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Drexel Avenue Named “Project of the Year” by the American Public Works Association

by Lindsie Nelson 14. May 2013 06:33

The reconstruction of Drexel Avenue in the city of Oak Creek, Wisconsin 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, Wisconsin, along with the City of Oak Creek and Super Western were recognized at the association’s annual conference which was held May 8 10. 

The Drexel Avenue project involved upgrading nearly one mile of roadway from a two-lane rural to a four-lane urban cross section with a median and turn lanes. An innovative aspect of this project that became a “first-of-its-kind” use in Wisconsin was the design and installation of a Rammed Aggregate Pier® (RAP) system to stabilize organic soils through the wetland area. The final design included the installation of 3,600 RAPs through the wetland section.

Additional considerations important to the project’s success were removing the roadway from the floodplain, accommodating water movement under the roadway, minimizing disturbance to the adjacent wetlands, determining and addressing the impact of the Butler’s Garter Snake habitat, and incorporating a separate bicycle/pedestrian path on the north side of the road. The reconstruction project was completed in December 2012. 

Matt Sullivan, design engineer, City of Oak Creek, was pleased with the overall project and indicated, “The City of Oak Creek was pleased to accept this industry-wide recognition for the Drexel Avenue project from the Wisconsin APWA. There were a number of roadway design and environmental challenges that the project team met head on, including the design of a unique system to stabilize the wetlands which contained poor soils; shifting the centerline of Drexel to avoid disturbing Milwaukee County park lands; constructing the project simultaneous to the reconstruction of the I-94 interchange; and protecting important habitat including wetlands and the Butler’s Garter Snake habitat. The City is pleased with the overall results.”

The project team included R.A. Smith National (engineering design), Ground Improvement Engineering (RAP system consultation), Super Western (primary contractor) and Strand (construction management services).

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