Jeff Stephenson, P.E., is the Team Leader of [...]
If you visited the Birmingham Zoo or Birmingham Botanical Gardens this summer, you likely noticed that improvements are underway on Cahaba Road. Sain Associates is currently providing Construction, Engineering and Inspection (CE&I) services for the owner of the project, the City of Birmingham. This project was funded by the City of Birmingham and a federal grant.
The project has four main goals:
1. Bicycle and pedestrian accommodations and safety – This will include sidewalks and 14-foot wide lanes.
2. Aesthetics – Lighting and landscaping will enhance the roadway environment.
3. Gateway to the Zoo – A roundabout will help slow speeds, reduce crashes and provide a safe crossing for pedestrians. Landscaping in the middle will further add to the aesthetics of the finished project.
4. Keep improvements within the right of way – This was challenging due to limited space and along this stretch of road.
Our first steps included a traffic study and concept layouts. We then led a team of professionals to develop construction plans. As the project progresses through construction, we administer the contract to make sure plans and specifications are followed, track quantities for payment, and perform inspections in the field.
Since this project is right between the Zoo and the Gardens, there are many interested parties. As we provide CE&I services, it’s been important that we help make sure the contractor is able to build the job, while addressing all of the concerns from those interested parties about the impacts of construction.
Despite the challenges, the finished project will be beneficial to the Zoo, the Gardens, the City of Mountain Brook, the City of Birmingham, pedestrians, drivers and others. The sidewalks and landscaping improvements in particular will make this area much more accessible and attractive for pedestrians.
Progress is moving along well. We have installed drainage pipes on the Zoo side of the road, and we are now getting ready to start placing curb and gutter. The project is planned to be finished this winter.