Little Ivy Creek Bridge Replacement Using Accelerated Bridge Construction Methods; Identity Crisis: The Disconnect Between Transformational Leadership and Engineering Leadership

Gutridge, Beau, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Neeley, Kathryn, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia
Burden, Lindsay, EN-Eng Sys and Environment, University of Virginia
Gomez, Jose, EN-Eng Sys and Environment, University of Virginia

Leadership and Accelerated Bridge Construction Project Management
The United States’ aging bridge infrastructure is in desperate need of replacement or
rehabilitation. Accelerated Bridge Construction (ABC) methods have been developed to help
minimize disruption to the travelling public, a typical consequence of conventional methods.
ABC methods truly excel when combined with strong, quality project leadership. My technical
project produced a bridge replacement design using ABC methods. My role on this project was
as project manager. My STS research focused on the disconnect between engineering leadership
and traditional transformational leadership models, and informed my role as project manager for
my technical project.
My technical project produced a conceptual design and construction plan for the
replacement of Little Ivy Creek Bridge, originally built in 1932 and in poor condition.
Stakeholders in the project requested construction time be as short as possible to minimize the
cost of traffic impacts, preferably two weeks. A conceptual design for a two twin-cell, precast
box culvert replacement for the existing bridge using ABC methods was developed using load
and resistance factor design methodology. Analysis of the foundational soils determined they
could support the dead and live loading of the box culvert design within typical safety factors. A
constructability review of the design addressed the importance of clear prior planning in regards
to maintenance of traffic, environmental permitting, and crane stability during construction.
Using this design, it is expected that construction could be completed within two weeks. A
preliminary cost estimate approximated the project cost at $510,000, within budget for a project
of this size.
Engineering projects require strong project leadership to be successful. My STS research
focused on the disconnect between the popular transformational leadership model and
engineering leadership as defined by engineers themselves. I discovered that transformational
leadership neglects the important engineering leadership themes of personal effectiveness and
engineering competency. Furthermore, transformational leadership’s focus on a singular,
charismatic individual at the top of a hierarchy is largely incompatible with the engineering
identity. As a result of these two disconnects, I argue that using the transformational leadership
model in engineering leadership education will deter engineers from taking leadership roles.
Exploring transformational and engineering leadership while simultaneously acting in a
project leadership role was invaluable. My work in both projects showed that engineering ethics
only increase in importance for engineers in leadership roles. Discoveries in my STS research
influenced my actions as a project manager. Similarly, my role as project manager for an
engineering team helped me see the themes of engineering leadership and the values of the
engineering identity in real-world examples.
For their guidance throughout the production of the technical project, I thank the
following: Professor Lindsay Burden, P.E., Ph.D.; Professor Jose Gomez, P.E., Ph.D.; and Ron
Love, P.E. Without their help, the project team would not have achieved success.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
Leadership, Engineering, Civil, Bridge, Accelerated

School of Engineering and Applied Science
Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering
Technical Advisor: Lindsay Burden ; Jose Gomez
STS Advisor: Kathryn Neeley
Technical Team Members: Tommy Blankinship, Sam Cave, Avery Davis, Jacob Hegemier, Marc Michaud, Miguel Ricardo de Obaldia, Ben Redfern, Edler Saint-Jean, Collin Shepard

Issued Date: