Achieve a greater vision with community input

Posted in: Bridges, Highways


Presentation-1_bodyAt this year’s Wisconsin Tribal Transportation Conference, I had the opportunity to speak about the community involvement efforts for the STH 54, Duck Creek Bridge project. Both Stacie Danforth of the Oneida Tribe of Indians and I presented the steps we took along with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation to create a partnership and facilitate collaboration to address the community’s concerns.

The Duck Creek Bridge project started out as a simple bridge replacement. Ultimately, it became the catalyst that helped redevelop the community. The planning and design team leveraged the project to connect the community, provide a community gathering space and strengthen the community identity.

Artist-Renderings-Slide_body-300x175By using a community-sensitive design and public-conscious mindset, engineers and planners have the ability to break projects down into simpler working relationships by getting rid of barriers and building efficiency. Our presentation was supported by graphics that we used during the design process that showed our design plans, facilitating community understanding and acceptance. The community’s involvement throughout the project as well as WisDOT’s cooperation and leadership resulted in a multimodal bridge and pedestrian walkways that improves safety for the community in an aesthetic manner that the Oneida Nation can be proud of for years to come.

Highlights of some of the local artwork included in the bridge and surrounding areas can be found in in our post “Combining art with structure, Parts 1 and 2.” Additionally, the community involvement process for the Duck Creek Bridge project was featured in an issue of the Transportation Research Board’s TR News

This project provided a framework for effective coordination with tribal communities and transformed an improvement project into a community enrichment experience.


John Rathke, PE, SE

About the Author

For John Rathke, P.E., S.E., it is more than managing more than 30 highway and bridge projects each year. It is about connecting with clients and listening to what is important. A leader in transportation engineering, John says that for him, the greatest reward is seeing the constructed product and sharing the pride and accomplishment with his clients, team and the public. According to John, “It’s all about teamwork.”

Read more posts by John Rathke, PE, SE

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