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My name is Elijah Holman and I am a Senior at Etowah High School. I play football, am on the Flight Club Leaders Council, and the Cherokee Youth Advisory Board. I plan to attend college after high school and am considering a major in a field of engineering. Engineering has always been an interest of mine. I have been fascinated by the design and construction of certain areas around Atlanta. I decided to investigate the world of Civil Engineering for my Senior Project and explore the process of designing interchanges.
Civil Engineering is a field of engineering that deals with the design, construction, and maintenance or the roads, bridges, interchanges, etc. The topic of my Annotated Bibliography for my research was on the various designs of interchanges and why some work in certain areas, but not others and visa versa. There are so many different interchange designs from the Parallel Flow intersections to Continuous Flow intersections to Split Diamond interchanges. All of the different designs serve a different purpose for traffic flow at various interchanges. During my research I learned that the land space at the point of the proposed interchange must support your design and that this is one of the biggest factors why at some interchanges, the design is not the best one but it is the best one to fit that particular land area. I also learned that considerations for the size of the interstate is a factor (how many lanes) in the design of the actual interchange as well.
For my product I chose to investigate the problems with the Town Lake and I575 interchange. During peak times especially, the traffic is backed up all the way to the CVS or even beyond that point. And once you reach the interchange, it is an awkward left turn lane under the bridge that creates even more traffic. So, I worked with my Project Facilitator to investigate the interchange and design a new one. I chose to create a Google Sketchup 3D model of a Single Point Diamond interchange at the Town Lake and 575 interchange. I also worked with Mr. Grummer to print a 3D model for demonstration. The obstacles I had to overcome were selecting the right design given the land area around the current interchange. I could not choose the split diamond design, so I went with the single point diamond design. I also had to teach myself the Google Sketchup program so I could design the model. My project facilitator does not work in the technology for the designs. He works in the ideas and initial proposals, so for my product I chose Google Sketchup. My facilitator gave me feedback on the design and the placement of lights, lines, etc. The program design was very tedious. I also had problems with the 3D printing. The model printed too small and we had to go back and resize the model for printing.
My topic and research relate to the career of Civil Engineering. I learned that it a very complicated and difficult career, but the reward is in seeing the function of your designs and constructions used to support the growth of an area or the safety of a certain interchange or the connections between places. After this project, I am not sure Civil Engineering is for me. I enjoyed the design phase but I did not enjoy the tedious and small details of the design process. I found myself getting frustrated when the design I wanted originally wouldn’t work due to land constraints, etc. I don’t think I will be pursuing Civil Engineering, but I’m not ruling Engineering out altogether yet.
Overall I enjoyed the Senior Project. I learned a lot about myself and I learned the skills necessary that will help me in my future career no matter what that may be. I want to thank you for your time and for reading about and judging my project. I look forward to your feedback.