How to Put Risk Management into Practice on Major Transit Projects

Justin Garrod
Justin Garrod

There are countless opportunities for a major transit project to veer off schedule, encounter unforeseen circumstances and exceed its budget during delivery. Be it tunnel or at-grade construction, systems or station delivery, maintenance and support facility installation, or commissioning all of the above, a good construction manager is proactive and aggressive in managing and mitigating risk to avoid these negative impacts on an agency’s project.

HDR has a robust risk management practice and project managers who know how to carry it out. Justin Garrod, PMP, CCM, HDR’s Northwest transit lead, is one of those project managers. Garrod serves as the project manager for construction management services on Sound Transit’s East Link extension light rail project, a complex project with many risks.

In HDR’s latest Experts Talk interview, he discusses how a collaborative approach to construction management can successfully manage risk when delivering transit infrastructure, with examples from the East Link project.

“As I put construction management teams together, one of the things I emphasize is that we’re not here just to take notes and monitor quality,” he said. “We’re here to anticipate problems and bring them forward with solutions for the contractor to consider before they become a more major issue.”

He also discusses other important aspects of construction management, including interface management, contract administration and recruiting and retaining staff. Read his whole interview on risk mitigation on complex transit construction.

HDR’s Experts Talk interview series shines a light on various aspects of transportation infrastructure design and delivery. Each subject matter expert offers unique expertise and insights about new and ongoing trends, emerging technologies and the human side of infrastructure.

About HDR 

For over a century, HDR has partnered with clients to shape communities and push the boundaries of what’s possible. Our expertise spans more than 11,000 employees in more than 200 locations around the world — and counting. Our engineering, architecture, environmental and construction services bring an impressive breadth of knowledge to every project. Our optimistic approach to finding innovative solutions defined our past and drives our future. For more information, please visit