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Multidisciplinary Service Offering is Just the Ticket for ADA Compliance Project

In their ongoing efforts to meet the compliance requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, the Iowa DOT continued to upgrade sidewalks and sidewalk ramps throughout Iowa in 2017. The plan focused on nine individual communities with state highways in their jurisdiction. These towns included Martinsburg, Hedrick, Minburn, Moulton, Early, Pisgah, Onslow, Goose Lake, and Maysville. The DOT chose to partner with Snyder & Associates to handle the design and engineering aspects of these projects, as well as providing right-of-way services to handle the easement negotiations. Altogether, this far-reaching project required 241 easements, with fewer than 90 days to complete all acquisitions.

Spread throughout Iowa, our right-of-way team immediately recognized that the geography of the communities included in the project could create a coordination challenge. Additionally, the timeframe for completion requested by the DOT was shorter than typical and would require an exemplary focus on efficiency and time management.

Unique Challenges Faced — & Overcome — by Right-of-Way Team

While the Snyder & Associates engineering staff finished up project designs, the right-of-way team immediately began the process of assembling the necessary ownership records and Iowa DOT ADA Sidewalk Easement forms. Working diligently, our team quickly created the required documents and had them ready to deliver to the appropriate owners upon project approval.

The right-of-way team worked with city officials from each of the nine towns to answer questions from property owners. They were also available at numerous public venues should owners elect to ask questions in person at their local town hall. Public information meetings were arranged in the more populated towns to make it convenient for a majority of owners to stop in for a single meeting. This provided them the opportunity to have their questions answered and complete the required paperwork.

Another challenge in a project of this scale is simply making contact with the property owners in certain cases. Many people no longer have landline telephones and cell phone information is typically not readily available. The right-of-way team utilized various online resources in their search. Occasionally, they turned to residents to contact some difficult to locate owners. On-site visits often required door-to-door canvassing — inquiring at local businesses during the day and knocking on residential doors into the evening.

Seamless Communication between Disciplines Keeps Project On Track

As the team worked through the negotiations, there was a small portion of absent property owners that couldn’t be contacted, and a few that refused to accept the offer. Since Snyder & Associates was handling all aspects of this project, the right-of-way team could work quickly and efficiently with the engineers to create a modification that worked around the unsigned properties with minimal disruption.

Out of the 247 properties impacted by the sidewalk improvement program, the right-of-way team obtained signatures from 217 owners. Acceptable solutions were devised by the engineering team for the remaining 30 parcels. Most importantly, the work was completed in the allotted time to meet the project deadline. The right-of-way team’s efficient use of resources, diligence in working with local officials, and willingness to go the extra mile by canvassing neighborhoods all contributed to the success of this project.