Christopher R.  Byrum, PhD, PE
Senior Consultant
Pavement-Geotechnical Services

Christopher R. Byrum, PhD, PE provides project management, engineering evaluation, design, review, and QA/QC services. Chris is a specialist in nondestructive evaluation of pavements using the Falling Weight Deflectometer (FWD) and rapid-travel profiler devices. He is also a specialist in Transportation related Geotechnical Engineering for roads and bridges, having worked in Transportation Geotechnique for 27 years. Chris has a knack for advanced numerical methods, statistics, applying software, and the artistic components of data presentation. He has BS, MS, and PhD degrees in Civil Engineering (Structures, Geotechnical, and Pavements).

Chris worked for MDOT before joining SME where he was a geotechnical engineer involved in numerous bridge and roadway projects and received extensive training in AASHTO, FHWA, and MDOT roadway and foundation design procedures. He has also been an adjunct faculty at Lansing Community College where he taught “Soils in Construction” for their two-year Construction Technology degree, a student co-op for the Washtenaw County Road Commission, and has held teaching and research assistant positions in the University of Michigan.

Chris gets great personal satisfaction generating a high quality product that is an integral and important part of the design process and design team experience. He cultivates positive relationships with design and construction team members that evolve over repeated successful projects providing motivation to do it all again. Chris seeks to produce design projects where everything goes smooth, like a well-oiled machine. For research projects, the most exciting impact for Chris is developing a new and creative idea that extends the state of knowledge or can present phenomenon in a better or more precise way, and when others recognize this and discuss the research with him directly and in detail.

Chris’ accomplishments include being on four different design teams/projects that have been awarded Honorable Conceptor status through Michigan ACEC annual awards. He was also the overall winner of the year 2000 FHWA/ASCE International Competition for Analysis of Long Term Pavement Performance Data using advanced rapid travel profile analysis techniques.

Outside of engineering Chris lives a bit on the edge, practicing risk-management techniques that help him to stay focused. He is an extreme skier and mountain biker and does other cross training to stay in decent enough shape to ski and mountain bike at a relatively high level. On another “note”, Chris is one of the most extreme hard-rock guitar players and composers/producers in this region spending most of his music time recording original music. Chris also donates his expertise as a technical reviewer for advanced research publications related to what he has done in the past for organizations including TRB, ASCE, and a few other journals.


I-75 Modernization: 20 years in the making

The I-75 Modernization Project encompasses 18 miles of freeway in Oakland County, Michigan with a daily traffic volume of 103,000 to 174,000 vehicles. SME worked closely with MDOT's design-build team to provide geotechnical and pavement services for Segment 1 of this high profile project.