As the nation wrestles with how and where to best address current and future infrastructure needs, ASCE is highlighting “game changing” projects that prove that despite the challenges, innovative ideas and solutions in transportation, water, freight, and energy, are thriving.
At an event Thursday on Capitol Hill in Washington, ASCE debuted Infrastructure #GameChangers, a new report and associated website at ASCEgamechangers.org that shows how communities across the country have developed solutions to challenges that could prove to be game changers nationwide.
“I think a lot of folks understand pretty clearly the state of our nation’s infrastructure,” said Executive Director Thomas W. Smith III, ENV SP, CAE, F.ASCE. “It’s important for us to also celebrate the many accomplishments in the profession, and Game Changers is a way to do that.”
At the launch event, Congressman Lou Barletta (R-PA) and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) each stressed the need for innovation and investment, not only for highways and bridges, Norton said, but for the “infrastructure we don’t see.”
One is the D.C. Clean Rivers Project, a 20-year mission to capture raw sewage in the Washington area and flow it away from the Potomac and Anacostia rivers via massive underground tunnels and other green infrastructure works. Coincidentally, the project’s “Lady Bird” tunnel boring machine wrapped up its two-year dig Thursday, not far from the site of ASCE’s event.
Jalal Mapar, resilient systems director for the Department of Homeland Security’s science and technology directorate, cited the growth of public-private partnerships, and how sometimes the funding for such game-changing projects requires as much innovation and cooperation as the research and development of the technology itself.
“It’s chicken and egg,” Mapar said. “From a science and technology perspective, we think about ‘How can we be more resilient? How can we solve something?’ But without that partnership then everything sits on the shelf.”
Many of the Game Changers projects in transportation, freight, energy, and water show how interdependent the sectors are. The Middle Harbor Project in Long Beach consolidated two container terminals into one, zero-emissions, fully automated port. Part of that plan to cut emissions? Using all-electric yard tractors at the port.
“There’s a lot to celebrate. There’s a lot to be optimistic about,” Smith said. “There is some true innovation out there. If we replicate that, we can really seize on these opportunities to provide tremendous benefits for our quality of life.”
Share Your ‘Game Changers’
Do you know of an innovative project or new that infrastructure is being planned, built, or funded? Be part of identifying the next Game Changers that will shape the future. Submit your idea and links to more information. ASCE will review each submission for the potential to join the Game Changers.