Kasie Bolling 2016-01-29 01:13:52
A LOOK BACK AT THE 2015 GPTQ PRECONSTRUCTION DESIGN AWARDS The Georgia Partnership for Transportation Quality (GPTQ) is a partnership between the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT), ACEC Georgia and the Georgia Highway Contractors Association. Tasked with the mission of strengthening the working relationships between those responsible for designing, building, operating and maintaining the state’s transportation infrastructure, GPTQ’s overarching goal is to make Georgia’s transportation system the best that it can be. At the 2015 Georgia Transportation Summit in November 2015, GPTQ was proud to celebrate the most innovative and praiseworthy projects. GDOT Commissioner Russell McMurry served as Master of Ceremonies as the nine GPTQ Award winners were honored for their work - which not only demonstrated exceptional planning and design, but also displayed a commitment to GPTQ’s goal of working cooperatively to deliver a quality program efficiently, while improving the long-term performance and durability of Georgia’s transportation system. GPTQ Award categories highlight those key areas that best embody the on-going commitment to innovation and quality in serving the transportation needs of Georgia. In addition to achieving engineering excellence for its individual award category, each submission was judged on the basis of having met certain general criteria that included customer satisfaction, sustainability, constructability, cost effectiveness and environmental protection. Engineering Georgia magazine is pleased to shine a much-deserved spotlight on these award winners. GRAND PRIZE WINNER: PATH400 GREENWAY TRAIL - PHASE I Award Category: Alternative Mode Transportation Facility Engineering Firm: Heath & Lineback Engineers As a glowing example of Atlanta’s push toward walkable communities, this 5.2-mile scenic greenway trail winds through the heart of Atlanta’s popular northside region. Emphasizing the relationship between “Commerce to Community,” PATH400 joins the juxtaposition of commercial and residential areas in affluent Buckhead - connecting neighborhoods to commercial high- rises, office parks and retail locations. This union is communicated visually by combining sleek, modern materials and natural elements such as stone and surrounding flora. Special not- to-be-missed features along the way include a sandblasted BUCKHEAD wall, original art etched into aluminum panels to create shadows on the trail floor, handcrafted aluminum and steel cable railings, artwork created by local elementary school children, leaf prints etched in concrete and magnificent landscaping. Of course, the safety of the trail is as important to PATH400 as are its aesthetics. Designed with Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) Principles in mind, as well as direct input from the Atlanta Police Department, PATH400 provides a secure destination for users to explore, exercise, commute and engage. This integrated design approach resulted in the incorporation of security cameras at every major point of entry. These cameras - tied directly to the City of Atlanta’s state- of-the-art Video Integration Center, which encompasses 911 operations - allow operators to direct cameras as needed in the event of a crime. Perhaps most impressive, PATH400 demonstrates the tremendous effectiveness of an integrated design/construction team. A partnership between Livable Buckhead, PATH Foundation, the project designers and the construction team has indisputably proven the value of this approach through cost efficiencies and design innovations. For instance, standard materials were used in inventive ways to provide the appearance of higher end finishes while maintaining ease of maintenance and cost savings. Additionally, all plant species are native to the area, ensuring their ability to thrive with minimal nurturing. Located primarily on Georgia 400’s right of way and public land adjacent to MARTA, PATH400 reclaims a once highway- only corridor - turning once underutilized gray infrastructure "green. ” Serving as the spine ofa burgeoning parks network and providing a connection for 8,000 residents within a ten minute walking distance, PATH400 provides a critical connection within the community. The greenway creates a direct link between the northside community and the Atlanta BeltLine to the south as well as to other trails in the City of Dunwoody and Fulton County to the north - providing a key link in the regional trail network. PATH400 also improves intermodal connectivity through its direct access to the Buckhead and Lindbergh MARTA stations, as well as North Springs and Dunwoody in future phases. “The GPTQ Award committee found this project to be most worthy of the Grand Prize distinction due to several factors; included among them were the extraordinary partnership that took place between Livable Buckhead, Buckhead CID, PATH Foundation and GDOT, as well as the fact that the scope and scale of the project comprises locations within residential neighborhoods and the urbanized Buckhead district of Atlanta,” explained David Norwood, State Scheduling Engineer for GDOT and GPTQ Preconstruction Design Awards Co-Chair. "We were also impressed that the overall design included safety features and innovative aesthetics - such as artwork created by local elementary school children, not to mention PATH400’s connectivity to the Atlanta BeltLine, MARTA stations, schools, neighborhoods and the urban core of Buckhead.” ARCHAEOLOGICAL ASSESSMENT OF THE ATLANTA MULTIMODAL PASSENGER TERMINAL SITE Award Category: NEPA, Environmental Protection, Preservation, Restoration and/or Enhancement Engineering Entity: GDOT OES Archaeology Team The Archaeology Team at GDOT’s Office of Environmental Services (OES) recently developed a unique and highly innovative approach to the archaeological assessment of the Atlanta MultiModal Passenger Site. Due to the urban setting and modern intrusions surrounding the site, a traditional archaeological survey was not possible. However, ground-penetrating radar (GPR) serves as a noninvasive method for identifying buried objects, including archaeological sites and features. For this project, a GPR survey was conducted over a 28-acre study area. The results, which defined the boundaries of the site as “9FU584,” identified more than 200 potential archaeological features. The application of GPR on this scale, in this environment, with such positive results is unprecedented in the United States. STATE ROUTE 316 FROM WEST OF COLLINS HILL ROAD TO HI-HOPE ROAD, GWINNETT COUNTY Award Category: Innovative Solution to a Design Problem/Best Use of New Products Engineering Firm: Atkins Involving a 2.24 mile stretch of State Route (SR) 316 from west of Collins Hill Road to west of Hi-Hope Road, this project encompassed the widening and reconstruction of SR 316, as well as a grade separation of Collins Hill Road and SR 20/Buford Drive. A collector-distributor roadway was added between SR 20 and Collins Hill Road to serve traffic more effectively at those intersections. In addition, both Collins Hill Road and SR 20 were widened to accommodate proposed sidewalks, as well as bike lanes, along Collins Hill Road. These bike and pedestrian facilities were designed to enhance the allure of the area for the rapidly growing student body at Georgia Gwinnett College. While the project appeared to be a fairly straightforward endeavor at first glance, it required the quick thinking and innovation of its collaborators to see it through from concept to completion. The loss of access to SR 316 for local businesses and government facilities was an early concern and resulted in the addition of minor side roads as part of the project. However, the major stopgap occurred when Colonial Pipeline encountered legal issues with acquiring property for their pipeline relocations. Several options were explored to condemn the property, but each would have resulted in significant delays in construction. Working with Colonial Pipeline, two new bridges were designed by Atkins over the pipelines, eliminating the need for relocation. Due to the skew of the pipeline under the SR 316 westbound bridge, a span of approximately 185 feet was required. To help mitigate construction costs, Florida I-Beams (FIB) were proposed in lieu of steel - marking their first use in the state by GDOT. Atkins worked directly with the GDOT Bridge Unit and the beam fabricator to modify several of the FDOT beam details to be compatible with GDOT construction practices. As a result of this initial use, FIB has become a more widely accepted beam alternative. This innovative use of a new product helped keep the project moving and reduced a potential multi-year delay. BUFORD HIGHWAY PEDESTRIAN IMPROVEMENTS - PHASE I Award Category: Context Sensitive Design Including Public Participation Plan Engineering Firm: Atkins Consisting of a series of pedestrian improvements along Buford Highway from Lenox Road to Afton Lane in Fulton and DeKalb counties, this endeavor encompassed two miles of prime real estate in Brookhaven. The project included the construction of sidewalks along both sides of Buford Highway, mid-block pedestrian crossings using pedestrian hybrid beacons, the conversion of a portion of the existing two-way left turn lane into a raised median and pedestrian-level lighting in order to enhance the safety and walkability of this trendy urban community. In order to determine the best approach for the project, GDOT and DeKalb County, in concert with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), launched a robust, year-long public involvement campaign to ascertain pedestrian and business community needs and how best to address them while meeting the needs and purpose of the project. As a result of the public’s input, the project was designed to meet the requests of both residents and local businesses. AIRWAYS AVENUE AT I-95 NORTH - OFF AND ON RAMP Award Category: Traffic Safety/Intersection Design Engineering Firm: GDOT D5 Design The intersection of I-95 and Airways Avenue serves as the major connector for a variety of corporate centers and hotels, as well as an outlet mall, Gulfstream Aerospace facilities, Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport, Georgia Air National Guard and surrounding residential communities. Due to high traffic volumes, the associated signalized intersection was experiencing significant traffic delays. This project provided improvements to widen the I-95 northbound exit ramp for an additional left turn lane; adding a second eastbound left turn lane on Airways Avenue; widening the I-95 northbound entrance ramp with an additional receiving lane; and modifying the traffic signal phases and timing. The construction of dual left turn lanes on the I-95 northbound ramp and on Airways Avenue increases the level of service to allow for stable traffic flows. The additional left turn lane storage and enhanced signal operation increases the capacity of the signal and alleviates the queuing during the most congested periods of the day. This project was successfully coordinated with the metropolitan planning organization, City of Savannah, Airport Commission, Gulfstream Aerospace and an engineering consultant who was performing design work for an overlapping Airways Avenue project and was accomplished within the existing right of way. Cost effective measures were implemented by utilizing existing roadside features to reduce the project’s overall environmental impacts. Construction activities were limited to off-peak hours to reduce traffic impacts and maintain customer satisfaction. SALEM ROAD OVER FLAT SHOALS CREEK BRIDGE REPLACEMENT Award Category: Bridge/Structural Design Engineering Firm: Moreland Altobelli Associates Originally constructed in 1929, the Salem Road Bridge over Flat Shoals Creek represented Troup County’s last remaining steel truss bridge. The bridge was a highly sentimental part of the community’s past and when County Commissioners announced that the bridge had to