Posts filed under ‘US Infrastructure’

What is the ASCE Grand Challenge?


The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has initiated a “Grand Challenge.” The Grand Challenge asks for a commitment from civil engineers to be innovative in all phases of project planning, design, and implementation. The Grand Challenge’s goal is to reduce infrastructure lifespan costs by 50% by 2025 and to encourage innovation and design for infrastructure sustainability. The ASCE Grand Challenge asks civil engineers from all backgrounds and at every career stage to “implement performance-based standards, resilience, innovation, and life cycle cost analysis in all projects.”

The ASCE Report Card for America’s Infrastructure estimates the investment needed for our infrastructure by 2020 is $3.6 trillion, of which $1.6 trillion is unfunded. With each passing year our bridges decay, water mains leak and our foundations crumble. Band-aids are applied and wounds stitched until the next disaster. The new administration assures us that America’s infrastructure- airports, transit/rail, etc- will lead the world. Where will that $1.6 trillion come from if we are not selling our infrastructure to other countries?   ASCE summons its members to become leaders in creating solutions to, at the least, reduce the insufficiency.

What do you think? Can this work? Why not at least try?

Download your “Outreach Toolkit” here:

Let’s us know what you think!

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Carol Metzner President, The MetznerGroup Managing Partner,

View Carol’s profile & connect with her on LinkedIn

civil engineering jobs :: civil engineering resumes :: civil engineering blog :: civil engineering discussion


December 8, 2016 at 11:32 am Leave a comment

No Time For Waste(water) In DC!

DC tunnelAn earth-moving event is underway in Washington D.C. Only this time it’s not on Capitol Hill. This one is happening approximately 100 feet underground to fix runoff and wastewater problems that have afflicted the District of Columbia since the 1800’s.

DC Water is conducting a $2.6 billion project to install 13 miles of new sewer tunnels under the nation’s capital. This effort will be the largest infrastructure project for Washington, D.C. that most people will never see. The effort, expected to be completed in 2022, will clean up local waterways while fixing an antiquated and poorly designed wastewater infrastructure.

Around the time of the Civil War, the district installed a combined sewage system. So when it rains, storm water mixes with wastewater and overwhelms the current system. As expected, the result is disgusting!

Neighborhoods are forced to endure flooding and more than two million gallons of polluted water flow into the Potomac and Anacostia rivers, as well as Rock Creek each year. This isn’t the type of information to be found in flyers produced by the local board of tourism or in new home listings. On a positive note, the new sewer system is expected to decrease local flooding to only minimal rain water and reduce the runoff into nearby tributaries by 96 percent.

The first leg of the project was successfully completed in July 2015. The Lady Bird, a 440-foot long, 1,300 ton tunnel boring machine, completed a 4.5 mile long conduit wide enough for subway cars. After two years, Lady Bird traveled approximately 4 inches every minute, 24-hours each day for six days each week. It cleared earth and rock while also laying reinforced concrete walls as it advanced. For the next seven years, boring work for smaller passageways will continue in order to connect the remaining 8.5 miles of sewer lines to the large tunnel made by the Lady Bird.

The first update to the D.C. sewer system since the late 1800s will benefit thousands of people while improving quality of life. The underground project addresses local sewer problems that have persisted and magnified as a result of more than 100 years of urban development.

As a civil engineering recruiter, I see that mega projects to repair or replace infrastructures systems, like the improvement to D.C’s sewer system, the Crescent Corridor Extension and the future Tappan Zee Bridge, ensures a lively job market. What are some other needed infrastructure improvements to be planned and implemented?

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Carol Metzner President, The MetznerGroup Managing Partner, View Carol’s profile & connect with her on LinkedIn civil engineering jobs :: civil engineering resumes :: civil engineering blog :: civil engineering discussion

November 30, 2015 at 11:31 am Leave a comment

Hurricane Katrina 10th Anniversary

On August 29, The City of New Orleans will experience the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. With the expertise of planners, architects, engineers, construction teams, The City of New Orleans has improved its hurricane protection system, upgrading and repairing much of the destroyed infrastructure. As we reported over the past 10 years, a number of the failed levees came from design oversights. This disaster proved to be a wake-up call for cities and states across the US.

