For the past four weeks, I have had the opportunity to intern for Bechtel, learning about how the company operates, and about infrastructure projects that change the world. My interest was piqued when I found out about Bechtel's support of the fastest-growing county in California – Riverside County. As a native Texan, the infrastructure challenges this county faces are all too familiar, as I also live in one of America's booming areas.
Over the past 34 years, Bechtel has completed dozens of essential road and rail projects for the Riverside County Transportation Commission (RCTC). RCTC supports the travel needs of Riverside County residents, whether they are commuters to Orange and Los Angeles counties, truckers delivering to the many staging warehouses, or people traveling within the county. These projects have helped prepare the county for growth, created jobs, and established a transportation network designed for the future.
There is much to learn about this program, but here are the three most significant takeaways I'll remember about its management:
Flexibility is critical
As Riverside County grows, the community's needs fluctuate, requiring a team that can adapt to ever-constant change. Bechtel is always ready to reach into its deep bench of technical specialists to assist in problem-solving. It also reinforces a team culture of openness and transparency, which is necessary to manage projects efficiently.
Multiple skillsets matter
Riverside is a multi-sector project, meaning RCTC draws on Bechtel's expertise in rail, roads, and other business disciplines to support their entire program. The variety of these projects require a multifaceted workforce - particularly in skillset and thought – to implement an assortment of transportation solutions.
The team is currently working on the Route 60 Truck Lanes project, which spans mountainous terrain with a curving alignment and steep grades. The project will remove congestion for motorists and expand capacity for large trucks while improving safety. When completed, the highway will be realigned and will have two extra lanes on either side.
Simultaneously, RCTC and Bechtel manage the upgrades to the Riverside-Downtown Metrolink Station, which will add capacity to the existing commuter rail station. This project will add a new passenger platform and tracks, enhanced pedestrian access to the station, and additional car parking spaces – all designed to provide greater connectivity and options for the commuting public.
The variety of efforts we deliver for RCTC brings in people from differing backgrounds and geographies, which allows us to learn from one another's experience. It's eye-opening to work in an environment that's always growing and encourages me to diversify my knowledge across business sectors.
RCTC and Bechtel have been solving some of Southern California's greatest challenges for more than three decades! It seems the key to success is the team's partnership.
Both organizations formed an integrated team, which allows for an open environment, a relationship that brings the best perspectives from the public and private sectors. This organizational structure enables both parties to manage projects seamlessly from start to finish and encourages the team to take the initiative when problem-solving, including borrowing innovations used around the world.
With my interest in public relations, seeing the impact projects like Riverside have on their communities gave me a better appreciation for the importance of communicating about issues and new developments. I also had great fun interviewing key members of the team and learning all about their technical background, experiences, and how they all work together to deliver these large, complex transportation jobs. I'm so excited to use these lessons, and all the other exciting discoveries at Bechtel, throughout my career.
Learn more about our work in Riverside, California.