Michael Baker International to lead design for major Express Lanes project in California


One of the USA’s leading planning and engineering consultancies, Michael Baker International (MBI), has been appointed as lead designer on a major Express Lanes project on one of the most congested corridors in California.

MBI will serve as lead designer on the Lane-Security Paving joint venture team, which is responsible for the US$672.9m Interstate 10 Corridor Express Lanes design-build project in San Bernardino County to reduce traffic congestion, increase throughput, and enhance regional mobility in the Inland Empire.

As lead designer, Michael Baker will be responsible for managing the overall design process, which includes ensuring that the design meets the schedule and established design criteria and interfacing directly with the design-build contractor to integrate design and construction. The company will also be responsible for roadway, structure, drainage, maintenance of traffic (MOT), intelligent transportation systems (ITS), tolling design, landscape architecture and survey activities.

The I-10 is a vital transportation route through the Inland Empire, with more than 263,000 vehicles traveling through the corridor each day. As the region continues to grow, travel demands will exceed the capacity of the transportation corridor, causing an increase in delays, accidents and congestion.

It is estimated that by 2045, daily traffic on the I-10 will increase to 350,000 vehicles, which the current corridor is not designed to accommodate. The first phase of the project involves designing and constructing 11 miles (17.7km) of improvements to implement two Express Lanes in each direction of I-10 from the Los Angeles/San Bernardino Countyline to east of the I-10/I-15 interchange.

The project also will include the reconstruction and/or modification of existing ramps at 10 interchanges, seven local arterials and 26 structures, including box culverts and new or reconstructed retaining walls and sound walls.

Of the alternatives considered, adding Express Lanes was the preferred long-term solution to relieving congestion in all lanes. The Express Lanes will use innovative technology to measure the congestion level on the freeway and set a toll based on volume, where prices are highest during peak commute hours.

Michael Baker’s principal subconsultant, CH2M HILL Engineers, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc., will provide support on roadway, structure, drainage and MOT design for two of the four design segments and lead the geotechnical design for the corridor. Construction is anticipated to begin mid-2019 and scheduled for completion in 2023.

“Our team is uniquely suited to deliver a design-build project of this scale,” said Steve Huff, Southern California transportation lead for MBI. “We employ an integrated, collaborative approach that draws on our extensive highway design and design-build experience, coupled with our long-established reputation for delivering significant infrastructure improvement projects across California.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).