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2015 APWA - Illinois Chapter - Project of the Year
City of Champaign
I-57 Windsor Road Approach
 

Introduction

The City of Champaign has several State of Illinois Transportation Routes extending through the city impacting city streets with grade separation structures connected with the transportation system. In 2013, the City was advised by the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) of their intention to replace the bridge carrying Windsor Road over Interstate 57. With input from the City of Champaign, IDOT’s new Windsor Road-Interstate 57 overpass was rebuilt with new, five-foot wide sidewalks and six-foot wide bike lanes. These new complete-street features provide safe, multi-modal travel benefits for all users. The City took advantage of IDOT’s new bridge and acquired an Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program (ITEP) grant to install complete-street features on the approaches. The City worked with Fehr Graham on design, including five-foot wide sidewalks, six-foot wide bike lanes, pedestrian safety railings, and a colored concrete retaining wall with an architectural pattern of stacked limestone, and new LED street lighting.

Opportunity
The City of Champaign regarded the Windsor Road and Interstate 57 overpass as a trouble area and there was ongoing safety concern for an approach roadway and narrow bridge that vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists shared. This project provided an opportunity for an approach upgrade to “complete streets” standards, blending pedestrians and bicyclists in the roadway and bridge cross section. The end result of public safety for the motoring and non-motoring public was achieved through “complete streets” design elements. IDOT cooperated with this design feature and included a bridge section that has pedestrian safety fencing, raised sidewalks with curbing, and bicycle lanes giving this transportation mode its own corridor along the approach roadway and across the bridge. This completes a multi-use corridor from the existing mass-center of the City and provide safe link to the quickly growing residential, office, and commercial areas in the southwest part of the City.
 
Strategic Planning
Keeping in mind the multiple elements being considered, coordination between IDOT, the City of Champaign, and Fehr Graham kept the project on schedule. IDOT initiated the construction of the bridge which included partial (1/2 lane construction) road closure and single lane signal controlled crossing. During the initial construction phase of the bridge, the City completed the approach roadway design with Fehr Graham. The roadway construction phase of the project involved total roadway closure, including detours.  Project staging was designed to maintain access to the nearby residents throughout the construction of the approaches.

The lateral land use constraints, of previously platted areas were overcome by use of retaining walls with form liner added for aesthetics for the adjacent land owners as well as the public park located at the southeast corner of the project.Many City departments were involved with the design process which included significant directional contributions from the City Planning Department.
 
Community Relations and Communication

With IDOT and multi-City departments participating in the design and construction phasing of the project, the design team periodically tested the design features and process direction. The key stakeholders were advised at all times of variables that might impact their interests.  Key communication was achieved through public information meetings and private meetings with interested parties. These meetings assured the negative impacts would be minimal, and resulted with buy-in from key stakeholders.  Public notices were routinely published through the media and City council.  City council endorsement also included assurance that the project budget could be met with the ITEP grant funding. The project involved coordination with the neighboring homeowners associations and the Champaign Park District who owns land in the SE quadrant of the project area.
 
Resultant Design and Safety Features
Windsor Road is an arterial street that traverses Champaign and Urbana and connects commercial and residential areas on the south side of the two cities.  The overpass bridge on Windsor Road over I-57 was replaced by IDOT in 2013.  The approaches were constructed as a separate project by the City of Champaign in 2014. 

Most of Windsor Road in both cities has bicycle accommodations in the form of either on-street lanes or a separate bike paths.  The cross-section desired for the bridge and approaches was a complete street section with vehicle, bicycle and pedestrian accommodations.  The City of Champaign applied for and was awarded an ITEP grant for $1.7 million to make the improvements to the approaches and coordinated with IDOT to get the complete section on the overpass bridge. 

Taking into account the amount of pedestrian and bicycle traffic along this artery, Complete Streets standards were used to develop a safe route.

- Driving lanes of 12’ wide.
- Complete Street Bicycle Lanes are 6’ wide; New Pedestrian Sidewalks are 5’ wide.
- LED Street Lighting of roadway and sidewalks.
- Installation of ADA compliant safety railing
- Pavement markings incorporating bike lanes and transitions.

The design of the approach pavements involved new storm sewers, pavement improvements, and sidewalk construction.  The nature of the adjacent properties did not allow for any right-of-way acquisition, so retaining walls were designed in three of the four quadrants with sidewalk adjacent to the walls and decorative hand rail along those sidewalks.   The walls were designed as cast-in-place retaining walls with a decorative natural stone stamp pattern.  Foundations for street lights were cast as part of the walls with the street lights adjacent to the sidewalk on the north side of Windsor Road.  The foundations of the handrail are also cast into the walls.
 
The east approach pavement had been improved in 2000 and required patching for storm sewer installation, milling and resurfacing.  The west approach had been previously maintained by the township and had substandard pavement that was removed and replaced with full depth asphalt pavement. 

Construction

This project was awarded to Stark Excavating, Inc., with a bid amount of $2,557,636.

Construction was completed under road closure, and was limited to the months of May, June, July and half of August, while school was not in session.  The project was completed absent of any user or construction accidents to the contractor’s or other project personnel and the construction project was completed on time and within budget. 

Today pedestrians use this new complete street section to get to the YMCA and Zahnd Park on the west side of I-57 and cyclists use it all times of the day because it's a wide, safe roadway with street lighting.

 

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