Orange County Branch Newsletter
OC Firm Spotlight
URS - An Award-Winning Partner in the Orange County Community
By Gary Simon, URS Vice President, Los Angeles Basin Manager
URS Corporation is a leading provider of engineering, construction and technical services for public agencies and private sector companies around the world. Headquartered in San Francisco, the company operates in more than 50 countries with approximately 57,000 employees providing engineering and technical services to federal, state and local governmental agencies as well as private clients in the chemical, manufacturing, pharmaceutical, forest products, mining, oil and gas, and utilities industries. Services in Southern California include Program Management/Construction Management, Civil Construction and Mining, Architecture/Facilities Design and Engineering, Engineering Design, Planning, Compliance and Permitting, Ports and Harbors Engineering, Oil and Gas Services, Water/Wastewater, Transportation, and Small Business/Community Outreach.
URS’s Project Presence in Orange County
URS has established its presence in Orange County in the transportation, water, environmental, geotechnical, and energy markets through our 40 years of local project experience and our Santa Ana office location that was founded in 1973. Our Orange County successes include some of the county’s major projects and programs including the Garden Grove Freeway (SR 22) HOV Lane Design-Build Project named The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Project of the Year in 2007.
Recent award winning projects include the Santa Ana (I-5) Gateway Project that received The American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) 2012 Engineering Excellence Award recognizing Orange County Transportation Authority, the California Department of Transportation District 12, and URS for the innovative and complex design of the freeway expansion, which doubled the size of the Interstate 5 (I-5) through Buena Park. The completed 12-lane freeway facility now includes a carpool lane, four general purpose lanes and a merging lane in each direction. This project plays a critical role in the movement of people and goods through Orange County and serves as a gateway to Los Angeles.
Stanton Street over I-5, Orange County, CA
Another award-winning, state of the art project URS takes pride in is the Riverside Public Utilities’ (RPU) Evans Reservoir Replacement Project. URS provided engineering and construction management services for the 16 million gallon Evans Reservoir that began its new service in January, 2012. This project was selected by Orange County Engineering Council to receive the Engineering Project Achievement Award in 2013. URS originally provided a constructability review of the project following completion of the design by another consultant, and was able to save the City of Riverside $2.5 million by enhancing several project components.
Evans Reservoir, Riverside County, CA
Current URS Projects Across Disciplines
URS’s Water Resources group has recently been awarded a three-year monitoring and surveillance program for Rattlesnake Canyon, Sand Canyon, San Joaquin, Syphon Canyon, and Santiago Creek dams for calendar years 2013 through 2015 by the Irvine Ranch Water District (IRWD). URS has been providing similar services to IRWD for Rattlesnake Canyon, Sand Canyon, San Joaquin, and Santiago Creek dams for a three-year period, as well as for Walnut Canyon Dam, Big Canyon Dam, and, for 34 continuous years, Lake Mission Viejo Dam. URS’s knowledge of and familiarity with these dams is beneficial to IRWD to ensure project performance and safety.
URS’s Ports and Maritime practice has been assisting the County of Orange on the Dana Point Harbor Revitalization project since 2006. This $120 million plan will revitalize the entire Dana Point Harbor, a 277-acre mixed-use (retail, commercial, public and private facilities) complex. The Dana Point Marina project is the waterside portion of the revitalization and involves master planning, design, and construction services to rebuild the harbor’s existing 2,409 slip marina, most of which have been in place since the 1960s. URS has been providing project management, marina master planning and design, dock electrical and water utilities design including landside interface, seawall condition survey and design of repairs, and construction support services.
Dana Point Marina, Orange County, CA
An additional contribution to the Orange County coastline is our ongoing assessment of bulkhead and seawall integrity in Newport Beach, including the Balboa Island and Little Balboa Island Bulkhead, since the mid-1980s. Balboa Island was originally formed by “building up” a Newport Bay sand bar and tidal marsh in the early 20th Century. Since its inception, this area has been plagued by flooding initiating various projects over the years for bulkhead replacements and incremental wall extensions, coupled with emergency flood water mitigation procedures. URS’s initial work for the Entitlement Services Phase, involved community outreach, surveying, and the development of wall replacement concepts. This is a locally high profile, highly sensitive project for area businesses, residents and City of Newport Beach officials.
An exciting project that involves many offices and disciplines within URS is the recently awarded I-15/I-215 Interchange Improvement project in Devore, San Bernardino County. We recently opened a Devore integrated project office in downtown San Bernardino, co-located with Atkinson Construction, Caltrans, and our sub-consultant Wilson Company. We have mobilized twelve URS civil and traffic engineering staff with three more staff expected to be assigned to
San Bernardino as soon as the workload ramps up. URS offices represented include Santa Ana, Ontario, Oakland, and Phoenix. In addition to the integrated project office, there is a large group of geotechnical engineers and bridge designers working on the project from their respective main offices. Our first major project milestone occurred in early March with Caltrans’ approval of the Geometric Approval Drawings. This will pave the way for completion of all the other designs in each discipline, moving the project forward at an accelerated pace.
I-15/I-215 Interchange, Devore, San Bernardino County, CA
URS’s Continued Community Presence in Orange County
URS looks forward to new and innovative ways to participate in the community through work on key Orange County projects as well as volunteer opportunities with events such as the Solar Decathlon/XPO. We currently have more than 30 URS volunteers for this sustainability and renewable energy event at the Orange County Great Park planned for this October. Our volunteers come from all of the URS Southern California Regional Offices from San Diego to Santa Barbara. It’s an exciting time to get involved in the community and actively participate in the development of environmental sustainability that will be a legacy for our future.
Gary Simon is a recently returning employee of URS with 30 years of experience on major buildings and infrastructure projects. An Architect, with an MBA, Gary’s successful career has put him in both the Owner and Consultant roles, taking on a variety of environmental, architectural, and CM/PM tasks. Previous local employers include Jacobs (Division Vice President), County of Orange (Executive Director), and Walt Disney Imagineering (Sr. Development
Gary Simon, Vice President, Los Angeles Basin Manager
Since his return to the company in the spring of 2012, Gary has taken great strides in growing the URS footprint in the Los Angeles Basin across all of our existing markets, and pushing into new emerging markets, such as renewable energy.