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Municipal Engineering Services Leads to Roadway Reconstruction Project

The City of Pleasantville was faced with the task of upgrading Highway G 40 (locally known as Jasper Street), the main east/west corridor through the heart of town. This almost one-mile-long section of Jasper Street connects Highway 5 on the west side of town with Business Highway 5 to the east. It’s also the main conduit leading to Red Rock Lake. The street had fallen into severe disrepair and was inadequately sized to handle a traffic flow that had increased over the years.

Snyder & Associates engineers had been providing municipal engineering services for the City of Pleasantville for several years before this project. It was a natural progression to have our team design and plan the roadway expansion. Through numerous recommendations and revisions, the Snyder & Associates engineers came up with a design that was ultimately approved by the city.

Our team determined the best course of action was to expand the existing 27′-wide roadway (narrower in some parts) to 31′ wide. The plan also called for adding 5′-wide sidewalks on each side of the new street. The existing sidewalk network was spotty at best and was only on one side of the street. A new sidewalk system would create a safer environment for pedestrians and vehicle traffic alike. Additionally, a complete water main replacement would be performed along the corridor in conjunction with new stormwater services.

Due to problems with localized flooding during periods of heavy rain, a solution was necessary to divert stormwater. Since space was limited along the corridor, using an above-ground detention pond was not feasible. Ultimately, a plan was devised to create a large underground detention vault on a piece of property adjacent to the roadway. The vault consists of large sections of corrugated plastic placed on a compacted bed of gravel. Once covered, stormwater is diverted to the basin through normal channels where it’s temporarily stored. It’s then released through a series of outlet pipes that are specifically designed to let water out in a controlled manner to mitigate flooding issues.

3-D Visualization & In-House, Right-of-Way Acquisition Services Simplify Process

rendering of roadway

3-D visualization software allows residents to “see” the finished project before it starts.

Public buy-in was critical for a project of this nature. To that end, our design team was able to use 3-D visualization software to show several residents what the completed street improvements would look like before work was started. This gave homeowners in the reconstruction area a thorough understanding of how their property would be impacted by the changes.

The proposed design would impact 80 property owners with right-of-way acquisition issues. Since most of the affected right-of-way areas were narrow strips of property that simply required fee acquisition and temporary construction easements, the city felt they could best serve the community by handling the 80 acquisition parcels with city staff. However, the complicated task of assembling and completing all of the necessary documents was too intensive for the available city resources.

With an in-house, right-of-way acquisition team, Snyder & Associates was able to quickly step in to assist with the administrative portion of the project. The right-of-way team worked with the city and their attorney on completing all of the documents and easements for each of the 80 properties affected by the project.

Our right-of-way team provided all of the administrative support for the city to complete and present the necessary documents for use by their staff. To meet a tight turnaround deadline, we partnered with a third-party appraiser to complete a Project Data Book containing property valuations. Additionally, our team ordered title certificates, completed easement documents, created compensation estimates, and wrote cover letters to the owners on the City of Pleasantville letterhead. Close work with the City Attorney was also required to complete the Warranty Deeds.

Our team provided all of the time-sensitive document packets ready to present to the property owners. This allowed the city staff to focus on negotiations and explaining the project with the landowners without getting delayed by the administrative duties. As design changes were requested, our right-of-way team was able to quickly coordinate with the engineering team to make immediate adjustments. This meant the modified design documents were proffered in a prompt manner to keep the negotiations moving forward.

Snyder & Associates provides a unique offering to our clients with our in-house, right-of-way team working side by side with the engineering design team. This ability to move seamlessly through the design and negotiation process is a tremendous benefit to our clients — keeping projects on task and on time. Our service with the City of Pleasantville is just one example of how we can customize our right-of-way services to meet our client’s needs.

Funding Assistance Improves Project Success

Similar to other projects our team has completed for the city, Snyder & Associates found multiple funding sources that brought this project to fruition. We provided grant application assistance by obtaining two Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) and utilized the Iowa SRF program, as well. Additionally, Tax Increment Financing (TIF) and Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) funding were procured for this project. Our knowledge and years of experience with transportation funding options allow the communities we work for to get the best results with the limited resources available.

Phased Construction Helps Reduce Disruptions

To minimize the disruption to residents, a carefully planned construction schedule was created for this project. It was anticipated that two construction seasons would be necessary to complete the entire one-mile stretch of roadway. With that in mind, work began on the west end and proceeded east, replacing the water main and storm sewer pipes, as well as pouring new pavement in roughly 1,000-foot sections. A limited number of days was written into the construction contract to try to ensure that the project was completed as quickly as possible.

Currently, crews are working on the final sections of the project with a substantial completion date anticipated for mid-summer of 2020. When the roadway portion is finished the sidewalks will be added, along with new LED streetlights and a permanent speed sign to remind motorists to be safe. The reconstruction of this main roadway aims to bring more traffic into and through the town, with the intent of supporting increased commerce at local businesses.