March 9, 2023 | Articles
From Drawing to Building: Laura Capraro’s Career in Construction
For more than 30 years, Hill International Vice President Eric C. Wang, PE, LEED AP, has applied his expertise and experience in geotechnical and tunnel engineering to help plan, design, and build multifaceted underground construction projects across the U.S. and Canada. This includes work on water/wastewater and transportation infrastructure programs featuring twin and large-single bore tunnel alignments built using tunnel boring machines (TBM), the sequential excavation method (SEM), drill-and-blast, and road header-mined tunnels.
Eric’s specialty areas include the design and construction of ground improvement and groundwater control systems for tunneling in adverse geologic conditions and assessment and mitigation of risks associated with urban underground construction. As a Subject Matter Expert, he addresses technical issues that arise during construction of complex underground structures.
Recent highlights of Eric’s underground construction experience include serving as project manager for multiple Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANY&NJ) tunnel inspection and task order contracts, supporting the preliminary design of the Blue Line Tunnel for the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority in Austin, TX, and serving as principal tunnel engineer for Sound Transit’s West Seattle-Ballard Line Extension in Seattle, WA. Eric has served as Principal Engineer for dozens of other utility, transit, roadway, and water tunneling projects for such clients as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (NY), Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, Conrail, Amtrak, the Michigan Department of Transportation, the Texas Department of Transportation, the Virginia Department of Transportation, and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, among many others.
In addition to his tunneling expertise, Eric is also well-versed in projects with complex foundation and ground support conditions, including rock-socketed drilled shafts, driven piles, and micro-piles, and retention systems such as slurry diaphragm, jet grout cut-off, and secant pile walls. Projects Eric helped deliver utilizing these tools and techniques include the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Replacement in Maryland, the World Trade Center Transportation Hub in New York City, the Atlantic City Expressway Widening and Route 7 Wittpenn Bridge over the Hackensack River in New Jersey, and the Ohio River Bridges – East End Crossing in Kentucky.
Given this depth and breadth of tunnel experience, Eric is well-versed in the nuances and opportunities of tunnel project delivery. “My contracting and design management background give me a thorough understanding of what to look for on almost any tunnel project,” he explains. “I think this hands-on experience helps clients understand the potential challenges their underground projects are likely to face, and the many options they can explore to manage risk, compress schedule and deliver their projects as cost-effectively as possible.” Eric notes that he is also adept in multiple alternative delivery methods, including design-build, design-build-operate-maintain, design-build-finance-maintain, construction-manager-at-risk, and public-private partnerships.
In his new role with Hill, Eric will lead Hill’s Underground Practice. He elaborates: “Here in the U.S., Hill has helped manage some of the biggest tunneling and other underground construction programs around, from the No. 7 Subway Extension in Manhattan to the Central Subway Program in San Francisco, plus a host of other underground projects, from complicated pilings to water conveyance tunnels. It’s an established practice for the firm, especially for transit and roadway work, so I was happy to accept the opportunity to lead the team.”
Eric’s responsibilities will include leading program management (permitting, environmental impact statement support, pre-construction services, risk registers, peer review, constructability review, and value engineering), construction management, inspection, and other underground construction related management and support services.
“I’m excited to get started,” he says. Reflecting on meetings with New Jersey’s congressional office staff in March as part of ASCE’s 2022 Legislative Fly-In, Eric adds “The Infrastructure and Investment in Jobs Act is going to spark underground construction programs across the U.S. in so many different environments and with so many unique circumstances. I really think Hill is well-positioned to pursue and participate on some exciting underground projects for many years to come.”
Eric holds a Bachelor of Engineering and a Master’s in Civil and Mining Engineering, respectively both from McGill University, Quebec, Canada, and a Master’s in Geotechnical Engineering from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He is also a registered Professional Engineer in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Texas, Michigan, Colorado, and Quebec, and a LEED Accredited Professional. He is an active member of the Transportation Research Board – NCHRP, Project 20-05/Topic 53-16, Critical Findings for Tunnel Functional Systems synthesis panel; The Moles (2020 – present); ASCE Geo-Institute Underground Engineering & Construction (UEC) Technical Committee (2017 – present); and past member of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration – Strategic Outreach Committee (2013-2016); the ASCE Met Section Geotechnical Group Executive and Seminar Committees (2005-2008); and the Deep Foundations Institute (2002).
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