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Japanese contingent visits Linden Avenue North Project

A retired construction management consultant from Tokyo, Hideki Nakamura, recently led five members of the JOYO Construction Engineering in Japan on a tour of SDOT’s Linden Avenue North Complete Street Project, alongside SDOT Project Manager Therese’ Casper.  The group traveled from Ibaraki, Japan to learn more about civil engineering practices in the United States.  Nakamura noted that the civil engineering field is not very popular with young people in Japan today because it is seen as too rigid and traditional.  

Hideki Nakamura (far left) with tour group that included JOYO President Kenichi Iida (4th from left).  Also shown is RE Dean Beauchamp (4th from right), PM Therese’ Casper (2nd from right) and SPU’s Masako Lo (far right)

The tour Nakamura organized is his effort to renew and revive the industry in Japan, showing young engineers, project managers and contractors how inspiring civil engineering can be.  He himself was inspired by Natural Drainage Systems built in Seattle, after Seattle Public Utilities Senior Civil Engineer Masako Lo connected Nakamura and earlier tours with the work of SPU.   Nakamura has been bringing groups from Japan to Seattle for the last decade.  This time, Lo suggested the Linden Avenue North Complete Street Project for its many improvements ranging from bioswales and cycle tracks to a planned infrared pedestrian detection system (this will be placed at a new pedestrian crossing linking the Bitter Lake Community Center with the retail area across the street).  Lo said another reason for suggesting Linden is that the group in this tour was very interested in Seattle’s infrastructure maintenance and roadway resurfacing, so Linden captured all interests in one project.   

The group was here for one week in Mid August and very impressed to see both the Linden Resident Engineer (Dean Beauchamp of Jacobs Engineering, shown above speaking with the group) and designer (SDOT’s David Vijarro – who missed the photo opportunity while off addressing drain pipe installation) on site addressing problems and finding solutions.  We may see another Japanese contingent early next year, but no word yet on what project(s) might be toured.  Nakamura says he hopes to bring a group back to Seattle in March.