Engineering Chattanooga’s Future

April 22, 2014

By Eddie Wade, P.E. 

renaissance park 5

Chattanooga is a perfect place to appreciate all types of engineering. Described as the River City, Scenic City and Gig City, the Tennessee town owes its legacy to engineers.

Stroll across Market Street Bridge. Run down the Tennessee Riverwalk. Ride your bike around
VA’s Raccoon Mountain Reservoir or drive over Chickamauga Dam. These are only a few of the examples of the engineering feats that serve as the foundation for this City.
he River City, Scenic City and Gig City, the Tennessee town owes its legacy to engineers.

From the 1960s to the early 1980s, Chattanooga was viewed as one of the dirtiest cities in the United States. Engineers, citizens and government leaders have worked together to transform Chattanooga into a beautiful, healthy and sustainable place to live. In 1996, the city won the first U.S. Presidential Award for Sustainable Development. This recognition acknowledges the hard work and commitment that engineers, local businesses and the city have put into making Chattanooga a better place to live.

Renaissance parking lot

The engineers of this City and their sustainable designs have made Chattanooga a greener place to live and work. Civil engineers provided the Main Terrain Art Park with its water reuse irrigation system and designed the pervious pavement and rain garden at Renaissance Park. Geotechnical engineers stabilized the soil of our riverbanks and make possible events like the Riverbend Festival, which brings 650,000 visitors to Chattanooga each year. LDA Engineering worked on the rain garden and pervious parking lot at Renaissance Park, and we are currently developing a Green Infrastructure Master Plan for the City.

Electrical engineers designed lighting systems, like the LED lights in Coolidge Park, to reduce energy costs. Computer, software and wireless engineers created our citywide fiber network, which provides the fastest Internet speeds in the country to every home and business and attracts young entrepreneurs and businesses from across the country, helping us keep that Gig City status.

Mechanical engineers work at Volkswagen, the world’s First LEED Platinum Automotive Facility that boasts an impressive solar field. Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design is an honor, and Chattanooga Volkswagen earned its status.

Chemical engineers in our city have contributed to the Tennessee Valley Corridor (TVC) being named one of America’s Top Ten Technology Hot Spots. Structural engineers worked on many of the green roofs in town, beautifying rooftops and improving water quality.

All around Chattanooga you see green elements that engineers have created to benefit both people and the environment. Engineers help create our future, so I encourage Chattanooga to look toward its next generation of engineers. It is critical for young people to understand the purpose and benefits of engineering and supply the next generation of engineers to improve our communities.

Engineering has helped Chattanooga become one of the top midsized cities in the country and has rehabilitated the Scenic City from one of the worst cases to a model for sustainability and innovation. We are now a destination location.

Chattanooga’s engineers are leading this city on a great journey toward a greener, healthier footprint, and LDA Engineering is honored to be a part of it.

A version of this article ran in the Chattanooga Times Free Press on Feb. 20, 2014, during National Engineering Week.