Jeff Stephenson, P.E., is the Team Leader of [...]
As we mentioned in our last blog post, Looking Back at 2014, many of us feel like the economy is improving. This is great news, although things certainly are not booming yet. Unfortunately, the impression I’ve gotten from talking to those we work with in other states is that Alabama may be a little behind, but even here, we’ve seen improvement, and I think that will continue as we go through 2015.
The retail commercial market is definitely improving and rebounding, while the industrial market in 2014 was fairly slow. With recently announced projects, like the Oxford Pharmaceutical project in Jefferson County that Sain Associates will provide engineering services for, we’re optimistic for improvement in the industrial market during the upcoming year.
The fact that Sain is diverse enough to provide engineering services in various markets has been huge for us as we’ve gone through the recession. It’s so important, and we plan to continue diversifying this year when it comes to Geographical Information Systems (GIS), Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) and Construction, Engineering and Inspection (CE&I) in addition to our other divisions of Traffic/Transportation, Site Engineering and Surveying.
Our Traffic/Transportation Division is set for a strong 2015 and will be starting the largest project in Sain Associates’ history early this year. Working with the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT), we will evaluate horizontal curves in the northern half of Alabama. We are also seeing a lot of transportation planning work involving access management studies, ITS projects and safety/operation studies. Unless federal funding in the area of transportation infrastructure is increased we will continue to see projects that maximize the existing capacity of roadways rather than adding lanes. We’ll continue to be in maintenance mode, but it will be a strong traffic/transportation market nonetheless at least for a couple more years.
In general though, the outlook for new transportation funding projects is quite bleak. Nationally, they are putting Band-Aids on the problems rather than finding long-term solutions. This will have far-reaching effects for infrastructure development throughout the nation, including Alabama.
Another market where we are continuing to grow and diversify is our work for municipalities and counties. We are excited about some of the relationships we have made in this area with municipalities such as Birmingham, St. Clair County, Vestavia Hills, Pelham and Irondale. In Irondale, we are working on designing Grants Mills Road North, which is the largest Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program (ATRIP) project in Jefferson County.
As we hope for an improving economy in 2015, Sain Associates will focus on continuing to diversify our business and providing the highest quality engineering services possible.