April 28, 2023
On Saturday, April 22, a team of UConn students competed in the annual CIM-LRD Student Competition in Heavy Civil Infrastructure Design/Construction, where they won first place in designing and proposing a western extension of the MBTA Blue Line subway in Boston.
"My team and I worked on the Blue Line Extension Project which involved the design of two new subways stations consisting with platforms, stairs elevators, hallways and much more," team leader Flynn Iesu said in an e-mail interview. "The game plan was to design a one plate-form station for both location at Dartmouth/Newbury intersection and Park Street. All other factors had to fit the constraint of a one platform station."
Iesu and his colleagues revolved their choices around economical and fast approaches for the construction of this extension, with each member being tasked with 15 percent of the design plans. Team members Kevin Coen, Zachary Silvay and Eric Kozikowski helped with the designs, while Jonathan Garcia and Grace Webb worked on the scheduling, cost estimation, and geotechnical aspects. Iesu credits team mentors Jake Corbett, Randall States and David Jacobs for providing wisdom.
"It was a group effort in making the construction process which I then animated in sketchup to showcase the whole construction process for the competition," Iesu said. "After finishing all of the potentially deliverables, my team and I crafted up a elite presentation which we practiced in the weeks approaching the competition. Our mentors Jake, Randy and David gave us tips and wisdom throughout the whole year which helped nudge our team in the right direction."
On how his team members contributed, Iesu said, "Jake was a professorial architect who helped me a lot with small informational nuance’s such as the standards of dimensions used in the industry for stairs, hallways, and many other dimension requirements. This was a huge influences in a lot of the dimensions used for both of the stations. Randy was a geotechnical engineer who we consulted on our ideas for methods dealing with excavation and support of excavations. Lastly, David, who was a structural engineer, helped us with finalising our calculation for choosing and designing loads for beams and reformed concrete."
"I would like to thank Jake, Randy and David because without their support, my team and I wouldn’t have never won the competition. They acted like the foundation that allowed our team to flourish in creativity and they help relieve the stress of the project by supporting us. In every meeting that we had David and Randy emphasised 'to make a decision and just run with it.' We had to be confident in what we decided and base our process on whatever we chose. We couldn’t second guess ourselves and wonder if one method was better than another. This was important because it allowed for us to go and just work on the project."
"We did make slight changes here and there but overall our decision remained constant throughout the whole project. Things such as surry walls for support of excavation, beam dimensions, the use of metal decking to eliminate columns, logistics of where to put the surface entrances and elevator, and much much more," Iesu said.
When asked how his time at UConn impacted him, Iesu answered, "My time at UConn has been one of resilience. Just like our basketball team which has had its up and downs, I have also have had some as well. There has been good and bad times, however I have overcame my challenges and conquered my major. With this, I have similarities to our basketball team as we both overcame the challenges and exceed expectations to become winners."