Exerpts from the article in Construction Today
written by Janice Hoppe
The Blue Springs Public Works Department serves as the foundation of the city of Blue Springs, Mo., as it maintains the infrastructure and protects the public’s safety and environment around-the-clock. “Our work varies from high-profile to the obscure,” Director of Public Works Chris Sandie says. “Road and building construction gets attention, but no one really thinks about us when they turn on the faucet in the morning to brush their teeth.”
The public works department provides essential services in civil engineering, maintenance of the city’s streets, water and sewer utilities and fleet management. The engineering division is involved with the construction of subdivision infrastructure and capital improvement projects. Engineering also manages the annual contracted street maintenance program, which includes asphalt overlay, curb repair, large-scale asphalt patching and street striping.
Sandie has more than 30 years of experience and oversees the operations of the entire department. His team is overseeing the completion of two major projects in the city of Blue Springs – the widening and realignment of Woods Chapel Road, a main north/south arterial roadway, and is assisting Director of Parks and Recreation Dennis Dovel and the park staff with the renovation and expansion of the Howard L. Brown Public Safety Building.
Woods Chapel Road
The Interstate 70 and Woods Chapel Road interchange is a major gateway into the city of Blue Springs. The main reason for the widening and realignment is because the old roadway design leads to major delays during the morning and evening rush hours.
The nearly one-mile corridor between Duncan Road and Briarwood/Castle Drive, including the I-70 and Woods Chapel Road interchange, has seen much growth, according to the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT). Long delays and congestion are happening at the interchange because of closely spaced signals, weaving traffic patterns with right turns immediately followed by left turns and a lack of capacity as northbound traffic predominantly turns left to I-70 westbound.
“The interchange handles about 30,000 cars per day,” Sandie notes. “We put our heads together with MoDOT and TranSystems. The result, a diverging diamond interchange that uses the existing bridge and would not require bridge replacement or modifications to I-70.”
Construction on Phase I began in April 2012 and included the reconstruction of the intersection at Duncan and Wood Chapel roads. Two prominent engineering and design firms – TranSystems and Olsson Associates – designed the $15 million phase. TranSystems was the lead consultant for the project, Sandie says, and designed the project from the north side of the interchange to the southern limits to also include the relocation of South Outer Road and the addition of NW 36th Street. Olsson Associates designed the north section from the North Outer Road through the adjoining intersection at Duncan Road. TranSystems also provided the construction inspection for the improvements.
Phase II began in August 2014 and the Blue Springs Public Works Department chose TranSystems to provide management and topographical surveys in addition to engineering design.
“The fun part of the first phase was that the north part at Duncan Road was designed by Olsson Associates and the south portion from the interstate south was designed by TranSystems, so it was one of those situations where the match line in the middle had to come together perfectly,” Sandie says. “They did an excellent job working together to make sure everything came together spot on.”
The improvements to Woods Chapel Road during Phase I and II include pedestrian-friendly, multi-modal amenities and landscaping, as well as better traffic flow. The two-lane roadway with auxiliary turn lanes will become a five-lane roadway with central, two-way left-turn lanes north of Valley View Road and a three-lane section with a dedicated two-way left-turn lane to the south. Design elements of both phases include a roundabout and a diverging diamond interchange over I-70 that is one of the first to be built in Missouri. The $6 million Phase II encompasses 3,510 feet and is expected to be completed in fall 2015.