Cyber Monday marked the official start of the national Engineering & Public Works Roadshow, which highlighted how infrastructure investment can improve a community and spark economic growth with its inaugural stop at the Long Beach International Gateway Bridge and the Port of Long Beach in California.
The Engineering & Public Works Roadshow is a joint partnership of the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC), the American Public Works Association (APWA), and the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and represents the first time that the leading organizations representing the designers and public operators of America’s infrastructure have joined together to shine a spotlight on what successful infrastructure investment means for the nation’s economy, jobs, the environment, and our future.
Project management/construction management services for the bridge project, which received a prestigious Grand Award at the 2022 Engineering Excellence Awards Gala last year, were provided by WSP USA. The design-build project was designed by Arup with the collaboration of ACEC member firms Biggs Cardosa Associates, BKF, Kimley-Horn, and Leighton. Parsons Transportation Group and HNTB provided preliminary engineering and design oversight services for the project. The bridge, which opened in 2020, replaced the decades-old Gerald Desmond Bridge and now provides significantly enhanced clearance for larger container ships to service the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, while giving commuters more lanes of traffic and a safer crossing and providing greater seismic resilience. The Port of Long Beach handles $200 billion in trade annually and sustains 1 in 5 local jobs, more than 575,000 jobs in California, and 2.6 million jobs across the nation. The International Gateway Bridge is an integral part of this success.
“America’s ports are the engine that keeps commerce flowing, and with every click to add to an online shopping cart this holiday season, the supply chain kicks into action,” said ACEC President and CEO Linda Bauer Darr. “Bridges like this one connect the world to our doorsteps, and they would not be possible without the time, talent, and dedication of engineers and their partners in public works who design, build, and maintain it all.”
“More than half a million engineers call California home, and their work contributes billions of dollars to America’s economy,” said ACEC Chair Art Barrett. “Still, we need thousands more engineers to do the work made possible by the Bipartisan Infra-structure Law. We’re here to celebrate the amazing economic contribution of the Long Beach International Gateway Bridge through the work of dedicated public and private sector engineering and public works professionals. We hope this can be the spark that inspires the next generation of engineers to make their mark in improving the nation.”
As the federal government continues to implement this monumental legislation, the second year of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) will not be fully realized without an expanded and robust workforce. It is imperative that students nationwide are educated on the rewarding careers of civil engineering and public works so that these professions have the necessary staffing to complete transformative projects.
“A year after President Biden signed IIJA into law, the bipartisan measure is threatened by Congress’ ongoing reliance on continuing resolutions,” said APWA CEO Scott D. Grayson. “One needs only to visit this fantastic bridge to see how infrastructure transforms communities and to understand how engineers and public works employees are vital to the work.”
“When Americans flip on their lights, drink water from the tap, or accept Amazon packages delivered straight to their doorsteps, they often forget the monumental engineering achievement behind each of these seemingly mundane daily services,” said Tom Smith, ASCE executive director. “The Long Beach International Gateway Bridge and other recent innovations at the Port of Long Beach are examples of what can be accomplished when bright minds come together to make the world a better place, and we’ll need more of that in the years to come.”
At the Engineering & Public Works Roadshow event, leaders from each organization were joined by officials from the Port of Long Beach, federal and state representatives from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration, Caltrans, Congressman Lou Correa (D-Calif.), and other notable professionals in engineering and infrastructure. The hard work of ACEC California leadership, especially Executive Director Brad Diede and President Raul Laborin, ACEC California Past Presidents Kurt Yoshii and Miranda Patton, and WSP USA Senior Vice President Bryce Little, to help organize this event resulted in its success.
The Roadshow plans to showcase innovative projects like the new Long Beach International Gateway Bridge across the country to demonstrate the essential value that engineering and public works deliver to every American and to attract more people to the profession. Eighty-two thousand new engineers will be needed to fulfill the mandate of the IIJA.
As the schedule for future Roadshow events is finalized, details will be posted on www.infrastructureroadshow.org, where members can view the livestream and photo gallery from the Long Beach event.
Watch ACEC’s Engineering Influence podcast episode featuring the three association leaders discuss how the Roadshow came about, its goals, its first event, and what’s ahead in 2023: