Small Firms, Big Dig

by David Elvin, Writer and Editor; Amherst, MA,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 2001, Vol. 71, Issue 5, Pg. 72-73

Document Type: Feature article


The local knowledge and technical expertise found in small engineering firms are often critical to the success of large projects. As one of the most comprehensive design and construction projects in the country, Boston's Central Artery/Tunnel� the Big Dig� is no exception. The project's lead designers�San Francisco-based Bechtel Corporation and New York City-based Parsons Brinckerhoff�hired small local firms to provide in-house support in such disciplines as urban design, architecture, and traffic management, which were critical to public acceptance and the overall success of the project. Small firms that would not have been able to get even a small part of such a colossal project found themselves joined into groups that successfully competed for contracts. The small firms found they were able to obtain repeat business, increase their staff sizes to meet the extra work demands, and even win awards for their design contributions.

Subject Headings: Project management | Traffic management | Highway and road design | Building design | Urban and regional development | Corporations | Contracts and subcontracts

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