Roads & Bridges

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Delivering an appropriate and sustainable transportation network for the 21st Century is an exciting challenge. We're committed to partnering with our clients to plan, design and deliver successful transportation programs.


Atkins has successfully completed projects ranging from planning and designing large urban interchanges in some of North America’s biggest cities to designing and overseeing construction of rural roadways in the most remote national parks.

Atkins has planned, designed, and managed the construction of thousands of miles of highways and bridges, and our efforts have assisted clients in achieving their cost, schedule, and quality objectives. We partner with clients across North America and abroad, to develop innovative solutions to their mobility needs.

From our work in preparing feasibility studies to conducting preliminary and final engineering, the depth of our expertise enables us to take a project from concept and see it through construction. Atkins’ transportation practice is dedicated to the planning, design, and construction of transportation systems that function successfully within the environmental, institutional, and societal contexts in which they operate.

We provide the full range of services required to plan, design, construct, operate, and maintain transportation projects for public and private owners. With Atkins you get a team of talented experts who foster a solid understanding of our clients' distinct needs.


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Responding to a recent population boom, Colorado Department of Transportation has taken a bold step to effect change and transform its aging transportation system by embracing technology. CDOT is investing $20 million to combat congestion and improve safety through the use of intelligent mobility technology in the next year. As one of three consulting firms selected as advisers on the program, Atkins is serving as an extension of CDOT’s staff—helping to move projects from conception through procurement and construction—facilitating a reimagination of transportation infrastructure through intelligent mobility solutions. RoadX’s goals include: reducing the cost of transporting goods by 25%; turning a rural state highway into a zero death road; and reducing congestion and vehicle emissions on Colorado’s critical corridors. We’re using improved analytics, innovative strategies in autonomous/connected vehicles, and big data to exceed these goals—creating a safer more efficient future. Toward this same end, we’re currently administrating the RoadX: Bicycle & Pedestrian Challenge—soliciting innovative solutions to protect pedestrians and cyclists in Colorado. Prizes go to both the most creative ideas, and the most effective implementation strategies. Winners will be selected at the end of April. In launching the RoadX Program, CDOT made a commitment to the aggressive implementation of new transportation technology within the next ten years. Atkins’ partnership brings our considerable experience in intelligent mobility towards facilitating that commitment—making a big difference in the lives of Colorado commuters. For more information on CDOT’s RoadX, the Bicycle & Pedestrian Challenge, and the future of infrastructure see:


A major east-west transportation corridor that carries recreational, commercial and commuter traffic through the Rocky Mountains also creates a lot of headaches for those maneuvering through regular back-ups and gridlock.  When the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) expressed an interest in using intelligent transportation systems and innovative technologies to decrease gridlock, increase safety and reduce traffic time, we were brought on board to help drive the effort for the I-70 Mountain Express Lane (MEXL). CDOT’s overall vision for improving congestion with immediate, interim improvements led us to evaluate the effectiveness of a tolled peak hour shoulder lane between Empire Junction and Idaho Springs. We expanded existing models to assess traffic improvements, which indicated that travel times could be cut nearly in half in the project area. Taking an innovative approach to relieve congestion without overbuilding the mountain corridor, a 13-mile stretch of the existing eastbound shoulder was repurposed as a dynamically tolled express lane during peak travel periods. Today, it operates only on weekends and holidays and users pay between four and eight dollars, based on congestion levels (tolls can reach 30 dollars based on congestion levels). With added capacity, the corridor has seen consistent, faster speeds and reduced travel times for all lanes. In its first summer season, throughput increased by 14 percent, travel times in general purpose lanes improved by 38 percent, and the time involved in clearing back-ups substantially improved. Less gridlock. Less stress. Less time on the road means more time for the good stuff. There’s more to the story. CDOT received Gov.


During large storm events, the Las Vegas Wash channel overbanks would flood due to overflow of the main channel, requiring regular and costly debris cleanup and repair of the facility’s only access road. Despite it not being designed to do so, the access road served as a grade control structure to protect improvements made to the channel upstream. Aside from making the facility inaccessible, failure of the road would have jeopardized the structural stability of those improvements as well as threatened underground utilities. Failure of the access road would have also resulted in damages to the surrounding private and public properties and facilities. To remedy, channel improvements were designed to increase capacity and protect against any further damage. A secondary access road was constructed; 1,100 feet of various new utilities (20-inch water, twelve 6-inch power conduits, twelve 4-inch fiber-optic conduits, and four 12-inch sludge lines) crossing the wash were designed; and other increased security measures were put in place to secure the site. To reduce cost and expedite construction of a new 200-foot steel girder bridge over Las Vegas Wash, we worked with the construction contractor and CCWRD to recycle steel girders from a former bridge. We inspected the old bridge’s superstructure, investigated the life span of the steel, verified the geometry of the girders for compatibility of design, and modeled using MDX software. 1D and 2D (pre- and post-project) hydraulic models of the area were also developed and sediment transport analysis was performed to ensure that there are not adverse impacts to


