Andrews Road Extension Protects Environment and Connects Travelers Statewide

Challenge

The 1,900 ft. Andrews Road Extension project is one of the biggest in recent memory for the City of Black River Falls – a family-oriented Wisconsin community with a population of just under 4,000 and home to the administrative center of the Ho-Chunk Nation.

The project, identified in the City’s comprehensive plan several years ago, provides an important connection to U.S. Highway 12 – which runs east-west through Minnesota and Wisconsin and south into Illinois. The City was previously unable to move forward with the project because of funding challenges and environmental issues; namely, impacts to local wetlands and the need for Andrews Road to cross over Coffee Creek.

The City partnered with SEH to identify a path forward that would make the project possible.

Solution

Creating a TIF district and overall project efforts
The SEH team began by creating a TIF district, with the Andrews Road Extension project as the central component. The TIF district ultimately made it possible to fund the project.

In addition, the SEH team provided platting, design, permitting, bidding and construction services for the 1,900 ft. extension of Andrews Road from McKinley Street to U.S. Highway 12.

Minimizing wetland impacts
As noted above, the project was complicated by wetlands and a crossing over Coffee Creek. The team’s final design reduced the length of the Coffee Creek bridge design by implementing the crossing at the shortest point possible; this effort minimized environmental impacts, crucial to the project's succes. 

The final route offers travelers a scenic drive and safer route, as traffic speeds have also been reduced.

Stormwater ponds and sustainability features
The SEH team proposed incorporating conduits into the bridge to meet the needs for street lighting and electrical distribution at the crossing. Without this solution, a separate crossing for electrical would have been required and would have further impacted the wetlands.

The project team also included two regional stormwater ponds with geosynthetic clay liners for water quality and to maintain the wet pool despite the sandy soils on the site. The photo slideshow and image descriptions below offer a closer look at the efforts that went into protecting the environment.

Strategic construction plan shortens timeline, saves costs
Because Andrew Road was being constructed into a greenfield (i.e., previously undeveloped site) and had no current users, the SEH team suggested a 12-month construction schedule to provide the contractor with more flexibility and allow utility work to take place during winter months.

Unique measures were taken during winter construction to meet the required schedule, including covering and heating the bridge over Coffee Creek during the curing process to avoid freezing. Overall, the project team’s thoughtful approach to construction helped the City save valuable dollars.

Community impact
Black River Falls is regarded as a “fine place to raise your family” and “dynamic location for your business.” The extension of Andrews Road reaffirms the City’s commitment to these attributes by providing critical travel connections, supporting the community’s long-term safety, and bolstering economic health for years to come.

From initial project funding through the design and construction schedule, the SEH team and City fulfilled an important project from the City’s comprehensive plan that has improved traveling options and connectivity for residents and statewide travelers.

Related Content: 4 Components Your Comprehensive Plan Needs to be Successful

Project
Andrews Road Extension

Location
City of Black River Falls, Wisconsin

Client
City of Black River Falls

Features

  • 1,900 ft. road extension and connection to U.S. Highway 12
  • Tax incremental funding (TIF) district made project possible
  • Minimized impacts to wetlands, nurtured surrounding environment
  • Shortened bridge crossing over Coffee Creek
  • Two regional stormwater ponds and geosynthetic clay liners
  • 12-month construction plan saved City valuable dollars

Services

  • Civil engineering
  • Community development
  • Environmental engineers and scientists
  • Highway design
  • Electrical engineering
  • Natural resource scientists
  • Structural engineering
  • Survey
  • Traffic engineering

Award
2022 State Finalist Award | American Council of Engineering Companies, Wisconsin Chapter

Andrews

  • Before Photo: This photo shows Andrews and Jefferson looking south towards the greenfield prior to construction of the roadway extension. This gives perspective on the consideration that had to be taken into account for environmental impacts with the project.

  • During Construction Photo: This photo shows some of the initial steps to constructing the extension of Andrews Road. The contractor was given flexibility with the 12-month timeline to be cost-effective with materials and the schedule.

  • During Construction Photo: This photo shows the process of lining the bottom of the stormwater ponds with a geosynthetic clay liner. Due to the quality of the sand in the area, the addition of this liner was key to maintain a wet pool for water quality purposes.

  • Completed Project Photo: This photo shows the completed bridge over Coffee Creek. It was a crucial part of the success of the project to implement this crossing at the shortest point possible for environmental impacts.

  • Completed Project Photo: This photo shows the completed project with the start of the alignment of the Andrews Road extension. This roadway now provides improved connectivity for the traveling public.

  • Completed Project Photo: This photo shows an overhead view of the completed project and the unique roadway alignment that was implemented in order to minimize impacts to the wetlands. This scenic alignment also improves public safety by slowing down traffic speeds.