ASPIRE is a quarterly magazine published by PCI in cooperation with the associations of the National Concrete Bridge Council. The editorial content focuses on the latest technology and key issues in the Concrete Bridge Industry.
Issue link: http://www.aspiremagazinebyengineers.com/i/297024
F O C U S 8 | ASPIRE , Spring 2012 Corven Engineering has its mind set primarily on one goal: providing clients with the best possible, post-tensioned concrete bridge engineering. "We do this by staying focused and maximizing potential within our niche," says founder John Corven, president and chief bridge engineer of the Tallahassee, Fla.-based company. T h e f i r m 's e x p e r t i s e i n c o n c re t e segmental and cable-stayed bridges serves as its foundation. The company leverages that expertise in four areas of work: new designs, construction e n g i n e e r i n g , i n s p e c t i o n a n d rehabilitation, and developing and sharing technology. "Work in these areas mutually supports the others, solidifies the niche, and keeps us current and relevant," he says. This approach also provides many entry points for providing engineering services throughout the life of a bridge. "We love to design new bridges and support contractors during construction," Corven adds, "but it is just as important to work with owners to extend bridge life and increase operational capacity." Corven Engineering's approach to work has diversified its customer base. The firm opened its doors in 2000 working primarily for state departments of transportation. "The biggest change in our company has been the transition to gaining more work with other types of clients," he explains. "The major part of our business now comes from teaming with contractors or larger engineering firms to provide our expertise on large projects." An example is the company's work on Phase 1 of the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project in Tysons Corner, Va. Corven is working for Dulles Transit Partners, a joint venture of Bechtel and Washington Group, on this $1.8-billion project. Their work focuses on the design and construction support for more than 5 miles of aerial guideways to carry the extension of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority (WMATA) system. It includes f o u r t y p e s o f p r e c a s t c o n c r e t e segmental bridge construction. (For more on the project, see the Fall 2011 issue of ASPIRE.™) "Mega-firms were needed for that kind of project," Corven says. "But we are able to help provide cost-effective solutions for specific bridge challenges. That help can involve a specific design feature or the entire bridge design." Post-Tensioned Designs Post-tensioned concrete bridges, and segmental bridges specifically, continue to offer grea t potential for new bridge designs, he notes. "The basic principles of segmental construction are sound. It permits construction where access is extremely difficult, especially above traffic. It can help protect the environment, keep traffic moving, and provide complex geometry where necessary. It makes a very good choice in those circumstances." Corven Engineering has worked with clients in a variety of delivery methods, although the designers favor the design- build approach, says Phil Hartsfield, vice president and head of construction engineering. "It allows us to be involved from the beginning and follow the project through to construction." In many cases, he explains, the company's entry point comes on the construction engineering aspects, which brings them to the project after many decisions have been made that could have been made more cost effective if made earlier. "If we are involved earlier, we can often spot problems that can be resolved before they reach a critical point," he says. "Design-build gives us that early input and lets us work through challenges that arise all the way through the process." Corven Engineering stays true to its roots while leveraging its expertise to maximize potential Book_Spr12.indb 8 4/3/12 9:17 AM