Balancing Major Bridge Repairs with High Traffic
The Problem: Missouri Needed Bridge Repair Services
When a major commuter route near busy shopping centers had multiple bridges that needed 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 Road in Lees Summit, Missouri 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.
The Solution: Missouri Hired the GBA Transportation Engineering Team
In close partnership with the city, MoDOT hired the GBA Transportation Engineering team 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.