Re-envisioning a Historic U.S. Roadway with Safety, the Environment and the Public in Mind

We all know the nation’s infrastructure is desperately in need of investment and overhaul (our own Tiffany Diehl sheds light on some of the worrying facts in her article Are Bridges in the U.S. Making the Grade? State Rankings Reveal a Grim Reality.)

But when the infrastructure in question resides on one of the most seismically active metropolitan areas in the country, state transportation departments have an imperative to up the ante.

Such is the case with one of the biggest engineering projects in California history, the replacement of the current south access road to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Known as Doyle Drive or Route 101, the route is structurally and seismically deficient and, built in 1936, it’s also come to the end of its useful life.

A Spectacular and Sustainable Gateway

The project is an interesting one, because it not only represents huge opportunities for design improvements, but the re-envisioned route, known as the Presidio Parkway, will also create a spectacular and sustainable gateway between the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco.

The $1 billion project, started in 2009 and scheduled to complete in 2014, will also create a safer roadway that reduces impact on the environment and cultural resources, respects the project setting (located in the National Historic Landmark District) and surrounding neighborhoods, and meets community needs.

Going Beyond Design

To get the job done, CA DoT contracted AEC firm Parsons Brinckerhoff.  Working with 3D in an assortment of Autodesk software including AutoCAD, Civil 3D, Revit, 3ds Max and Navisworks, Parsons Brinckerhoff is using “just about any and every project that we can in the Autodesk suite to get the job done,” Rebecca Arsham, training manager at Parsons Brinckerhoff, recently told Cadalyst magazine. “Nowhere is this integration of the wide array of Autodesk software more evident than it is in the Presidio Parkway project.”

You can read more about how these tools are coming together to make the goals of the project a reality in Cadalyst’s article: AutoCAD Helps Drive Infrastructure Design.

Keeping the Public Informed and Ready

Because Route 101 is such a major artery into the city, public outreach and updates prior and during the project have been critical. To this end, Parsons Brinckerhoff were not only charged with the design and management of the construction, they also developed a variety of design visualization tools that help the public understand the project and anticipate and plan for the detours, closures and so on.

Many of these tools are available on the impressive Presidio Parkway Project Website and include resources such as the Driver’s Toolbox and other static and animated interactive visuals generated in Autodesk 3ds Max and Navisworks, that provide up-to-the-minute traffic flow information, webcasts of real time construction impact, and more.

One particularly unique tool – the Presidio Parkway Transportation Simulator – uses the same imagery to help citizens understand what it will be like to drive on the parkway once the project is complete in 2014.

The simulator is the newest exhibit at the Autodesk Gallery in San Francisco, and lets visitors (quite literally) take a spin on San Francisco’s new gateway to the Golden Gate Bridge! Hop in the driver’s seat and you can actually see, hear and feel what it would be like to drive along the road before it’s completed.

Presidio Parkway Transportation Simulator

If you are in San Francisco, the gallery is open to the public every Wednesday from 12-5 pm, with guided tours from 12:30-1:30 pm. For more information visit:


Related Resources

The City of Riviera Beach Customer Success Story – Learn how AutoCAD Civil 3D helped the city of Riviera Beach, Florida complete a roadway design project 60 days ahead of schedule.'
Caron Beesley

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