With traffic through this freeway corridor expected to double in the next 20 years, the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) prioritized investment in this critical section of infrastructure to meet the needs of the growing resident and tourist populations. Travelers make 25,000 lane changes per hour in this freeway corridor and as many as 1,400 crashes take place annually. To boost safety, mobility, and accessibility, roadway improvement plans include separation of freeway traffic from arterial traffic, reduced numbers of merging sections, and connection of high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes to create a continuous 22-mile stretch from US 95 through I-15. Considered the most important and ambitious project in NDOT’s history, it also accommodates regional economic redevelopment through improved access to downtown Las Vegas and the Resort Corridor. We serve as lead designer, for design builder, Kiewit Infrastructure West, managing all design and engineering services on this multiphased, multiyear project with responsibilities that include design services for roadway, drainage, bridges and structures, traffic control, signing, pavement marking, landscape, and ITS as well as providing quality control, utility coordination, public involvement, design surveying, and design support during construction.   Video courtesy of NDOT

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In 2009, the NJTA approved a massive widening program for a 50-mile section of the parkway to achieve a 50 percent increase in capacity. Atkins served as program manager for widening activities from interchange 48 to 63 (phase 2) and the structure and drainage improvement projects for future widening at interchanges 30 and 48 (phase 3). Over the course of the project, we coordinated the efforts of more than 1,000 professionals to successfully design nearly $200 million worth of improvements to the existing highway while maintaining traffic flow. The program’s scope included design and construction of a third lane to the northbound and southbound Parkway, widening of shoulders, mainline and local road bridge widening and replacement, existing drainage system replacement, and safety improvements such as roadway lighting, guide sign replacement, storm water management basins, and relocation of utilities. The historic tollway, originally constructed in the late 1950’s, helped usher in a new wave of economic and residential development along the Jersey shore. Through continued investment and improvements, it remains a vital link from the New York state line to the southern tip of New Jersey. The project was recognized by the Project Management Institute (PMI) of New Jersey as 2015 Project of the Year and received the 2016 ACEC New Jersey’s Engineering Excellence Award.

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In the 1980s, Atlantans made a smart investment in a tollway that would redefine the region, provide easy access from north Fulton and Forsyth Counties, and contribute to economic growth in the area. In 2012, Georgia’s governor announced that the state would pay off the bond debt and end tolling on GA 400 in 2013. We worked closely with the Georgia State Road and Tollway Authority as their general engineering consultant to lead the project, and coordinated with contractors and local agencies. Our role included development of the implementation plan and execution of civil site planning, project management, and architectural and electrical design services. We also developed comprehensive toll plaza closeout procedures and organized practice runs to ensure a successful transition. With nearly 120,000 commuters using the road daily, motorist safety and effective communications with stakeholders took center stage. In recognition of achievement of those goals, the project received the Transportation Achievement Award for Operations from the Institute of Transportation Engineers


The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) selected Atkins to help address the immediate need to improve safety and congestion that has plagued this corridor for many years. The Twin Tunnels project widens the lanes of I-70 from Idaho Springs to the base of Floyd Hill and is the first project to add capacity to the corridor in over 20 years. After successfully assisting with the concept design in an environmental assessment, CDOT selected Atkins to complete the eastbound tunnel expansion project under a construction management/general contractor delivery system. After the completion of the initial eastbound tunnel, CDOT sole sourced the Atkins team to complete the westbound tunnel. The compressed delivery schedule and complexity of the project required tapping into Atkins’ worldwide expertise in tunnel design, managed lanes, bridge and retaining wall design, highway design, and construction phasing. The team developed creative solutions to maintain traffic flow during construction, mitigate environmental impacts, and increase highway safety and operations. The project was named Engineering News-Record (ENR) Mountain States 2016 Best Project in the highways and bridges category (Colorado, Wyoming and plains states).


