Trends Spring 2016 - Page 21

PROCESS INSIGHTS: HOW TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT WAS HANDLED ON TWO WISCONSIN PROJECTS Road resurfacing: US Highway 51 and US Highways 12/18, Madison, Wisconsin The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) has scheduled work to begin on US Highways 12/18 and 51 in Madison in July. Ayres Associates is working with James Romanowski of WisDOT’s Southwest Region on the transportation management plan (TMP) for the project. “Our first meeting to consider appropriate strategies for managing traffic flow was in 2015,” Romanowski said, “at least two years prior to construction.” The corridor is a major route for commuters and is lined with businesses relying on the highways to bring customers to their doors – more than 54,000 vehicles each weekday. The project involves repairing the most deteriorated pavement areas. The approach usually would be to close one lane of traffic to allow construction and create new, temporary, narrower lanes to maintain the same number of traffic lanes in both directions while the work goes on. That’s expensive. Recognizing that traffic counts in this project area are considerably higher during the week, Ayres Associates came up with a creative way of reducing effects on motorists. “Instead of temporary widening to keep lanes and all traffic movements at the heavily used interchange open continuously, we developed a concept for multiple weekend ‘blitzes,’ ” said Bill Roth, an Ayres Associates senior transportation engineer working on the project. “During a given weekend, this essentially allows for the closure of some of the lanes and of the full closure of some of the traffic movements at interchange ramps or the nearby East Broadway intersection, while other lanes or movements are kept open. It’s a novel approach that avoids the extra time and cost of first constructing temporary widening, then shifting traffic, all for fairly minor repairs.” Other methods for reducing effects on the traveling public during the Madison project include shifting work to nights when possible, using changeable message signs to notify motorists of changes or conditions, and encouraging motorists to use alternate routes when possible. Romanowski predicted that at least 20 percent of motorists will select an alternate route on the Madison project to avoid the construction zone, where on a more remote interstate project only 3 to 4 percent of motorists find a way to exit the interstate and bypass construction, he said. “The work will result in a safer and better road to drive on,” Romanowski said. “That’s the goal. We just have to put up with some inconvenience to get there.” Corridor improvements: Interstate 41, eastern Wisconsin By the end of a large project, a TMP and all its revisions and additions can be a lengthy, complicated set of documents. Consider the 31-mile-long corridor of improvements to what is now Interstate 41 on Wisconsin’s eastern side. Ayres Associates is part of the massive team responsible for the project from planning through completion. TRENDS │21