Public Works Department Designs Road Realignment with AutoCAD Civil 3D and Autodesk Vault

Public works agencies are increasingly tasked with doing more with less across while delivering a range of services, including road maintenance, traffic engineering, and surface water management.

One such organization is Washington state’s Snohomish County Public Works – the largest government department in the county. With approximately 670 employees spread across a central campus and 10 outlying sites, one of the department’s most active divisions is Engineering Services, which oversees surveying, mapping, and right-of-way acquisition, as well as road and bridge design/engineering and construction.

To achieve higher levels of design excellence and productivity, in 2007 Engineering Services adopted AutoCAD Civil 3D building information modeling software and Autodesk Vault data management software. “Within our division, 55 people use Civil 3D in conjunction with Autodesk Vault,” said Brad Hofman, business process analyst.

Since standardizing on the two products in 2007, Engineering Services has completed approximately dozens of projects, including a complex realignment of a rural Snohomish County intersection.

The existing intersection at 180th Street SE and Snohomish Avenue was quite askew,” said Sam Therres, senior CAD technician in design. “Our major goal was to improve traffic flow and safety by installing left-turn lanes on 180th Street SE and adding 8-foot-wide shoulders to accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists.” Snohomish County Public Works also wanted to minimize the need to purchase right-of-way on the $650,000 project.

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Because the realignment would significantly increase the amount of impervious surface in the surrounding area, the designers had to modify the existing storm drainage system to help ensure that any proposed changes would not negatively impact wetland buffers on the north and northeast sides of the project. “Our plan was to include a pond on-site that would detain stormwater, filter impurities from runoff , and recharge the underground aquifer with clean water,” said Therres. “We believe that the completed project will actually enhance and help preserve the nearby wetlands.

AutoCAD Civil 3D and Autodesk Vault played a critical role in the successful completion of the project.

Within Engineering Services, we’re working toward an end-to-end digital life cycle for our projects,” said Hofman. As an important step toward that goal, the division began implementing Civil 3D. Shortly thereafter, the division’s director, Art Louie, mandated the use of Civil 3D on all new projects.

We believed that Civil 3D would deliver the productivity improvement we needed to handle our increasing project load—even in the face of anticipated staffing constraints and reduced funding.” Since a natural synergy exists between Civil 3D and Autodesk Vault data management software, the division’s management team adopted Autodesk Vault to help maximize the hoped-for productivity gains. Fully integrated with Civil 3D, Autodesk Vault provides a repository for storing and managing Civil 3D project data, including alignments, profiles, surfaces, and pipe networks.

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The Autodesk Vault implementation was easy, especially considering that a typical business improvement with a significant IT component can take years,” said Hofman. “Once we understood how the technology fit into our data-management mix, Autodesk Vault was easy to use too.” During the transition, the division turned to The PPI Group, an authorized Autodesk reseller, for training and support. Currently, 55 engineers, surveyors, technicians, and analysts within Engineering Services rely on Autodesk Vault for information exchange.

You can learn more about the project and how the department improved design quality and work efficiences, check out the complete case study from The PPI Group here.

Upcoming Webinar

You can also learn more about how government agencies can get control over project data and reuse proven and existing designs using Autodesk Vault in this free webinar, hosted by DLT Solutions and Autodesk on July 22, 2015.