The Sustainability Thing
Over the past several years “sustainability” has become of topic of great interest. Early on it occurred to me that sustainability is what public works professionals have been doing all along. After some thought, I concluded that we must do a better job of telling our story.
Sustainable Water Resources
“For more than thirty years, conservation and reuse of water have been a way of life in central Arizona. In 1980, Arizona enacted the Groundwater Management Act to provide a framework for the comprehensive management and regulation of the withdrawal, transportation, use, conservation and conveyance of rights to use groundwater. Arizona is a national model for water planning and water resource conservation. In 1980, Arizona passed the Ground Water Management Act. This landmark legislation requires communities to demonstrate a renewable water supply, protects the limited groundwater resources and promotes water conservation.” (Kathleen Ferris, Executive Director of the Arizona Municipal Water Users Association)
This program is has been effective in reducing water demand and conserving water resources. For example, since the nineties, the population of Phoenix has grown steadily, from about one million in 1990 to more than 1.5 million today. Yet, total water use has actually declined in recent years, thanks in part to effective water conservation by homes and businesses. (source: City of Phoenix).
Building and Maintaining Quality Infrastructure
Public Works professionals understand the value of building quality infrastructure including; public buildings, roads, bridges, parks and utility systems. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and Energy Star ratings are examples of thoughtful and deliberate approach to design and construction which pays dividends in lower operational costs. There are numerous examples of new public spaces which meet these new standards – not for just for the recognition, but because it makes economic sense.
Early and routine maintenance ensures that these facilities will last for future generations. Asset Management programs extend the useful life of mechanical equipment, wells, pumps, reservoirs and other critical infrastructure. Remote data acquisition systems allow for real-time monitoring of equipment and extend the reach of Public Works staff. Public Works managers throughout Arizona use pavement management programs to prioritize and maximize the life of our roadways. These proactive management techniques become more important as available funding gets stretched.
Public Works professionals are challenged to mitigate rising energy costs. There are many innovative ideas for new wind and solar energy generating facilities. At the same time, we have a fiduciary responsibility to ensure that public funds are wisely spent. Some of these solutions are obvious. Replace aging equipment with new energy efficient equipment. Closely monitor energy use patterns and shift demand to lower cost, off-peak periods when possible. And prudently, adopt new technology and alternative energy supplies.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
The City of Phoenix was an early pioneer of rubberized asphalt pavement technology. Today rubberized asphalt is a material of choice for paving roads and reducing noise. Think of all the tires which no longer go to landfills.
Residential recycling programs have become the norm in Arizona. Not so long ago, it cost as much to recycle as to landfill trash. Arizona has abundant space and landfills are relatively inexpensive. Today however, recycled materials are commodities and recycling facilities profit by sorting and selling recycled plastic, paper, cardboard, metals and glass. Instead of paying to dispose of trash in a landfill, recycling facilities pay for the materials they receive. As a result, the cost to provide residential trash and recycled service has gone down.
We do these things because we are good stewards of the built and the natural environment. Perhaps we should take a moment to recognize that this is what sustainability is all about.
Keep up the good work!
William (Bill) Mattingly, P.E., R.L.S
ARIZONA CHAPTER PRESIDENT
Northsight Boulevard Extension and Roundabout Project – Improving Traffic Flows and Increasing Safety.
Article and Photos by Achen-Gardner Construction, LLC
The City of Scottsdale continues to provide cutting edge transportation solutions to heavily traveled and congested corridors. Utilizing the Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR) project delivery method, the City brought together Kimley-Horn & Associates and Achen-Gardner Construction to complete the design and construction of The Northsight Boulevard Extension Project.
The Scottsdale Airpark is the preeminent employment center in Scottsdale and the third largest in the Phoenix metropolitan area after Sky Harbor Airport and downtown Phoenix. The network of roads, circulation, and access is critical to the businesses and industry of the Airpark. The City of Scottsdale completed several studies to address some of the transportation and access issues hindering drivers. Northsight Boulevard Extension was one of the priority projects to come out of those studies.
The intersection of Hayden Road and Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard was identified as one of the most congested intersections in Scottsdale with difficult to manage and frustrating traffic back-ups through the intersection. Three major reasons contributed to this:
- The intersection is located just 500 feet west of the very busy Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd/Loop 101 Pima Freeway interchange.
