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Missouri’s Innovative Roundabout with Railroad Preemption

Posted on Posted in Insight, Project

With a busy railroad crossing and a history of accidents, an intersection in southwest Missouri was in desperate need of improvements.

The intersection, located in Jasper County at the junction of Missouri Route 171 and Routes YY/96, just northwest of Carl Junction, was particularly dangerous due to its proximity to a railroad crossing and history of semi-trucks high centering at the intersection resulting in trains crashing into trucks. To make matters worse, there was not enough separation to allow trucks at the stop sign while waiting to turn or cross at the intersection without the rear end of their trailers extending across the track. High speeds along Route 171 were also a concern through the intersection.

The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) had success with other roundabouts in the area and identified the desire to install a roundabout at the intersection to address these concerns.

Roundabouts have a long history of success solving. In fact, the first roundabout was built in Britain dating back to 1907! Modern roundabouts became popular in the United States in the 1990s and have since been installed over 8,000 times in the United States alone.

A roundabout would be straightforward, but the railroad crossing presented a unique challenge, one that GBA was ready to tackle.

As a first step, GBA studied the traffic volumes at the intersection. Approximately 20 trains crossed at the intersection daily traveling at a maximum speed of 55 mph. This resulted in the west leg of the intersection being blocked for nearly one hour each day.

MoDOT wanted a solution that served the community now and into the future. Using the construction year 2021 and design year 2041, factoring in historic growth patterns within the vicinity, traffic volumes on Route 171 were predicted to nearly double within 20 years. Utilizing a SIDRA software program from Australia, a quick stochastic analysis was completed that ensured there would be enough capacity provided within the proposed roundabout to address the predicted increase in traffic volume.  A microsimulation of the intersection operations during a train crossing was performed using VISSIM software.

GBA presented conceptual design recommendations to MoDOT that included:

  • Relocating the center of the roundabout approximately 100 feet east of the existing intersection.
  • Install a 175-foot inscribed circle diameter and 10-foot raised truck apron to accommodate heavy truck traffic.
  • Reduce speeds as vehicles approach the roundabout from 55 mph to 25 mph.
  • Install a westbound right-turn bypass lane.

To stop vehicles from waiting in the roundabout when a train was present, blank-out signs would be installed on two of the roundabout approaches. GBA worked closely with the railroad to provide a preemptive connection between the railroad’s infrastructure and the blank-out signs. The blank-out signs were designed to activate when the railroad lights began flashing (approximately 25 seconds prior to the train entering the intersection) and turn off when the train passed.

Through local public engagement, a detour route was developed for construction that split southbound traffic to Route M and northbound traffic to Route H. By splitting the traffic, head-to-head truck traffic would be avoided.

Construction was completed in December 2021.

For more information, visit MoDOT’s project website at www.modot.org/route-171-intersection-safety-improvements.

Balancing Major Bridge Repairs with High Traffic – US 50 Chipman Rd., Lees Summit

Posted on Posted in Insight, Project

When a major commuter route near busy shopping centers has multiple bridges that need to be replaced, how do you balance the urgency of public safety with the needs of the businesses in the area? One thing is certain, efficiency and communication must be top-notch to ensure expectations are met so construction can be completed safely, efficiently and on budget. GBA was hired as the team of experts that could check all those boxes!

The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) knew that US-50 over Chipman Rd. in Lees Summit, MO had a pair of bridges in need of replacement near two shopping centers. Maintaining access to these local businesses and limiting impacts to commuter traffic during construction were high priorities.

In close partnership with the city, MoDOT hired GBA to study feasible methods to replace the bridges balancing construction time, project cost and impacts to traffic.  The conceptual design included traffic modeling of numerous phasing options and multiple core team meetings evaluating those options, considering input from stakeholders.  In general, two construction options were presented to the city.

  • The first option was construction phasing. Crews would close portions of US-50 depending on the phase of construction, maintaining a minimum of two thru lanes of traffic. This option would keep commuters satisfied through construction but would take two full construction seasons to complete.
  • The second option would be a full closure of US-50. Without the presence of traffic, retaining walls and bridges could be replaced and constructed quickly resulting in increased safety for the construction crews and more efficient and timely work. Although detour routes would be necessary, most of the project would be completed in one construction season.

Ultimately, the full closure was selected, and it was decided to route US-50 traffic on the off- and on-ramps instead of a detour. This satisfied the need to minimize impacts to commuter traffic by maintaining two lanes through construction, and it also reduced construction time. To move along as fast as possible, MoDOT offered incentives to the contractor to get the work completed on time or early. GBA was able to quickly step up to the plate delivering plans two months ahead of schedule. Because of this timing, multiple contractors bid on the project and material costs were saved.

