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It’s National Infrastructure Week

That may not get your heart beating faster, especially with this beautiful spring weather, but let’s talk about why it’s important.  Infrastructure Week 2014, from May 12-16 is led by the U.S. Council on Competitiveness, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce the National Association of Manufacturers and such influential thought leaders as the Brooking’s Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program. 
Why should you care?  Because academic researchers and policy makers agree that one of America’s key challenges is rebuilding aging infrastructure.  Regionally, it’s a topic that is top of mind in conversations about Interstate 81 as well as other major challenges such as expanding rails and runways to move people and goods, and challenges to our country’s safe drinking water and wastewater treatment systems.  Solving these challenges is vital to rebuilding America’s economic infrastructure.  Brookings recently noted that “If America’s infrastructure challenges are not rapidly solved in a long-term strategic way, they will have enormous implications on America’s prosperity, jobs and competitiveness.”
Look out the windows anywhere in the heart of downtown right now.  From Interstate 81 to West Street, winding through Genesee and Fayette Streets, you’ll see major infrastructure investments at work.  This phase of Connective Corridor construction is supported through a U.S. DOT TIGER grant, jointly secured by the City of Syracuse and Syracuse University, augmented by NYS funding, and federal stimulus funding secured by Onondaga County, along with Onondaga County’s Save the Rain program.  Being competitive means advanced manufacturing, research and development, entrepreneurship and infrastructure revitalization.  The pieces of the puzzle need to work together to fuel economic growth.
This week, as important national conversations are happening on the importance of building public infrastructure, groups are urging innovative approaches and best practices.  They are calling for engagement from outside the traditional infrastructure community and ways to tie infrastructure policy to national investment in the knowledge economy.  We suggest they look no further than Syracuse, where this is already happening with important initiatives such as the  Metropolitan Business Plan developed by CenterState CEO partners in conjunction with Brookings, and important infrastructure investments like the Connective Corridor – a unique public-private-education collaboration. 
So let’s celebrate.  To learn more:

Brookings Brief

  This past Monday marked the beginning of Infrastructure Week 2014—a national forum for policymakers, city planners, nonprofits, and entrepreneurs to explore innovative approaches to modernizing our aging infrastructure.  The Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program began the week with an in-depth look at our nation's infrastructure jobs. On Friday, they'll host a live discussion on what's next in American infrastructure.
Here are some highlights:  
Corridor profile:
Gregory J Fehrman, P.E., LEED-AP
Manager, Construction Services, C&S Engineers, Inc.

Greg plays an important role on the Corridor, managing construction inspection.  He brings a great deal of experience from managing large scale highway and bridge projects involving the NYS DOT, CSX Railroad, New York State Thruway Authority, Onondaga County DOT and various local municipalities.  In his role at C&S he supervises the department responsible for the delivery of all construction-related services, coordinating and managing inspection services on approximately $120 million in construction annually for transportation and aviation projects.  His project portfolio includes streetscapes, major highway rehabilitations, bridge rehabilitations and replacements, Interstate highway and bridge assignments, and land development.
The Connective Corridor as a textbook for design, engineering and construction controls

We are particularly proud that Greg is an adjunct faculty member at Syracuse University teaching a class on Construction Controls with a concentration on the use of CPM Scheduling. The Connective Corridor has been an exceptional case study for his class, giving students a real world window on a large scale, complex multimodal project – from design to engineering, scheduling, budgeting, permitting and construction.  It’s a great opportunity for students, and a number of Syracuse University civil engineering students have graduated from the program and found their first career pathway along the Corridor -- working as part of the construction team. 
Greg’s affable personality and experience as a licensed professional engineer makes him a great teacher.  In fact, we tease that he puts the “civil” in civil engineering with his good-natured, accessible gregarious nature.  His professionalism informs his teaching.  He’s training future engineers to develop engineering skills as well as good judgment.  It’s what he learned through a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering at SUNY ESF in association with Syracuse University and an associate’s degree in architectural technology from SUNY Alfred. 
Greg is a natural mentor and also works with Binghamton University’s Center for Civic Engagement on an annual Construction Career Day, a yearly event for students ages 16-18 which is an opportunity for students to learn about career options in the construction and engineering field.
Thanks, Greg, for being a great project manager and a great mentor for young engineers.


Celebrating Infrastructure Innovators
Professor Sam Clemence
America’s infrastructure runs on great engineers.  Kudos to Syracuse University Professor Sam Clemence who was honored with the 2014 Outstanding Civil Engineer award from the American Society of Civil Engineers, Syracuse Section.  Clemence's lifetime of accomplishments and achievements have made significant differences in the area of civil engineering education and research. He has been a civil engineering professor for 40 years, and has shaped the careers of thousands of civil engineering students. He is the Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professor for Teaching Excellence in the Civil Engineering Department at Syracuse University, retiring from full-time teaching this spring.   Read more here.
Associate Professor Riyad Aboutaha
The University Transportation Research Center (UTRC) has awarded a grant to Riyad Aboutaha, associate professor in Syracuse University’s College of Engineering and Computer Science. The project is a partnership between Syracuse University and C&S Companies (which is also the construction inspector for the Connective Corridor) -- combining both University and C&S Company employee minds. The project’s goal is to produce a study that will help impact maintenance and management policies of bridges in the United States. Two Syracuse University students are interning at C&S Companies this summer and will be sponsored to join the project for a close partnership.  Read more here.
Civil Engineering at Syracuse University