- This is a high demand area due to the employment and large, high demand retail/commercial properties.
- Thunderbird realigns to the north becoming Northsight Boulevard which terminates at Hayden Road. Hayden Road then terminates at Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard just 1600 feet north. These discontinuities result in heavy turning volumes through the corridor.
Purpose of the Project:
The project provides an alternate route to the congested intersection of Hayden Road and Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard by converting a private street to a higher capacity public roadway via the extension of Northsight Boulevard. As the traveling public begins to utilize this alternate route, some of the congestion at the Hayden and Frank Lloyd Wright intersection will be alleviated and the flow of traffic through the corridor should improve. The modern, multi-lane roundabout provides for more continuous traffic flow at slower vehicular speeds through the Hayden Road/Northsight Boulevard intersection creating safer traffic movement.
Additionally, the project included critical water and drainage infrastructure improvements, signalization of the intersection of Northsight and Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevards, City traffic communications interconnect, street lighting, safety crossings on Northsight Boulevard to accommodate business pedestrians and employees, bicycle lanes, landscaping, and a public art component that will be installed in the center of the roundabout later this spring.
Working with Stakeholders
Planning throughout the conceptual, design, and construction phases was critical to ensuring that all stakeholders were not just considered but accommodated as well. Extensive planning included:
- Public meetings during the planning, conceptual, and design stages
- Dozens of public presentations, including those made to the City Council, Transportation Commission, Planning Commission, and Airpark Advisory Commission.
- Separate public sessions that invited participation in selection of the public art component
- Comments and feedback from the public utilized at all stages of the project
- Defining and procuring additional Right-of-Way and easements
- Coordination with work zone businesses to provide continuous signage and access, match and tie into existing private landscape and hardscape elements, and accommodate business specific needs and events.
- Extensive public communications by the City’s Public Information Office and coordinated with Achen-Gardner’s construction team public outreach.
- Traffic control continually monitored and adjusted by the City and maintained by Achen-Gardner to safely facilitate construction activities, public travel, and phasing of the Northsight Boulevard/Hayden Road intersection from a signalized intersection to a multi-lane roundabout.
- Identification of existing mature saguaro cacti that were relocated along the Hayden Road corridor. Existing decorative boulders were also re-purposed in the landscape design of the roundabout center.
Preparation and Phasing
Preparing for construction required early identification and relocation of underground utilities in conflict with the new infrastructure and roadway improvements. Determining the most effective construction phasing of the project was a result of several factors considered together:
- Area Events and Public Needs - that included City construction moratoriums, the Waste Management Phoenix Open, the Arabian Horse Show, Barrett-Jackson car show, and Harley-Davidson bike week, public and business access.
- Sequential Construction Activities - that required a specific progression such as early relocation of utility conflicts followed by construction of the waterline and other underground infrastructure followed by the surface improvements.
- Logical Phased Segments – through evaluation of the current traffic movements, sequential construction activities that could be segmented, business access and detour routes, and timing of opening Northsight Boulevard as a public throughway combined with signalizing Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard/Northsight Boulevard intersection and de-signalizing Hayden Road/Northsight Boulevard a five-phase construction approach was ultimately determined to be the best approach to building the project.
Teamwork and Project Success
The City of Scottsdale chose the CMAR project delivery method to facilitate managing this complicated project that required coordination among the planning, design, and construction phases. By utilizing the CMAR project delivery method, the City was able to bring Achen-Gardner onto the project team early during design to provide constructability input to the design review and final design stages. Additionally, Achen-Gardner provided cost-modeling and estimates beginning with a conceptual model followed by regular updated estimates at each design stage. The process also allowed for the commencement of construction while remaining right-of-way was being acquired and design was being completed on the landscaping and tie-ins to private features. The Project Team worked in a very fluid and cohesive manner to address issues as they arose, keep the project on budget, and make the necessary adjustments to schedule, sequence, and traffic control to maintain the project flow while accommodating those directly affected by the construction.
As the project is just now in the completion stage, early indications show the project meeting and exceeding projections based on capacity and safety. Public response in this early stage of completion is also more positive than expected. As the public becomes more familiar and comfortable with the changes, the expectation is that these benefits will increase.
