Trends Winter 2010 | Page 8

Capps said. The importance of communication extends to the thousands of people whose daily lives are affected by the reconstruction. The City of Madison and WisDOT encouraged public involvement before and during construction of each segment, holding numerous planning meetings to gather input from concerned residents and businesses. Phillips said the public has “higher expectations than ever” when it comes to being kept informed. During construction, part of Ayres Associates’ role was to keep residents and businesses apprised of project developments through a project website, neighborhood mailers, door-to-door contact, frequent meetings with businesses, and weekly email updates. Staff at Simonson Water Heaters, located near the East Washington Avenue and State Trunk Highway 30 interchange, make deliveries – and use the roadway – 8| TRENDS constantly. Understandably, Jeff Simonson, company president, had concerns about delays and access to his business. When reconstruction of curbing and street was occurring in front of Simonson Water Heaters, Simonson and Ayres Associates “were able to work out a compromise,” he said, which left access to his business uninterrupted. And Simonson added, “The redesign has made things better for traffic control for the entire area.” Top left photo: Portion of the project area just before concrete paving operations. Bottom left photo: Four lanes of roadway were kept open to traffic throughout the five-year project. Middle photo: Underside of bridge replacement over the Yahara River used by pedestrians and bicyclists, part of the reconstruction project. Right photo: A backhoe digs in, making progress on the project. Good communication also means residents know how to respond to problems. When Randy Glysch, president of the Carpenter-Ridgeway Neighborhood Association, and his neighbors had concerns about a barricaded intersection that prevented residents from entering the avenue, he knew just what to do. “We contacted Kim Ballweg,” he said, “and the problem was addressed and remedied the next day.” Immediate and effective responsiveness can prevent what WisDOT project development supervisor Jeffrey Gust, PE, called “big blow-ups that take up a ton of time.” He said, “If you have poor communication, especially with the public, they’ll go up the line and contact their legislators or the media.” Gust emphasized that a vigorous communication flow ultimately keeps a project moving forward – swiftly. In fact, he calculated that the five stages of the East Washington Avenue project “were each about two years’ worth of work shoe-horned into one,” and he shared an image emblematic of that productivity: He once drove through a mile stretch of the project area and saw 26 backhoes working at once. “Now that reconstruction is complete,” said Phillips from the City, “people traveling on East Washington Avenue have a much better driving experience than prior to the project.” He also pointed to the reduction in street flooding, safer pedestrian accommodations, and the aesthetic improvements that tie the entire corridor together. Phillips said that enthusiasm for the revitalized street can be seen in the surge of interest in property development along East Washington Avenue and neighborhood improvement initiatives. These are welcome outcomes, though hardly surprises. TRENDS |9