Posts filed under: Transportation

Rehabilitation of nearly a mile of Mack Avenue on the east side of Detroit received an Asphalt Paving Award of Excellence from the Asphalt Pavement Association of Michigan and the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT). Road conditions had become extremely poor; average speeds were limited to 10 MPH and vehicles were forced to make lane changes to avoid large, distressed pavement areas. The 6- to 7-lane roadway, including a 450-foot-long bridge over a Conrail switching yard, was restored as part of the City’s Capital Preventive Maintenance program, extending the life of this urban corridor by 7 to 10 years.

To maintain access for the roadway’s 20,000 average daily users, part-width construction was used. Bridge repairs included deck patching, application of a bridge-deck sealer and joint replacement. Joint leakage was eliminated by relocating the joints at the abutments onto the approach roadway. Extensive patching and a 3.5-inch hot mix asphalt overlay were used to restore the surface. Concrete pavement, joint, curb and gutter repairs were also performed. Several unused driveways were removed, 250 feet of new sidewalk was constructed, and sidewalk ramps were upgraded to current ADA guidelines.

Wade Trim provided design, WSP|Parsons Brinckerhoff provided construction engineering, and Ajax Paving Industries was the contractor for this project funded through MDOT’s Local Bridge Program.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony held on April 29, 2016, marked the completion of Link Detroit, a series of greenway projects that connect 20 miles of continuous walking and biking paths linking Downtown, Midtown, Eastern Market, the Detroit Riverfront and Hamtramck. The projects comprise a five-year effort by the City of Detroit, in collaboration with numerous public and non-profit organizations, to create a greener, more pedestrian-friendly City.

Wade Trim’s involvement has focused on the Dequindre Cut Greenway, a 1.75-mile-long pedestrian and bike pathway that runs beneath street level along the former Grand Trunk Railroad line. The first phase of the pathway connected the East Riverfront District with the Lafayette Park neighborhood and Eastern Market. Wade Trim provided construction engineering, survey and inspection services for the project.

In Phase 2, the pathway was extended through Eastern Market to Mack Avenue. We designed improvements to four structurally-deficient bridges that link to other multimodal connection points in and around Eastern Market. The Wilkins, Division and Adelaide bridges were replaced and the Alfred bridge was removed. Wide sidewalks for pedestrians and other non-motorized users were incorporated into all the bridges. Bike paths were added at the Wilkins Street bridge and room for future bike paths were incorporated into the other bridges. Care was taken to visually blend the improvements with adjacent buildings and structures as well as other projects in the area.


Community leaders that kicked off the celebration include (left to right) Rodrick Miller (Detroit Economic Growth Corporation), Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, Dan Carmody (Eastern Market Corporation), Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow, Kirk Steudle (Michigan Department of Transportation), Mariam Noland (Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan) and William Smith (Detroit Riverfront Conservancy).

With replacement of the I-75 bridge decks over both the Rouge River and Fort Street in Detroit scheduled for 2017, a design survey was needed to collect data and map the 1967 bridges, approaches and ramps. A massive amount of data was collected on two miles of eight-lane highway, including the 1.5-mile bridge over the Rouge River that boasts the largest concrete deck surface in Michigan. This bridge is supported by 105 piers up to 100 feet high and connects to the 822-foot bridge over Fort Street to create the two-mile span. The right mix of surveying technologies was used to collect and fuse the data into highly-accurate mapping for the Michigan Department of Transportation with minimal disruption to the bridges’ 115,000 daily drivers. The project has been honored by the American Council of Engineering Companies with a National Recognition Award and an Eminent Conceptor Award from the Michigan organization.

A combination of Mobile Terrestrial Lidar (MTL) scanning, Stationary Terrestrial Lidar Survey (STLS) scanning, and conventional surveying technologies was used; the largest application of its kind that has been performed in Michigan. More than 200 million laser scanning points were collected. Numerous challenges were overcome by developing a project approach that addressed heavy traffic, trains, difficult and congested working conditions, and impediments to equipment mobility. In addition, bridge heights required surveyors to use a 135-foot-high boom lift to measure distances to determine bearing dimensions and haunch heights, and perform limited laser scanning.

Control targets and mapping data were repeatedly verified to account for vibration impacts and achieve required accuracies. Data gathered from the various survey methods was edited, merged and delivered as comprehensive and detailed mapping that eliminates the need to return to the field during design. The design survey will be used by design and construction engineers during the reconstruction project and as a source of information for future assessments of bridge deterioration.

Louis Taylor, PE, a Senior Project Manager in our Construction Group, was appointed by Governor Rick Snyder to the 21st Century Infrastructure Commission. The 27-member commission is made up of business, government, nonprofit and philanthropic experts that will help identify long-term strategies for Michigan’s infrastructure.

