Engineers team up after disaster strikes
Published: November 1, 2009
By MaryBeth Matzek
When heavy rains caused Lake Delton to breach Highway A and empty into the Wisconsin River in summer 2008, estimates were it would take two years to restore the popular tourist destination.
But Madison-based Mead and Hunt Inc. engineers Jim Borg and Rusty Chesmore carefully balanced the project’s many players — federal, state and local agencies as well as contractors and subcontractors — to get Highway A repaired in time so the lake could be refilled in spring 2009. Under Chesmore, who served as project manager on the job, and Borg’s leadership, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, Baraboo-based MSA Professional Services Inc. and Mead and Hunt teamed up to repair the road while increasing Dell Creek Dam’s capacity so the entire project was completed within six months.
“They brought a lot to the table and were able to provide us with what we needed to get the project done,” said Bill Oliva, WisDOT’s project manager for Lake Delton. “They were so responsive and just excellent to work with. It wasn’t easy what we did, but we were able to start the permanent road in September and have it open in November. No one thought we could do it.”
Oliva said Chesmore and Borg were an essential part of getting the project finished ahead of schedule. While the two don’t normally work together, the scope of the Lake Delton project required both men’s attention.
Borg and Chesmore also are drawing praise for their solo work.
Chesmore’s contributions to another WisDOT project — new rest areas in Portage along Interstate 90/94 — have been invaluable, WisDOT project manager Dave Simon said. The $22 million project includes construction of the state’s largest rest areas and a bridge connecting the two.
“He’s a tremendous leader and has done so much on this project,” Simon said of Chesmore, who is also vice president of Mead and Hunt and business unit leader for the firm’s transportation department.
“From helping us communicate with property owners to figuring out the engineering needed to make this project possible, he keeps it rolling along.”
Borg also is praised for his ability to keep projects on track, even when it requires creative solutions. His expertise in hydrology was essential for North American Hydro LLC to increase the amount of water flowing through some of its dams, maximizing productivity, said Scott Klabunde, generation asset manager for the Schofield-based company.
“It’s a cliché term, but Jim really thinks out of the box and came up with some creative answers and fixes,” Klabunde said. “He has a great personality and is wonderful to work with.