Transportation Improvement Conference Agenda

Please use this page to learn more about the sessions at the 2024 Transportation Improvement Conference. Each session has a title, description and speaker. Full attendance is eligible for 7.5 PDHs if attending all sessions (including the "Smart Solution, Strong Societies" AI session).

Tuesday, March 5

Pre-sessions are optional sessions before the official start of the conference and are included with registration. The roundtable is exclusively for emerging professionals but everyone who registers for the conference is invited to attend the "Smart Solution, Strong Societies" AI session.

  Pre-sessions brought to you by the ACEC WI Emerging Professionals Committee
Emerging Professionals Roundtable (9:15 - 10:15 a.m.)

Emerging professionals (those in the first third of their careers) are invited to discuss any topics in a small group environment. This is your opportunity to talk to others along the same career path and make lasting connections.

Smart Solutions, Stronger Societies: Revolutionizing Civil Engineering and Transportation with AI (10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.)

Speaker: Nick Myers, RedFox AI

The integration of artificial intelligence into the civil engineering, government, and transportation sectors is revolutionizing these fields. In this keynote presentation, we will explore the current applications and future potential of AI in these vital areas.

We'll focus on how AI is enhancing civil engineering practices, from automated design and analysis tools to predictive maintenance of infrastructure. We'll examine the role of AI in government, particularly in areas like urban planning, public safety, and efficient service delivery. We will address the challenges and opportunities presented by AI in these sectors including data privacy regulation, ethical considerations, the need for regulatory frameworks, and the importance of public engagement in the process.

Learning Objectives:

  • Discover AI's role in revolutionizing civil engineering, government services, and transportation, leading to more efficient and safer public infrastructures.
  • Review the challenges posed by AI, such as ethical concerns, privacy issues, and the need for robust regulatory systems.
  • Understand the importance of balancing AI integration with human expertise and public involvement for sustainable and equitable development in these sectors.

The Ethical Leader’s Dilemma (2:00 - 3:15 p.m.)

Speaker: Richard Kyte, Viterbo University

Those who lead teams of people in today’s highly structured and technologically sophisticated organizations face a challenge in balancing two significant demands: workplace efficiency and employee well-being. Oftentimes, these demands are at odds, and as technology drives even faster changes, the conflicts between the two demands are increasing. This presentation will focus on what leaders must keep in mind as they work to meet both demands while creating an ethical workplace culture.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand why workplace conflicts are increasing.
  • Appreciate the key factors of employee well-being.
  • Know how to create an ethical workplace culture.

A1. Wisconsin Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (WEVI) Program
Speaker: Jeremy Kloss, WisDOT

Attendees should attend this session so they can learn about the exciting developments in electrification that are going to be occurring in Wisconsin and nationwide over the next few years as the NEVI dollars are implemented here in Wisconsin via the WEVI program. Given that this an emerging topic that is constantly evolving, attendees will be able to have a better understanding of how WEVI/NEVI funding will enhance and transform the transportation system of the state and the country.

Learning Objectives:

  • Gain an understanding of trends involving EV registration and publicly available charging stations in Wisconsin.
  • Learn about a comprehensive walkthrough of the Wisconsin Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (WEVI) Program, including regulatory and program requirements and how the projects will be implemented.
  • Discover other updates on Electrification in transportation.

A2. Driving Change: Examining the Present State of Traffic Calming in Milwaukee
Speakers: Nick Becker, EMCS & Jesse Jefferson, City of Milwaukee

Many residents are concerned about speeding, distracted driving and reckless driving in their communities. The need becomes even more important when more focus is placed on walking, biking, and transit. There are several tools available to explore that can provide possible solutions based on the data collected, context of the location, and the desired result. This session will discuss the evolution of traffic calming in the City of Milwaukee and its documented benefits. Several recent projects will be shared along with unique design details to give attendees a better sense of how effectively each installation meets their goals.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand the background and need for traffic calming measures.
  • Learn about design elements that reduce traffic speeds.
  • Discover real life examples in the City of Milwaukee and lessons learned.
Networking Reception (4:30 - 6:30 p.m.)

Wind down after the day and meet other attendees. Each attendee will receive a drink ticket and appetizers will be served. It's a great way to continue networking!

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Wednesday, March 6

Morning Session (9:00 - 10:15 a.m.)

Speakers: Glenn Fulkerson, FHWA; Secretary Craig Thompson, WisDOT

Hear from the leaders in transportation in Wisconsin and learn about upcoming initiatives from each organization.

Learning Objectives:

  • Review transportation achievements from WisDOT and FHWA over the past year.
  • Gain insight into the year ahead.
  • Discover how consultants and government can collaborate to achieve transportation wins. 

B1. IH 39/90/94 Wisconsin River Bridges
Speakers: Dominique Bechle, Steve Porter & David Staab, WisDOT

WisDOT is replacing one of Wisconsin’s most important corridor interstate highway bridges IH 39/90/94 over the Wisconsin River in Columbia County. Learn about the challenges the team faced in developing the structure design. Shifting sandbars and difficult foundation conditions required extra design efforts. Construction is scheduled for 2024.

Learning Objectives:

  • Develop an understanding of the freight/OSOW permitting process.
  • Understand the design and check vehicle accommodation requirements per the FDM.
  • Provide project examples of freight/OSOW accommodation.

B2. Explore I-794; The Lake Interchange Study
Speakers: Joe Gallamore & David Pittman, WisDOT

Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s (WisDOT) Southeast Region initiated the Lake Interchange Study in 2022 in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The study is evaluating concepts for the I-794 corridor between the Milwaukee River and the Hoan Bridge. This stretch of I-794 connects Milwaukee’s freeway system to downtown Milwaukee, the Historic Third Ward, Milwaukee’s Lakefront, Port Milwaukee and communities along the north shore and south shore. The purpose of the study is to address deteriorating infrastructure in a manner that improves safety and operations on I-794 generally from the Milwaukee River to the Hoan Bridge, while also striving to enhance community connectivity and compatibility with local plans and development.

WisDOT hosted the first set of open house public involvement meetings in August of 2023. The meetings were attended by over 800 people and nearly 2000 comment forms were completed by interested parties. WisDOT is using the feedback received and further analysis to refine the initial nine design concepts presented and advance at least one alternative from each concept group: Replace In Kind, Freeway Improvement and Freeway Removal. The environmental review process is anticipated to be complete in 2025, and will identify a preferred alternative. Following the completion of the environmental document, the project will move into final design and construction pending funding availability.

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn about the history of the Lake Interchange.
  • Introduce the Lake Interchange that we know today and learn about what it could look like in the future.
  • Discuss how stakeholder interest and engagement is shaping the approach to the LIC study and NEPA documentation.

B3. Vulnerable Road Users in Work Zones
Speakers: Andrew Heidtke & Chris Squires, WisDOT

In this session, attendees can expect to learn about the requirements for maintaining access and mobility for venerable road users in work zones. Topics covered will include strategies for maintaining access and mobility, devices that can be used with those strategies, and items to include in the temporary traffic control plans. The content will be based on the most recent updates to the Wisconsin Transportation Management Plan System and the Wisconsin Facilities Development Manual.

Learning Objectives:

  • Attendees will demonstrate an understanding of what the requirements are for maintaining accessibility and mobility in a work zone.  
  • Attendees will identify the various strategies available for maintaining access and mobility for vulnerable road users.
  • Attendees will learn the steps in developing a temporary traffic control plan that incorporates strategies for maintaining access and mobility for vulnerable road users.

B4. Environmental Updates – Policy and Process Du Jour
Speaker: Michael Helmrick & Lisa Lumley, WisDOT

This session will provide a high-level overview of environmental updates related to: a new cultural resources programmatic agreement for streamlined coordination, latest environmental document templates, and provide a glimpse of what’s coming related to stream evaluation considerations on transportation projects.

Learning Objectives:

  • Enhanced understanding about what the new Section 106 Programmatic Agreement means for cultural resource coordination.
  • Revisions to the environmental document templates will be showcased to highlight key updates.
  • Stay abreast on changes to WisDOT environmental policy and procedural changes by signing up on list-serve for improved information sharing.
  • Understand how the U.S. Army Corps’ Steam Mitigation Procedures is changing WisDOT’s stream impact evaluation process.

B5. Wisconsin Signal Timing Optimization Project
Speakers: Pat Hawley, raSmith; Brian Roper & Heather Sackman, WisDOT

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) authorizes a new Carbon Reduction Program (CRP) to reduce transportation emissions. Given that WisDOT Southeast Region is responsible for the operation of over 500 traffic signals in seven counties, one CRP strategy would be improving signalization. Dubbed the Wisconsin Signal Timing Optimization Project (WISTOP), this comprehensive effort will provide great benefit to all roadway users with both signal retiming and intersection infrastructure upgrades.

Learning Objectives:

  • Develop a basic understanding of proven strategies applied for decades to signal operations.
  • Understand the evolution of traffic signal funding from the 1980s to the present.
  • Describe the key activities encompassed by the Wisconsin Signal Timing Optimization Project (WISTOP).


Networking Lunch (11:40 a.m. - 1:15 p.m.)

Attendees will gather for lunch. WisDOT regions and will have designated tables so attendees can meet with them. After lunch, attendees are encouraged to move around the room to network and to check out the sponsor posters as well.

C1. Innovations in Small Bridge Construction - Steel Press Break Formed Tub Girder and InQuik
Speakers: Jacob Friberg, Cooper Engineering & Dan Sydow, Ayres Associates

Learn about the design and construction of Wisconsin’s first Steel Press Brake Formed Tub Girder (PBFTG) Bridge – the Town of Barron 15th Avenue Yellow River Bridge.  This innovative bridge solution allows ease of delivery, accelerated construction, and minimal maintenance.  B-3-217 was completed in June 2023 in Barron County.

Learn about Eau Claire County’s use of the InQuik bridge system for a fast and cost-effective bridge replacement option. The InQuik Bridge System was used in Wisconsin as a first in the country new bridge solution.  The use of modular bridge stay-in-place forms combined with cast in place concrete allows for a cost-effective bridge replacement option that can be built faster and by a wider range of labor resources.

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn what an InQuik and Steel Press Brake Formed Tub Girder (PBFTG) bridge system is.
  • Learn about the design and construction of two first in the state bridges innovations.
  • Learn where it makes sense to use the InQuik or Steel PBFTG Bridge.

C2. Zoo Interchange North Leg: The Design and Construction of a Megaproject
Speakers: Bill Mohr & Sean Race, WisDOT

Learn about the design and construction aspects of the Zoo Interchange North Leg. The trials, tribulations, and triumphs that design and construction had to go through to deliver and build one of the largest in-house design projects in Wisconsin history.

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn about the project and its uncommon design aspects.
  • Understand the complex partnering and coordination efforts.
  • Review how WisDOT partnered with FHWA.

C3. Public Involvement – The Latest Scoop
Speakers: David Hunt & Dan Sellers, WisDOT

This course will delve into what’s new with public involvement methods and practices within state transportation projects. Attendees will learn about the partnership driving community connections in the WIS 175 project and take a spin through Wisconsin for other examples of notable recent work. The session will also provide information on updates to Chapter 6 (Public Involvement) of the Facilities Development Manual and provide links to useful materials for any PI plan.

Learning Objectives:

  • Review emerging practices in Public Involvement.
  • Understand what’s expected in a Public Involvement Plan.
  • Discover basic tools to help Public Involvement planning and execution.

C4. STH 29/CTH VV Interchange - Communication and Coordination
Speakers: Paul Fontecchio, Robert E. Lee &Associates ; Matt Ternes, WisDOT & Phil Verville III, Ayres Associates

Using funding from U.S. Department of Transportation’s Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) grant program.  With the award of the federal funding, the STH 29/CTH VV interchange project team had 15 months to go from preliminary plans to final PS&E or risk losing $19.7 million of federal funding.  Extensive collaboration and coordination between project stakeholders such as FHWA, WisDOT, two Counties, two Villages, two towns, and a Native American Tribe was required to deliver the project for construction.

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn about collaboration and communication tips for successful project delivery.
  • Learn about dealing with extremely compressed timelines and how to keep a project on track.
  • Learn about dealing with multiple stakeholders that each have a different priorities for the project.

C5. Improvements to Utility Interest Acquisition, Exhibits, Worksheet, and Tracking System
Speakers: Michael Baumann & Andy DeVos, WisDOT

This breakout session will provide an overview of the proposed changes to the acquisition of utility land interests/rights. You will also learn about the expanded requirements for the utility exhibit and its impact on utility coordination and plat preparation. In addition, you will be updated on the status of the new utility worksheet and how it will affect the current design process. Finally, a quick overview on upcoming changes to the utility coordination management system.

Learning Objectives:

  • Review how the proposed changes to the acquisition of utility land interests/rights effects utility coordination.
  • Understand expanded requirements for the Utility Exhibit.
  • Discover impacts of the new Utility Worksheet on the design process.
  • Learn about ways the new utility coordination management system could change utility coordination.


D1. WisDOT's Design Build Process, a New World!

Speakers: Greg Brecka & Christine Krall, WisDOT; Jake Gregerson, Kraemer; Don Demers & Brian Genskow, SRF Consulting; Vinod Patel, exp

The attendee will understand the basic differences between WisDOT's traditional design-bid-build process and their design-build process. This will be illustrated with specific examples from WisDOT's first design-build project, the STH 130 river crossing project in Lone Rock Wisconsin. From early "released for construction" packages to design refinements during construction, this class will give the attendee a good understanding of the challenges and opportunities that design-build presents.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand the basic philosophy, intent, and process of a design-build project.
  • Understand specific challenges and opportunities of a design-build project as illustrated with the STH 130 river crossing project.
  • Understand specific differences between the traditional FDM DBB process and the DB process at Lone Rock.

D2. I-41, STH 96 to CTH F Project Update
Speaker: Scott Ebel & Bryan Learst, WisDOT

I-41 is a 23-mile reconstruction project which includes adding a third travel lane in each direction to address congestion and crash-rate concerns throughout the corridor. The project also includes the reconstruction of 10 service interchanges and one system interchange at WIS 441. As design plans near completion, WisDOT is preparing for construction on the I-41 corridor to begin in 2024.

Learning Objectives:

  • Review project history/origin and current design status.
  • Discuss the project’s enhanced review process and how it could be used on future projects.
  • Share how the project is handling staging and construction oversight.

D3. Agricultural Roads Improvement Program
Speakers: Megan Feeley & Tim Olusegun, WisDOT

The presentation will majorly be centered on the newly established Agricultural Roads Improvement Program (ARIP) as part of the 2023-2025 biennium budget to improve highways functionally classified as local roads, minor collectors, or culverts, that provide access to agricultural lands or facilities used to produce agricultural goods, including forest products. state-funded program. Talking points among other items will include eligibility requirements, project selection criteria, solicitation timeline, application materials, and other helpful resources.

Learning Objectives:

  • Review why ARIP was established in the biennial budget.
  • Understand the impact this program will have.
  • Learn how engineering firm can assist and participate.

D4. Threatened and Endangered Species – Timing Matters
Speakers: Jennifer Gibson & Lisa Lumley, WisDOT

Set your project schedules up for success!  Come learn about strategies and best practices to address threatened and endangered species on transportation projects. This session will provide participants an understanding of how protected species compliance occurs throughout various project phases and the key differences between federal and state regulatory processes. Special focus will be given to the importance of timing for rare species surveys, establishing reasonable timelines for resource agency consultation, and managing seasonal work restrictions. Also learn ways to avoid common environmental commitment pitfalls.

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn the key differences between federal and state endangered species compliance and how timelines can vary for each.
  • Gain an understanding of timing considerations for rare species habitat assessments, field surveys and mitigation measures.
  • Understand the importance of developing feasible environmental commitments for protected species and learn best practices for successful implementation.

D5. FDM Updates
Speakers: Jim Blackwood, raSmith; John Jenkins & Rodney Taylor, WisDOT

This session will inform designers and other users of WisDOT’s Facilities Development Manual (FDM) of recent and pending changes (i.e., additions, deletions, and revisions to the document).

Learning Objectives:

  • Review current design guidance.
  • Discover proposed design guidance.
  • Learn about the reasons for updates.

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WisDOT Design Awards (3:55 - 4:45 p.m.)

Emcee: Dan Tyler, WisDOT

Conclude the conference in style! The WisDOT Design Awards recognize the best transportation projects from around the state. Cheer on the winners as we highlight engineering designs that really made a difference.