Project Owner: City of Scottsdale
CMAR/General Contractor: Achen-Gardner Construction, LLC
Designers: Dibble Engineering (Schematic Design and DCR)
Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc. (30% - Final Design)
Major Subconsultants/Subcontractors: Scott Ritchie, P.E. (Roundabouts & Traffic Engineering), MakPro Services, Survey Innovation Group, CS Companies, Agave Environmental Contracting, Inc., Action Sign and Lighting
View more photos
Northwest Sonora Region Dual Prosperity Forum
Binational communities, two states and two countries come together to start a dialogue on increasing trade, sharing best practices and developing and implementing a dual economic strategy for their mutual benefit. The Cities of San Luis, Somerton and Yuma, Arizona, and San Luis Rio Colorado, Puerto Penasco, Sonoyta and Caborca, Sonora, along with Mexicali, Baja California, and together with many other interested businesses, agencies and interested parties, met to begin the conversation and make plans for their joint prosperity. The forum focused on efforts that can be made to attract commercial and manufacturing enterprises to their binational community, exploit the growing medical tourism phenomena, and plan for improving the supporting transportation and trade corridors. The partnership established will enable the entire Northwest Sonora region to jointly promote and improve competitiveness, connectivity, economic growth, productivity and employment on both sides of the border.
The inaugural meeting was organized and sponsored by the Yuma Metropolitan Planning Organization and the event was entitled the Sonora Dual Prosperity Forum and Tour. It was held on February 20, 2014, in San Luis Rio Colorado. The forum brought together the mayors of San Luis, Somerton and Yuma, Arizona, and their counterparts from San Luis Rio Colorado and other Sonora communities including Sonoyta, Puerto Penasco and Caborca . The event was well attended by many elected officials, agency staff members, local entrepreneurs and others. In total, there were 60 people from the US and 140 from Mexico in attendance. The attendees heard presentations by the Yuma Visitor’s Bureau, Greater Yuma Port Authority, Arizona Department of Transportation, Greater Yuma Economic Development Commission and the Regional Centers for Border Health. All parties agreed to make a unified push for improvements to the border crossing and for other bilateral projects that are key to the region’s economic growth.
The conversation on regional infrastructure and transportation improvements centered around funding and developing the projects identified in the Binational San Luis Transportation Study by Jacobs Engineering and in the Border Master Plan by Stantec, both ADOT funded projects. The focus for these infrastructure improvements is on improving safety, security, mobility and trade at the border crossings and throughout the region. Everyone agreed on the need to accelerate plans for improvements at the San Luis ports of entry to expedite the flow of commercial and non-commercial traffic including extending the hours to make a 24-hour SENTRI (Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection) lane that allows for expedited crossings by motorists granted ‘trusted traveler’ status by the US Customs and Border Protection agency. Chris Leon, the assistant San Luis port director for CBP, said his agency is ready to keep the lane open 24-hours per day but they are waiting for needed roadway improvements to take place on the Mexico side to accommodate the around-the-clock schedule. San Luis Rio Colorado Mayor, Leonardo Guillen, reported that the City is awaiting approval from SCT, their government transportation agency, before they can make the improvements. That issue seems to be close to resolution.
However, congestion at the downtown San Luis port of entry can only be resolved long-term by expansion of the port facilities. Additionally, the need for funding to enable privately owned vehicles to use the commercial port of entry (San Luis II) was identified which would provide some congestion relief for the downtown port of entry. General Services Administration representative, Ramon Riesgo, reports that there currently are no funds in the US federal budget for expansion of the port anytime soon unfortunately. The local officials present agreed that they need to lobby their congressional representatives to make needed port of entry improvements a priority in future budgets.
In addition to border-related infrastructure, the group also discussed the area’s potential for economic development. Yuma Mayor, Douglas Nicholls (also principal at Core Engineering Group in Yuma), said his City maintains close ties with the southern Yuma County communities of Somerton and San Luis and the nearby cities in Sonora, Mexico, in order to take a more regional approach to economic development. He stated that their economy depends on what happens in the rest of the Country and in Mexico. He emphasized that it is important they join with all their partners present at the forum to utilize a global approach to economic development for the region. Somerton Mayor, Martin Porchas, agreed that while his City is not adjacent to the border, it benefits from expedited border crossings and he recognizes that the end result is more jobs and more consumers spending in his community.
