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Michael Abrahams, technical director of structures for Parsons Brinckerhoff, is the recipient of the John A. Roebling Medal. Given as part of the International Bridge Conference (IBC) Awards 2011 program, the Roebling Medal recognizes an individual for lifetime achievement in bridge engineering.
During a 46-year career, Abrahams has had significant roles in the planning, design and construction of all types of bridges — particularly major long-span and movable bridges including lift, sliding, floating, bascule and swing. These structures include many award-winning spans in the United States.
Abrahams’s leadership in the design and construction of movable bridges includes his role as Project Engineer for the Admiral Clarey Bridge in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, a combination fixed and floating bridge that provides access to Ford Island.
As project manager for the George P. Coleman Bridge replacement in Virginia, Abrahams had a major role in its design and construction. The project marked the first time that a bridge this size – one of the world’s longest double-swing span bridges — was assembled off-site and floated into place ready to carry traffic. It won the Grand Conceptor Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies and the IBC’s George S. Richardson Medal.
Abrahams was design manager for the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge in Charleston, S.C., and oversaw the design and construction of what was at the time the longest cable-stayed span in North America.
He served as project manager for the east-half replacement of the Hood Canal Bridge in Washington, the second longest floating bridge in the world. He was also project manager for construction engineering services for the replacement of the superstructure on the Lions Gate Bridge in Vancouver, Canada. Prior to joining Parsons Brinckerhoff, Abrahams was U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in the Philippines providing engineering assistance to a community development agency.