Louis works in our Bay City, MI, office and has more than 26 years of experience in construction engineering and design for transportation projects. He is involved with Michigan Department of Transportation construction engineering and inspection projects and assists as needed with other transportation and municipal services projects in the mid-Michigan region.

The City of Tampa and East Tampa Community Redevelopment Agency’s N. 22nd Street Enhancement project received a Roy F. Kenzie Award from the Florida Redevelopment Association. Honored in the Capital Projects and Beautification category, the project was the East Tampa community’s highest priority for redevelopment. It incorporates a multitude of livable community features, preserves the values and revitalizes the character of the community, and seamlessly integrates multi-modal options.

As a gateway into East Tampa, the N. 22nd Street project safely accommodates all modes of transportation with pedestrian, streetscape and roadway improvements. The mile-long existing road was reconstructed to a two-lane curb and gutter section with landscaped medians, left-turn lanes, sidewalk, multi-use trail, dedicated bus bays, bus shelters, and pedestrian lighting. In addition, five-leg intersection was reconfigured into a roundabout for safer and more efficient traffic flow. Located in the heart of the community, the roundabout features a 20-foot-tall obelisk which serves as a gateway honoring the incorporation of East Tampa into the City of Tampa in 1911. Textured pavement was used to highlight pedestrian crosswalks, and traffic signals were upgraded with mast arm supports with video detection, LED signal heads, and countdown and audible pedestrian signals.

Enhancement of the corridor promotes economic stimulation for commercial and residential development, and provides safer, more comfortable pedestrian and bicycle access to transit and community infrastructure.

Intersection improvements and traffic calming features have been constructed in the City of Clearwater’s Wood Valley neighborhood to help address concerns about speeding and aggressive driving behaviors. The Wood Valley traffic calming improvements were part of the City’s 10-year initiative to improve safety and beautify several neighborhoods. During a charrette facilitated by Wade Trim, residents identified locations where slower traffic speeds were most desirable. Traffic calming features were then designed in these locations including medians, speed tables, and a low-speed roundabout at the intersection of Fairwood Avenue and Park Trail Lane. In addition, landscaping features were added within the roundabout and in other areas to further enhance the neighborhood.

Traffic maintenance was key to keeping the neighborhood accessible to solid waste services, emergency vehicles, school buses, and local residents during construction. In particular, the roundabout was constructed one half at a time and careful coordination was required with CSX Railroad to minimize impacts on nearby railroad tracks.

Wade Trim provided design, utility coordination, post-design/construction services, and worked with the City’s Stormwater Department to analyze proposed upgrades to the existing drainage system at the roundabout location.

Roadway, pedestrian and aesthetic upgrades are under construction along the SR 585 corridor (21st and 22nd Streets) through the City of Tampa’s Ybor City District. Extending for 2.75 miles from SR 60 (Adamo Drive) to SR 600 (Hillsborough Avenue), this urban modification project is enhancing the corridor through a roadway diet and expanded multi-modal connectivity while transferring ownership from the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) District 7 to the City of Tampa.

The project was defined by three distinct sections. The first section, from SR 60 to East 21st Avenue, served as the truck route to the Port of Tampa. The one-way pair is being reduced from 3 lanes each way down to 2 lanes with on-street parking, bicycle lanes and widened sidewalks. The second section, from East 21st Avenue to MLK Boulevard, was reconfigured into a two-lane roadway with a raised median. The last section, from MLK Boulevard to Hillsborough Avenue, was milled, resurfaced and restriped retaining its two-lane, two-way configuration with sidewalks.

Improvements were designed to provide multi-modal connectivity of sidewalks, bike lanes and bus stops. Streetscape enhancements throughout the corridor include historical five-globe lighting, granite curb, recycled brick paver crosswalks, and landscaping. The existing 100-year-old storm sewer system was retrofitted to accommodate the narrower roadway, and new LED mast-arm mounted traffic signal displays and LED pedestrian count-down displays will be installed. Coordination between FDOT, the City of Tampa, Ybor City Development Corporation, Barrio Latino Historic Commission and local stakeholders has been critical to project implementation.

To further support safety on the enhanced multi-modal facility, the City will prohibit through trucks on the roadway. Non-local truck traffic will be diverted to the new interstate connector between I-4, the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway, and the Port of Tampa. Construction is anticipated to be complete by summer 2016.

Louis Taylor, PE, joined our Construction Group in Bay City, MI, bringing 26 years of experience in construction engineering and design for transportation projects. He will be involved with Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) construction engineering and inspection projects and assist as needed with other transportation and municipal services projects in the mid-Michigan region.

