COWI looks to grow its US tunnel business 17 Dec 2015

TunnelTalk reporting

More than two years after announcement was made of its acquisition, Jenny Engineering Corporation (JEC) officially becomes part of COWI North America on January 1.

JEC, which celebrated 50 years of business in September, will officially join forces with sister companies Buckland & Taylor, bridge engineering specialists, and COWI Marine North America, marine and coastal engineering specialists, to create a harmonized bridge, tunnel and marine engineering operation in the North American infrastructure market.

JEC Principal Prakash Donde accepts 2015 Leader of Industry Award
JEC Principal Prakash Donde accepts 2015 Leader of Industry Award

COWI is a leading international consultant in five international specialist services: major bridges, tunnels, marine structures, airports and mapping. Established in 1930 in Denmark, the company now employs 6,200 people in 24 countries and maintains more than 17,000 ongoing projects at any given time.

COWI's tunnel group, which includes JEC staff, is now one of the largest in the world, and comprises approximately 350 tunnel specialists.

In 2012, when COWI North America was looking to add tunneling capabilities to the organization, JEC was judged the perfect fit. “When we started talking to JEC, we found that there was excellent synergy in terms of our client base including government agencies and major construction contractors,” said COWI North America President and CEO Steven Hunt.

“A lot of the heavy civil contractors we work with in our bridge and marine businesses were the same that JEC worked with and had strong relationships with. It was a good fit from the moment we first met," he added. JEC officially joined the COWI organization on December 31, 2012.

JEC has a number of notable projects under its belt including the UK–France Channel Tunnel, Washington Metro's Fort Totten Station and tunnels, New York City Tunnel No. 3, and Central Artery Bird Island Flats Tunnel. In addition JEC designed the first soft ground NATM/SEM Tunnel in North America (Washington Metro in 1985). Prakash Donde, who has been with JEC since 1980 and now serves as Principal, is widely considered to be one of America’s NATM pioneers.

Future projects for the tunneling group including the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel’s Parallel Thimble Shoals Tunnel. Working with the Jacobs Engineering Design Manager team, COWI North America’s tunnel group has provided design-build bridging documents for the 5,800ft long immersed tube tunnel and bored tunnel alternative, two eight-acre artificial islands, and a fishing pier. JEC is currently reviewing design-build proposals by the bidders and will be providing engineering support during construction. COWI North America’s marine group is also collaborating on the project, providing ocean engineering, marine engineering, and engineering support during construction.

COWI is involved in owner design for the parallel Thimble Shoals Tunnel
COWI is involved in owner design for the parallel Thimble Shoals Tunnel

Hunt said: “We are quite strong in these types of projects, and feel we are well positioned to be involved on any immersed tube projects in the world. By combining the specialized skills of our COWI bridge, tunnel and marine groups on local projects moving forward, we see ourselves as a force to be reckoned with in the North American transportation infrastructure industry.”

COWI North America’s tunnel offices will continue to operate out of the main Springfield, New Jersey office and the newly opened Braintree, Massachusetts office, but there are plans in the works to continue this expansion geographically.

“Because of the size of the projects, we think there is room for us to be bigger,” said Hunt. “With the large contract packages that are coming out with compressed schedules, you need a certain critical mass to address that demand, so we plan to continue growing our tunnel business in North America, both in numbers and the locations where we deliver services.”


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