We at thank the teams in the architectural, engineering, planning and construction industry for their work in repairing previous failures and for securing our infrastructure. Lessons learned the hard way.


Note: Failure image above and the “5 Civil Engineering Failures that lead to Design Breakthroughs and New Technologies” can be located at Ohio University, Russ College of Engineering and Technology.

August 26, 2015 at 1:28 pm 1 comment

How Engineers are Fighting Traffic

We have been asked NJIT to post this great and informative infrographic that they have produced.  As you may know 25% of road congestion is caused by traffic collisions. Autonomous cars are one of the many technologies that will hopefully lead to a reduction in collisions and congestion. The Google car is said to have only been involved in 11 accidents during the 1.7 million miles the cars have traveled.

As you can see, by 2050 70% of populace will drive 4 million vehicles through urban areas and this is just one of the reasons that it is critical for the congestion problems to be improved. The graphic also shows many of the ways that engineers are trying to overcome this national problem.

Road Congestion Relief: How Engineers are Fighting Traffic (Click on InfoGraphic for larger view)

Congested roadways are common problems that all drivers have to deal with. Whether commuting to work or enjoying a leisurely drive through the city, it is a problem that causes a great deal of stress and unnecessary frustration. However, while it is still a large problem, many engineers are dedicating their time and resources to identifying why this problem exists and what they can do to make the problem more manageable for drivers in everyday situations. By understanding the statistics that surround road congestion problems, both engineers and drivers will be that much closer to determining how a solution can be reached. To learn more about how engineers are helping relieve traffic congestion problems, checkout the infographic below created by the New Jersey Institute of Technology’s Masters in Civil Engineering Online degree program.



May 28, 2015 at 1:21 pm 1 comment

Demand For Engineers Increases: Infrastructure Asset Management & Sustainability

Engineers that understand infrastructure asset management are in demand within the US engineering marketplace. Infrastructure asset management specifically focuses on the need to sustain structures such as highways, bridges, water treatment facilities, electric utility and transmission lines in addition to many others. Mounting pressures to cut public spending, has much needed maintenance and rehabilitation put on hold. Meanwhile, US infrastructure continues to decay. The planning, design, construction, operations, maintenance, upgrading, and rehabilitation of infrastructure has become split among the private sector and public agencies .

What has become clear is the need for talented engineering managers that understand the delicate balance between planning, design, operation, maintenance and sustainability of infrastructure. My clients, architecture and consulting civil engineering firms, have multiple year initiatives for expanding consulting divisions that focus only on asset management. Whether it be underground tunneling for large diameter pipes, water/waste-water systems or transportation systems- the market and the money are HOT.

Consulting A/E firms seek to expand their ability to offer their clients asset management action plans that create an effective and practical business framework for transportation, stormwater, water and sanitary assets. One firm states the importance in providing agencies/municipalities a “comprehensive approach that creates a sustainable program to help achieve performance goals, minimize costs and meet stakeholder demands.” These asset management plans vary from firm to firm and may include but not be limited to: strategy and service level development; business planning; infrastructure assessment and planning; financial and capital planning; technology strategy implementation; operational excellence; computerized maintenance management systems.

Engineers with comprehensive business experience and practices will find a variety of opportunities open to them over the next year. This may reactivate the MBA vs. MSCE discussion. What do you think?

Carol Metzner
President, The MetznerGroup
Managing Partner,
View Carol’s profile & connect with her on LinkedIn

September 18, 2012 at 3:19 pm 3 comments

Civil Engineering Accomplishments Evoke Emotions

The Chesapeake Bay Bridge always brings a smile to my face. As a Marylander, I have traveled the Bay Bridge each summer on my way to the beach. Reaching the bridge symbolized that I had hit the halfway mark- another couple of hours and I could relax in the sun!  As I cross the bridge and marvel at its height and strength, I wondered how many other civil engineering accomplishments evoke emotion in people?

The World Trade Centers were landmarks to New Yorkers.  Now, their footprint and the beauty of the new structure stir differing feelings. How many reports have we all heard that the vacant skyline still haunts locales and tourists alike?

