Parsons Brinckerhoff

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Parsons Brinckerhoff
Type Subsidiary
Industry Engineering, design, planning, environment, project/program/construction management
Founder(s) William Barclay Parsons (1885)
Headquarters One Penn Plaza, New York City, United States
Number of locations New York, London, Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Sydney and approximately 150 other offices worldwide
Area served Global
Key people George J. Pierson, President and Chief Executive Officer
Products Strategic consulting, planning, design, program management, engineering, construction services and operations & maintenance
Employees Approximately 14,000 worldwide
Parent Balfour Beatty
Website www.pbworld.com

Parsons Brinckerhoff is a multinational engineering and design firm with approximately 14,000 employees. The firm operates in the fields of strategic consulting, planning, engineering, construction management, and infrastructure/community planning. It is part of Balfour Beatty, an international infrastructure consultant.[1] In 2013, the company was named the tenth largest U.S.-based engineering/design firm by Engineering News Record.[2]

History[edit]

Chief Engineer William Barclay Parsons and the NYC Subway

Founded in 1885 in New York City by William Barclay Parsons, among Parsons Brinckerhoff’s earliest projects was the original IRT line of the New York City Subway, designed by Parsons Brinckerhoff and opened in 1904.[3] Parsons Brinckerhoff also designed the Cape Cod Canal, which opened in 1914 [4] and charted the course of a railway in China from Hankow (Wuhan) to Canton (Guangzhou), a line that is also still in use today.[5] In 1906, Henry M. Brinckerhoff, a highway engineer, brought his expertise in electric railways to the firm. He is known for his co-invention of the third rail.[6]

The firm has worked on some of the most notable infrastructure projects of the 20th century, including: the Detroit–Windsor Tunnel (1930);[7] the Scheldt Tunnel in Antwerp, Belgium (1933);[8] The Buzzards Bay Railroad Bridge on Cape Cod, Massachusetts (1935);[9] The 1939 World's Fair in New York City;[10] the Garden State Parkway in New Jersey (1957);[11] the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel in Virginia (1957);[12] the Pell Bridge in Newport, Rhode Island (1969);[13] the I-95/Fort McHenry Tunnel (1980);[14] the H-3 Highway in Oahu, Hawaii (1997);[15] the Sabiya Power Station in Kuwait (2000)[16] and the rapid transit systems of San Francisco (1972);[17] Atlanta (1979);[18] Singapore (1987);[19] Taipei (1996);[20] and Caracas (1983).[21]

Currently, the firm is involved in several major expansions of the public transportation system in the New York metropolitan area, including the new 7 Subway Extension, Second Avenue Subway, and Long Island Rail Road's East Side Access to Grand Central Terminal,[22] Other current and recent projects include: the Taiwan High Speed Rail Project;[23] the Bosphorus rail tunnel in Istanbul;[24] The Woodrow Wilson Bridge in Washington, D.C.;[25] an extension of the East London Line of the London Overground;[26] and the Medupi Power Station in South Africa.[27]

Controversies[edit]

Parsons Brinckerhoff partnered with rival engineering firm Bechtel to build the troubled Big Dig in Boston, Massachusetts. The Big Dig, or Central Artery / Tunnel project, as it was officially known was intended to replace an elevated Interstate freeway and connecting roads with a tunnel system underneath Boston. The project was beset with bad engineering, shoddy workmanship, and the death of an automobile passenger as a poor ceiling design caused a tunnel roof section to collapse on a car in the tunnel, crushing the victim. The Big Dig was years over schedule and engineering costs to several times of Bechtel/Parsons Brinkerhooff's original estimates, from $8 Billion to in excess of $24 Billion. Due to the poor construction, it has been estimated that the Big Dig's life span will be far short of the original specification that taxpayers paid for. The tunnels still have "thousands of leaks" and substandard materials. Subsequent to the fatal tunnel ceiling collapse, light fixtures have been found to have been incorrectly installed and corroding, posing a risk of failure and falling to the tunnel roadway.[28]

