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Future engineers tour Wekiva Parkway project

Atkins, along with the Central Florida Expressway Authority (CFX), hosted more than 20 students and teachers from Lyman High School (Longwood, Florida) for an onsite tour of the $1.6 billion Wekiva Parkway construction project.
On April 4, CFX engineers led a classroom discussion about the project revealing details including aesthetics highlights, environmental protection practices, and all the particulars of what it takes to design and construct an expressway. Everything from permitting to utility coordination and from drainage and structures to signing, paving, and lighting were covered to provide students with a detailed perspective of a project of this caliber.

Students and faculty members took part in a hard-hat tour in designated safe areas that allowed them to see construction materials and equipment firsthand. During the tour, students went into the depressed section being excavated at Yothers Road and stood next to an inactive, large crane and pile cutoffs at Kelly Park Road. They were especially excited about standing on top of the actual overpass giving them an extended view of the project in opposite directions. Many commented on how much bigger everything appeared with such an up-close view of the work areas.

Atkins’ Tom Knuckey initiated the connection between CFX and Lyman High School. Lyman has a STEM engineering magnet program, Lyman Institute for Engineering, which received a 2016 merit award as a National Magnet School of Distinction presented by Magnet Schools of America. Lyman was also ranked 83 in U.S. News & World Report’s 2015 Best High Schools in the nation report. Atkins continues to work with Lyman High School to create internship opportunities which will be supported by the firm’s Graduate Development Program.

Jamison Edwards, senior engineer with Atkins (left center) poses with students to commemorate the day’s events. Also pictured is Will Hawthorne, project manager with CFX (right).

Students received hard hats and safety vests before taking part in a safety briefing in preparation for the tour.

Lyman High School students get hands-on experience with survey equipment.

Students are guided to a future bridge overpass at Kelly Park Road to learn about crane operations and pile driving.