The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CIE) is one of four departments in Syracuse University’s College of Engineering and Computer Science, offering programs leading to the B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees. Among the CIE faculty is a University Professor (appointed by the University for his excellence in research and scholarship), three Meredith Professors (appointed by the University for their excellence in teaching and mentoring), a National Science Foundation CAREER award recipient, and a Fulbright scholar.  The CIE Department is affiliated with two research centers – The Center for Environmental Systems Engineering and the Geofoam Research Center.  Some department faculty members are also associated with the Syracuse Center of Excellence (CoE) in Environmental and Energy Systems.  Read more here.
International officials study infrastructure policy visiting the Corridor

The Connective Corridor staff met recently with a delegation of regional development officials from the Republic of Serbia to discuss the role of infrastructure in economic development, coordinated by the International Center of Syracuse (ICS). 
Elane Granger, associate director for student services at Slutzker Center for International Services at Syracuse University, is president of ICS, an independent, community-sponsored, not-for-profit organization.  Leaders and prominent citizens from virtually every nation participate in the ICS visitors program sponsored by the United States Information Agency (USIA).
USIA program officers offer international visitors a choice of cities to study. Those who choose to visit Syracuse are referred to the ICS, which is a member of the Global Ties U.S., formerly COSERV and then NCIV (National Council for International Visitors).  COSERV was formed to assist the US State Department as part of US foreign policy on Educational and Cultural Exchange. 
The meeting and walking tour included a robust exchange with the delegates led by Milos Ignjatovic, Director of the Republic of Serbia’s National Agency for Regional Development along with Syracuse University Connective Corridor staff.  The discussion focused on regional development, support to entrepreneurship, managing infrastructure projects, and establishing and strengthening intermunicipal cooperation.

Construction update

There’s probably no better way to celebrate National Infrastructure Week than to install it.  As you can tell, we’re celebrating in style. 

National Grid continues work on vaults and duct banks along West Fayette, Fayette, Genesee and East Genesee Streets, along with some Verizon vault reconstruction as well.  National Grid Electric is removing street lights in preparation for replacements, and is responsible for installing safety lighting.  Sidewalks are being poured along the 300 and 200 blocks of West Fayette, with new granite curbs set and brick pavers to follow.  By the end of this week, the road will be prepped for repaving next week, moving eastward from West Street.  Signal work is underway at intersections along West Fayette.  City water work began this week on new drainage between Montgomery and Warren Streets, which will occur in three phases, two weeks each.  Streets will be open in one-way patterns, with business open signage.  Flaggers are in place for the road reconstruction.  Traffic appears to be moving smoothly.  Businesses were pleased about special accommodations such as “rolling out the carpets” for temporary sidewalks to ensure access, particularly for commencement weekend.
The big change next week is that work will shift to East Genesee around Fayette Park, to allow National Grid to finish up work in Armory Square so Corridor work can wrap up more quickly.  You’ll notice drainage work around Fayette Park, and the crew will be fine grading for sidewalks.  It’s expected that portions of the sidewalk around Fayette Park will re-open next week.  
Within the next two to three weeks, work will move to the north side of the 300 and 200 blocks of West Fayette.  Our project team has been holding weekly meetings with area businesses, hosted at the Marriott Residence Inn, every Monday morning at 9 a.m.  It’s been a great tool for communicating.  Businesses along the route are welcome to attend. 
As a reminder, pertinent contact info and construction updates are posted here if you have questions.

Onondaga County’s greenstreet project completed on Washington Avenue

Work wrapped up this week on Onondaga County’s Save the Rain comprehensive greenstreet project on East Washington Street, and the street has been re-opened. 

Stop by for a look at a smart green infrastructure project with elements that address both stormwater capture and streetscape design.  You’ll see elements such as porous pavers, vegetative swails and other GI tools that will reduce 959,000 gallons of stormwater annually, embedded in a new landscape that includes new sidewalks and resurfaced streets.  Congratulations to our partners at Onondaga County for a great job.
Stay informed at the City of Syracuse’s new construction website:
The City of Syracuse has six major infrastructure projects happening this summer.  Follow them all at this new website which monitors the projects and any traffic advisories associated with construction.
Weaving it all together:  The Connective thread

From B&L’s project description, working with the Syracuse University School of Architecture:  “The health of a city is a complex and potentially rich interaction between cultural, natural and economic systems that gives a city its unique local and regional character.  This lays the groundwork for a city that can celebrate its regional place, local diversity and seasonal richness, with design solutions that are an integral part of the urban fabric.  The project, once successfully implemented, will result in a system of linkages that are greater than the sum of their parts.”
Want to learn even more about why this all matters?  Read the American Society for Civil Engineer’s Report – A Report Card for America’s Infrastructure:
There’s plenty of room for policy and planning work, as well as research and demonstration projects along the Corridor.  Interested?  Contact us at
The Connective Corridor is a collaboration of Syracuse University, the City of Syracuse and Onondaga County
Syracuse University Office of Community Engagement and Economic Development
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