Eric Wood is our featured associate this month. [...]
Nobody likes driving through construction zones that often equal more congestion, slower speeds and delays. But one of the rewards of being a civil engineer is being a part of projects that benefit the public and make these difficult driving conditions a little easier.
Sain prepared the survey, roadway, fiber and signal designs for improvement of US 231 in Wetumpka, Alabama. With construction underway we are able to see our work under actual traffic conditions and how people are using it.
The improvements needed for the road involve widening the existing two lanes in each direction to three lanes. This ended up necessitating improvements to the bridges that were not wide enough for the additional lanes.
Originally, the plans were designed to widen one of the northbound bridges. However, during the course of our design work, ALDOT determined that the bridge needed to be totally replaced. To construct the new bridge, it was determined that the best strategy was routing northbound traffic onto the southbound roadway, which would be accomplished by lowering speeds and installing additional curves.
This plan presented quite a few challenges that we had to overcome in our design to make sure it was as safe and efficient as possible.
Construction zones often cause a lot of headaches, especially for travelers. US 231 is a busy roadway and experiences quite a bit of congestion during peak commuting times. Naturally, there was a lot of concern in the community when they learned that such a busy bridge would be closed for several months. The concern from all parties was how construction and slower speeds would affect traffic and if it was going to cause more congestion issues.
ALDOT recently forwarded us an email they received from a daily commuter that stated the diversion route for the bridge construction has not caused additional delays for them and it operates better than expected. It’s a great compliment to receive such high praise from daily commuters living through the construction of one of our designs. It lets us know that our hard work has paid off.
We are currently working on the design for the southbound portion of the project and hope it will be a success as well.
Sain Associates, Inc., is headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, with offices in Cullman, Alabama, Pulaski, Tennessee and Mandeville, Louisiana. Sain is a site engineering, traffic/transportation engineering and planning and land surveying firm with experience in more than thirty states.