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.
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.
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.
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.
- 2022 State Finalist Award | American Council of Engineering Companies, Wisconsin Chapter
Andrews Road Extension
City of Black River Falls, Wisconsin
City of Black River Falls
- 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
- Civil engineering
- Community development
- Environmental engineers and scientists
- Highway design
- Electrical engineering
- Natural resource scientists
- Structural engineering
- Traffic engineering