Construction began in Spring 2022 with the full closure planned for Summer/Fall 2022 and project completion in Winter 2022/2023… just in time for the holiday shopping rush!

To stay up to date on the construction and learn more about this project, visit www.modot.org/us-50-over-chipman-rd.

Wastewater Treatment Plant Improvement Projects & Travisso Water Reclamation

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Leander, Texas

GBA provided engineering services for this project that included surveying, design, bidding and construction phasing.

Filter Improvements – This project provided tertiary filter improvements to the FM2243 wastewater treatment plant. The City of Leander desired to upgrade filter technology to replace the aging traveling bridge sand filter. A unique approach for these improvements consisted of a retrofit of one of the two existing traveling bridge sand filter units with the installation of five new disk filter units. The design eliminated the need for new structures and piping outside of the existing plant chambers by incorporating all new equipment within an existing filter chamber.
Aeration Improvements – This project provided supplemental aeration capacity to the FM2243 wastewater treatment plant. The project consisted of the design and installation of two blower assisted mechanical aerators and associated equipment and electrical improvements.
Travisso Water Reclamation Plant – The project included two lift stations, a 0.25 MGD water reclamation plant, 14 MG reclaimed water storage pond, 1,050 gpm reclaimed water pump station and 12” diameter raw water makeup system for the Travisso master planned community. The systems were designed to be expanded in two additional phases to reduce up-front capital costs and allow for system capacity expansions to meet growth and project build-out.


City of Leander Public Works

Project Size

$105,000 (Filter & Aeration Improvements Design)
$295,000 (Travisso Water Reclamation Plant Design)

Completion Date

2016 – Travisso Water Reclamation Plant
2019 – Filter & Aeration Improvements

Stormwater Management Program Watershed Master Planning

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Johnson County, Kansas

The Johnson County Stormwater Management Program, as part of its shift toward watershed-based improvements, initiated a county-wide Phase 1 master planning effort.

GBA was retained to lead the development of Phase 1 master plans in Watershed 4 (Marais des Cygnes River) and Watershed 5 (Captain and Kill Creeks) in the southwest and eastern portions of the county. These two major watersheds are predominately rural but are at risk of rapid urbanization. The GBA team of consultants also includes The Conservation Fund, FYRA, Stantec and Vireo.

The primary objective of the project is to identify the highest risks and needs and develop holistic watershed-based solutions for Phase 2 consideration that addresses flooding, water quality and stream erosion.

The project involved:

  • Using ArcGIS-based processes to characterize watershed risks and identify improvement opportunities.
  • Assigning risk scores to flood-prone areas, identifying targeted water quality pollutants and impairments, and evaluating areas for potential conservation, preservation and restoration.
  • Delineating erosion hazard zones and performing LiDAR-based terrain comparison analysis along stream corridors.
  • Analyzing the degree of hydromodification or changes in natural stream flows in sub-watersheds.
  • Developing recommended priority action areas and solutions for the Watershed Organizations to consider for Phase 2 detailed analysis, specific cost/benefit scoring, and development of a five-year capital improvements plan.

Johnson County Public Works Stormwater Management Program

Project Size

Watershed 4 – 76 square miles
Watershed 5 – 84 square miles

Completion Date


Kansas Ave. Streetscape

Posted on Posted in Project

Olathe, Kansas

GBA was selected to provide design services for the streetscape project on Kansas Avenue from Santa Fe Street to Cedar Street. The design of this project incorporates multi-modal transportation for vehicles, cyclists, and pedestrians. Along with spot subgrade improvements and a mill and overlay, the project includes what is likely the first two-way, buffered cycle track in Kansas. Safety and accessibility were key factors embedded in the design of this project while maintaining the goal of minimizing impacts to stakeholders during construction.

Project Scope:

  • 3.5-inch mill and overlay with fiberglass paving mat
  • Two-way buffered cycle track
  • Sidewalk and curb and gutter replacement
  • Bump-outs designed for shorter pedestrian crossings
  • Signal improvements
  • Decorative lighting installation
  • Landscape and hardscape aesthetics
  • Storm sewer modifications
  • Sanitary sewer improvements
  • Irrigation design
  • Roadway and cycle track pavement marking and signing
  • ADA ramp installation
  • Utility coordination

Olathe, Kansas

Project Size

$219,214 (design)
$3,180,000 (construction)

Completion Date

Anticipated Fall 2022

Safety Study Leads to Design – Route 54 Intersection Safety Improvements Project

Posted on Posted in Insight, Project

Imagine… a high-speed rural multi-lane corridor that hosts an assortment of local drivers, tourists, commercial trucks and farm equipment. It has driveways with direct access to the corridor and numerous at-grade intersections. Crashes are common and when they do occur, the crash severity is higher due to this dangerous combination of factors.

