Happy National Engineers Week!

Crane moves trench box into place to support walls and protect workers.

EDITOR'S NOTE: During National Engineers Week, which calls attention to importance of engineering and career opportunities in engineering, blog posts are calling attention to different aspects of engineering at ADOT.

By Doug Nick / ADOT Communications

You may have seen the bumper sticker that says, “If you can read this, thank a teacher,” and we heartily agree. We’ll even take it a step further and say if you can (safely) read that bumper sticker while driving on a smooth stretch of state highway, thank an engineer.

Engineering is one of those professions that can be taken for granted. But we have lots of engineers at ADOT, and we know they deserve more than just a pat on the back for what they do. It takes a great deal of skill and knowledge to develop and maintain a safe, efficient and modern transportation infrastructure.

For example, imagine for a moment that you’re driving on State Route 87 from Mesa to Payson. If you’ve done this, you know that stretch covers about 4,000 feet in elevation and is challenged by numerous mountains, several rivers and creeks, countless washes, as well as canyons and hordes of bloodthirsty Minotaurs.

OK, that last one isn’t true. We think. But still, it’s an impressive engineering feat.

So we can agree that putting a highway through the mountains is a daunting task, Minotaurs or not, and the engineering needs to be precise.

Even a rather ordinary ribbon of highway, say, I-10 between Phoenix and Tucson, requires a lot of engineering skill. What may look to mere mortals like a flat roadway is really a series of connected pieces that have to drain rainwater, accommodate everything from wide-loads to motorcycles, and must endure the relentless Arizona heat, which we now seem to have 364 days a year. (Winter was Jan. 19 this year; hope you didn’t miss it.)

It’s not all about highways, either. Our engineers play a huge role in our programs for bicycle and pedestrian safety, transit, aviation and rail corridors and a whole lot more.

Yep, they do a lot, and they usually do it without getting much attention, so now is as good a time as any to say thanks.

Happy National Engineers Week, and thank you!