Each time my business partner sees Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, he “craves Kick Ass Eagles Football!” Likewise, as a Raven’s fan (sorry Matt) M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore has me craving football, a cold beer and hot chocolate!

Driving along the DC Beltway, I marvel at how wide the roads are reconstructed and how many more cars cause gridlock. My frustration even thinking about taking a journey to DC along our extensive beltway is often tempered by the hope of a future high-speed rail.

The Hoover Dam lured our country out of the Great Depression. One of my clients tells me that when he sees it he “feels proud to be a civil engineer and an American. That someone had the foresight to create such a structure and then to construct it” marvels the mind. Simply put, the Hoover Dam Bypass/Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, in Boulder City, Nevada is beautiful. Nearly 40 years in making, the structure takes my breadth away.

As you take a moment out of your day to “smell the roses,” look around at the civil engineering accomplishments that surround you. What do you see and what do you feel?

By Carol A. Metzner
President, The Metzner Group, LLC and
Managing Partner, A/E/P Central, LLC home of
  View Carol’s profile & connect with her on LinkedIn

civil engineering jobs :: civil engineering resumes :: civil engineering blog :: civil engineering discussion

September 10, 2012 at 12:15 pm 2 comments

Sustainable Highways, Transportation & GREENROADS?

The blogs have often discussed the need for sustainable transportation in the US. Whether we discussed transit, high speed rail, the SCHWEEB or SkyTran, we are fascinated with the concept of finding a way to be better to our planet while getting where we need to go when we want to get there. One thing is for sure, the majority of us will not give up our cars and highways will always be needed.

The Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) has developed the Sustainable Highways Self-Evaluation Tool, INVEST (Infrastructure Voluntary Evaluation Sustainability Tool), version 1. INVEST was built using the FHWA concept of sustainability. FHWA describes how sustainability in highways:

A sustainable highway should be planned or replaced, financed, designed, constructed, inspected, operated and maintained in a way that provides sustainable benefits related to three principles: Social, Environmental, and Economic. 

 with the understanding that highways are one part of transportation infrastructure, and transportation is one aspect of meeting human needs. In addition to addressing environmental and natural resource needs, the development of a sustainable highway should focus on access (not just mobility), moving people and goods (not just vehicles), and providing people with transportation choices, such as safe and comfortable routes for walking, cycling, and transit.

Sustainable transportation may be described or defined in many ways that broadly address environmental, social and economic impacts, safety, affordability, and accessibility of transportation services. Transportation agencies address sustainability through a wide range of initiatives, such as ITS, livability, smart growth, recycling, planning and environment linkages…Transportation planning processes that incorporate these values and integrate the elements of sustainability should be the foundation from which to implement sustainability decisions as a project moves forward. Measures of project success include a wide range of indicators, such as travel performance, gains achieved through material selection, and construction methods.

Are you familiar with GREENROADS and the GREENROADS rating system? Do you think it is worthwhile to worry about sustainability  with our highways and “promote environmental stewardship, accountability and integrity”  or is this just another “roadblock” to development?

 By Carol A. Metzner
President, The Metzner Group, LLC and
Managing Partner, A/E/P Central, LLC home of
  View Carol’s profile & connect with her on LinkedIn

civil engineering jobs :: civil engineering resumes :: civil engineering blog :: civil engineering discussion

August 15, 2012 at 11:39 am Leave a comment

Civil Engineering “Dream Projects”

By Carol A. Metzner
President, The Metzner Group, LLC and
Managing Partner, A/E/P Central, LLC home of
  View Carol’s profile & connect with her on LinkedIn

An architect and several civil engineers  from Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates are rappelling the Washington Monument, inspecting and recording damage from this year’s earthquake. In various interviews, several of the engineers reported that scaling the monument was a career highlight. Several of the monument inspectors are in their late 20’s and 30’s. They are just in the early stages of what I suspect will be a long career. How will they top this project?

Each year the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) selects finalists for the group’s annual Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement (OCEA) award. Previous OCEA winners have included China’s Sutong Bridge, the World Trade Center, the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, Riverbank Filtration Tunnel and Pump Station(Louisville, KY)  and other high-profile projects, as well as a selection of lesser-known bridges, roadways and restored or relocated buildings. Engineers responsible for these award winning projects can proudly point to their accomplishments.

