Theater Talk
Theater Talk
Theater Talk

Innovating to Rebuild and Improve Infrastructure

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Innovating to Rebuild and Improve Infrastructure

A model-first approach can help us restore our aging bridges, roads, and tunnels



In 2016, 40% of the 614,000 bridges in the U.S. were 50 years old or older—and 56,000 of them were rated as structurally deficient. In that year, people made 188 million trips across structurally deficient bridges every day. And that’s just bridges. Restoring and rebuilding our aging national infrastructure will require a tremendous amount of work—and there’s no way to do it all using the time- and resource-intensive processes that were used to build them originally—digital transformation is required. Adam Horn, VDC team leader at HNTB Corporation, shares his company’s “model-first” approach to infrastructure design and construction, which makes the cloud-based, federated project model the hub of their entire process. This allows them to communicate the existing conditions, the design, and its impact in a more natural way and makes advanced processes like 4D planning, simulation, and traffic analysis much easier. It’s improved collaboration and made the team more open to exploring design alternatives. They’re also achieving greater accuracy on the estimation of time and resources, as well as early clash detection. Horn urges all professionals to consider what outdated processes are still in use and how we can transform to make and build better.

About the speaker

Adam Horn is a civil integration solutions leader for HNTB, where he helps to develop and utilize 3D-6D modeling data to support engineering design projects. Horn’s focus is on researching machine learning and automation technologies, developing best practices, and implementing multi-dimensional geometry data on key projects. Horn holds degrees from Northwest Missouri State University and Penn State University.           

Related learning

Ready to learn more about digital transformation for infrastructure and civil engineering? Check out these AU classes:  

Autodesk is in “The Mix” 

In his talk, Horn mentions “The Mixmaster,” a notoriously complex bridge interchange in Waterbury, Connecticut. In this session, Dave Willard and Aaron Stock share how they used Infraworks to develop a 3D model of the existing conditions of the interchange, share tips and tricks, as well as how the team approached the use of 2D and 3D data coming from sources such as Civil 3D, Nearmap, and Sketchup. 

Mega-Modeling for Megaprojects: Infraworks Bridge Modeling Workflow 

Learn how the team from HDR used the Linear Bridge Modeling Workflow from Autodesk to create 3D models for elevated guideways, bridges, and tunnels on projects in Los Angeles and Ontario. Additional discussion points include construction phasing, support-of-excavation structures, and using the model as source geometry for sheet production. 

Crossing the bridge – Mott MacDonald’s digital transformation 

Modeling bridges in 3D isn’t easy. Igor Varagilal and Paul Briedis show the key steps their team has taken over the last five years to model, design, analyze and document various types of bridges and viaducts, the challenges they faced, and the lessons learned along the way.