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Dodge County Bridge Projects Receive Project of the Year Award

by Jessica Pairrett 2. June 2017 07:16

County Highway Bridge Replacements Win Top Honor by American Public Works Association

A pair of accelerated bridge construction projects in Dodge County, Wis., has received a 2016 Public Works Project of the Year Award from the Wisconsin Chapter of the American Public Works Association (APWA).

R.A. Smith National provided construction services for the replacement of Dodge County bridges on County KW and County S, which were at the ends of their useful lives. Dodge County implemented a new technology known as geosynthetic reinforced soil-integrated bridge system (GRS-IBS). This technology was chosen from the Every Day Counts initiative set forth by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). GRS-IBS is an efficient, cost-effective and safe method for constructing bridges. At the time of these bridge replacements, only one other bridge in Wisconsin had been constructed using this technology—and with great success.

County S after construction

Above: County S over Shaw Brook with GRS-IBS abutments and precast box beams.

Additional Information

The main appeal of the new GRS-IBS technology to the traveling public is that projects can be constructed in as little as weeks instead of several months with traditional construction methods. Another advantage of using this technology is cost savings, between 25 to 60 percent less than conventional methods. Saving taxpayer money is the number one goal in using this technology. GRS-IBS bridges also offer durable construction with low maintenance, the potential for lower lifecycle costs and minimized environmental impacts.

Both new County KW and County S bridges replaced existing bridges that were structurally deficient. Greater clear widths on each bridge will improve safety and reduce the likelihood of crashes, while increased shoulder widths better accommodate bicyclists. Beam guards and railings were updated to improve safety.

R.A. Smith National provided construction administration and inspection, while OMNNI Associates designed the two new bridges and Janke General Contractors constructed the bridges. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Structures provided technical assistance. These projects required the cooperation of many different entities working together to promote new technology and innovation in Wisconsin.

GRS-IBS Abutment Under Construction

Above: This photo captures several unique aspects of the GRS-IBS abutment under construction, including the reinforced soil foundation (RSF), different colored layers of blocks, fabric reinforcement and backfill. The crew is placing steel reinforcement and concrete in the top three layers of the wall per the manufacturer’s specifications. The abutment was approximately 80% complete when the above photo was taken.

Judging and Awards

A jury of professionals selected award recipients based on criteria such as: construction management techniques; demonstrated safety during construction; community relations; awareness of the need to protect the environment; unusual accomplishments under adverse conditions; additional conditions like construction innovations or money-saving techniques; and sustainable infrastructure.

The Wisconsin Chapter of the APWA presented the Public Works Project of the Year Award during their spring conference held May 10–12.

Village of Pleasant Prairie Park & Ride Lot Named “Project of the Year” by the American Public Works Association

by Jessica Pairrett 18. May 2015 10:42

The Pleasant Prairie Park & Ride Lot in Kenosha County, Wis., has received a Project of the Year award from the Wisconsin Chapter of the American Public Works Association (APWA). The project team led by R.A. Smith National, a multi-disciplined civil engineering and surveying firm in Brookfield, Wis., along with the Village of Pleasant Prairie and Willkomm Excavating & Grading, was recognized at an awards banquet on May 14, 2015, during the association’s annual conference.

Above: A pedestrian bridge carries foot traffic from the park and ride lot to the RecPlex.

The Village of Pleasant Prairie envisioned a multi-use parking facility designed to meet commuter needs during the week and provide weekend event parking for the RecPlex, which is the largest municipally owned recreation facility in the United States. High attendance levels at the RecPlex (2,750 daily average visitors, with up to 10,000 for tournaments and triathlons) created an extremely high demand for additional parking. This need was coupled with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s desire and funding for a park and ride lot in Kenosha County. R.A. Smith National developed a design that expanded the RecPlex campus by providing functional and visual connections with the new parking lot. The design included 388 parking spaces, a pedestrian path with bridge over the creek, access driveway with a bridge, storm sewer and a wet detention pond. Village of Pleasant Prairie construction crews constructed the two bridges.

Above: Bridge construction by Village Public Works crew kept the project on schedule.

The award-winning project faced a number of challenges, including: inhibited access to the site due to a creek, wetlands, railroad and highway embankment; a tight construction schedule; and a single cost-prohibitive bid on access bridges. Innovative construction techniques, such as using a material conveyor rather than building a temporary crossing that avoided environmental disturbance, by the Village kept the project on schedule. The project used a three-sided, precast concrete bridge structure (Conspan) that does not require periodic inspections and maintenance as would a traditional clear-span bridge. Additionally, many design alternatives and significant care minimized the impact to wetlands and reduced the overall construction footprint.

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