Tennessee Department of Transportation Puts Its Trust in CEC

December 15, 2022

The transportation business is booming in Tennessee and CEC is right smack in the middle of it on a variety of fronts in its work for the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT). CEC offers a clear understanding of regulatory responsibilities and an integrated approach to engineering, design, construction, and consulting.

We work with TDOT to provide comprehensive, reliable, and cost-effective solutions that address the challenges of the state’s unique infrastructure and economic development projects. From the unprecedented Blue Oval City to Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plans to stream mitigation, CEC’s experts have been busy meeting TDOT needs.

The massive 4,100-acre site will be home to an assembly plant, as well a facility that  will manufacture electric vehicle batteries, as well as a battery recycling operation.

Blue Oval City is a planned $5.6 billion automotive assembly complex near Stanton, Tennessee, which will be operated by Ford Motor Co. and SK Innovation. The facility, named for the Ford logo, will consist of an assembly plant that will produce electric Ford F-150 Lightning pickup trucks. Trucks are expected to roll off the assembly line in 2025.

The massive 4,100-acre site will also be home to a plant that will manufacture electric vehicle batteries, as well as a battery recycling facility.

“It is the biggest thing going on in this state,” says Matthew Skelton, a Project Manager in CEC Nashville’s Ecological Sciences practice.

Given the network of roadways needed to accommodate this immense plant, TDOT called on CEC to handle initial environmental studies, permitting and mitigation needs, and road and interchange design on the previously undeveloped lands.“It’s a very rural area but its proximity to Memphis allows quick access. It’s the only place in Tennessee with this many contiguous acres with access to numerous modes of transportation and a nearby Foreign Trade Zone,” Skelton said.

“We evaluated 1,500 acres for stream/wetland delineations. We had people walking the entire site during the data collection,” says Tim Nehus, Ecological Sciences Practice Lead in the Nashville office. “We were on a very tight timeline, as the technical studies were in a constant state of adjustment.”

Road work around the site has been underway since October 2021, with 16 miles of roads needed to service the plant. A new interchange is on tap at Interstate 40, while another nearby interchange will be upgraded to handle the increased traffic in the area.

“Our strong relationship with TDOT is the reason we were awarded this project. There are a lot of infrastructure improvements and development associated with the construction and operation of Blue Oval, and CEC is positioned to take this work on as it develops. We will gather more work because of it,” Nehus added.

CEC also lends its extensive expertise in Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plans (SWPPP) to TDOT. “We can be assigned to projects anywhere across the state, concentrating mostly in central Tennessee,” says Janette L. Wolf, P.E., a Principal in the Nashville office.

She leads CEC’s On-Call Construction Quality Assurance and Corrective Action Contract and the Permits Contract for TDOT Region 3. TDOT contracts with CEC for monthly QA inspections of its roadway projects.

In this capacity, CEC is responsible for:
■ authoring photo journals and assessment reports
■ documenting erosion and sediment control measures in place throughout construction
■ providing comments to facilitate the project’s implementation of erosion control measures
■ compliance with applicable water quality permits.

The contract management also includes administration, estimate preparation, invoicing, and staff coordination. CEC’s involvement with TDOT’s complex SWPPP projects is cradle to grave. “The sheer number of people CEC has involved is just phenomenal. We are working toward one collaborative goal,” Wolf says.

CEC has had contracts with TDOT since 2004 and will again re-apply in 2024 for the next three-year contract period.

As the SWPPP consultant, CEC is ensuring established standards are met at every phase of the project — the roadway design guides, the TDOT drainage manual guidelines, and the TDOT standards.

“The bulk of what we do is commenting on compliance to TDOT standards,” Wolf says.
CEC is directly coordinating with the designer and commenting collectively on the various phases of the project as it moves along toward completion.

“I enjoy the diversity of people — consultants, designers, engineers — I get to work with. I like to see how to apply the standards in a practical manner,” she adds.

With more than 20 years of civil engineering, water resources, and project management experience in both the public and private sectors, CEC Nashville Principal Jeffrey B. Shaver, P.E., CFM, is a guiding force for a number of TDOT stream mitigation projects.

CEC truly offers start to finish, A to Z services in stream mitigation. “Nashville has performed some level of stream mitigation work with TDOT since the early 2000s,” Shaver says.

“Through our On-Call Contract, TDOT sends us a work order for natural channel design for streams that will be impacted during a proposed road project. The projects may be for streams being relocated within the roadway right-of-way or for restoring another degraded stream to offset the impacts from the roadway project. We then evaluate the existing streams to determine the best restoration approach to return their natural/historic functions,” Shaver says.

The process starts in the field. “We evaluate the existing stream and score it using the Tennessee Stream Quantification Tool (TN SQT). The primary purpose of the TN SQT is to calculate functional lift and loss associated with stream restoration and impact projects,” he adds.

CEC then uses the TN SQT throughout design to estimate the score of the relocated or restored stream to show the functional lift. “Our Ecological, Survey, and Water Resources practices work together to make the restoration plan,” he says.

“A typical stream restoration plan includes incorporating meanders, pools, and riffles into the stream. Wood and stone structures along with a vegetation plan for the stream buffers are also part of the plan to provide habitat. As part of TN SQT, we look at the aquatic organisms at the beginning and then regularly during the five- to seven-year monitoring of the restored stream.

When we do the design work, then managing the project and overseeing the stream construction is more seamless for our client,” he says.

Building trust, familiarity, and confidence is paramount in CEC’s relationships with its clients. When public officials and agencies are facing funding challenges, aging infrastructure, and regulatory uncertainties, we offer a clear understanding of regulatory responsibilities and an integrated approach to engineering, design, construction, and consulting.

CEC works hand in hand to provide comprehensive, turn-key services and reliable, cost-effective solutions that address the challenges of a community’s unique infrastructure and economic development projects. 

CEC’s On-Call Construction Quality Assurance and Corrective Action Contract and the Permits Contract call for monthly quality assurance site inspections for active TDOT roadway projects in TDOT Region 3.


CEC handles four to five TDOT stream mitigation work orders per year.



About the Author

CEC Staff

Headquartered in Pittsburgh, Civil & Environmental Consultants, Inc. (CEC) provides comprehensive market-oriented consulting services to advance client strategic business objectives. CEC is recognized for delivering innovative design solutions and integrated expertise in air quality, civil engineering, ecological sciences, environmental engineering and sciences, manufacturing infrastructure services, survey/geospatial, waste management, and water resources.

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