Oregon Awarded Funds for Road Improvements

August 5, 2013 - The City of Oregon was recently notified that it will receive funding to improve Navarre Avenue, from I-280 to Isaac Streets Drive. The Safety Program Committee of the Ohio Department of Transpor­tation sent a letter to the City stating that its application for the construction of various enhancements along Navarre and at the junctures of Dearborn, Munding, Wheeling, and Isaac Streets has been approved for funding. The City, with the assistance of DGL Consulting Engineers, submitted the request for funding to ODOT to reduce the incidence of traffic accidents along the heavily traveled road. Safety measures to be incorporated include signal improvements, the construction of medians with provisions for U-turns, the addition of a second left-turn lane on southbound Wheeling, and the replacement of the existing asphalt with microsurface to help prevent skidding when the pavement is wet.

The estimated construction cost for the improvements is $2.7 million, with ODOT providing $2.4 million of the funds and the City the remainder. According to Paul Roman, Director of Public Services with the City of Oregon, construction won’t begin on the project until 2016, allowing time for the development of the detailed engineering plans as well as right-of-way and utility plans.

Time Ticking By for Municipalities Required to Comply with Changes to Federal & State MUTCD

June 3, 2013 - Whether or not you are aware of it, significant modifications have been made to standards and requirements for traffic signals in both the Federal and Ohio Manuals on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). While many of the changes do not include compliance dates, two sections that do contain target dates are worthy of the attention of every municipality. Updates to the Yellow Change, Red Clearance and Pedestrian Intervals require compliance within five years of the revision date (June 13, 2012) or when timing adjustments are made, whichever occurs first. While this five year window may seem large, some of the upgrades will require long-term planning, particularly in areas where the volume of traffic and the number of pedestrians are at high levels. As articulated in the Ohio MUTCD Manual, the revisions include:

  • The duration of the yellow change and red clearance intervals are now required to be determined using engi­neering practices (OMUTCD – 4D.26)
  • Due to slower average walking rates, the minimum walk and pedestrian clear­ance times has increased and a don’t walk buffer period has been added (OMUTCD – 4E.06).

These changes will impact the movement of traffic and, in urban areas, create a domino effect among consecutive intersections. Figure 4E-2 illustrates the pedestrian intervals and their possible relationships with associated vehic­ular signal phase intervals.

The City of Bryan Initiates Upgrade Program

Not a municipality to wait until the last minute, the City of Bryan decided to find out what it would take to achieve compliance with the new pedestrian timing requirements incor­porated into the OMUTCD. The City con­tracted with DGL to study and develop timing plans for nine (9) intersections, all connected to Main and High Streets, the two primary thoroughfares through downtown Bryan. “It’s important that we plan ahead for these changes,” commented Brian M. Wieland, PE, PS, Bryan City Engineer. “The five year window gives us the opportunity to incor­porate these updates gradually, which is easier on our annual budget.”  All of the municipality’s current intersections operate on an 80-second background cycle when under coordination.

City officials provided existing timing data, crosswalk lengths, and traffic data. Timing plans were developed based on 1) a one hour count (provided by the City) at the highest volume intersection, Main & High Street; 2) crosswalk lengths; and 3) existing split balances at the remaining intersections using the established design standards.

Within ten days of receipt of the necessary evaluation data, DGL delivered to the City:

  • Worksheets for each intersection that included evaluation data and recommended programming data
  • Time-space diagrams representing the proposed modifications
  • A one-page summary of the project and recommended modifications

DGL also recommended that an on-site evaluation of traffic flow be conducted after the changes have been accom­plished in order to make sure the intersections function as intended and additional alterations are not required.

The City of Bryan expects to complete the programming changes this summer, well ahead of the compliance deadline.

Construction on Busy Road Causes Drivers to See… Orange

May 20, 2013 - There are some things that can be counted on every spring: the appearance of robins, budding trees, tulips and daffodils. And, oh yes - those oh-so-familiar orange barrels that pop up every spring and seem not to disappear again until the beginning of the following winter.

As frustrating as it can be to sit in traffic waiting your turn to proceed through the road construction, have you ever wondered how complicated these projects might be? What does it take to coordinate the improvement of our infrastructure so that, once construction is completed, traffic runs smoothly?

Recently, improvements have begun on a popular roadway in Maumee, and DGL Consulting Engineers is supporting the City of Maumee in managing and inspecting the construction efforts. According to Ahmed Hamid, Principal of DGL and Director of the firm’s Construction Services division, the enhancement of two miles of Reynolds Road/Conant Street was started in early February and will be completed in mid-July. The reconstruction project includes the section of Conant that runs from the Turnpike entrance/exit ramps south to the Anthony Wayne Trail. In addition to reducing accidents and alleviating traffic flow interruptions from inefficient traffic control devices, the project is expected to improve the visibility of signals, plus add to and improve the signage that indicates lane usage. The enhancements will also create sidewalks that will meet ADA requirements.

As can be imagined, a project of this type involves a variety of stakeholders. “The entities involved in the Conant Street Reconstruction project are numerous,” states Joe Camp, Director of the Department of Public Service for the City of Maumee. “First, we have the public entities, including not only the City of Maumee, but also the Ohio Department of Transportation and the Federal Government, which are providing funding for the project through ODOT and Federal Highway Administration programs.” Add to that the mix of contractors who will be involved – those providing excavating, landscaping, concrete and asphalt paving, piping, signage, and painting – each whose work must be coordinated with the others. Then there are the materials testing lab, utility companies, and representatives of the railroad with whom the City of Maumee and DGL will be working to accommodate requirements and schedules. “And we can’t forget the other construction projects that will be occurring along that stretch of Conant, including new restaurants, a new Kroger store, a signal upgrade/rehabilitation at the LA Fitness/Calvary Church intersection, and the Ohio Turnpike Third Lane Widening project,” says Mr. Camp. “Each will have an impact on the Conant Street project, and vice versa.”

