In Philadelphia, the Department of Licenses and Inspections has always enforced Special Inspections since they were incorporated into the IBC, but the program lacked structure. “There were no defined qualifications outside of those identified by the IBC

Building” and is considered an authority on the height of buildings. The CTUBH ranks the height of buildings in three different ways:

1.

significant, open-air, pedestrian entrance to the top of

and the department assumed little responsibility in

the building, inclusive of spires, but excluding items such

ensuring adequate communication between the

as flagpoles and antennae.

contractor, design professional, and special inspector,” said Elizabeth Baldwin, PE, the Development Division Director for the City of Philadelphia’s Department of

2.

other building users on a consistent basis.

opportunity for improvement was highlighted during in 2013. “We were reminded that the primary cause of structural failure was inadequate inspection and the

Highest occupied floor: Height to the floor level of the highest floor that is occupied by residents, workers, or

Licenses and Inspections. According to Baldwin, the an evaluation of the department for IAS accreditation

Height to architectural top: From the level of the lowest,

3.

Height to tip: Height to the highest point of the building, including antennae, flagpoles, and technical equipment.

critical importance of a cohesive program,” she said. “We immediately took steps to improve the program.” As a result, by September 2015, the Department of Licenses and Inspections will require formal registration for both special inspections businesses, as well as the

One Liberty Place

945 ft

individual special inspectors. “Our ultimate goal is the protection of public safety through the enforcement of sound construction practice,” Baldwin says. “Quality assurance of critical construction components by individuals with the necessary, specialized expertise is integral to the achievement of this goal.” According to DiValentino, “People who really know the science of engineering make accurate decisions that not only lead to a better constructed building, but also directly and positively affect the bottom line.” DiValentino hopes to bring this message to more building owners. “One day,” he said, “I’m going to walk down the street with my kids, proudly point to the skyline, and say ‘I had something to do with that’.”

For More INfoRmation on special inspections, Contact John DiValentino, PE, LEED AP 215.922.8080 jdivalentino@urbanengineers.com

39 / urbanengineers.com

1987

City Hall

1901

548 ft


Comcast Innovation And Technology Center

Comcast Center

2017

1,121 ft

(estimated)

2008

974 ft

excellence / 40


11 / urbanengineers.com


FACE S OF For m u l at i n g exc el l en c e®

ADAM OSTINOWSKY CONSTRUCTION ENGINEER In addition to being a strong supporter of all

his work on the PennDOT contract, Adam is

Pittsburgh professional sports teams, Adam

conducting schedule update reviews on the

Ostinowsky, a construction manager working

American Parkway Project, which will connect

out of Urban’s Mechanicsburg, PA office, is

the east side of Allentown with the downtown

always striving to be a strong advocate on

area across the Lehigh River. He also recently

behalf of the firm’s clients. Having worked for

finished helping oversee the demolition of the

more than six years on the contracting side of

old terminal building at Harrisburg International

the industry, Adam is well suited to find common

Airport, which has created room for new

ground between a client and local stakeholders

businesses.

to ensure everyone’s needs are achieved. In turn, joining the Urban family has allowed his

Adam is proud of the number of connections

personal needs to be met. “Urban has allowed

he has made and maintained during his career,

me to have the work-life balance I wanted,”

including the full-range of industry professionals,

Adam said. After traveling a lot in his previous

from the laborers, carpenters, and operators,

position, the stability of commuting to one office

to the designer/contractor firm presidents and

most days was appealing to him. “I am able to

project owners. “I have learned it’s important

have a wife and two kids who I get to see and

to respect each role and individual involved in

spend time with everyday.”

a project and have learned many lessons from those who perform at each level,” Adam said.

Adam enjoys the opportunity to interact with

“Respecting everyone involved in a project has

a variety of people on a daily basis. Having

earned me respect and has opened opportunities

been a part of Urban’s Open-End Construction

up to me.”

Management Agreement with PennDOT, District 8-0, for the past four years, no day for him

Originally from a small western Pennsylvania

is typical. Assignments vary and he may find

town called Twin Rocks, Adam is a graduate

himself chairing a stakeholder meeting one

of the University of Pittsburgh where he earned

day and writing letters and reviewing project

a degree in civil engineering. He bleeds black

schedules the next. He finds it rewarding to be

and gold, and watches the Pirates, Steelers, and

able to make a difference on numerous projects

Penguins any time he can.

of varying scopes. For instance, in addition to

To see more Faces of Formulating Excellence, click here.

excellence / 42


Modernizing THE TURNPIKE Newly constructed lanes on the Pennsylvania Turnpike recognized with an ACEC/PA Diamond Award. Urban designed the widening of the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Montgomery County, from two travel lanes in each direction, to three travel lanes in each direction, between the Mid-County Interchange (Exit #20) and the east/west Turnpike mainline north to Milepost A26 (Berks Road.) The project is part of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission’s $2 billion statewide total reconstruction initiative, which entails rebuilding sections of the 70-plus-year-old Turnpike. The new roadway design meets current interstate design standards, and will provide a safer and more-efficient travel experience for Turnpike customers. It will also accommodate the growing number of vehicles on the roadway. Traffic volumes, currently estimated at 67,000 vehicles/day on this section of the Turnpike, are projected to reach 100,000 vehicles/day by the year 2030.

