Infrastructure—the roads, the power grids, the water lines, the shipping ports—is foundational to civilization, enabling populations to thrive and commerce to flourish.

Future president Dwight D. Eisenhower recognized it as early as 1919 when he participated in the first military convoy across America. The journey from Washington, D.C. to San Francisco was fraught with incomplete roads, impassable bridges and dangerous terrain. In three days, Eisenhower calculated they had spent 29 hours on the road and moved 165 miles.

Those experiences contrasted sharply with what he encountered while leading the Allied forces in Germany during WWII. Seeing the effectiveness of the German autobahn, Eisenhower as president resolved to bring it to America.

“When we finally secured the necessary congressional approval, we started the 41,000 miles of super highways that are already proving their worth,” wrote Eisenhower in his memoir “At Ease.”

For decades, American infrastructure improved and evolved. But today it’s in trouble. Every four years, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) grades the status of and condition of different infrastructure elements. Its 2021 report card gave the U.S. a C-, an improvement over 2017’s D+ rating but a reflection of the looming crisis that has been incrementally building.

In 2022 the federal government helped pass the Inflation Reduction Act, which committed billions of dollars to infrastructure projects around the county—one of the most significant investments in American history. But will it be enough?

Emilee Woods ’13

Project Manager, Parson Corporation

“The majority of the projects we work on are improvements to existing systems, such as adding capacity, reconstruction, safety or operational improvements, or new facilities (like express lane systems) adjacent to existing corridors.

One notable recent project is the I-75 at Akers Mill Road Express Lane Extension, which extends the I-75 Northwest Corridor Express Lanes further south to serve the Cumberland Community Improvement District, which is home to the new Atlanta Braves stadium and Battery complex. This unique project included many design elements and had the challenge of fitting within the current constrained and heavily developed surrounding area.”

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