FrontRunner Expansion Will Increase Service, Reliability

“The FrontRunner serves as one of the most critical elements of Utah’s transit system, and this important expansion will provide exciting new mobility options to the state’s rapidly expanding population.”
—Mark Fuhrmann, Senior Project Manager, HDR

The Utah Dept. of Transportation has selected an HDR-led team to provide program management services for its nearly $1-billion FrontRunner Strategic Double Track project. The project will add at least nine new segments of double track along the 83-mile FrontRunner commuter rail system and update signaling systems throughout the corridor.

When complete, the project is expected to improve the frequency of the system’s peak hour service to 15 minutes from 30 minutes, increase overall service capacity by 55% and enhance reliability.

HDR will manage the overall scope, schedule and cost of the project in coordination with UDOT and the Utah Transit Authority. This includes assisting in selecting a project delivery method, environmental documentation, federal grant support, project controls implementation, risk analysis, public outreach, preliminary engineering design and design review.

The current FrontRunner system, extending from Ogden to Provo, has 61 miles of single track and 22 miles of double track. Northbound and southbound trains share the same track along most of the corridor. As a result, any disruption can cause delays. The Strategic Double Track project will roughly double the amount of double track, allowing for more frequent trains and more reliable service. UTA will also purchase 10 more trains to accommodate the expanded capacity.


Partnership Drives Clean Energy at Colorado Cement Plant

Holcim US and TotalEnergies will partner to bring large-scale solar power and battery energy storage to Holcim’s Portland cement plant in Florence, Colo. As part of Holcim’s pledge to power all of its U.S. operations with 100% renewable energy by 2030, TotalEnergies will install, maintain and operate a 33-MW dc ground-mounted solar array and 38.5-MWh battery energy storage system at the factory. The project’s solar array will be optimized for maximum energy yield with single-axis solar trackers that follow the sun’s movement through the day and high-performance bifacial solar panels that generate power on both the front and back sides. The energy storage system aims to reduce the factory’s impact on the local utility grid, particularly during on-peak periods when regional demand for electricity is high.

The TotalEnergies solar-plus-storage solution is anticipated to reduce the plant’s CO2 emissions by more than 40,000 tons annually and offset over 40% of its current energy demand. Holcim will receive roughly 71,000 MWh of clean power from the project per year under a power purchase and storage services agreement with a minimum term of 15 years. The renewable energy system is expected to begin operating in 2025.


USACE, City of Denver Move Forward With $350M Water Resiliency Program

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the City and County of Denver have entered a project partnership agreement that outlines funding, engineering and construction efforts to provide flood risk management, ecosystem restoration and recreation on three Denver area waterways: the South Platte River, the Weir Gulch and the Harvard Gulch.

The $550-million project was authorized under Section 401(4) of the 2020 Water Resource Development Act. The project received nearly $350 million of federal funds as part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act in March 2022.

Coined by the CCD as the Waterway Resiliency Program, the project will integrate with Denver’s One Water Vision plan for the South Platte River, Weir Gulch and Harvard Gulch. The project will generate an estimated annual average of 87 habitat units by restoring or connecting approximately 450 acres of riparian, wetland and aquatic habitats. It will also help mitigate existing flood risk for more than 500 homes, structures and businesses across the project area—especially within the Weir Gulch area, one of the city’s most vulnerable and historically underserved communities. In addition, the project will provide ancillary recreational benefits through additional trails, access points and park-based recreation features.


Saunders Launches Concrete Business Unit

Saunders Construction Inc.’s new corporate business unit Saunders Concrete Structures LLC will focus on cast-in-place, place and finish, architectural and tilt-up concrete projects throughout the Rocky Mountain region.

As a trade partner to local general contractors in the market, Saunders Concrete Structures will increase speed to market for concrete services while continuing to self-perform select concrete services for its parent company, Saunders Construction.

Saunders is regularly asked to perform structural concrete scope outside of its general contracting business, says Tom Alford, senior vice president at Saunders Construction.


ACEC Colorado Foundation Awards Engineering Scholarships

The American Council of Engineering Cos. Colorado Scholarship & Education Foundation recently awarded $36,500 in college scholarships to 10 students and $2,000 to high school students pursing classes in engineering. The 2023 scholarships recipients were selected from a pool of 22 applicants representing multiple Colorado colleges with engineering programs accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering & Technology. Applicants were judged on their academic records, involvement in student chapters of professional organizations and community service.

“Aside from carrying heavy academic loads, these students are active in their universities’ chapters of professional organizations, provide community service and have part-time jobs,” said Jeff Kobriger, president of the ACEC Colorado Foundation and principal at HCDA Engineering.


Rosendin Expands Into Boise Market

Rosendin has expanded into the Boise market. The electrical contractor specializes in data centers, high-tech projects, high-rise construction, medical and other large commercial projects throughout the country.

Rosendin is working with Boise schools to develop workforce training programs and a skilled trades camp for kids. The contractor recently donated $10,000 to Boise State University’s construction management program.


Jacobs and Palantir Expand Partnership to Develop AI Solutions

Jacobs has announced an expansion of its partnership with Denver-based Palantir Technologies to further leverage the public data analytic firm’s AI capabilities. The partnership is intended to enable Jacobs to commercialize new AI solutions across several sectors, including critical infrastructure, advanced facilities and supply chain management.

“While we have understood the power and promise of AI for years, we saw clear challenges with secure deployment,” said Jacobs CEO Bob Pragada. “Our expanded partnership with Palantir is a key differentiator in bringing built-in transparency, guardrails and security solutions for our clients on a time horizon measured in weeks, not years.”

Pragada says that the partnership builds on Jacobs’ use of domain-specific algorithms with Foundry in its water sector work. “We are already deploying AI to optimize the entire water life cycle, from day-to-day management to long-term planning and design, and now we’re diving deeper across new sectors,” said Shannon Miller, executive vice president at Jacobs and president, Divergent Solutions.