Tag Archives: I-405 Widening Project

Public-Private Partnerships (P3) Definition for Engineering and Infrastructure Transportation Projects in California

Public-Private Partnerships – better known as P3 – are hitting the planning and engineering world by storm.  P3s occur when private investors play a role in public works projects.  Typical P3 projects include: transit, highway, and air transportation projects.

P3 is not a new concept.  In fact, many projects on the east coast and mid-west United States

What Do Civil Engineers Do? The Marketing, Political and Business Management Side of Things

“What do you do for a living?”  is one of the most common questions that I’m asked when I meet a new person.  The response that I deliver, “Civil engineering” 9 times out of 10 says “MATHEMATICS” to the inquirer.  To many civil engineers – and engineers in general – mathematics and technical know-how means the world.


Other civil engineers take a different approach to their profession.  Some pursue a career in the marketing and project management of civil engineering projects right from the start of their career.  This implies that instead of preparing highway and bridge construction documents (plans, project specifications and construction cost estimates) they are out at professional organization group meetings mingling with potential clients in order to establish relationships that lead to new project work.

Now don’t get me wrong – people with strong technical skills and deliver a great design or report to a client are marketing without ever leaving their offices by creating return clients who are convinced that they have a trustworthy bunch to hire for the next project.

Even still, some civil engineers choose to play the role of politician during their career.  These politically-savvy folks attend public meetings, city council meetings and more.  While at these meetings, the political CE will be providing information and knowledge to the public and government agency staff in order to educate them on the political repercussions and benefits associated with civil engineering projects.

For example, the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) plans to widen Interstate 405 from Costa Mesa north to Westminster in California.  OCTA has hosted city council meetings at the Cities of Costa Mesa, Fountain Valley and Westminster – those impacted by the I-405 widening project.


The project plans to acquire hundreds of acres of land to accommodate the widened freeway – you can imagine the amount of footwork required by civil engineers to educate the public, city and agency officials and others impacted by the project.  Huge outreach efforts are required to educated business owners who’s operations will be affected by ongoing construction activities and the substantial impact had on vehicular traffic.