September 26, 2018 APWA Southern Branch Luncheon More Info >
2018 NEWSLETTER SPONSORS
"What is This Thing We Call Public Works?"
Ending the month of August in similar fashion to how it started - attending an APWA conference/convention. We began the month at the State Conference in Tucson and ending it at PWX 2018 in Kansas City. Using the inaugural PWX here in Phoenix in 2015 as a model, there were folks not only from all across the country but the world. There were presenters from Australia, Finland, amongst others, and our colleagues from Canada had several sessions as well.
All of this points out one aspect of the diversity of our industry - it's worldwide. Another aspect of our diversity is the many service areas we find ourselves in. A question often asked in the Public Works Institute (PWI) sessions is - "What is public works?" The answer is really - "It depends!" In some communities the public works department incorporates water, wastewater, streets, solid waste, engineering, facilities, fleet, parks maintenance, even airport. In the next community each may be its own department or they may be grouped differently. There seems to be as many definitions as there are agencies. Regardless - consistently the public works industry are those services provided by public agencies for the benefit of their communities. A proud tradition to be a part of.
One of the initiatives your board is undertaking this year is looking for ways we can collaborate with our fellow professional associations representing different aspects of the public works industry. Currently we have been in discussions with AZ WATER, the state association representing folks engaged in the water and wastewater disciplines. We will be providing a "favored nation" discount to AZ WATER members who sign up for our Public Works Institute this fall. (October if you haven't reserved a seat for yourself or members of your team). At $300 it's more than the APWA member rate of $250 but less than the full non-member rate of $350. AZ WATER will be promoting the PWI to their 2300 or so members, increasing the exposure of our Institute to potential attendees.
We are also working with AZ WATER to see how our interests align in the areas of advocacy, programs, educational workshops, and others. As we flush out the particulars of this relationship, we'll be looking for other allied associations with whom close collaboration is beneficial to both groups. We'll keep you posted.
Speaking of the Public Works Institute, Module 1 is scheduled for October and the City of Mesa will be providing the facilities for us. Please share this information with your teams and associates. It's an excellent way to get a solid base for moving forward as supervisors and managers - if that's your career track.
In closing, as we've noted often, our committees are the life blood of organizations like ours. One of the features that many folks on the national level have commented on about the Arizona Chapter is our regular monthly luncheons that come with an informative program 10 months out of the year. Those programs do take some work to put together and our Program Committee is "looking for a few good men and women" to help them out. Please consider if you can. If you are intersted contact Kristina Locke of CVL (email@example.com) or Rod Penniman of Olsson (firstname.lastname@example.org) and they can plug you in. Thanks for your help in this very important committee.
Gregory B. Smith, PE/PS, ENV_SP ARIZONA CHAPTER PRESIDENT
Check out what our first PWI Graduates had to say about the four-module public works training…
“I really didn’t think APWA would help me but after I sat through classes, I realized how helpful it would be using some information during my daily tasks” – Field Supervisor
“These four modules through APWA have been some of the most helpful trainings I have ever attended” – Fleet Services Supervisor
“I benefitted most because we were discussing real life business with peers” – System Supervisor
New Member Spotlight
Name, Title, Agency/Company: Jim Cunningham PE SE RLS, Deputy Director, Pima County Department of Transportation
With APWA Since: New to APWA
Describe your job responsibilities: Maintenance and Right of Way Operations, Project Delivery and Technical Services
What was your favorite project to work on in the last 10 years? US 101 Bridge Widening Projects, Marin County CA
Where have your travels taken you?: Most of Arizona and parts of California
Name one thing not many people know about you: I used to ride 50 mile endurance rides on horseback
2018 Statewide Conference Wrap Up
Story by Conference Co-Chairs Christy Sipos (Civiltec Engineering) and Scott Kirchhofer (Achen-Gardner Construction)
From the bottom of our hearts we thank all of the committee members, attendees, sponsors, exhibitors, and speakers for making the Arizona Chapter APWA 2018 Statewide Conference a big success. Last year was our first year organizing the conference and we learned a lot that we were able to apply this year. Your feedback is very helpful and we listen and make adjustments in an effort to make the conference a more valuable and memorable experience. Speaking of feedback, we asked attendees to fill out an online survey and many of you responded. Other people chose to tell us directly what they liked and didn’t like. Please, if you have any comments about the conference, feel free to contact us directly. We would like to know your thoughts and how we can make the conference better next year. SAVE THE DATE: August 7-9, 2019.
10 Awards given at Thursday’s luncheon (9 projects and 1 outstanding public works employee)
22 Programs/presentations (in four tracks)
23 Different municipalities/agencies participated in Friday’s networking session (several had 3-5 agency representatives)
6 Grand prizes given away before Friday’s networking session
Conference Highlights - THURSDAY
We tried to find a unique speaker who could educate and entertain attendees during Thursday’s keynote and Jay Gubrud nailed it. Jay’s blue collar/down to earth personality was very comforting and his presentation titled “Shifting Gears & Changing Lanes” was well delivered and full of helpful suggestions and techniques to effectively navigate the road to change. Jay has offered to share his presentation with all of us and you can find it here. https://www.dropbox.com/home/2018%20APWA%20Conference%20Photos. Also, thank you to Greg Smith, Arizona APWA Chapter President, and Carmine DeBonis Jr., Deputy Pima County Administrator for Public Works for starting the opening session.
This year we had 59 booths which was a few less than last year but we did have more sponsors so our overall financial support was higher compared to last year. It was a good mix of engineering and construction firms, equipment/material suppliers, and other industry-related firms. Some of these vendors are well known and regularly support APWA and some were new. We would like to thank all of the exhibitors and all of the sponsors for helping to make this a great event. Without your support, this conference would not be possible. We truly hope that your investment of time and money was worth it and we’d appreciate any suggestions on how you can get more bang for your buck next year.