The Connector is instrumental in relieving traffic congestion in historic Ybor City and improving freight access to the Port of Tampa. It also provides an additional hurricane evacuation route and enhances emergency access for first responders. Atkins served as lead engineer on the $426 million project, and as the primary designer of the Connector’s southern portion (80 percent of the overall construction effort). Innovative features include a toll gantry that saves FDOT an estimated $10 million in capital and maintenance costs, and truck-only lanes that provide convenient, exclusive freight access and minimize congestion and safety issues on local roads. The project is also one of the first to use concrete segmental construction and incorporate the new AASHTO Bridge Code.  Atkins' ability to mobilize staff in support of this project enabled completion of alternate bridge designs three months early in an aggressive design schedule. Aesthetics also played a key role in the project, with designers making every effort to incorporate the style and character of historic Ybor City. One of the project’s notable features is a “gateway” that evokes the area’s unique, century-old Florida architecture.   The project received the Florida Institute of Consulting Engineers (FICE)/FDOT 2014 Outstanding Project Award, FICE 2015 Engineering Excellence Award, American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) 2015 National Recognition Award, and American Segmental Bridge Institute (ASBI) 2015 Bridge Award of Excellence (urban bridges category).   


Our Thoughts: Angles

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Kevin Longenbach
22 Jun 2017

Recent years have seen a shift from public to private funded tolling projects—helping to fill both federal and state funding gaps. Increased levels of responsibility and risk are placed on private firms to design, build, operate, and maintain these projects. This shift begs the question: are Public-Private Partnerships (P3s) in the public interest? And if so, just what are the benefits of using P3s for tolling projects? Most proposed P3 tolling and managed lane projects invariably inspire a sense of public anxiety and distrust—why should we force users to pay for a public service? Isn’t it unfair and inequitable to do so? Beyond the reluctance to pay a toll, there’s the question of how to financially structure a project—should it be completed on the public’s dime with public resources, or should private firms be allowed to take the lead (and the risk)? Properly structured, P3s can be an attractive procurement option—shifting both the risk and the management to a more experienced partner. They can provide both short-term and long-term benefits to the public by providing funding to accelerate the delivery of service improvements, allowing for on-time completion, first cost savings, and also budget certainty on both capital and long-term maintenance costs. When performance standards aren’t consistently met, the facility owner can enforce contract default provisions and require new management. Although rarely invoked, this and other concession agreement provisions create a win-win scenario for the public providing protection in cases of mismanagement. Understandably, the public can have hesitations about private entities managing public

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Prof Dr Uwe Krueger
06 Jun 2017

Uwe has consistently taken part in the GII summits, regular gatherings of the world’s most senior leaders in infrastructure and capital projects, which look to identify ways to improve the delivery of new infrastructure and get more out of existing assets. During the visit Uwe gave some of his latest views on how new innovative digital approaches were helping transform the construction and engineering sector and ensure better solutions for clients. You can see him discuss these ideas in the videos on this page. atkins0303   atkins0304   atkins0306   Find out more about the Global Infrastructure Initiative. Credit: Photograph and videos courtesy of McKinsey & Company.

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Daniel McDuff
25 Apr 2017

Often roads are a means to an end, but that kind of thinking is starting to change. Greenroads International, an independent, nonprofit organization, uses it’s Greenroads® Rating System to certify transportation projects based on environmental, social and economic responsibility. Using this system allows us to build roads that strike a balance between critical transportation infrastructure improvements, and natural resource preservation. We’ve all seen the trend toward greener buildings in recent years. The architecture industry follows the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design or LEED rating system. The Greenroads® Rating System is our industry equivalent—the most widely used transportation sustainability rating system in the world. The third-party, point-based system was launched in 2010. There are now over 110 Greenroads projects around the world, valued at more than $18 billion. Greenroads certification is more than just incorporating environmentally sound construction practices into projects. Roadways impact communities, the environment, and other surrounding areas. A good example of how Greenroads projects address these concerns is Austin’s 183 South project. Austin’s 183 South is currently the largest construction project in the region, and the biggest the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (the Mobility Authority) has ever undertaken. Consistent with their core value of sustainability, the Mobility Authority is pursuing certification for the 183 South project through the Greenroads® Rating System, which, if approved, could make it the largest highway project in the country with this designation. The project enhances roadway capacity for bicyclists, pedestrians, and more than 60,000 drivers a day in East Austin while preserving recreational and environmental

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Ernie Edgar
20 Apr 2017

Worthwhile pursuits require risk; how you manage that risk is often the difference between success and failure. It’s the defining factor in whether a project is commercially rewarding, unfruitful, or worse, a catastrophe. Delivery models for new projects are changing, shifting the design risk from the owner to the contractor. Better the risk you know, than the risk you don’t; let’s get to know the risks, shall we? For much of the last century, design-bid-build was the conventional project delivery method. In this model, the owner contracts with the project designer (who creates and delivers the design), and then the owner solicits bids from contractors. The completed design allows the contractor to bid the project at a fixed price thereby providing a measure of certainty in overall project cost and liability. Today, there is a trend toward new project delivery models; the design/build model is quickly becoming one of the most common. Design/build brings the design and construction of the project under the purview of one contractor. That contractor bids the project based on the conceptual vision of the owner. This project delivery model is intended to expand project financing, contain project costs, compress project delivery schedules, and reduce project claims and litigation. In the public sector, this approach has given rise to public-private partnerships (P3) which can offer not only turnkey delivery, but also privately-funded project finance, operations, and maintenance to stretch limited tax dollars to meet sophisticated infrastructure needs. These are the benefits, but what are the risks? In

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We provide the full range of services required to plan, design, construct, operate, and maintain transportation projects for public and private owners.

