Construction logistics, planning and sequencing

Guest Author May 15, 2017

6 min read

WSP improves virtual design & construction for coordination and collaboration on complex road, bridge and tunnel projects

WSP, formerly known as Parsons Brinckerhoff, has been a pioneer in the civil infrastructure space for a while now. The teams are innovators on every aspect: from early concepts of to detailed, near-photorealistic renderings and experiences of projects for community engagement, to 3D/4D/5D design and construction simulation.  Here are a few great examples of this infrastructure pioneer with a focus on construction logistics, planning and sequencing as part of the very critical task of keeping everyone informed and understanding the complex plans around construction.

Presidio Parkway

WSP used BIM for virtual road design and construction and helped project stakeholders better understand how the design would perform, assessing impacts on surrounding areas and virtually identifying and resolving issues before they became costly mistakes. Funded by the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, is the $1.045-billion Presidio Parkway in San Francisco, California replaced Doyle Drive – a 1.5-mile road that runs from San Francisco’s Marina District through the Presidio to the southern access of the Golden Gate Bridge.

By using Autodesk BIM solutions, we were able to construct this project virtually, before it was built in the real world. Brady Nadell, Parsons Brinckerhoff, virtual design and construction (VDC) manager.

The team used Civil 3D software to create a virtual model of the infrastructure project and Navisworks software for construction planning. Also, they used 3ds Max Design software to create model-based visualizations of the project. This solution enabled the design team to analyze early-stage design alternatives, evaluate construction plans, and more clearly communicate the design proposals to public constituencies—helping to speed the approval process and allay public concerns about the project.

Read the WSP – Presidio Parkway story.

Bay Bridge

The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge handles approximately 300,000 cars a day and a million each week. It is the transportation and commerce backbone of the San Francisco Bay area and the entire state depends on this bridge for goods and services movement between its northern and southern extremes. The seventy-five years old eastern span of the bridge is being replaced with a new seismically advanced structure slated to open in 2013. To enhance project visualization, Parsons Brinckerhoff has developed an integrated model and dataset for the new bridge, the existing bridge and context, and the surrounding communities and environment.

WSP provided model integration, 4D modeling, and clash detection to support construction planning and scheduling; and they provided visualization for new bridge, the existing bridge in context to keep surrounding communities informed.

The teams used Civil 3D, 3ds Max, Navisworks Manage, and Revit to generate more realistic project visualizations that help to communicate design decisions, construction activities, and detours/traffic shifts to stakeholders and team members.

Initially, the firm built 3D models of the various design alternatives that were used to create near-photorealistic images of the future bridge design options and computer-generated animations that helped the public experience driving over the future bridge.

During construction, the firm used model integration, 4D modeling, and clash detection to support construction planning and scheduling.  The bridge opened to traffic in the Fall of 2013.

Seattle’s Alaskan Way viaduct

For more than 50 years, the Alaskan Way Viaduct was the main north-south highway through Seattle. In 2001, an earthquake damaged the viaduct, heightening concerns over its seismic safety. Since then, the State of Washington, King County, and the City of Seattle have been working together with the Port of Washington and the United States Federal Highway Administration to find a solution to replace the aging structure, which runs along Seattle’s waterfront and carries 20 to 25 percent of its downtown traffic. The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and engineering firm Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB) have developed numerous replacement options for the viaduct based on the use of surface and elevated roads, tunnels, and public transit strategies.

Using Autodesk BIM solutions, we developed design options and supporting materials that helped project agencies and the general public evaluate those alternatives and make informed decisions on the designs. BIM represents a new approach for civil engineers and delivers tremendous efficiency to our design process—allowing us to quickly develop what-if scenarios to inform design decisions. —Mike Rigsby, Project Manager, Parsons Brinckerhoff

To develop replacement design options for the viaduct, the design team aggregated disparate data using Civil 3D model-based software. “This is an extremely complex project in a very dense urban area with a web of existing underground structures and utilities,” says Paananen. “Integrating GIS data and using the geospatial analysis and mapping features in Civil 3D software were essential.”

The team used Civil 3D to design subsurface utilities, earthwork, and other infrastructure as well as to generate direct quantities and drawings from the resulting infrastructure model. The team also used Revit to design architectural elements, such as vent structures, and 3ds Max for lighting design and analysis, and shadow/visibility studies. In addition, WSP used Navisworks to bring all of the BIM-based design and visualization models together and perform clash detection and schedule simulations for different construction areas, details, and options.

Read WSP Alaskan viaduct story.

Virtual design and construction for I-95 interchange

Constructed in the late 1950s, the highway and bridges in this area accommodate traffic volumes in excess of 140,000 vehicles per day, more than three times the amount for which they were designed. The project includes capacity improvements as well as replacement of the existing Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge, known locally as the Q-Bridge (“Q” for Quinnipiac River).

The new Q-Bridge will accommodate 10 lanes of traffic and is the first extradosed cable-stayed bridge in the country. CTDOT began studying remedies for the area’s traffic congestion in 1989. Construction began in 2000 and is more than 60 percent complete as of spring 2013. The entire project is expected to be finished in 2016. Parsons Brinckerhoff is CTDOT’s program manager on this project, coordinating 28 construction contracts for various portions of the program. To support this effort, the firm is using both 3D and 4D project models for construction planning, project collaboration, and program communication.

To support construction planning and management, Parsons Brinckerhoff developed 3D and 4D models using several BIM software solutions, including AutoCAD® Civil 3D®, Autodesk® 3DS Max® Design, and Autodesk® Navisworks® Manage. The team uses these models for technical analysis, project communication, visualization of construction sequences, and illustrations for the public’s better understanding of the project. Renderings and animations produced from 3D models show stakeholders the ultimate plan and vision for the completed project.

The 4D model pairs project design elements with construction activities to virtually display the progression of construction over time.

Originally we developed the 4D model as a visual aid for contractors bidding on the project, using very high-level schedule activities to illustrate basic construction sequencing.But now that we’re in the thick of construction, we’ve been adding more detailed elements and construction activities.  — Joe D’Agostino, Deputy Project Manager, Parsons Brinckerhoff

These “construction-worthy” models validate and illustrate the many traffic shifts, detours, and associated road closures that constitute the construction process, and support the planning and communication of proposed construction activities and equipment logistics.

For 4D modeling, the team moved the 3D models to Navisworks Manage. More than 2,000 individual activities in the two primary contractors’ schedules are linked to individual elements in the Navisworks model for construction planning and simulation. As construction progresses, the 4D model is used by the extended project team to help visualize and better understand the complexities of the design and the construction process.

Space is very tight already because the new ramps and roads are being built in-between existing structures.  These tight quarters require careful and precise construction logistics, planning, and sequencing. Using Autodesk BIM solutions to increase communication and coordination among all project stakeholders has greatly increased the level of confidence in the design, the schedule, and the overall execution of program.  The end result is reduced project risk, rework, cost and schedule. — Joe D’Agostino, Deputy Project Manager, Parsons Brinckerhoff

Get more on WSP innovation in this Redshift article.

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