Louis began his career at Wade Trim where he spent eight years designing and providing construction services for road, bridge, water main, storm and sanitary sewer, and airport improvement projects. Most recently, he served as MDOT’s Construction Engineer of Record within the Bay Region for 16 years, assisting with scoping of projects, constructability reviews, design reviews, construction contract administration, and construction contract project management for federally-funded road and bridge projects.

The City of Detroit, in collaboration with several public and non-profit organizations, is undertaking the Link Detroit project to strengthen connectivity between key destinations through on- and off-road non-motorized greenways and bike lanes, bridge replacements and streetscape improvements. Wade Trim designed bridge improvements within the Dequindre Cut Greenway Phase 2 that links to other multimodal connection points in and around Eastern Market. Bob Breen, PE, Senior Bridge Engineer, presented the project at the Michigan Infrastructure Conference in Plymouth as part of a joint session with SmithGroupJJR entitled, “From Roadways to Greenways – Reconnecting the Motor City”. The Conference was sponsored by the Michigan associations of the American Council of Engineering Companies, American Society of Civil Engineers, and Urban Land Institute.

Four bridges constructed in the 1920’s over the Grand Trunk Railroad, now the Dequindre Cut Greenway, had become structurally deficient and in extremely poor condition. Wade Trim designed the replacement of three of these bridges (Wilkins, Division and Adelaide) and the removal and site restoration for the fourth bridge (Alfred) for the City of Detroit Department of Public Works. The bridges are two-span, precast concrete arch structures with wing walls that tie into existing cast-in-place concrete retaining walls. Wide sidewalks were incorporated into all the bridges to help pedestrians and other non-motorized users access Eastern Market, the Midtown Loop Phase IV pathway, the Dequindre Cut and Hamtramck Connector. Bike paths were added at the Wilkins Street bridge and room for future bike paths was incorporated into the other bridges.

Typical of urban infrastructure improvements, special care was needed to work near existing utilities and buildings. The bridge replacements are supported on steel H-piles that extend 130 feet to bear on hardpan. With the tight constraints of existing adjacent buildings, a two-stage piling operation was used to minimize vibrations on the buildings. Vibration monitoring was conducted to measure effects to the existing buildings to prevent damage. In addition, with the tight right-of-way at each bridge, precast retaining walls were used instead of conventional concrete footings that would have interfered with building foundations.

Context sensitivity is important to the City and project stakeholders. Care was taken to visually blend the improvements with adjacent buildings and structures as well as other projects in the area. Concrete bridge and wall railings match the 1928 concrete rails while meeting AASHTO requirements. A pedestrian fence design similar to existing bridge fencing along the Midtown Loop was incorporated into all four locations to create a similar look. Lighting on and under the bridges will provide security at the bridges and pathway. The streetlight fixtures mounted at each bridge corner match the lights of the Eastern Market improvement project. Wade Trim coordinated with SmithGroupJJR to achieve a unified look for separate bridge and pathway projects. The Division and Adelaide bridges are open to traffic and the Wilkins bridge is anticipated to open in July 2015.


Bridge replacements within the Dequindre Cut Greenway Phase 2 section will strengthen connectivity between downtown Detroit destinations including the RiverWalk, Eastern Market, Midtown Loop and Hamtramck Connector. (Click on map to enlarge)

High tech surveying and 3D modeling were used to evaluate repair methods for restoring operation of Wayne County’s historic Jefferson Avenue Bridge over the Rouge River in Detroit, MI. Extensive damage to this drawbridge’s north leaf and related mechanical features has kept it closed to vehicle traffic since a collision with a freighter in 2013.

Wade Trim completed a laser scan of the exterior of the bridge, interior machinery pits of the displaced north leaf, and the minorly damaged south leaf. After control and benchmarks were laid out, a Leica P-20 laser scanner was used to obtain more than 30 scan positions from both sides of the river. The scan positions were registered into a single point cloud that allowed our staff to obtain precise measurements and positions of all structural elements. It was determined that the north leaf has to be moved more than seven inches to properly align with the south leaf when the drawbridge is lowered into the horizontal position.

Bridge structures were modeled in 3D to show the amount of warping in the steel girders and beams. The 3D modeling also allowed measurements to be made on the center of the trunnion bearings’ axle, used to raise and lower the bridge spans, to show how much the structure had displaced. The model is being used by the design team to evaluate stresses and displacements caused by the collision and work methods to restore operation.


The north leaf of the bridge was twisted and pushed more than seven inches away from its anchor bolts by the collision.


The laser scan allowed accurate measurements to be taken that will be used to plan structural repairs and movement of the north leaf back into the correct position needed for smooth operation.