If you drive in central Missouri, chances are, you are familiar with Route 54. With an estimated 20,000 vehicles per day, Route 54 is a vital part of the transportation network in central Missouri due to its connection between I-70 and Jefferson City north to Lake of the Ozarks and Osage Beach south.  Increased and seasonal popularity of the Ozarks region has also increased traffic, events, attractions and safety concerns.

To address these concerns and plan for the future, Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) hired GBA as the lead consultant to perform a safety study, which consisted of five main parts: data collection, existing conditions analysis, public engagement, development of alternative improvements, and suggested recommendations for future implementation. The area of study was 30 miles from Route E (near Brazito) west to Wood River Road (near Lake of the Ozarks).

  • Data collection involved multiple sources. Cole and Miller Counties provided aerial photography, LiDAR and GIS data with utilities and Right-of-Way. MoDOT provided historical plans, 5-year crash history and traffic volumes for key intersections.

  • Existing conditions analysis included sorting and evaluating crash types and trends to assist with identifying patterns and factors. Based on this data, the intersections were categorized as a low, medium or high priority. The intent of prioritization was to identify intersections with the most safety concerns to address improvement efforts accordingly.
  • Public engagement during the study included surveys (online and in-person), multiple stakeholder advisory group meetings and an in-person public meeting. The sessions created an opportunity to hear from the community, provide roadway safety education and receive feedback.

  • Multiple improvement alternatives were developed with geometric and non-geometric improvements to address the safety concerns at individual intersections and throughout the corridor. Using the Highway Safety Manual (HSM) a thorough safety analysis compared observed crashes with expected crashes and predict crash frequencies for proposed improvement countermeasures and determine a monetary crash reduction benefit. This was then used to develop a benefit-cost ratio with estimated construction costs. An evaluation matrix with the project-specific assessment criteria, benefit-cost ratio, agency guidance and statewide Missouri safety goals were used to rank the alternatives. Suggested improvement alternatives generally fell into the following categories: intersection consolidation and/or closures, alignment and profile improvements, median U-turn, grade separation or low-cost short-term solutions.

  • The study provided suggested improvements and an implementation strategy using the 30-mile corridor priority needs and the high, moderate and low-cost solutions taking into account that funding may be available in multiple phases over multiple years. The team’s process was flexible to accommodate both quantitative data and qualitative comments and priorities for suggested improvements that meet MoDOT roadway safety goals.

Following the successful completion of the Intersection Safety Study in 2019, GBA was selected to lead the initial design of the suggested intersection improvements. The first phase of design was completed in 2020 for the Allen Rd. intersection with the second phase beginning in early 2022 for the Hickory Hill/Clark Fork intersection.

Phase one construction is scheduled for 2022. Visit the MoDOT website to stay up to date on construction activities.

NextGen Precision Health Facility

Posted on Posted in Project

Columbia, Missouri

GBA was hired by the University of Missouri to provide building permit services throughout the construction of the 265,000 square foot, four-story specialty research NextGen Precision Health Institute. Lab spaces programmed for faculty, graduate students and clinicians, collaborative spaces for work with industry partners, an oversized basement and mechanical penthouse were constructed as part of this project. The intent of the facility is to help translate fundamental research from laboratories to effective treatments and devices.

GBA Services:

  • Established procedures to manage the building permit process with the University of Missouri System Authority having jurisdiction.
  • Reviewed plans, specifications and construction documents for compliance with the University of Missouri adopted building codes.
  • GBA reviewed deferred and construction submittals.
  • Issued building permits.
  • Attended design, pre-construction, and coordination meetings.
  • Performed site visit inspections and delivered inspection reports.
  • Issued Temporary Certificates of Occupancy (TCO)
  • Issued Final Certificates of Occupancy (FCO)

Project Elements:

  • Vivarium
  • Imaging Core (7T MRI, PET CT, SPECT CT suites)
  • Electron Microscopy Core
  • GMP/Clean Room Core
  • Biological Labs
  • Chemical/Material Sciences Labs
  • Computational Labs
  • Innovation (flexible) Space
  • Collaborative & Conferencing Space
  • Office & Support Spaces



University of Missouri – Columbia

Project Size:

265,000 SF

Completion Date:


KDOT Local Bridge Program

Posted on Posted in Project


GBA is one of two consulting teams developing and executing a statewide off-system bridge load rating program for approximately 20,000 bridges over 10 years. Many of these bridges are in rural areas consisting of all types and sizes.

