Senior design team improves transportation quality

May 15, 2003

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Left to Right: Josh Bowe, David Hemmerich, Luke Van Straten, and Adam Arndt

PLATTEVILLE - One of UW-Platteville's senior design teams has been working with Platteville City Engineer Howard Crofoot to reconstruct and rehabilitate state highway 81 running through Platteville.

The project concentrates on two segments of road. One segment is not quite a mile long and runs from Ridge Street to Pine Street. The other segment is approximately a quarter-mile in length and is located between Chestnut Street and Water Street.

The team working on this project consists of four civil engineering students in their fifth-year who will each be graduating this May. Three of the students have an emphasis in transportation and construction engineering. They are Josh Bowe from Chippewa Falls; Luke Van Straten from Shiocton; and David Hemmerich from Big Bend. The fourth student is Adam Arndt, originally from Milwaukee, where line of study includes an emphasis in construction engineering.

The team's role in the project is to conduct a signal warrant analysis and redesign and reconstruct the intersections located on highway 80 and Pine Street, Chestnut and Pine Streets and Main and Chestnut Streets. The signal analysis consists of taking traffic counts to measure how heavy the traffic is through these intersections. If the results meet one of the warrants in the analysis then a traffic light is needed. Of the three intersections mentioned, only one currently has a traffic light while the other two are controlled by four-way stop signs.

The intersection located on Hwy. 80 and Pine Street currently has a traffic light but needs to be redesigned. According to the Department of Transportation (DOT), the traffic signs located there have been knocked over several times in the last couple years by trucks making tight turns. The team is responsible for designing an intersection that would allow the trucks a wider turning radius that would prevent further destruction to the traffic signs.

Thus far the team has taken numerous traffic counts, redesigned intersections, finished the warrant analysis, designed new concrete and asphalt and worked on the most efficient design and timing for the traffic lights. To complete the project, the team still needs to conclude a cost analysis, determine a detour route by breaking the construction of the project into different phases and prepare a final report.

The project has been both educational and challenging for the team members. Inclement weather made gathering measurements, data and traffic counts both difficult and not enjoyable. As the project continued throughout the semester, the team found information to be scarce at first and is now under time constraints to finish the project.

This project has provided the team members with a behind-the-scenes look into how much work goes into road design and reconstruction. Besides the obvious construction work that many individuals have the opportunity to witness, a road reconstruction team must spend lots of time planning details, gathering information and determining the best solution to the current problem. This project has allowed the team members to experience and work with each of these aspects.

The team members feel their classes at UWP have provided them with the essential background needed to complete the project. These classes have covered different phases of the project such as various types of design, cost analysis information and step-by-step knowledge in road reconstruction. UWP professors Sam Owusu Ababio and Tom Nelson have also been extremely helpful to the team throughout the course of the project.

The team's main goal in completing the project is that the information it presents to the city engineer and the DOT will have an affect on the final outcome.

Following graduation, each of the team members will take the experience and knowledge gained at UWP and apply it to the work force. Van Straten has accepted a position for an asphalt and paving company in Kenosha. Hemmerich will be working for Baxter and Woodman Consulting Engineers out of Illinois. Arndt will be working for F.H. Paschen SNNielson General Contractors out of Chicago, Ill. Bowe is currently interviewing and weighing his options for future employment.

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