Yuma County and San Luis Rio Colorado are closely linked with families having relatives on both sides of the border and with thousands of people crossing the border in each direction every day. Yuma County Supervisor, Tony Reyes, stated that the County should become more involved in promoting the region to attract economic development opportunities. Yuma County has an agricultural segment of their economy in excess of $4 billion annually according the Yuma Economic Development agency. Additionally, there are around 100 thousand visitors each year, primarily during the winter months. With this solid base to build on, the regional effort will surely result in attracting more investment in industry, trade and tourism. For example, it was a joint effort and approach that developed SR 195 connecting the new commercial port of entry at San Luis with I-08 in Yuma.
The forum attendees agreed on the goal of promoting the area as a region and to work on standardizing effective processes to collaborate their efforts. The regional approach enables them to promote and share the derived benefits from increased tourism and economic development opportunities. The event proved successful in bonding the region’s communities so they could jointly attract new businesses and tourism. The forum’s biggest success is that it has helped unify the local officials thereby giving the region more clout with the elected officials representing them in Washington DC and in Mexico City. Together, the region has close to a half million residents. There was a lot of confidence expressed that the result would be implementation of needed projects and not plans that remain on the shelf. An open dialogue has also been started with Baja, Mexico as well through attendance by representatives from Mexicali at the forum. The group coalesced behind the plan to show that the binational Northwest Sonora region is open for business.
Article authored, compiled and contributed by Dale Miller, Jacobs, APWA Communications Committee member
Arizona APWA Members – Countdown to Congress – 551 Days and Counting
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APWA Member News
Loretta Flick / APWA Treasurer, has joined Allwyn Environmental as Business Development Director.
Founded in 2004, Allwyn Environmental is an Arizona based Environmental Consulting firm federally designated a Small Business Enterprise (SBE).
Allwyn has 5 offices in three states and is steadily growing. Allwyn Environmental specializes in site assessments and remediation, water quality and hydrology, storm water compliance, hazardous materials assessments, regulatory compliance services and Brownfields Redevelopment Allwyn Environmental routinely assists clients with regulatory compliance matters in areas such as hazardous materials/waste, underground storage tanks (UST’s), drinking water/wastewater/storm water, and aquifer protection permitting. Our services include rules and regulation interpretation, application and plan preparation, agency negotiation, program development, and implementation.
Congratulations!!! It's a Boy!
Business Development Director
Brady Miles Munoz
Born: January 29, 2014
6lbs 15oz, 19.5 inches
APWA New Member Spotlight, March 2014
Name: Merry Schierhorst, PE, Construction Civil Engineering Specialist, MCDOT
With APWA Since: January 2014; was a member when she worked for City of Phoenix where she worked for 25 years ending her tenure in 2006 as the Engineering Supervisor; in the late 70’s, early 80’s worked for ADOT District 1 in construction.
Describe your job responsibilities: My current responsibilities include making sure that federal requirements are being met with projects that have federal funding and working on updating records and processes for all projects My position also includes visits to construction sites and field offices for Davis Bacon Wages.
Where have your travels taken you?: I’ve traveled to China, Europe, Russia, Central America, New Zealand and many other locations within the US, the last being to Florida to visit Mickey.
What did you enjoy about being retired?: I enjoyed traveling, bowling and working with the church at Synod level with Arizona and New Mexico. But I also have enjoyed these last two months back in the field that I got my BSCE in at Union College in New York.
Name one thing not many people know about you: I was born and grew up on Long Island, NY closest to Queens, but in an area that allowed chickens and was walking distance to the beach and the power plant.
Services have now been announced for APWA Past President George Crombie. There will be a Mass to celebrate George's life on Saturday, March 15, 2014 at 12:00 noon. The Mass will be held at the Saint Thomas More Church, 6 Madbury Road, Durham, NH. Following the Mass, there will be a reception (approximately 1:30 p.m.) at the Three Chimneys Inn, 17 Newmarket Road, Durham, NH.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to either the Ace Bailey Children's Foundation which supports families and children at Tufts Medical Center or to the NEC-APWA PW Education Fund to be used for the "George Crombie APWA Emerging Leaders Academy Scholarship". Click for more information on how to donate.