be replaced due to height restrictions, narrow width, poor ride quality and a load rating that prohibited school buses and emergency vehicles from crossing, citizens throughout Troup County voiced opposition. The replacement needed to be as similar as possible in design to the old bridge. Multiple plans were put forward and many public meetings took place in response to the news. The style of the new bridge, which was determined by a town hall meeting vote that received unanimous support, is similar in appearance to the old bridge. The main span is 143 feet long. The maintenance-free weathering steel construction has a rustic appearance, reminiscent of the beloved old bridge. Overall, the choice of a steel truss for this location addressed all of the project objectives and resulted in an economical solution that honored the history of the community. BERCKMANS ROAD WIDENING/REALIGNMENT AND BRIDGE REPLACEMENT OVER RAE'S CREEK IN AUGUSTA - PHASE 1 Award Category: Highway Design - Urban Engineering Firm: Pond & Company The Berckmans Road Widening and Relocation Project is a TIA-funded endeavor located in the City of Augusta within the Central Savannah River Area region. This particular roadway corridor is under a heavy amount of public and private scrutiny from both adjacent residents and major stakeholders, including the Augusta National Golf Course. As a result, implementation of this project required a large amount of cooperative input from the public and the stakeholders. Phase 1 of the project - which is currently underway - consists of the widening and relocation of just over one mile of Berckmans Road from Wicklow Drive to Washington Road. The realignment relocates the existing roadway from its current intersection with Washington Road, approximately a half mile west, to align with Alexander Drive. The relocation offers much needed north-south connectivity for the western and southern portions of Richmond County by providing direct connection between US 1 and River Watch Parkway, where a high-density mixed-use project is currently under development. The widening includes several “complete street” elements, improving the existing two-lane rural roadway to a three-lane section with multi-use paths, wide shoulders with landscaping and lighting, burial of existing aboveground utilities, as well as vertical alignment and safety and operational improvements along the entire project corridor. Phase 1 of this project is anticipated to be open to traffic before April 2016. CLEVELAND BYPASS - PHASE 2 (NEW LOCATION BETWEEN STATE ROUTE 115 AND STATE ROUTE 11/US 129) Award Category: Highway Design - Rural Engineering Firm: GDOT District 1 Representative of the second phase of the Cleveland Bypass project, this endeavor is focused between State Route 115 and State Road 11/US 129 in northeastern Georgia. The proposed roadway comprises two lanes in each direction with a 44-foot grassed median. Originally programmed in the early 1990s, various alignments of this project have been evaluated in the years since, including a bypass to the east. A more recent Location Study selected a bypass to the west; however, modifications were made after a public information open house due to environmental justice considerations. In addition to the challenge presented by the semi-mountainous topography of the project area, almost all of the streams along the project corridor are cold-water trout streams. Bridges were utilized at two locations to minimize impacts to Tesnatee Creek and a third set of bridges was designed to bridge Jess Hunt Road. Add the discovery of a northern long-eared bat within the project corridor to the list of challenges, and it became necessary for various GDOT offices to coordinate with Fish and Wildlife Services to determine the best mitigation strategy. A mutual agreement was reached where regular roadway ditches with reasonable grades would be converted to modified dry swales. MASON EMPTY DEPOT AND MASON GATE Award Category: Design-Build Engineering Firm: Moffatt & Nichol The Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) has experienced phenomenal growth over the past decade in containerized cargo throughput at its Garden City Terminal in Savannah. Over 75 percent of the cargo moves in and out of the Garden City Terminal on privately owned trucks, with the remaining portion drayed between the container yard and intermodal yards. All of this traffic has a complicated interaction on the internal road network, container storage and retrieving system, intermodal yard container handling, truck gate system and the surrounding regional access routes. To combat these issues, the GPA requested that Moffatt & Nichol help develop systematic improvement projects to the terminal layout, operations and access. The Mason Empty Depot and Mason Gate Project is one such project. It includes the construction of the Mason Roundabout and a new 31-acre asphalt container yard for empty containers, aptly named the Mason Empty Depot. The project also included construction of the Mason Gate, which is an eight-gate, full-access interchange located on the northwest corner of the Garden City Terminal along Grange Road. "The GPTQ Awards are an excellent way for engineering firms to gain recognition for projects that demonstrate planning and design expertise. Each year, the top three finalists in each category are honored at the Georgia Transportation Summit, where the winners receive an award from the GDOT Commissioner. The Grand Prize winner is then invited to create a display of their project that will be showcased in the GDOT Board Lobby from June through December, allowing the winning design team to stand proudly near the display case each time they are at GDOT for meetings. We had an excellent turnout for the 2015 Awards and are looking forward to even more exciting submissions for the 2016 GPTQ Preconstruction Design Awards!" David Norwood, State Scheduling Engineer - GDOT and GPTQ Award Committee Co-Chair
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