ESD To Tour Award-Winning Transportation Hub July 22

SOUTHFIELD — Members of The Engineering Society of Detroit can get an exclusive insider’s look at southeast Michigan’s newest transportation hub on Wednesday, July 22.

That’s when ESD will conduct a tour of the John D. Dingell Transportation Center at 21201 Michigan Ave. in Dearborn.

The tour begins with registration and networking at 1 p.m., with the tour from 1:30 to 2:30.

For more information on the tour, contact Matt Roush, ESD’s Director of Communications and Public Relations, at (248) 353-0735, ext. 112, or

The Dingell Center is a high-tech transportation hub that connects rail, bus and taxi services, plus a link to a 20-mile-long non-motorized greenway. It also offers direct service to southeast Michigan’s No. 1 tourist attraction, The Henry Ford.

The 16,000-square-foot building won honorable mention in this year’s ESD Construction & Design Awards.

The $28.2 million project has many innovative features, including a 60-well geothermal heating system, advanced LED lighting, bio-swales for runoff treatment, and moveable resin platforms that meet ADA requirements for passenger trains while still allowing freight carriers to bring wide, low loads through the station.

You’ll hear how the partnership of the city of Dearborn, designers SmithGroup JJR of Ann Arbor and Neumann/Smith of Southfield, and constructors Clark Construction co. of Lansing and Tooles Contracting Group LLC of Detroit had to overcome many obstacles to create this beautiful addition to Dearborn’s Michigan Avenue corridor.

Key to the success of the project was also a design team able to revise the original design in only a month, and a contractor able to tackle a challenging Michigan Avenue site. The project worked around freight trains that do not have an established schedule.

The project team had to work with many organizations and governmental agencies, including the city of Dearborn, Wayne County, the Michigan Department of Transportation, the Federal Railroad Administration, the U.S. Department of the Interior, The Henry Ford, Amtrak, assorted freight carriers, and Ford Land.

The project concept dates back to 2003. Construction on the final iteration started Sept. 1, 2012 and wrapped up Dec. 10, 2014. The design had to be changed to meet the “shovel-ready” requirements of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which provided the funding, and to meet the city’s LEED requirements.

But that fast track came to an abrupt halt because of a legal dispute between the FRA and the U.S. Justice Department over ADA accessibility – a requirement for higher boarding platforms that conflicted with the legal rights of freight carriers to ship wide, low loads. Rep. John Dingell himself convened a meeting to bring the two sides to an agreement. The result was moveable-edge, plastic resin platforms that flip up when a freight carrier brings a wide, low load through the station.

In terms of safety, the 52,824-trade-hour project had zero lost time incidents, impressive given the site’s location on a busy freight and passenger rail corridor.

And in terms of environmental consciousness, the project features 60 geothermal wells for heating and cooling, spray foam insulation, LED lighting and ambient light sensors, along with bio-swales for runoff treatment.

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