The following article about Achen-Gardner Construction's Northsight Boulevard Extension Project was featured in the March issue of the Arizona Chapter American Public Works Association (APWA) Newsletter.
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.
Click here to read the article on the APWA Arizona website.