Throughout the program, GBA is working with KDOT and the other consultant team to develop and update program policies and procedures, including forms and guidelines to ensure reliability and consistency statewide.

During the first couple years of the program, a large data-gathering effort was completed to collect and digitize available plans and inspection records for all bridges across the state. The data is stored in a cloud-based data management system that can be easily accessed by all stakeholders during future years of the program. This effort required extensive communication and coordination with the local public agencies.

Based on the information obtained through the data-gathering efforts, GBA’s bridge inspection team leaders are performing field investigations (special inspections for load rating) on each bridge.  The inspections include verifying available construction plans, measuring bridge geometry and member sizes, documenting section loss and defects and evaluating the current condition ratings. This information is used in analyzing the current load-carrying capacity of each bridge.

All load rating analysis is being completed in AASHTOWare BrR software using LFR or LRFR methods. KDOT’s goal is to have a BrR analysis model on each bridge for future use.  The AASHTOWare BrR model is developed based on the available plans and field investigations.  All bridges are evaluated for the standard AASHTO legal loads, including the special haul vehicles (SU4 thru SU7) as well as the emergency vehicles (EV2 and EV3).

After completing the load rating analysis, a comprehensive report with a signed/sealed load rating summary sheet is compiled for each bridge.  These reports are delivered to each bridge owner and required to be on file.  GBA coordinates with the local public agencies and KDOT to deliver the final reports.  The delivery meetings are one-on-one meetings with each bridge owner to explain the program, address any significant findings and address any load posting changes or closures that may be required.


Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT)

Project Cost:

$5 million/year

Completion Date:

October 2024

Ampio Pharmaceuticals Production and Office Facility, Englewood, CO

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GBA provided design services for the transition of Ampio Pharmaceuticals from start-up to a full-scale commercial operation. This state-of-the-art project included design and construction of a 19,000-SF pharmaceutical production facility, involving clean rooms, laboratories, warehouse and office space for a proprietary biopharmaceutical company specializing in anti-inflammatory treatments.

Project Elements

  • Modular clean room for aseptic processing
  • Utility design for pure steam, water for injection, compressed air, nitrogen, argon and central vacuum system
  • HVAC design for the manufacturing facility (ISO 8 through ISO 5), laboratories, and office/warehouse areas
  • Class A corporate headquarters (office design)
  • Equipment procurement including specifications, competitive bidding, vendor recommendations, and FAT/SAT attendance for manufacturing equipment including:
    – Autoclave
    – VHP chamber
    – Vial Filler with RABS
    – Custom fluid removal machine
    – Pure steam generator
    – Water for injection skid
    – Laboratory equipment
    – Modular clean room

Confidential Client, New Manufacturing Facility

Posted on Posted in Project

GBA provided design services for the renovation of an existing 50,000-SF precast warehouse building. The project involved a tenant finish and building modifications made to support installation of new, manufacturing cleanroom PODS in a leased building for use in a clinical scale gene therapy process.

GBA provided estimating, architectural, mechanical, electrical and fire protection design services, as well as worked closely with the owner to meet tight budget and schedule constraints.

Additionally, GBA provided onsite engineering staff to augment the AveXis engineering staff to assist in construction as-built review, punch list management, equipment start-up troubleshooting, change control documentation, P&ID, SOP, and Batch Record generation and process development support.

Ancillary spaces included labs, cold rooms/freezers, thaw area, CRT warehouse, packaging and inspection.

Project Elements

  • BSL2 labs in prefabricated cleanroom PODs
  • Upgrades to the chilled water and heating hot water system, UPS, generator and new service entrance
  • Coordinated with city and state regulators for code compliance

GBA provided services for multiple phases over a three year duration including:

  • ARC Flash Study
  • Facility renovations of the office, freezer farm, warehouse, mechanical systems and cold rooms
  • Two phases of modular cleanroom PODs housing 12,500 SF of aseptic production
  • 1,500-SF production suite
  • Design of a QC, EM and IQ lab
  • Facility regulatory documentation and design of file management system