If you were fitting engineering firms with symbolic shoes, most would wear wingtips or loafers, flats or heels.
Buchart Horn would wear sneakers.
For proof of our ability to pivot and accelerate, look no further than Phase II of the I-40 / I-240 interchange project in Memphis, TN. When it began in 2013, it was, at $109.3 million, the largest bid contract in Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) history.
It consisted of two-lane flyovers for I-40 in both directions with the eastbound flyover, at 95 feet, standing as the highest in Tennessee. It also included replacement of the Wolf River Bridge with a new structure that would carry six lanes of traffic west and seven lanes east. In addition, it included widening I-240 in both directions from the interchange to Walnut Grove south and Covington Pike to the west.
Then, at a moment’s notice, all that ambition had to be squeezed into a much smaller timeline.
Buchart Horn was knee-deep in constructability meetings when the stakes were raised.
According to Andy Pinkley, PE, CPESC, Buchart Horn’s project manager, TDOT had funding on the line, and in order to secure that funding, planning had to be fast-tracked.
Although planning for a project of this size would typically take a year or more, TDOT wanted plans in-hand, complete, and ready to bid in about six months.
“And not just our part,” Pinkley says, “but we had to also coordinate with other members of our team and outside members, TDOT included, to make sure that all the plans for the project came together. That included the structures, the retaining walls, the intelligent transportation system, signals, lights, utilities…all of these had to come together in six months.”
At Buchart Horn, we tightened our laces and went to work.
Andy says, “We went to TDOT and said, ‘Okay, we’ve got six months to do this project. We can do that and deliver you plans within that period of time – but can you also get your consultants and your bridge design group onboard?’ And they all joined in and said, ‘If ya’ll can do it, we’ll do it, too.’ So we went forth and we started and we delivered that project within that six-month timeframe.”
The entire team would attack the project with similar vigor throughout its duration. The project wrapped up in December of 2016, seven months ahead of its target date.
To learn more about the I-40 / I-240 project, check out our Insight article.