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.
CEC offers a clear understanding of regulatory responsibilities and an integrated approach to engineering, design, construction, and consulting. We work hand-in-hand to provide comprehensive and reliable, 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
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 which 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 Services practice.
Given the network of roadways needed to accommodate this immense plant, TDOT called upon CEC to handle everything from initial environmental studies to permitting and mitigation needs to road and interchange design on the previously undeveloped farmland and forest.
“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 to all 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 Services 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 got this project. There is a lot of infrastructure improvements and development associated with the construction and operation of Blue Oval on and CEC is positioned to take this work on as it develops. We will we gather more work because of it,” Nehus added.
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 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., Senior Project Manager 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, performing monthly inspections for quality assurance site inspections for active TDOT roadway projects. Project responsibilities include assessing active construction projects for SWPPP implementation and permit compliance. The project team is responsible for authoring photo journals and assessment reports, documenting erosion and sediment control measures in place throughout construction and providing comments to facilitate the project’s implementation of erosion control measures, and compliance with applicable water quality permits. The contract management responsibilities include administration, estimate preparation, invoicing, and staff coordination.
CEC’s involvement with TDOT’s SWPPP projects is cradle to grave and a complex process. “The sheer number of people involved is just phenomenal. We are working toward one collaborative goal,” Wolf says.
CEC has had contracts with TDOT for every period, except for one, since 2004 and will again re-apply in 2024 for the next three-year 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, as well as the TDOT standards. “We are directly coordinating with the designer,” Wolf says, adding CEC is not designing the projects. “The bulk of what we do is commenting on compliance to TDOT standards.” CEC is directly coordinating with the designer and commenting collectively as the job 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.
CEC handles four to five TDOT stream mitigation work orders per year.
With more than 20 years civil engineering, water resources, and project management experience in both the public and private sectors, CEC Nashville’s Senior Project Manager 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 had some level of stream mitigation work with TDOT since the early 2000s,” Shaver says.
“We have an on-call contract with TDOT. They send 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. CEC handles four to five TDOT work orders per year.
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 impact and restoration projects, Shaver says.
CEC then uses the TN SQT throughout design to estimate the “score” of the relocated or restored stream to show the functional lift. “Staff in 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.”
Sounds pretty impressive, right? It certainly is. “If we do the design work, then we can manage the project and then oversee the stream construction,” he says.
A true partner
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.