Maintenance and cost control through sustainable design

Posted in: Bridges, Highways


lacy-road_bodySustainability has been an industry focus for more than a decade. As a leader in this effort, Mead & Hunt has found innovative opportunities to create sustainable projects. One such project is Lacy Road in the City of Fitchburg. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation was a partner in this Surface Transportation Program Urban federally-funded improvement.

Historically a rural town road, Lacy Road has been the center of growth and development in Fitchburg since the city incorporated in the early 1980s. With recent and forecasted growth, Lacy Road required reconstruction to a wider urban street to meet local needs. Reconstructed Lacy Road also provides a “complete street” environment with designated bicycle lanes and pedestrian facilities to connect residential, recreational and commercial districts to public services.

Reconstructing Lacy Road to provide multimodal facilities required widening of the street which triggered certain aspects of state and local storm water management regulations. While Wisconsin SS Trans 401 only required a 40 percent reduction in total suspended solids, Fitchburg has more stringent pollution controls. The city’s ordinance includes provisions for flow control, 80 percent TSS removal and infiltrating 90 percent of pre-development runoff.

Since much of the property adjacent to Lacy Road is developed, available land for storm water treatment was at a premium. We collaborated extensively with the city, WisDOT and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to create an innovative solution not often seen on WisDOT improvement projects. The solution combines storm water conveyance with treatment, storage and infiltration – in one trench.

Rather than construct a large, cost-prohibitive basin on the surface, our solution included subsurface infiltration drains under the terrace and share-use path. The subsurface drains, filled with open graded aggregate, allow for optimal contact to infiltrate runoff into the sandy subsoils while requiring no additional right-of-way.

The subsurface drains and flow control manholes were designed to provide the necessary storage within the open graded aggregate media. The drains average 12 feet in width, four feet in depth and extend for nearly 3,200 feet of the 1.3-mile project. The innovative design also limits the maintenance the city must perform to remove sediment from catch basin sumps and filter bags. A process the city preferred and currently performs in other locations.

This sustainable and innovative solution was completed within an expedited project schedule with limited time and funds for real estate acquisition. By providing subsurface storm water management, an estimated $500,000 in real estate acquisition costs were saved.

Finding innovating and cost-effective solutions to reduce maintenance requires thinking outside the box, but the results are impressive. Reducing maintenance not only makes the design more sustainable, but the cost of labor and resources are also cut down by a sizeable amount. These are the types of results that all clients love.


Scott Hasburgh, PE

About the Author

Scott Hasburgh is the Madison office Transportation Department Manager and Senior Project Manager for Mead & Hunt. He has led the analysis of roadway networks to accommodate freight and oversized-overweight truck movements. He is currently assisting WisDOT with the development of roundabout intersection design for interchange reconstruction on the state’s OSOW Freight Network.

Read more posts by Scott Hasburgh, PE

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