Alternative delivery methods

Whether the delivery strategy is design-build, contractor/ construction management (GC/CM), or construction manager at risk (CMAR), Atkins builds strong, cohesive teams to work efficiently with builders, lenders, and owners. Our approach begins with understanding client goals, ideals, risk, and value proposition. We then mobilize our experts, who apply innovative solutions to quickly and efficiently complete projects that satisfy our clients' objectives. We build long-term relationships and foster collaboration with our clients to deliver technical and innovative solutions for a broad range of infrastructure projects.

Bridge engineering

Atkins’ bridge staff excels in analyzing and designing a vast assemblage of structures ranging from rural stream crossings to multi-level interchange structures and complex, state-of-the-art signature bridges. Along with separations, Atkins has designed long-span steel trusses, bascule, segmental concrete, long-span steel plates and boxes for aircraft taxiway bridges, pedestrian bridges, transit and railroad bridges, river crossings, and wildlife crossings.

Program management

We have grown to be one of the premier program management consultants in North America. We focus on doing what is right for the client first—keeping promises, providing quality, meeting schedules, and delivering innovation. Whether for the design and construction of a toll facility in California or the installation of miles of fiber optic communication cable in Georgia, Atkins has built the broad-based experience and staff resources to ensure successful program management assignments, no matter what the scope of work.

Public involvement

Maintaining a two-way dialogue and engaging diverse interests from the planning stage throughout the construction of a project is the foundation for public understanding and sound decision making by all stakeholders. Because one size does not fit all, Atkins designs creative public involvement programs by integrating traditional and nontraditional tools and techniques as necessary to address constraints on the abilities of differing populations to participate. In doing so, equity is assured, federal requirements are met, schedules are streamlined, and the public becomes a project’s biggest supporter.

Right-of-way services

Our right-of-way (ROW) staff comprises full-time ROW survey and mapping and real estate professionals with experience in real estate title, appraisal, property acquisition, relocation assistance, litigation support, property management, database systems, project management, and program management. We also help state and local governments and private entities acquire property for transit systems, roadway improvements, utilities, and airport facilities. Many of our projects involve federal aid, and have been completed in compliance with the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act.

Highway design

Atkins designs and oversees the construction of thousands of miles of highways and bridges. We are known for the quality of our work and our ability to help our clients deliver their programs. We partner with clients across North America and abroad to develop innovative solutions for their mobility needs. Our depth of expertise enables us to take a project from concept all the way through construction, developing systems that function successfully within the appropriate environmental, institutional, and societal contexts. We provide the full range of services required to plan, design, construct, operate, and maintain transportation projects for public and private owners.

Traffic engineering

The Atkins approach to traffic engineering is to provide a balanced, optimal solution that includes input from all relevant disciplines. We perform a wide variety of studies including freeway systems analysis, corridor analysis, safety studies, intersection and signal design, signal timing, and pedestrian and bicycle studies. Whether for a comprehensive, systemwide evaluation or a location-specific study, we proactively develop cost-effective and context-sensitive approaches to address operational and safety concerns.

Transportation planning and NEPA services

Because we understand the growth pressure on transportation systems, we provide transportation planning and corridor analyses that aid in identifying integrated solutions to mobility issues. Multimodal options, such as regional mass transit, can help respond to the high demands of urban growth. We continually refine the tools and approaches we use to help our clients address changing mobility needs. While taking sustainability and growth demand into account, we develop solutions that comply with regulatory policy at the federal (National Environmental Policy Act [NEPA]) and state level.

Tunnel engineering

Atkins has one of the largest dedicated tunnel design teams in the world with more than 200 tunneling specialists based in the United Kingdom, Middle East, and Asia. The team has worked on some of the world’s most challenging tunneling projects in a full range of ground conditions—from hard rock to soft ground. We provide these services directly to clients and for contractors under design-build commissions. Our tunneling projects have also been part of large concession teams providing design inputs at all stages of programs from initial concept and feasibility studies to scheme development and detailed designs in construction. Our key focus is to provide our clients with the best possible solutions for their tunneling and underground projects with a clear-cut focus on safety, risk management, and cost efficiency.


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