So, how will DGL coordinate and accommodate all of these factions?

The first step was to assign a full-time professional to the project who will coordinate and oversee the day-to-day work and administration. Matt Myers, a DGL Construction Engineer, will monitor the contractors’ work and maintain communication with the City of Maumee throughout the life of the project. “Matt’s job is to make sure that the contractors are building the project according to the plans and specifications and that the project stays on schedule,” comments Ahmed Hamid, DGL’s Principal-In-Charge. “He schedules and facilitates regular construction progress meetings and provides monthly progress reports to the City of Maumee. In addition, DGL is coordinating the testing of materials used on the project; evaluating and giving recommendations for approval of contractors’ payment requests to the City; assessing the need for changes to the contract documents; and, in coordination with the City, preparing the paperwork required for submission to ODOT.” Participating in the final inspection and close out of the project also falls under DGL’s responsibilities. “Our work isn’t completed until the City and ODOT sign off on the project,” states Ahmed.

Coordinating the input and needs of the various stakeholders is one aspect of the complicated roadway reconstruction. Then there are the challenges and issues that go along with this type of project - things like lane/road closings and the establishment of detours in order to maintain traffic flow; taking precautions to assure the safety of drivers, pedestrians, and construction workers; creating haul routes to enable trucks with construction materials to access and maneuver the site; and minimizing erosion as the roadway is re-constructed. “And we can’t forget the needs of current commercial and corporate businesses along the route,” says Ahmed. “Their right-of-ways have to be maintained so they are accessible, and the utilities they rely on need to be relocated so they can continue to operate throughout the construction period.”

So, the next time you’re stuck in traffic and feel frustrated, maybe it will help to remember that roadway reconstruction projects are not an easy undertaking and take place for the benefit of the community’s citizens and visitors. Oh yes - and that a great deal of foresight and planning is brought to the table prior to the appearance of the first orange barrel.

DGL Employee Obtains Traffic Engineering Certification

April 29, 2013 - DGL Consulting Engineers, Ltd. is pleased to announce that Barb Jones has obtained her Professional Traffic Operations Engineer Certification (PTOE). Certification as a PTOE is a strong demonstration of the knowledge, skill and ability required in traffic operations engineering. It is administered by the Transportation Professional Certification Board Inc. (TPCB), an autonomous certification body that is affiliated with the Institute of Transportation Engineers. According to the TPCB, there are just 2,662 certified professionals as of this past December. The certification process requires that the holder be a licensed professional engineer. It builds on, and supports, the practice of profes­sional engineering registration, covering such areas as Traffic Engineering Studies, including the assessment of long- and short-range traffic impacts; Traffic Operations Analysis, which encompasses traffic flow concepts, freeway operations, site impact analysis, and intersection operations; Traffic Safety; the Operational Effects of Geometric Design, including intersection configurations; and Traffic Control Devices.

“Barb’s certification as a Professional Traffic Operations Engineer reinforces DGL’s expertise in traffic engineering,” states Stephen Way, Principal and Managing Director of DGL. “We’re proud of Barb’s achievement and look forward to her continued involvement and leadership in serving clients who require these services.”

Progressing and Growing to Provide for Our Clients’ Needs

March 20, 2013 - Robert W. Bailey, P.E., LEED AP BD+C joined DGL Consulting Engineers last year and is taking a lead role in site planning projects. Bob’s 17 years of experience has included all aspects of site development, including flood studies as well as the design of grading, storm water conveyance and control systems, retaining walls, roadway improvements, and utilities.Bob has designed and managed projects ranging in size from small half acre lots, to overall developments of more than 200 acres. These projects have involved the analysis of existing utility systems; the design of new utility systems, storm water detention, mass grading plans, and road layout; storm water pollution prevention plans; and the coordination of work with owners, architects, and engineers from all over the U.S.

A graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Bob earned a B. S. in Civil Engineering in 1994, and a M. S. in Civil Engineering with a Structural Emphasis in 1995. He is professionally registered in five states, including Ohio, and became a LEED Accredited Professional in 2009.

When not at work, Bob spends time with his wife, Jennifer, and their two children. He enjoys taking on projects around the house and actively volunteers at his church.

R. J. Lumbrezer, P.S. joined DGL Consulting Engineers earlier this year as the firm’s Survey Manager. A former employee of the Ohio Department of Transportation’s District 2 Office, R. J. brings to DGL 27 years of experience in professional surveying and right of way design. His background includes both field and management experience, as well as construction layout for private companies and public agencies. R. J.’s expertise strengthens the surveying services we currently provide to DGL clients.

R. J. is a Licensed Professional Surveyor in the State of Ohio and is certified by ODOT as a Right-of-Way Designer. He has been as a member of the Royalton Township Board of Trustees since 2001 and has served as Vice President and President of the Fulton County Township Association. In 2012, he was re-elected to the Board of Directors of the Ohio Township Association.

In his free time, R. J. enjoys watching and helping to coach his three boys and two girls in golf, basketball and baseball/softball. He and his wife, Tanya, also spend time volunteering at the children’s school, where R. J. serves on the school advisory council.

Former Principal Kenneth E. Ducat, P.S., who led DGL’s Surveying division for numerous years, continues to work on a part-time basis, bringing over 35 years of experience to the firm’s clients.