Parsons Brinckerhoff was also the lead engineering firm to build the Silver Spring, Maryland transportation center. Despite a ballooning budget and a project that has run far behind schedule, the transit center was poorly constructed and has not become operational due to poor design and workmanship. In April, 2014, the Washington Post published an expose on Parsons Brinckerhoff's troubled transit center, reporting that an independent report has found that the public would be at risk due to falling concrete and needs a significant redesign and upgrades.[29]

Organization[edit]

Parsons Brinckerhoff was acquired by Balfour Beatty in October 2009 and operates as a wholly owned subsidiary of the Balfour Beatty plc. Heery International, a company that was merged with Parsons Brinckerhoff in 2010, now operates as Parsons Brinckerhoffs’s buildings company.[30]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Corporate Website," Parsons Brinckerhoff, 2013
  2. ^ "The Top 500 Design Firms," Engineering News-Record, April 25, 2013
  3. ^ Clifton Hood, 722 Miles: The Building of the Subways and How They Transformed New York (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993).
  4. ^ William James Reid, The Building of the Cape Cod Canal (New York: George McKibbin and Son, Inc., 1961).
  5. ^ "'L' Engines on Chinese Road," New-York Tribune, January 15, 1905
  6. ^ Lisa Moses, "Henry M. Brinckerhoff," APWA Reporter, August 1981.
  7. ^ S.A. Thoresen, "Constructing the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel," Civil Engineering, April 1931.
  8. ^ S.A. Thoresen, "Shield-Driven Tunnels Near Completion Under the Schelde at Antwerp," Engineering News-Record, June 29, 1933
  9. ^ Lift Span Over Cape Cod Canal Sets New Precedents," Engineering News-Record, January 30, 1936
  10. ^ John P. Hogan, "Construction Organization and Technique," Engineering News-Record, September 22, 1938
  11. ^ New Jersey eases some traffic jams with long parkway," Engineering News-Record, September 16, 1954
  12. ^ Thomas R. Kuesel, "A tale of three tunnels," Civil Engineering, December 1974.
  13. ^ Alfred Hedefine and Louis G. Silano, "Newport Bridge foundations," Civil Engineering, October 1968.
  14. ^ Corrinne S Bernstein, "Tunneling Around Ft. McHenry," Civil Engineering, July 1986.
  15. ^ Ray Bert, "Paradise Crossed," Civil Engineering, July 1998
  16. ^ "Combined Heat & Power in Saudi Arabia," Worldwide Independent Power, September 1, 2010.
  17. ^ Thomas R. Kuesel, "Bart subway construction: planning and costs," Civil Engineering, March 1969.
  18. ^ "First line of Atlanta's new transit system opens," Civil Engineering, July 1979.
  19. ^ Rajam Krishnan and K.S. Chan, "Singapore on the Move," Civil Engineering, November 2003
  20. ^ Scott Danielson, "Enter the Dragon," Civil Engineering, November 1994
  21. ^ Venezuela Accelerates $1.5 Billion Caracas Metro Project," The New York Times, March 12, 1977
  22. ^ Aileen Cho, "Cavernous Crusades," Engineering News-Record, February 7, 2011
  23. ^ C. Michael Gillam, and Bradford F. Townsend, "Orient Express," Civil Engineering, April 2009
  24. ^ Daniel Horgan and Christian Ingerslev, "Crossing Continents and Centuries," Civil Engineering, April 2009
  25. ^ "Woodrow Wilson Bridge Project Is Names 2008 OCEA Winner," ASCE News, May 2008
  26. ^ "East London Rail Extension, Upgrade Completed Early," Civil Engineering December 2010
  27. ^ Debra K. Rubin and Peter Reina, "Making 1+1=3," Engineering News-Record, August 30, 2010
  28. ^ Report: Even More Big Dig Leaks Found - Big Dig News Story - WCVB Boston
  29. ^ [1], "Transit center report: Public at risk from falling concrete without additional repairs"
  30. ^ Debra K/ Rubin and Peter Reina, "Making 1+1=3," Engineering News-Record, August 30, 2010.

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