This project is one of several segments of the US 41 Corridor that will be expanded from four to six lanes to increase capacity along the highway in Brown and Winnebago Counties as part of a $1.5 billion mega project. The construction cost for this segment was approximately $240 million. Ayres’ services for this section from Memorial Drive to CTH M (Lineville Road) in Brown County included developing alternatives for the US 41/I-43 interchange; preparing an environmental impact statement (EIS) for the project; preparing conceptual structure plans; and providing 30%, 60%, and final roadway plans and specifications.
Challenges included developing consensus for an interchange alternative; completing an EIS on a tight schedule (before the initial plans, specifications, and estimates (PS&E) dates); developing complex traffic control and staging plans to maintain traffic during construction; and coordinating the plan preparation with numerous WisDOT staff, other US 41 consultants, and subconsultants.
The I-43 interchange was reconstructed with safer, flattened directional flyover ramps, eliminating existing loop ramps. The interchange includes new bridges over the Canadian National Railroad, Wietor Drive, I-43, and Duck Creek. Existing access between the closely spaced Velp Avenue and the I-43 ramps via US 41 was eliminated.
At the Velp Avenue interchange, new bridges were constructed. Velp Avenue was reconstructed under US 41 to include bicycle and pedestrian accommodations. Roundabouts were installed at the ramp terminals and at the intersection of US 41/Velp Avenue and Memorial Drive. Ramp improvements at the recently completed US 41/CTH M (Lineville Road) interchange included parallel on/off ramps.
Structure design included 15 bridges, 16 retaining walls, and a box culvert that includes four large steel box girder bridges. Ayres provided the hydraulic analysis, sizing, final design, and plans for two bridges over Duck Creek during the conceptual design phase. All other structural final design was completed by WisDOT and other US 41 consultants. Ayres provided coordination with WisDOT’s Bureau of Structures and Northeast Region and other state and federal approval agencies.
Lanes from Memorial Drive to Lakeview Drive were constructed in stages over multiple years using crossovers at the north and south ends of the project. In the fall of 2015, traffic was moved to the northbound lanes to allow for construction on the southbound lanes. Construction was substantially complete in October 2016.
Measures used to maintain traffic during construction included temporary widenings of existing roadways and the addition of temporary roadways. In addition, the project incorporated provisions for nighttime construction using ramp and lane closures.
WisDOT initially contracted with Ayres for conceptual design, EIS preparation, and preliminary plan development. Two separate contracts were executed for the final plan preparation, which involved about a dozen separate PS&E submittals.