We often find ourselves settling into a similar theme whenever we analyze one of our disciplines. That theme is, “Taking the High Road,” which is a great way to summarize our approach to transportation engineering. No other kind of engineering is so public, so often used, and so utterly important to the everyday lives of thousands.
Taking the high road, in its purest form, means not compromising even when improvising. It’s taking your cumulative knowledge as a firm and creating something that should outlast you. To many people, a highway is just what they take to work. To us, it’s an achievement.
What is Transportation Engineering?
The Civil Engineering Bible defines transportation engineering as: “a branch of civil engineering that is involved in the planning, design, operation, and maintenance of safe and efficient transport systems.”
It’s important to note the inclusion of both safe and efficient. It’s easy to have one while neglecting the other. To have both? That takes planning. It also takes the best engineers possible.
We’ve Developed a Unique Approach to Transportation, One Great Engineer at a Time
Pete Szak, one of our bridge engineers, is the kind of person we like to keep close at hand when we’re doing bridge design. He has a long history in transportation engineering and brings his vast experience to BFW/Marcum.
“My primary focus is on the design and management of structural projects in both the transportation and industrial sectors. My bread and butter are in keeping things standing, even when gravity doesn’t want them to.”
“At BFW/Marcum, my purview is in working closely with our roadway engineers. We investigate where a bridge or other transportation structure needs to go—we check the initial alignment studies we’ve made and use that data to decide on what bridge-type will best fit the land.”
“Through my experience, I am thoroughly familiar with AASHTO LRFD Bridge Design, Kentucky Bridge Design Standards, Seismic Design & Analysis, and I’m also a certified NBIS Bridge Inspector. To put it simply, I’m a bridge man.”
While Pete knows bridges, Kevin Crider, Transportation Engineer/Project Manager, knows drainage. If you’ve ever been on a highway in a rainstorm, then you understand the vast importance of moving water off of a highway.
“As the urbanization of land increases year after year, the need for drainage design is even more important now that water has fewer places to go. I focused on drainage design early in my career, and it’s remained an incredibly important part of it. In fact, drainage is so integral to transportation engineering that it’s one of the first considerations made in the very early design stages. Often, it even drives the project.”
“Part of engineering is the realization that the details matter to you more than the public. If you’re doing your job right, no one’s even going to question the drainage design of an overpass or a bridge. If you do it wrong, you feel it—you live the failure.”
If You Need a Transportation Project, We’ll Get You There
Transportation engineering is one of the departments we are most excited about. We’ve expanded it recently, and the talent we’ve attained is like nothing we’ve ever had before. We currently offer the following capabilities:
Proud, Public, & Permanent; Transportation Constructions Has to Last
Kevin is proud of the work he’s accomplished at BFW/Marcum. He has a deep understanding of the importance of transportation engineering.
“We solve public problems and make people happier in the process. We’ve all had that moment when a construction project ended, and suddenly, you realize all that stop-and-go construction work traffic was worth it when you find yourself sailing smoothly on your commute. Our work aims to make your travel faster, more efficient, yet even safer than it was previously. It’s a paradoxical solution to a complicated problem. Yet, we do it time and time again.”
“I worked on the I24/I69 interchange, and that’s the project I think I’m proudest of. It’s near my home, so not only do I get to drive on it often and admire what I helped conceive, but I can even hear my neighbors talk about it. It’s a proud feeling to know you’ve contributed to your community.”
Barry Horst, Transportation Engineer/Project Manager, is also proud to serve the people. He’s put a lot of thought into what transportation engineering means to the public.
“Transportation is a fundamental need that everyone has. Be it having the means to get home from work or having an easy route to your next family vacation. Transportation engineering keeps these systems safe, state-of-the-art, and accessible to everyone. Every successful transportation project at BFW/Marcum means an increase in the quality-of-life of everyone in the region. I’m proud to be a part of it.”