Shebesta worked for the State of Wisconsin for over forty years. He was involved with the planning, design, construction,
operation and maintenance of most of the interstate system in the
southeast part of the state. He served as District Director for his last 22 years with the
State Department of Transportation. Mr. Shebesta holds a BSCE from the University of Wisconsin and a
Certificate from the Yale Bureau of Highway Traffic.
Harvey joined ITE in 1954 and was a member of the Executive
Board of the old Midwest Section.
was instrumental in forming the Wisconsin Section and served as its
Charter President. He was
the Head of Department 3 (Section Technical Activities) of the
Institute’s Technical Council from 1967 - 1968. In 1969 he was the Chairman of the Wisconsin Section
Technical Committee. From
1970 - 1972 he served as Director of District IV. He was elected by his
peers to serve as ITE’s International Vice President in
1979, and then as International President in 1980.
also served ITE as Chairman of the ITE Traffic Technician
Curriculum Steering Committee and Director of the ITE Midwest Section.
He has presented papers at over twenty ITE meetings, Section
meetings and conferences of sister associations.
He has spoken on topics ranging from
“Professional Responsibility” to “How Your Highway Dollars
Are Spent.” In 1977 Harvey served President of the Wisconsin Section
accomplished many things while with
the State of Wisconsin. Upon
his assignment as District Engineer (now District Director), he
initiated a program, in cooperation with the Southeastern Regional
Planning Commission (SEWRPC), in which WIDOT personnel were assigned to
SEWRPC for periods of six to eighteen months depending upon ongoing
Planning Commission activities. Through
this program, WIDOT personnel gained firsthand, on-the-job experience in
the long range planning process while serving as temporary staff to
SEWRPC. This program also
developed a “reserve” staff from which SEWRPC could, when necessary,
draw experienced help requiring little or no detailed instruction or
additional training in planning activities.
Twenty-one different engineers and technicians participated in
the program before it was suspended due to budget and staff reduction.
April, 1970, construction of the Milwaukee Harbor Bridge (I 794) began.
This project, which eventually took 7.5 years to complete and
cost $57.4 million, would have significant effects on land uses in its
path. These included the
Milwaukee Sewage Treatment Plant, several harbor terminals including
their highway and railway access, and the Milwaukee Summerfest grounds.
Construction would require these operations to adjust their
activities from time to time. To
give these operators ample time to adjust their schedules, Harvey
directed the contractors to have monthly meetings of all
interested parties and outline their anticipated schedules for the next
five weeks. This process
maintained amiable relations between all parties and permitted the
project to proceed to completion without adverse incident.
Subsequently, major projects have included similar procedures to
maintain proper liaison between contractor and abutting landowner.
1972, in response to the U. S. Department of Transportation Safety
Improvement program funding, Mr. Shebesta presented a program of
projects for improving safety on freeways in Milwaukee County.
Safety program projects were completed over a period of four
years, resulting in a drop in the fatality rate from an average of 2.01
per 100 million vehicle miles prior to 1973 to an average of 0.65 per
100 million vehicle miles after 1973.
The low rate continues. Safety
features included median barriers, removal of roadside obstacles where
possible, installation of impact attenuators at immovable roadside
objects, breakaway sign posts and light poles, improved highway
lighting, grooved pavement, increased superelevation on problem curves,
improved signing, placement of light poles in the median and replacement
of vertical median curbs with flush paved shoulders.
did not seek accolades. He
concentrated on getting the job done efficiently and expeditiously.
Above all, he is a consummate professional whose career spanned
the turbulent years of urban freeway construction.
His interpersonal skills and demeanor served him well as he
worked to enhance mobility and safety within an environment of the
dynamic politics of Southern Wisconsin.
He performed skillfully in an era of changing expectations and
constrained fiscal and human resources.