excellence / 44


One of the nation’s oldest limited-access highways, the Turnpike right-of-way (ROW) was largely established in the 1940s and 1950s. The challenge of incorporating 21st century highway and stormwater management designs into a limited ROW and minimizing the impacts to adjacent residential and commercial properties was a key controlling aspect in the design. In addition to the roadway, many other elements of sound engineering practices had to fit within the limited available “bandwidth.� These included, but were not limited to, the embankment or cut slopes needed to support and accommodate the roadway widening, as well as permanent roadway drainage features, stormwater management facilities, and erosion and sedimentation features to control surface water runoff and minimize the sediments and pollutants leaving the project site. To limit land acquisition, retaining walls were designed to contain the fills and cuts to the extent possible. Urban worked closely with the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, state and local officials, the Montgomery County Conservation District, local townships, and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to develop the overall roadway and stormwater management system and details to satisfy the requirements for controlling surface water runoff from the site during and after construction while minimizing impacts to residents. This coordination effort was critical in allowing the project to move forward.

45 / urbanengineers.com

The Widened Turnpike has Key Social-Economic, and Sustainable Design Features, Including: -S  afer and more-efficient traveling for motorists -S  afer acceleration/deceleration lanes at the Mid-County Interchange (Exit A20) -C  losed circuit television cameras that provide incident management and faster response times -R  educed ROW acquisition that allows for adjacent property development -S  oundwalls for adjacent property owners -A  esthetically pleasing textures on structures and soundwalls -N  aturalized stormwater basins that beautify the area and requires less frequent maintenance than traditional basins


“Opening the southern section of the Turnpike’s total reconstruction and widening project between Mid-County and the Lansdale interchanges, marks a significant milestone in our effort to enhance travel and safety on this heavily traveled corridor of the Northeastern Extension in Montgomery County,” - Turnpike CEO, Mark Compton

Urban had previously prepared the Feasibility Study for the MP A20 – MP A30 Corridor. Construction of the $191 million southern portion of this corridor was funded entirely by toll dollars and opened in October 2014. The northern half of the full-depth reconstruction and widening project between Mileposts A25.6 and A31.3, including, but not limited to, replacing two overhead bridges and constructing three auxiliary ramps in the vicinity of the Lansdale Interchange, has been in construction since May 2014. Two travel lanes will remain open in each direction for the duration of

Before

the project, scheduled to be completed by the end of 2016. For more information on the six-lane expansion of the Northeast Extension, visit www.paturnpike.com/ constructionprojects/mpA20toA31.

For more information, contact: Michael G. Leinheiser, PE 215.922.8080 mgleinheiser@urbanengineers.com

After

excellence / 46


bienvenue, Al Pizzi Cost Estimator extraordinare returns from France after working on the world’s largest scientific project.

tell us about your work in france?

What was your most memorable experience?

My job was lead cost estimator at the International

Since we had eight weeks vacation each year, my wife and I

Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor – ITER. The ITER brings

were able to drive our little Citroen all over Europe. The most

together India, China, South Korea, USA, Japan, Russia,

memorable was the visit to my grandparent’s village in the

and the European Union as scientists to see if they can jointly

Abruzzo region of Italy. Virtually everyone in the town was my

harness the power of the sun in a nuclear reactor weighing

cousin. They fed us well.

about 23,000 tons – as much as three Eiffel Towers.

That sounds amazing. Where does the ITER project stand now?

How long were you at Urban prior to moving? I was at Urban for six years before France. However, I worked with Urban from the contractor side for more than 20 years

It is expected to have start up, called “first plasma,” by about

before that, starting with the Center City Commuter Tunnel/

2023. They are around 40% complete. The unique thing about

Market East Station Project in the 1980s.

the project is that the components of the reactor are being fabricated in each of the participating nations, and then shipped

What projects are you working on now at Urban?

to France for assembly on site. Some components have been

I’m providing cost estimates for all of Urban’s design projects,

fabricated in Camden, NJ at the Joseph Oat Corporation.

and doing the cost work for Urban’s Project Management

What was the most significant lesson learned on the ITER project? The importance of good project controls – cost, schedule, scope, and risk. The more complex the project, the more important project controls are in getting it built. 47 / urbanengineers.com

Oversight Consultant efforts for the Federal Transit Administration.


formulating

clients + people + projects

For more excellence, visit:

urbanengineers.com/publications


Landscape - Excellence Issue No. 9  

From how we collaborate to how we envision our future the changing landscape. A publication of Urban Engineers.

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