CH2M Hill, an employee-owned, multinational firm providing engineering, construction, operations, communications, security, environmental and related services, has won a 2005 BE Award for its Marquette Interchange Design Automation project in Milwaukee. The award category was “Civil: New Technology Adoption.”
The BE Awards of Excellence, which are selected by an independent jury of industry experts and presented at an evening ceremony during the annual BE Conference, honor the organizations that created them.
The Marquette Interchange – an $800 million freeway interchange reconstruction project – is one of the largest transportation projects currently under way in the United States. More than 50 bridge structures in the project include eight curved steel-box girder bridges on high-level interchange ramps. The structures are up to 125 ft above the ground, range in length from 900 ft to more than 2,000 ft and have spans of up to 250 ft in length.
Commenting on the role that Bentley software is playing in the success of this project, Kevin Willis, bridge engineer at CH2M Hill said, “The newly introduced MicroStation Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) allowed us to deliver bridge design services with incredible efficiency, while maintaining the high level of quality the Wisconsin Department of Transportation is accustomed to receiving from CH2M Hill.”
Workflow in the conventional delivery model for bridge projects involves engineers performing the structural analysis and design, followed by drafting techniques transferring the design into a finished set of plans. While this model is tried and true, there are efficiency and quality-control benefits to be gained by merging these two processes. For the Marquette Interchange project, the automation effort made this work among engineers and technicians more seamless, timely and accurate.
MocroStation VBA programming was integral to this effort. Drawing sets that routinely require a design and production effort of 30 to 40 hours per sheet were produced in well under 20 hours per sheet – a productivity increase of up to 100%.
Although increased productivity often comes at the expense of decreased quality, this was not the case here. Multiple repetitions of engineers marking up drawings for revision by CAD technicians were replaced by a single round of code updates. As errors were noted, they were corrected in the source code that produced them, which automatically made the same correction for all the different structures using the automated system.
Consistency across drawing sets – another time-consuming task on bridge projects delivered conventionally – was ensured internally by the automation system and contributed greatly to the resulting efficiency.
Using MicroStation VBA, the designer of these structures combined Bentley products with in-house software solutions to streamline the entire design and production process. This provided the project team with superior quality control throughout the design stage.