Olsson Associates


Designing ‘glass highways’ to transport data

Thursday, February 19, 2015

David Hoelzel, Technology Services

All across the United States, metropolitan landscapes are experiencing exponential growth in highway systems. But these highways aren’t meant for cars. Rather, they’re data highways, and they’re allowing for instant access to data like never before. Olsson Associates is in the middle of this growth, designing and overseeing the installation of fiber optic infrastructure and helping clients make the most of their fiber.

With the growing demand for instant information among public and private organizations, many public agencies are installing their own fiber. Given this, there is considerable competition among telecommunications companies to be the first to deliver fiber to potential customers. Olsson team members are actively assisting many public agencies and private telecommunications carriers with designing, constructing, and using fiber optic systems.

In the past six months, Olsson team members have designed, permitted, and inspected millions of feet of aerial and underground fiber for private telecommunications companies, municipalities, and states’ Departments of Transportation (DOTs). The designs are comprehensive, including Inside Plant (ISP), Outside Plant (OSP), and Pole Loading Analysis (PLA), ensuring clients are keeping up with the latest technologies available.

Midwest Travel Safety

Over the past decade, Olsson has helped many Midwest transportation agencies design, install, and maintain fiber optic communications systems. Agencies use these systems to connect Traffic Management Centers (TMCs) to field devices such as cameras, traffic sensors, traffic signals, and electronic message boards. Agencies use the information generated from the devices to respond to traffic incidents, weather conditions, and special events in real time—saving lives, time, and money. These fiber systems are also used to connect other city infrastructure, including schools, libraries, and other municipal facilities.

Examples of these systems include expansion of the bi-state Kansas City Scout freeway management and Operation Green Light arterial management systems. Another example is Nebraska’s traffic management system.

Olsson has also worked extensively with the Iowa DOT on its fiber network. Over the years, Olsson has provided design and construction oversight for a significant portion of the agency’s network in four metro areas and across more than 300 miles of rural and urban freeways. The Iowa DOT uses this network to connect its TMC in Ames with several DOT maintenance facilities and hundreds of traffic management field devices—a significant number of which were designed by Olsson team members. Olsson also recently designed and helped install carrier-grade Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) technology to build a high-bandwidth, 150-mile backbone from Ames to Cedar Rapids along I-80 using a single fiber that was received through a partnership sharing agreement.

Google and Gigabits

When Google’s contractors began installing Google fiber systems in the City of Lenexa in the fall of 2014, Olsson Associates provided construction oversight during the installation. Such observation provided the city quality assurance, safety, and protection of city infrastructure by providing extra sets of eyes to monitor up to 50 crews working simultaneously.

These fast connections are integral to a community’s growth in attracting businesses and agencies that are drawn to such connectivity, and Olsson’s team members are experienced in making sure such installations are made correctly. Other municipalities have requested similar services from Olsson.

Because of Olsson’s extensive experience in designing, maintaining, and overseeing fiber installations, our team members are able to meet the needs of clients in an efficient and effective manner. To learn more about how Olsson is able to help clients with, please contact the following individuals:

In Kansas City, contact David Hoelzel at 913.381.1174 or dhoelzel@olssonassociates.com.
In Denver, contact Berry Long at 303.374.3114 or blong@olssonassociates.com.
In Lincoln, Nebraska, contact Justin Petersen at 402.458.5958 or jpetersen@olssonassociates.com.

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