This is the second in a series to introduce ASCE’s New Faces of Civil Engineering 2014. Among other things, civil engineers design and supervise large construction projects, including roads, buildings, airports, tunnels, dams, bridges, and systems for water supply and sewage treatment. Today, read about Kimberly Gee.
The major rainstorms that swept through Southern California during the week of December 21, 2010, led flows to swell significantly within City Creek in San Bernardino County. The subsequent flooding overtopped a multitude of roadways and culverts within the City of Highland, causing citywide devastation. Approximately 200 residents were evacuated to emergency shelters and more than 2 dozen homes became at least temporarily uninhabitable.
At the Boulder Avenue Bridge crossing, the swift flows created severe scour conditions at several of the pier foundations, and this resulted in partial collapse of the 50-year-old bridge that had been slated for replacement the following year. The City of Highland temporarily shut down Boulder Avenue between Eucalyptus Avenue to the south and Base Line to the north, putting considerable strain on commuter and goods movement through the region. Thus began the project to replace the old 2-lane bridge.
“That was my first complete project,” recalled Kimberly Gee, EIT, A.M.ASCE, who today is a project engineer with the NCM Engineering Corporation in Rancho Santa Margarita, California. “I was heavily involved in all facets of the project, from funding procurement, to the preliminary engineering phase, all the way through the end of construction.
“Ironically, our team had just finalized the design of the replacement bridge and had submitted it to Caltrans [California Department of Transportation] for construction funding approval when it collapsed following the flood. The original design for the replacement bridge was [a] cast-in-place prestressed concrete box girder structure, but to expedite the construction schedule we quickly changed the design to a spliced precast prestressed girder superstructure.”
In addition, as a safety precaution, unsafe portions of the partially collapsed Boulder Avenue Bridge were removed through an emergency demolition project which was carried out in just 2 months. Despite facing a myriad of challenges following the flood, the bridge replacement project was able to go out to bid by the end of 2011.
“I would have to say,” notes Gee,“that the Boulder Avenue Bridge project is probably one of my proudest moments so far in my career because of all the challenges that were faced and how we were able to help the client replace the bridge in a timely manner. I grew up believing in helping others and investing in their lives no matter if they were someone you knew or a complete stranger.”
Since graduating college 6 years ago, Gee has been involved in a variety of bridge projects consisting of major interchanges, roadway bridges, railroad grade separations, and water crossings. However, her primary focus has been the replacement and rehabilitations of dilapidated bridges funded through the federal government’s Highway Bridge Program.
“Working on the Boulder Avenue Bridge project allowed me to see the bigger picture,” she notes. “It gave me an understanding of analysis and design, project management, project scheduling, budget monitoring, roadway design, environmental processes, and funding procurement, and the knowledge I gained has been invaluable to me on several other projects.”
An active member of ASCE’s Orange County Younger Member Forum (OCYMF), Gee has served as secretary, programs chair, K-12 outreach chair, and community service chair. In addition, for 2 years she was a member of the OCYMF Popsicle Stick Bridge Competition Committee.
“I was surprised and very humbled by the honor of being a New Face of Civil Engineering,” says Gee, who holds both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in civil engineering from the University of California, Irvine. “It is a great honor to be accepted alongside the other nine recipients this year. For me, being a New Face is just a testament to the people who have invested in my life, my mentors, and the people who believe in me, knowing my potential as a civil engineer.”
Next in the series, read about Lanelle Ezzard