The ASCE News Civil Engineering Roundtable showcases insights on a variety of industry topics from a cross section of ASCE members.
It’s summertime, so we’re talking top vacation spots.
Amusement parks, the big city, the beach … those are all fine. But we’re looking for something a little more specific to ASCE. So we asked members:
What’s your favorite civil engineering vacation destination?
P.E., M.ASCE, project engineer, L.A. Fuess Partners, ASCE Texas Section Dallas Branch director, social media chair, and CE Club champion
“The Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, just outside of Taos, New Mexico, is definitely a must-see for me.
“In 1966 AISC awarded the bridge with the ‘Most Beautiful Steel Bridge’ designation, and it’s pretty hard to argue with them. You have the Sangre de Cristo Mountains with Mount Wheeler (the highest point in New Mexico) to the east, the Rio Grande 650 feet below you, and miles of open New Mexico landscape to the west.
“You can’t really see the bridge, or the gorge for that matter, until you’re literally driving over it, and it’s really impressive to see such a massive gorge cutting across the enchanting New Mexico landscape.
“I also enjoy searching out survey benchmarks whenever I travel. They’re like little civil engineering time capsules.”
P.E., PTOE, M.ASCE, traffic specialist, Wolverton and Associates, ASCE Georgia Section Savannah Branch vice president
“Ten years ago, I had the opportunity to drive the Alaska Highway during a road trip to Alaska. Before setting out, I visited the highway’s museum in Dawson Creek, British Columbia. It was so amazing to drive along the roadway, literally in the middle of nowhere, and to imagine what it must have been like for the crews who built it.
“As I recall, the survey crew was collecting data only a couple miles ahead of the roadway construction crew! Projects like the Alaska Highway are a great example of how engineers find innovative ways to overcome all kinds of obstacles and challenges in this world. We don’t give up – we just get creative!”
P.E., CFM, M.ASCE, water resources manager, AECOM, ASCE Mississippi Section Jackson Branch president-elect
“Right after I finished college, my family went on a cross-country road trip. Being a family of engineers, we planned it around several must-see places, one of them being the Hoover Dam.
“This is without a doubt one of the most famous and imposing civil engineering landmarks. Not only was the tour full of jokes, but you also saw the good and the bad that occurred during construction. I think seeing the tangible results of such an enormous undertaking was really awe-inspiring. Plus, as a bonus, you can see the first concrete-steel composite arch bridge built in the United States: the Mike O’Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge.”
EIT, A.M.ASCE, civil engineering associate, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, ASCE Los Angeles Younger Member Forum president
“My favorite civil engineering vacation spot has to be the ‘windy city’ of Chicago. I’ll never forget my first time visiting because I was in awe of the skyscraper forest I was amidst. Each building appeared to continue to get lost in the clouds. And from a civil engineering standpoint, the fact that the Chicago river’s flow was reversed through civil engineering mechanisms to protect water supply was simply remarkable.”
A few years ago, I was fortunate to visit Peru’s Machu Picchu founded around 1450 and abandoned in 1572. A magnificent international landmark recognized on a plaque by ASCE as a civil engineering almost miracle of construction including water and sewer systems.
Was not found until 1906 and today is accessible only via the Inca Trail and a rail line.
At an elevation of 8,000 feet the block construction of buildings and terraces without mortar is amazing and the views are spectacular.
Has anyone visited Zurich? It is a great city and very much “user friendly”. The train ride from the airport into the heart of the City has been there for a long time and the water front street so clean- a true civil society — we in the US lots to learn from that City when I compare it with San Francisco.
The cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde are also magnificent in a similar sense, and were also recognized by the Society for engineering excellence…though I believe for their lesser known water storage structures.