News

Final Preparations for a Final Farewell

Traffic Control Projects, December 18, 2018
AWP plans and executes traffic control efforts for George H.W. Bush funeral Procession

Handling special events that require traffic control measures are not rare occasions for AWP. They happen all the time. What is rare, however, is the need to respond swiftly and urgently to an event with the historical magnitude and national significance of a former president’s funeral procession.

His deeds were carved into the “granite of history,” former Secretary of State James Baker remarked as he said goodbye to one of Texas’ most famous residents, President George H.W. Bush. Family, friends, and thousands of Americans paid their last respects to the 41st President before the procession left on train to Bush’s Presidential Library and Museum in College Station, Texas. When the procession arrived in College Station on December 6th, AWP’s team of traffic control specialists and experts had already been hard at work partnering with other agencies to make preparations for 41’s final farewell.

Three days prior, with Bush lying in state within the Capitol Rotunda in Washington, AWP engaged in intense planning conversations with the City of College Station (COCS), Texas A&M University, Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), and the Secret Service. With a 27-page traffic control plan created a few years ago by the city in preparation for this event, it was unclear how the plan should be executed and who would be responsible for each critical aspect. The procession would require considerable amounts of lane closures, temporary traffic plans, signage, barriers, and manpower to be mobilized in an extremely short period of time. COCS and University officials expressed confidence in AWP and directed the majority of the traffic handling to their operations team because of their expertise in event services and ability to adapt quickly.

The massive set up began at 12:00am on the day of the event, with strict guidelines from COCS, TxDOT, and Secret Service to be completed within three hours. The team was well equipped to handle the set up and went above and beyond to ensure everything was completed within the proper time frame. AWP played a substantial role in the equipment, man power, and steel barrier items used during the funeral procession by pulling in assets from surround locations such as Dallas, Austin, Waco, and Bryan. Additionally, the team helped provide contingencies and safeguards for the procession to arrive securely at its final destination at the university campus for Bush to be laid to rest next to his wife, Barbara Bush, and daughter, Robin.

Providing protection and assistance for events like these is where AWP thrives, and their service in this event garnered appreciation from several officials. “Thanks to your team for the rapid response to the interment traffic needs,” said Dr. Tim Lomax from Texas A&M’s Transportation Institute. “[Your] ability to marshal the equipment and personnel in such a short time was impressive. Thanks for all the extra work and being open to the security aspects that made this more than just a big traffic event.”

Each of AWP’s team members—from the crew on the street to the managers in the meeting rooms—worked to ensure the safe, smooth traffic flow in and around this high-profile event. In the end, AWP is proud of how its team performed with excellence and professionalism in the final preparations to honor former President Bush as the lifelong public servant was laid to rest.