Urban corridor project wins Engineering Achievement Award

Posted in: Bridges, Transportation

On behalf of the project team and the City of Fitchburg, I’m excited to announce that the Wisconsin Section – American Society of Civil Engineers has awarded the Lacy Road Rural Roadway Reconstruction project its 2018 Engineering Achievement Award. The 1.3-mile roadway reconstruction added additional capacity for current and future growth along Lacy Road in Fitchburg, one of the fastest-growing cities in the state.

The Lacy Road Rural Reconstruction project is an outstanding example of what an entire community can achieve when they work together to reach a common goal. Once a small, rural community, regional population growth made Lacy Road a main thoroughfare through the city. Long-term residents were worried about how the rural-to-urban conversion would affect their homes and property. Our team worked side-by-side with the local community, incorporating their feedback into the design.

To determine the most cost-effective, safe and cooperative design, we developed comprehensive alternative analyses. We gained input through various methods, including online survey polls, public meetings and the formation of a steering committee. These factors influenced our design, resulting in the decision to construct a two-lane urban roadway with buffered bicycle lanes and a parallel shared-use path. It also included a single-lane roundabout at the Fahey Glen intersection.

In addition to the new roundabout, our design included infrastructure to accommodate dynamic speed message signs to calm traffic and improve safety. Due to the rural nature of the existing roadway, motorists often exceeded the 35-mph posted speed by more than 10 mph. Raised medians also prepare the roadway for future capacity needs to accommodate turn lanes.

While being a modern take on an urban corridor, the project replaced an aging and under-capacity drainage system with new, innovative storm sewer system that manages stormwater under the new roadway. Other alternatives would have required significant right-of-way acquisition. Installing the storm sewer system directly under the roadway eliminates future maintenance needs and saves the city time and money. Additionally, our team worked to bury multiple utility lines underground, and we replaced outdated and inefficient lighting with decorative LED lights to make the corridor more visually appealing.

Lacy Road was surrounded by mature oak trees with branch canopies suspended over the roadway. We preserved as many of these trees as possible by optimizing the roadway alignment. The trees add to the corridor’s character, making this urban roadway feel quaint and charming.

Mead & Hunt is proud to have led this project from inception to completion. Lacy Road is a multi-modal and connected thoroughfare that paves the way for the City of Fitchburg’s capacity needs. This pedestrian-friendly and aesthetically-pleasing project clearly demonstrates how innovative ideas and community collaboration can deliver a project that honors and benefits its citizens – past, present and future.

Troy Pankratz, PE

About the Author

Troy Pankratz, P.E., has designed hundreds of roundabouts across the country using his expertise in intersection geometry to produce designs that elevate his clients’ investment. He absorbs the details of a project’s objectives, so he can work to develop ideal solutions. Troy finds educating and informing project stakeholders about innovative intersections particularly rewarding.

Read more posts by Troy Pankratz, PE

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