Photo Courtesy of Susan Martinovich
Innovator Civil engineer has pushed change in Nevada agency and nationally as head of AASHTO.


Maybe it's her training as a runner, but it is clear Susan Martinovich is a woman in a hurry—both as the chief, since 2007, of Nevada's $800-million-a-year transportation department and, in her role that ended in November, as the first female president of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.

Martinovich pushed to use design-build on the $251.8-million widening of Interstate 15 in Las Vegas—a state first—which resulted in a 7.5-month early completion in 2010 with no accidents or claims. The $14-million I-15 interchange project in Mesquite uses a bridge slide-replacement technique, yet another state first. Martinovich also shepherded completion, in 2010, of the historic $240-million Hoover Dam Bridge. She concurrently oversaw a $600-million I-580 extension near Reno—the state's largest transportation job. Set to finish this year, it includes the nation's longest cathedral-arch bridge (ENR 11/30/11 p. 42).

Martinovich has implemented construction management-at-risk and is pursuing public-private partnerships. She has won kudos for her partnering approach with contractors, which has dramatically cut project disputes and lawsuits. "We shouldn't put all the risk on contractors. We're partners," says Martinovich. That mentality led to a multistate AASHTO initiative last year to develop a multimodal master plan for the 840-mile I-15 corridor. She terms it "an asset of enormous value to the west for improved mobility and economic growth."

Martinovich's race for change brought results. "Susan recommended that we hold innovation summits, which is a great idea that we're working to implement," says Federal Highway Administrator Victor M. Mendez.