What are your “dream” civil engineering projects?

October 4, 2011 at 2:15 pm 1 comment

One World Trade Center

Matt Barcus
President, Precision Executive Search, Inc
Managing Partner,
View Matt’s profile & connect with him on LinkedIn

Two Sunday’s ago we honored the heroes and victims of 9/11 not only across the United States, but around the globe; they will never be forgotten.

I just wanted to take a moment on our blog today to recognize those thousands of engineers, architects, planners, surveyors, and construction workers from the AEC industry who are now rebuilding at ground zero. The beautiful memorial, “Reflecting Absence,” designed by architect Michael Arad, is simple yet powerful. Equally as amazing, yet still under construction is what will be known as One World Trade Center; take a look at some of these facts:

* Height – 1776 to the spire, 1356 to the roof – this will make it the tallest building in the United States
* 3.2M Square Feet
* Estimated Cost: $3.2B
* Recognized as the most complex public works project in American History
* Being built on top of a subway
* Materials include steel girders that measure 60′ tall and weigh 70 tons each; blast walls made with 18K/square foot concrete; blast resistant glass on the top 20 floors; and a framework of armored concrete core designed to prevent “cascading catastrophic failure” that we all witnessed on 9/11
* 3500+ construction workers working around the clock

Take a look at this video of Matt Lauer touring One World Trade Center with Chris Ward, Executive Director of the Port Authority of New York/New Jersey:

Though I am far from an engineer myself, I have always been amazed and fascinated by the work of engineers and architects. Imagine the collaboration, the patience, the imagination and creativity, and the amount of American spirit that is involved by these professionals working on this project. The complexities involved with this project from all perspectives – civil engineering, structural engineering, geotechnical engineering, MEP engineering, environmental, architecture, construction – is mind-blowing to me. Not to mention the politics and public input.

I guess what I am trying to say here is…WOW…and THANK YOU! I believe this is a project that absolutely needed to be done, despite the cost, and thank you to all of those who are a part of it. And to the most of you who are not a part of it, thank you for all that you do. Engineers typically are low profile and are not recognized for the amazing and critical work that they do on a daily basis…so thank you!

civil engineering jobs :: civil engineering resumes :: civil engineering blog :: civil engineering discussion

September 19, 2011 at 12:19 pm 1 comment

Traffic Fatalities Report – How Are Civil Engineers Saving Lives?

 Matt Barcus
President, Precision Executive Search, Inc
Managing Partner,

View Matt’s profile & connect with him on LinkedIn

A report released on April 1st by the US Department of Transportation concluded that US traffic fatalities are its lowest level since 1949. 

The basis for this decline, and some  noted in the report, are numerous:

*  The Recession – People travel less during down a down economy 

*  Technology – Employers now allow employees to work from home more often as they can easily log into a secure server and be as equally productive at a lower cost to the employer

* Vigilant Drunk Driving Enforcement – Recent  legislation makes the legal limit .08 in all states and those guilty of drunk driving are being held more accountable for their actions…and rightfully so!

* Improved Vehicle Safety – Three-point seatbelts now required in all cars; airbags in many cars now envelop passengers; advanced design of the outer shell

Tradition shows that traffic engineers, transportation planners, and highway engineers also play a major role in highway safety by:

* Designing improved barrier systems via 3D modeling

* Better controlling traffic at access points

* Better controlling traffic through construction zones

* Applying ITS programs to enhance highway safety

* Developing public transit alternatives (i.e. HSR) that appeal to the public

For those of us who are not engineers, for those who are currently studying or looking to study civil engineering in college,  and for those engineers whose area of expertise falls outside of transportation, what are some of the current and future innovations from a civil / transportation engineering perspective that have contributed to this decline and that will hopefully contribute to the future decline of this statistic? 

This blog is receives over 5,000 visitors each month, most of which are civil engineering professionals.  Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this very topic and hopefully for generating some great discussion!


civil engineering jobs :: civil engineering resumes :: civil engineering blog :: civil engineering discussion

April 6, 2011 at 5:45 pm 5 comments

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