How 5 Cities Fought Aging Infrastructure and Won

At SEH, we’re always honored to help our clients improve their communities with sensible infrastructure updates, upgrades and renovations. We’re even more honored when those projects are recognized for excellence.

Recently, five infrastructure projects with five innovative cities won awards at the American Council of Engineering Companies of Minnesota 49th Annual Engineering Excellence Awards Banquet.

Learn about their challenges and how they battled them.

Quenching growing demand for high-quality water

Challenge: The 25-year-old water treatment facility in the City of Apple Valley, Minnesota, needed updates to meet the needs of a growing population.

Solution: With a water treatment expansion and renovation, SEH helped the City increase the treatment capacity of the facility by 33%, from 18 million gallons per day to 24 million gallons per day.

Key project features

  • Four concrete gravity filters
  • Two backwash water processing tanks
  • Utility garage to consolidate the City's utility department
  • Vehicle wash bay to extend the life of maintenance equipment

Safeguarding a community from floodwaters

Challenge: With multiple flooding events between 1978 and 2010, the City of Austin, Minnesota, has long experienced the effects of rapid river rise and devastating floods.

Solution: The City implemented numerous floodplain management tools as part of their flood mitigation efforts. These included structural flood mitigation measures for their North Main commercial and business areas.

Rejuvenating aging wastewater infrastructure

Challenge: With aging equipment, infrastructure and a new effluent phosphorus limit, the Cambridge Wastewater Treatment Facility in Cambridge, Minnesota, needed an overhaul.

Solution: From facility planning, design, bidding, construction administration and funding services, SEH assisted in the city in making improvements to the facility. The $12-million construction project, which condensed operations from two facilities down to one, touched on all components of the treatment process and added facilities for phosphorus removal.

Key project features

  • Decant building that lowers cost of biosolids hauling
  • Decanting valve that reduces solids processing staff time and also chemical use
  • Aeration system changes that lessens energy costs

Modernizing a water tower for the 21st century

Challenge: An assessment showed the 1.5-million-gallon water tower, an integral part of the water distribution system for the City of Richfield, Minnesota, needed tank reconditioning and telecommunications upgrades.

Solution: The City hired SEH to develop plans and specifications, provide full-time inspection, and coordinate carrier needs for the temporary operation of telecommunication services. This was accomplished all while maintaining continual operation of the City’s onsite fire station, preserving access to nearby Penn Avenue. and accommodating contractor mobilization, a full-containment system and temporary pole for carriers.

Key project features

  • Removal and replacement of the exterior and interior dry coating systems
  • Maintenance to the interior immersion surface
  • Handrail system for carrier equipment expansion requirements

Improving multimodal transportation access and safety

Challenge: The City of St. Louis Park, Minnesota, needed to improve access, safety and operations for multimodal transportation at a major highway intersection.

Solution: To balance the needs of the regional transportation system while addressing local community and user needs, an SEH team designed a tight diamond interchange with three roundabouts for traffic control.

Key project features

  • Addition of pedestrian and bicycle paths
  • Reconfiguration of local frontage roads
  • Extensive landscaping
  • Decorative lighting
  • Aesthetic treatments for the bridge and retaining walls
  • Public art

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