Consulting Engineers Deliver Wisconsin's Transportation Program

By Rose Morgan, President, American Council of Engineering Companies of Wisconsin | September 28, 2010

Consulting engineers play a significant and vital role in the state's transportation program. As partners with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, our role is to deliver a safe and cost-effective program to the taxpayers of Wisconsin. The Marquette Interchange is a prime example of why consultants are used: complex projects must be delivered on time.

The vast majority of the Marquette's engineering work, other than project management, has been handled by consulting engineers. The early phases of the Marquette, including the corridor study and preliminary engineering, were handled 100 percent by consultants. Final design of the interchange included state engineers, but the consulting engineering industry accounted for 85 percent of the final design.

Consultants have a role in the construction phase as well. Considering the cross section of consultants being used for construction inspection and monitoring of construction progress, consulting engineers continue to be a driving force.

In a November 25th Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article, Brian Manthey, spokesman for the state's interchange team, noted that the project is approximately 60-percent complete and its performance thus far suggests it is likely to finish on time and on budget. When commenting on the project, the phrase "on time and on budget" has been heard time and time again from WisDOT representatives.

While all stakeholders have been responsible for keeping this mega project on time and on budget, it is worth a second mention that the consulting engineering industry is responsible for over 85 percent of the design. Consultants created the plan sets for the project, which included roadway plans, bridge plans and traffic management. These documents serve as the road map for the entire project. Consulting engineers are delivering the elements vital to success of the Marquette Interchange.

There are hundreds of examples of other, lower profile transportation projects delivered annually by consulting engineers. The Marquette Interchange project is just one example of the value consulting engineers provide the taxpayers of Wisconsin.