ACEC/Minnesota Awards HR Green and Washington County Public Works Excellence Award
The American Council of Engineering Companies of Minnesota (ACEC/MN) has awarded the 2015 Engineering Excellence Honor Award to Washington County Public Works and HR Green for CSAH 19 (Woodbury Drive) Safety and Mobility.
HR Green was retained by Washington County for the Woodbury Drive project which consisted of a two-mile expansion from Valley Creek Road to Bailey Road.
The Woodbury Drive corridor in Woodbury is a well-established community corridor serving long-standing adjacent residential, commercial, and recreational land uses. Due to population growth in Woodbury, the 2-mile corridor from Valley View Road to CSAH 18 (Bailey Road) was experiencing increased periods of congestion and heightened safety risks related to adjacent access roads and turning movements. Washington County decided to proceed with a reconstruction and expansion of Woodbury Drive from a two-lane rural road to a four-lane street with curb and gutter.
At the time, the County was also aware of community interest in improving and expanding the availability of multi-use trails alongside the roadway. The existing trail was disconnected, with segments not built and only on one side of Woodbury Drive, which led to safety concerns for bicyclists and pedestrians in the corridor.
One of the key challenges involved in completing this project would be the constrained right-of-way that exists in the corridor. At approximately 120-feet wide, the Woodbury Drive right-of-way corridor would be limited in its capacity to incorporate new features such as trails or landscaping that blends in with the surrounding environment. Acquisition of new right-of-way in this corridor would make the project prohibitively expensive.
As the consulting engineer to Washington County, HR Green worked with the County and the City to facilitate a context sensitive solutions approach to understand each stakeholder’s interests. The process led to the discovery of several inter-related challenges including the need to: replace critical utilities, meet stringent stormwater and water quality requirements, maintain the existing and desired neighborhood aesthetic, and address road/trail accessibility concerns. By engaging stakeholders at the beginning, HR Green demonstrated that this collaborative approach not only resulted in a better end product, but was also more cost-effective for Washington County. The design process brought together numerous agencies and constituencies for a cooperative and highly successful endeavor.
The project is noteworthy for the way it integrated transportation and water resource expertise for a creative stormwater reuse system that helps address emerging concerns about groundwater supply in the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area. This exemplary project also illustrates the positive outcomes that result when engineers listen to the concerns of diverse stakeholders and build a consensus-based vision for the project.