• Parsons Produces 3D Model of Colorado Roadway Despite Limited Design Information

    OpenRoads ConceptStation Streamlined Workflows for Easier Design

    Colorado, United States

Making Denver More Connected

Since 1994, Parsons Corporation has delivered innovative solutions around the world to make people safer, healthier, and more connected. With more than 16,000 employees across 24 countries, the organization is focused on defense, intelligence, security, and infrastructure engineering. The organization recently worked on a four-mile-long road project in Denver, Colorado. Parsons was required to produce a preliminary 3D model of the road and several cross-sections and interchanges, which was a completely new approach for the organization. The team also needed to produce associated cost estimates for the excavation, embankment, mainlines, and paving.

“We were in the early stages of a proposal,” explained Kacie Patterson, an engineer at Parsons who worked on the project. “The request for proposal had not come out yet and we had very little design information.”

The only design information available to the project team were an online interactive map from the project’s website, roadway environmental impact statement (EIS) plans in PDF format, and as-built plans from the previous segment of the project.

Parsons used OpenRoads ConceptStation to produce the models for better early decision making. The application allowed the team to quickly and efficiently explore and compare conceptual design options. Once the team decided on using this application, the client requested that Parsons provide the ConceptStation files as part of their deliverables.

Improving Conceptualization and Visualization of Roadway Design

Bentley’s OpenRoads ConceptStation allows road and land development engineers to create intelligent models in the context of their project, using real-world data and cost analyses to improve project results. The application combines data acquisition, reality modeling, and conceptual design to help high-cost and high-risk items in the preliminary and planning design stages of infrastructure projects.

To start, Parsons worked in CAD to convert the EIS PDF plans into 2D line work and then created mainline horizontal and vertical geometry. Then, the team used OpenRoads ConceptStation’s geo-coordination services to set up the 3D mesh, which was made up of existing ground and 3D imagery. The program downloaded public information from the project website to create the 3D mesh. With OpenRoads ConceptStation, Parsons could conceptualize the project design and view important details, such as bridge limit and ramp profiles and other processing features.

OpenRoads ConceptStation is also interoperable with other Bentley software, such as LumenRT. This interoperability allowed Parsons to create realistic visualizations of proposals, which it shared with all stakeholders. The team could easily customize the model to show different weather patterns or times in the day, leading to better decision making. By exporting files from OpenRoads ConceptStation, Parsons could easily share 3D extended elements to all project participants.

Streamlining Workflows for Better Deliverables

Parsons was able to deliver OpenRoads ConceptStation files and cut cross sections in MicroStation. The team also produced other relevant DGN files, such as displayed alignments and aerial imagery.

“The ability to reference a DGN in ConceptStation is a nice functionality that allowed us to display CAD information, such as mainline stationing, street names, and right-of-way,” explained Patterson. “It was helpful to have the right-of-way information there so that we could make sure that our graded slopes were falling within right-of-way areas.”

Other features in OpenRoads ConceptStation helped streamline workflows. For example, the template building blocks provided a simple starting point when designing curbs, walls, lanes, and shoulders. These simple templates saved Parsons time when modeling and provided the foundation from which they could build their design.

Finally, the resolve grading feature was especially helpful for Parsons. “The feature will let you select two or more overlapping grading pieces,” said Patterson. “Prior to using it, you can see how the two corridors are overlapping. After resolve grading is applied, the software clipped out the overlapping pieces. Parsons found that to be a really good feature. One thing to mention,” she added, however, “is that if you make changes to your corridor after you’ve applied this resolve grading, the corridor will reprocess, and your grading will go right back to where it was.” She explained that this feature should be used in the final step.

Accomplishing Project Goals with Positive Feedback

Overall, Parsons was impressed by the capabilities of OpenRoads ConceptStation. It streamlined the design and modeling process, creating visualizations that were engaging to stakeholders with a user-friendly interface. The project team accomplished its goals and received positive feedback from the client. The application also allowed the team to experiment with different design innovations and alternative concepts quickly and efficiently.