The Traveling Man’s
Engineering Story


The team at Brad Oldham International, Inc., worked with Dallas-based Nathan D. Maier Consulting Engineers, Inc., to fine-tune the design and shop drawings for the two larger sculptures in The Traveling Man installation. The sculptures were required to withstand a minimum of 100 mph winds and endure other long-term weather-related concerns, such as corrosion of the interior skeleton. The engineers performed structural analyses and modeling of the steel skeletons and foundations and made material recommendations to ensure the structural integrity of the The Traveling Man sculptures, which involved three-dimensional modeling to create the complicated and unconventional structural skeletons.


One engineering challenge encountered in The Traveling Man-Walking Tall was its connection to the ground. Two options were considered to support the skeleton and stainless steel skin of the 38-foot tall sculpture: a large reinforced concrete mass footing or reinforced concrete piers. The team chose the reinforced concrete piers due to the limited space in which the sculpture was to be installed as well as cost/time considerations. The process of locating the two piers, including the development and placement of the bolt pattern and creating a 21,500-pound set of legs to fit over the anchor bolts like a glove with relative ease was considered during the design process, but several "unknowns" remained until installation day.   


Meanwhile, in contrast to The Traveling Man-Walking Tall pier foundation, The Traveling Man-Waiting on a Train involved a mass concrete foundation. This was a much smaller structure than Walking Tall, but it also involved a much more complicated geometry and had multiple connection points to the ground. Therefore, a mass concrete foundation was the better option.


The engineering of The Traveling Man was unique in that it required such an extensive amount of structural analysis and the development of the three-dimensional computer model using a combination of sophisticated software and custom programs - as well as numerous hand calculations - to analyze all the stresses and forces acting upon the structure. Because none of the structural members included uniform/symmetrical sizes, stresses and forces were difficult to evaluate and required an extremely high level of analysis.


The materials used include:
5/8-inch thick to 1¼-inch thick steel, ASTM 572 grade 50k
1/8-inch brushed 304 stainless steel
Stainless steel monobolt rivets


Foundation notes:
Each pier for The Traveling Man–Walking Tall measures 4.5 feet in diameter and goes 32 feet into the ground. The anchor bolts in each pier were 1.5 inches in diameter and 72 inches in length, and included eight per pier. 

The concrete and rebar mass foundation for The Traveling Man–Waiting on a Train measures 28 feet by 14 feet by 3 feet thick.


Quality assurance and quality control were extremely important on this project since it would be interactive with the public. Material testing, such as weld inspections and concrete strength testing, were performed routinely to ensure that all materials met design specifications. Inspectors were regularly on site to monitor the work as well ensures design conformance.


Nathan D. Maier Consulting Engineers (NDM), the structural engineering consultant on the project, is a full-service local civil engineering and land surveying firm specializing in all disciplines of civil engineering, including structural, transportation, water resources, municipal, construction management, land surveying, and development. 



©Brad Oldham 2009