JOSHUA COHEN is a principal at Fat Pencil Studio.
From a driver's perspective, highway construction may seem routine. Lane closures and long delays can drag on for many months. From a contractor's perspective, the story is far more interesting. Even a simple repaving project can have tricky logistics depending on road conditions and traffic control requirements. So imagine the complexity of building a new overpass and culvert expansion just 1/8 mile apart.
We worked on just such a project for Phoenix based Meadow Valley Contractors. They came up with a plan to coordinate work into two phases, closing inside lanes first, and then the outside lanes. A 3d diagram helped explain the schedule benefits of "flying-in" 8 precast concrete girders compared with 12 steel girders.
From a presentation standpoint, it was challenging to illustrate ideas at two very different scales. On one hand, we needed to show small details such as lane striping, vehicles and equipment. The depiction of the new bridge and culvert needed to accurately represent what was shown on construction documents. On the other hand, we had two work zones separated by 500 feet of roadway, and we wanted to explain traffic control measures which extend another 500 feet beyond.
Our approach was to start with a view of the entire area to give a sense of context, but zoom in closer and use animation to "look back and forth" between the two work zones. We prepared a short video clip to introduce the project, and also delivered the full SketchUp model for use as an interactive tool to view details from any perspective.