Whoopee! Thursday’s Fun Night was well attended and at times “roaring” with excitement. The 20s Prohibition/Speakeasy Casino Night theme was a lot of fun and many people showed up in costume. Thanks to those folks who dressed up and helped to make the evening more memorable. Special thanks to Stantec for sponsoring Fun Night and providing prizes for the costume contest. We really hope everyone liked the custom 20s-era drinks. Our committee members worked hard (LOL!) sampling different drinks to figure out which ones were the best for the party. The music, movie, food, drinks, and gambling all contributed to a wingding many will remember. A special thanks to the Conference Site Committee for planning this wonderful event.
Conference Highlights - friday
Last year was the first time we featured the municipal networking event and it was such a success that we wanted to do it again this year. The result was impressive to say the least. We think everyone would agree that Friday’s Agency Showcase is now one of the biggest highlights of the Statewide Conference and something that we look forward to doing every year. We hosted this event in a bigger room than we had last year and we filled it. The event featured 23 different municipalities/agencies and each one had three to five representatives (project managers, city engineers, etc.). Nearly 200 people attended the event (more than last year) and we intend to improve and refine the format to make it bigger and better next year. Special thanks to Jay Gubrud who kicked off Friday’s program with an interactive and lively keynote titled “Speed Traps, Pot Holes & Idiots”.
We are keeping the conference website live at https://azapwaconference.com if you want to review 2018 conference details, access the program, and see the list of award winners. We will update the site with new conference information as it becomes available.
Silverbell Road, Goret Road to Grant Road Improvements Tucson Department of Transportation, Hunter Contracting Co., & Kittelson & Associates
Information from Award Submittal
The Silberbell Road Improvement Project is a three-phase project encompassing an eight-mile stretch from Grant Road to Ina Road. Phase I includes design and construction from Goret Road to Grant Road. This is a Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) voter-approved project that is being managed by the City of Tucson Department of Transportation (TDOT).
The Silverbell Road Improvement Project, located entirely within the City of Tucson, is a principal arterial roadway, a scenic route designated by the City and County, and a major regional link serving the west and northwest region. The Goret to Grant section is the most urban piece along the Silverbell Road corridor with a mix of both established and growing retail, commercial and residential. Near this bustling micro-urban zone are historical sites, equestrian/hiking trails, a City golf course, the Santa Cruz River, and The Loop, a shared-use path around metropolitan Tucson.
The project required extensive upfront collaboration and planning to promote mobility and provide improved capacity and safety. These efforts included:
A Silverbell Road Design Concept Report (DCR), which included a unified approach to land use and zoning for the City, Pima County, and the Town of Marana
An Environmental Design and Mitigation Report
Two wildlife studies: A Silverbell Road North Wildlife Linkage Assessment and a Silverbell Road South Wildlife Linkage Assessment
A Traffic Report with forecasts projecting 230% traffic growth on Goret Road
A Cultural Resources Assessment with significant archaeological clearance
An ongoing community outreach process during design and construction
A 15-member Silverbell Road Task Force that helped to shape the DCR
An active project team that participated in open houses, employed partnering, and used value engineering
Silverbell’s Phase 1 was designed by Kittelson & Associates and constructed by Hunter Contracting. Phase 1, Goret Road to Grant Road opened in February 2017 with a total construction cost of $9.85 million. Project aspects include:
A curbed four-lane divided roadway (2 lanes in each direction) with a raised median island
Signal improvements at the Grant, Goret, Sweetwater, and El Camino del Cerro intersections
Transit stop improvements
Eliminating dip crossings
Bike lanes on both sides of the roadway
A sidewalk on the west side of Silverbell
A continuous multi-use path on the east side of Silverbell
Water harvesting features
Enhanced wildlife crossings
Retaining walls at the larger slopes
Public art by Arizona artist Kevin Berry that reflects the history, geology and beauty of the corridor
Teamwork and value engineering yielded approximately $500,000 in cost savings with the implementation of arch culverts in place of box culverts, barrier walls in place of box extensions, and block walls in place of retaining walls.
Environmental Context and Considerations
The project zone is a robust natural, historical, recreational and cultural area. Evidence of that includes upfront studies that included an Environmental Design and Mitigation Report, two wildlife linkage assessments and a cultural assessment. The DCR also reflected a holistic approach to context sensitive land use and zoning across three project jurisdictions.
Honoring and maintaining the surrounding natural environment was a priorityfor the landscape architect, the contractor, the project team and for the area residents. Examples include:
Salvaging on-site native cacti, saguaro and barrel cactus, and protecting them in a holding nursery during construction, and replanting them at the end of construction.
Contouring slopes to provide rainwater harvesting basins for native trees. In order to maximize germination, slopes were roughened and covered with a thin layer of rock mulch before being hydroseeded with native plants.
Closely coordinating pavement and landscape designs to achieve optimal results. The pavement drainage design included scuppers and surface channels – rather than catch basins and storm drains – to provide water harvesting for irrigation of landscape vegetation.
Key concepts about the landscape, art, wall, slope and media treatments that were developed in the DCR phase of the project and considered very important to the community were carried forward through the design and construction. Specifically, the aesthetics and treatment of the slope on the northwest corner of Goret Road were critical to the public. This slope was graded and has a detailed landscape and grading design to facilitate the growth of vegetation on the slope to return it to a natural state.
Integrating drainage improvements to nurture the environment and promote safety was also important. Several properties on the downstream side of the roadway experienced regular flooding due to un-channelized sheet flow over the existing roadway. The designed improvements channelized the flows under the road and eliminated private property flooding including significant ponding on commercial properties in the area.