Ted Zoli, PE

Zoli is one of the bridge engineering and design industry’s most recognized figures. He is the subject of profiles in magazines, such as Esquire and Popular Mechanics, as the first structural engineer to receive the prestigious MacArthur Foundation Genius Award.

As HNTB’s national bridge chief engineer, Zoli brings international acclaim as the innovator behind numerous bridges — long span, movable, pedestrian and rail. Among his most notable projects are the cable-stayed Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge in Boston, the curved cable-stayed Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge in Omaha, Nebraska, and the Lake Champlain Bridge between New York and Vermont.

30 seconds with Ted Zoli …

Q. Why are network tied-arch bridges a preferred design solution?
A. "It is the safest and most efficient truss type system we have. It’s proven successful with major vehicular bridges, such as the Blennerhassett Island Bridge over the Ohio River and the main span Lake Champlain Bridge between New York and Vermont."
Q. When do you consider other design solutions?
A. "Each project is as unique as its community and geography. For example, when HNTB worked as part of a design-build team to replace the Portsmouth Memorial Bridge our design reflected local needs, as well as local history. A first-of-its-kind gusset-less truss bridge, we included massive maritime chains as a tribute to the location’s unique relationship to nearby U.S. naval shipyard and as an innovative design element."

Q. How are modern concerns about terrorism and severe weather changing bridge design?
A. "After Sept. 11, we began looking at ways to better protect critical infrastructure, such as large, complex bridges. That includes protective measures for the main cables and hangers of suspension bridges that incorporate advanced composite materials. Given the many threats we face, as well as the financial challenges communities are confronted with when looking to either replace or introduce new bridge infrastructure, it’s vital that we create safer, less expensive, more sustainable and better-performing bridges of all kinds."

Awards and recognition:
● 2013 Silver Award Focus, profile article, Civil Engineering, “First Person — A Bridge by the People, For the People”
● 2012 Engineering News-Record, Award of Excellence Winner, Top 25 Newsmakers of 2011
● 2010 Rebuilding America’s Infrastructure “Power List”
● 2010 Special Achievement Award, American Institute of Steel Construction
● Esquire magazine’s “Best and Brightest of 2010”
● 2009 MacArthur Fellow Genius Grant, with research focusing on:
o Synthetic rope bridge ideal for rural areas
o Lightweight hypar (hyperbolic paraboloid) roofs, an alternative to tents in disaster relief
o Alternative temporary bridges to extend the range of modular bridges

● Master of Science degree, civil engineering, California Institute of Technology
● Bachelor of Science degree, civil engineering, Princeton University

Academic positions:
● Visiting lecturer, Department of Civil Engineering, Princeton University
● Adjunct professor, Graduate Studies, Department of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, Columbia University