Intersection Improvement Spurs Redevelopment
Written by: Jed Munroe, PE, JT Engineering
The City of De Pere, with a population of just over 25,000, is virtually landlocked. With the help of an innovative design team, the City was able to gain access to an additional 20 acres of developable land, improving a dangerous, congested intersection in the process.
The geographical layout of the intersection and its surroundings presented an initial challenge. The north leg of the intersection served as the driveway to a McDonald’s restaurant, which blocked access to the developable land. The intersection is also bordered on the southwest by a popular Wisconsin Department of Transportation Park & Ride lot. We worked in partnership with the City and WisDOT to achieve their goal of no operational or safety impacts to the adjacent intersections, while achieving zero loss of the existing park & ride stalls.
The new intersection improvement enabled the City to access a 20-acre parcel of land for development. The popular supermarket chain ALDI took advantage of this prime real estate opportunity, bringing in jobs and revenue. The developer worked closely with the City during all phases of the project, and even dedicated one of its lots to the City for stormwater management. This project is a great example of what’s possible when a public-private partnership is done right.
Communication, Communication, Communication
The project required close coordination with McDonald’s, who scheduled the demolition and rebuilding of their restaurant to coincide with the project, reducing impacts to their bottom line. By working together with the City, we were able to reduce the complexity of the staging and overall construction time. With improved commercial access points, the project eliminated existing traffic congestion and improved the corridor’s safety performance, ultimately improving traffic flow and access to the surrounding business on the corridor.
Main Avenue is both the City’s primary retail corridor and the gateway into downtown De Pere. During peak travel times, the intersection became heavily congested, regularly causing traffic to back up into an adjacent roundabout and creating hazardous conditions. The new intersection improved driver safety and eliminated the traffic congestion that was present in the previous intersection. This reduced commuter delays and provided environmental benefits by eliminating the need for vehicles to idle, start and stop, thus decreasing the overall carbon footprint.
A key component of the project was limiting the amount of time the contractor would be able to close Main Avenue, while maintaining a buildable design to receive competitive construction bids from contractors. After reviewing multiple staging options and coordinating with the surrounding stake holders, the contractor was allowed two main phases. Phase 1 closed Lawrence Drive early, and Phase 2 allowed a 60-day closure of Main Avenue.
About the Guest Blogger
Jed Munroe, PE, is a graduate of the ACEC Wisconsin Leadership Program. He is a Project Manager at JT Engineering, Inc., a certified Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) engineering firm offering high-quality, cost-effective design and construction solutions. JT was founded in 2005 and has grown to over 60 employees and four office locations in Green Bay, Madison, Milwaukee and Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin.