DALLAS, April 2, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Jacobs (NYSE: JEC) -- The fall of 2013 marked one of the costliest natural disasters in Colorado history – causing nearly $4 billion in destruction. Extensive rainfall in Big Thompson Canyon resulted in flow surges exceeding the 500-year flood event, completely washing away major sections of roadway, access bridges and retaining walls. The devastation, reminiscent of the 1976 flood that killed 143 people, prompted the Colorado Department of Transportation to not only implement a short-term end solution; rather, they committed to completing emergency, temporary repairs, followed by a flexible and resilient permanent solution – for which they engaged Jacobs.
Jacobs served as the prime consultant and design lead for the US 34 Big Thompson Canyon Permanent Repair project, a construction manager-general contractor delivery, which included 23 miles of design, construction and traffic control measures. During the flood, damages to the road cut the canyon residents off from emergency services forcing more than 800 people to be evacuated to safe areas via helicopter.
"This project was about more than just restoring a 23-mile long section of highway. It was about restoring the community's sense of security," says Jacobs Global Vice President of Transportation Kevin Slack. "Residents in the Big Thompson Canyon experienced an event that took lives, wiped away homes, cars and much of the highway connecting their communities. With the canyon inaccessible by vehicles, the airlift operations that took place in the days after the flood were second only to those conducted for Hurricane Katrina victims."
After identifying common areas of damage from previous flood events, the project team, which included Kiewit Infrastructure as general contractor, identified resiliency measures to offer the best long-term public safety. Knowing that flood-proofing the entire canyon wasn't feasible, Jacobs incorporated innovative design and methods – such as soil cement mixing, installing matrix riprap, moving the roadway onto bedrock, swapping the alignment of the road and the river and a unique approach to traffic control – to preserve at least 15 feet of roadway for getting people in and out of the canyon in the next flood event and achieve maximum resiliency.
"The CM/GC delivery model helped drive the design innovation and resiliencies that were implemented into the project," said Jacobs US 34 Project Manager Doug Stremel. "We had to evaluate the river and the roadway as one system. They must coexist. It's a river with a road problem as much as the other way around."
On March 21, 2019, the US 34 Big Thompson Canyon Permanent Repair project was recognized as the winner of ENR's Best of the Best Project Awards, which recognizes the pinnacle of design and construction achievement among projects completed in the U.S. The project was chosen from more than 820 projects, deemed best overall in terms of teamwork, safety, overcoming challenges, innovation and quality. The project also received the ENR Best of the Best Highway/Bridge award for 2018 and ENR's Mountain States Region recognized the project with a Judges Special Recognition and as its 2018 Highway/Bridge Best Project.
Slack continues, "Receiving ENR's Overall Best of the Best honor is a tribute to the tremendous work of CDOT, the contractor Kiewit and the Jacobs design team. The innovative design and resiliency techniques used on this project, the critical role it's serving to better protect and connect a community and building back that stretch of US 34 better than before are outstanding examples of what truly makes a project one of the best. We're honored to add this distinction to the US 34 Big Thompson Canyon Permanent Repair project."
The American Council of Engineering Companies of Colorado (ACEC Colorado) also presented the project with a 2019 Excellence Award.
Jacobs leads the global professional services sector delivering solutions for a more connected, sustainable world. With $15 billion in fiscal 2018 revenue and a talent force of more than 80,000, Jacobs provides a full spectrum of services including scientific, technical, professional and construction- and program-management for business, industrial, commercial, government and infrastructure sectors. For more information, visit www.jacobs.com, and connect with Jacobs on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Statements made in this release that are not based on historical fact are forward-looking statements. We base these forward-looking statements on management's current estimates and expectations as well as currently available competitive, financial and economic data. Forward-looking statements, however, are inherently uncertain. There are a variety of factors that could cause business results to differ materially from our forward-looking statements. For a description of some of the factors which may occur that could cause actual results to differ from our forward-looking statements please refer to our Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended September 28, 2018, and in particular the discussions contained under Items 1 - Business, 1A - Risk Factors, 3 - Legal Proceedings, and 7 - Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations. We do not undertake to update any forward-looking statements made herein.
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