September 9, 2013

Building Information Modeling (BIM) is everyday lingo and now Civil integrated Management (CIM) is joining its ranks as the 3D/4D of civil and infrastructure design.  Regardless of the name, the purpose is to be able to see a completed project before it’s built so better design decisions can be made earlier in the design process, while reducing the errors and inefficiencies.
Recently, CE News discussed how the Connecticut Department of Transportation is using CIM to visualize the reconstruction of the Northeast Corridor and also replace the current Pearl Harbor Memorial bridge with one that can accommodate up to ten lanes of traffic.  Currently, the busy highway runs heavy traffic from Boston to New York, at about three times what it was built for. With CIM, CTDOT is able to design in 4D, where time is the fourth dimension.  This means they can break down each section to see it being built in sequence.  They can schedule out any of the dozens of firms working on the project, coordinate when they will be needed and communicate visually what needs to be done, all while maximizing the number of traffic lanes open at any one time.  As you can see this is a big project which started back in 2000 and is expected to complete in 2016.
What tools did they use for all of this coordination, communication and visualization?
Parsons Brinckerhoff, the consulting firm, used AutoCAD Civil 3D for the technical design and Autodesk 3ds Max Design to visualize realistic infrastructure making it easy for all stakeholders to better communicate the design. The fourth dimension was coordinated in Autodesk Navisworks Manage to stage the construction.  As mentioned, the time schedule was key with so many people coordinating and to control the current flow of traffic at every stage.
Read more about this project from the original article “Virtual design and construction of transportation projects” on CE News.
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