James C. “Jim” McMinimee, who pioneered accelerated bridge construction techniques in Utah and across the U.S., died suddenly on May 10 in Washington, D.C. He was 51. The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, for which he was a contractor, says he died of natural causes, but did not provide further detail.


McMinimee led AASHTO’s effort to implement the latest congressionally-mandated Strategic Highway Research Program, a transportation-sector effort probing highway congestion.

For 25 years, he had worked at the Utah Dept. of Transportation, becoming chief engineer and project development director. He was instrumental in pushing design-build and bridge fabrication methods, such as self-propelled modular transporters. ENR cited McMinimee in 2008 for his efforts to speed completion of the $1.5-billion Interstate 15 project in Utah and other milestones (ENR 1/12/09 p. 50).

“Jim was just a great leader and innovator,” says consultant Tom Warne, a former UDOT director who hired McMinimee. “He created the model for applying design-build on projects of all sizes.”