Cody Sidewalk and Pedestrian Ramp Improvements
Creating a Safe Route to School
To respond to increasing safety complaints, the Cody School District hired Morrison-Maierle to design a solution to improve student and visitor safety as they access Cody Middle School. The Cody Sidewalk and Pedestrian Ramp Improvements project included installing ADA ramps and rectangular rapid flashing beacons (RRFB) and adding a new sidewalk.
The project also included new high and middle school bulb-outs, also called curb extensions, to decrease the distance required for pedestrians to cross the road in areas with limited sight distance.
With ADA compliance and the safety of the students being their number one concern, Morrison-Maierle and its partners based their design and construction schedule around the school calendar and came up with a budget-conscious solution that addressed the school’s needs.
Services and Highlights
Civil engineering design
Construction administration services
Engineer of Record
Leveraged funds from the WYDOT Transportation Alternatives Program
New drainage design in several areas of the project
Rectangular rapid flashing beacons (RRFB) to assist pedestrians crossing by the Cody Middle School
Worked with adjacent landowners to minimize cost and match existing landscaping features
Before demolition, the city and the team reviewed the existing sidewalk, curb and gutter, and private property conditions. This evaluation helped meet ADA standards while minimizing demolition, construction time, and impacts on the adjacent property. Since the project occurred next to several schools, the team spent extra time planning and communicating with the City of Cody and Park County School District #6 to ensure that students would be safe during construction.
Before the project began, the team noted that most existing curbs and gutters were flat and did not drain properly. Tying a new curb and gutter into the existing infrastructure would be challenging in several areas. In addition, the contractors came upon private utilities because they hadn’t been buried deep enough. As a result, the team devised a plan that minimized the cost and timeline while providing a long-term solution.
Improper drainage on the existing site was also a problem, and there was no quick way to handle intense rainfall and subsequent flooding. Two major thunderstorms stopped the project during construction, and the construction effort halted until the area dried out. Anticipating that this might be a problem, the team designed an erosion control measure that minimized impacts within the work zone. The contractor was able to dewater the sites and resume work quickly, maintaining their project schedule.
Planning and Sequencing for Success
The team designed the project sequencing to take on small sections throughout the city, with most of the work completed in one area before moving to the next. Since sectioning off large areas was not feasible due to the distance between construction locations, the construction team localized construction of the new ramps and sidewalks while minimizing street closures to ensure the safety of the public and the crew. This coordination prioritized most of the work when school was not in session, minimizing the impact on the school, parents, and students.
During the initial use of the new crosswalk signals (rectangular rapid flashing beacons) the City of Cody, Morrison-Maierle, and the contractor were on site to observe the reaction of students and vehicles to the new system and advise passing pedestrians on how to use the RRFB. After the observations, they adjusted the restricted parking areas near the crossings. They also phased the road and sidewalk closures to minimize inconvenience to the public.
With the limited funds for this project, the construction work was limited. Alternatively, the team focused on areas that would have the most positive impact on the residents of Cody within the funding limits. To achieve this, they connected the new ADA-compliant sidewalks to existing adjacent sidewalks, which initially may not have been ADA-compliant. The engineering team often made necessary adjustments in the field to obtain a workable solution.
The WYDOT Transportation Alternatives Program funded 80% of this project, with the City of Cody responsible for the remaining 20%. WYDOT tapped into the Transportation Alternatives Program, a federally funded, community-based projects program that improves travel choices and enhances the transportation experience by integrating transportation modes and improving transportation infrastructure’s cultural, historical, and environmental aspects.
Park County School District #6 provided additional funding for three electronic crosswalk signals (RRFB) at the Cody Middle School to enhance public safety. The city also installed the school district’s new signs and rapid flashing beacons.
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