The 2007 ITD Project Development Conference, staged Wednesday and Thursday in Boise, was a convergence of ideas and experiences on creating partnerships for successful transportation projects.
The melting pot of ideas included the long-range visioning of futurist Glen Hiemstra, practical partnering experiences of the Federal Highway Administration’s Lance Hanf, the integration of community values and priorities into the planning process (David Seigel, Parametrix) and a partnership to bridge the narrows between Tacoma and Gig Harbor, Washington.
Those topics provided common links for approximately 350 public- and private-sector participants who attended the conference. Darrell Manning, chairman of the Idaho Transportation Board, welcomed attendees on behalf of the board, and ITD Director Pam Lowe provided opening remarks as a prelude to a full day of presentations.
Hiemstra, who helped set direction for ITD’s visioning project in 2001-03, spoke about “America’s Guide to the Future” in the first session of the conference. Hanf followed with suggestions on how to avoid legal challenges through an active, well-conceived partnering process.
David Seigel, of Portland-based Parametrix, delivered an enlightening – and sometimes humorous – look at how communities and public agencies can incorporate community values in a context-sensitive approach to project planning. Flexibility, communication, resource assessment, defining a clear focus and developing a strong support base are keys to avoiding “Certain Death Syndrome,” he said.
Opening-day sessions concluded with a visual overview of the Washington Department of Transportation’s five-year $800 million Tacoma Narrows Bridge construction by project business manager Rick Singer.
The suspension bridge links Gig Harbor and Tacoma with a one-mile toll bridge, originally scheduled for completion this month. Because of minor delays – including delivery of two waylaid expansion joints – now is expected in late July or early August. One of the expansion joints was stranded at the Idaho-Washington state line because it was too heavy, as configured, to travel on Washington highways. The other expansion joint was marooned in South Dakota.
For the record…
Singer said bridge design and construction is the product of a truly international partnership.
ITD presented seven Excellence in Transportation Awards in recognition of achievement in the development and construction of projects in five general categories: transportation planning, environmental stewardship, public participation, design and construction. Visual representations of the two-dozen competing projects were on display in the lobby. (See accompanying story)
Don McNichol, an authority on the U.S. interstate highway system, provided an energetic review of a national celebration that marked the 50th year of the highway network.
A full day of breakout sessions followed on Thursday in tracks related to planning, design, environmental issues and materials. The conference also featured about 35 vendors displaying transportation products.
The 15-member conference coordinating team included members of the American Council of Engineering Companies, the Local Highway Technical Assistance Council, Federal Highway Administration and six ITD staff members: