Calhoun Road Project Navigates Challenges to Benefit the Community

Posted By: Brad Severson Blog,

Written by: Brad Severson, PE, raSmith

Calhoun Road serves as an important corridor for residents, businesses, and emergency services in the heart of Brookfield. The purpose of this reconstruction project was to expand a two-mile section of Calhoun Road from North Avenue to Capitol Drive to a four-lane divided roadway to establish vital continuity for the traveling public, including bicyclists and pedestrians. raSmith collaborated with the City of Brookfield, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, and numerous other stakeholders to provide design services for one of the largest and most complex WisDOT Local Program projects in Wisconsin. 

Unique Challenges

The expansion of Calhoun Road navigated substantial design and environmental challenges. Residences, businesses, two streams, a pond, two railroad crossings, 14 intersections, and a large wetland presented the design team with opportunities to deliver innovative solutions. raSmith used three different urban roadway cross sections to reduce impacts to wetland, floodplains, and residential properties. Stormwater ponds and their tributary storm sewers were also designed to more stringent City standards, exceeding the project goals set forth by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) to convey and contain flows for large rain events.

Additionally, due to the extensive utility coordination required, raSmith developed a unique online file-sharing system to keep each utility up to date on design modifications as well as the designs of other utilities. This system yielded a more efficient design of utility relocations and helped reduce the likelihood that utilities would interfere with each other or the proposed road work. 

Communication & Collaboration

From improving the road profile to developing a custom streambed rock mix for the culverts, the project team incorporated each design element after careful consideration of input from numerous stakeholders. This extensive collaboration helped to ensure the proposed design best addressed all of their needs for the expanded roadway.

  • Five public involvement meetings and countless face-to-face meetings were held to find out what the residents and businesses felt was important for the corridor.
  • On-site meetings were conducted with the WDNR and the Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) to understand their concerns for wetlands, streams, and environmentally sensitive areas.
  • Numerous meetings took place with elected officials, emergency services personnel, and utilities to incorporate their project requirements. 
Celebrating the Results

The Calhoun Road reconstruction project brings value to the community by expanding a key corridor for the traveling public in a safe manner, minimizing impacts to nature, and complementing the City’s elevated aesthetic standards.

The project team worked together to overcome challenges and successfully complete this roadway reconstruction. Each of the stakeholder groups, businesses, and residents have shared a lot of positive feedback about this project, which will benefit the City of Brookfield for years to come.

About the Guest Blogger

Brad Severson, PE, serves as a project manager in the transportation division at raSmith’s Appleton office. Brad has 20 years of experience in the design and evaluation of transportation facilities for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, county highway departments, and local units of government. He is also a certified WisDOT Level 3 roundabout designer.

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