Franklin Avenue Improvements
Firm: EXP U.S. Services, Inc.
Owner: Village of Franklin Park
Description: Original or innovative application of new or existing techniques The planning, environmental investigation, design, and construction of Franklin Avenue interact with a wide range of the public and private business organizations as well as local, state, and federal organizations. Successful coordination with each organization was extremely important to sustain the progress and ultimate completion of project. EXP developed a teamwork policy for each organization encounter to maintain quality and effective communication throughout the project life. Most notably, EXP was a driving force in obtaining multiple funding sources. The first ever Illinois Competitive Freight Grant as well as a Invest in Cook grant were awarded to the project. While more details of this process are given in the following pages, EXP’s accelerated planning and aggressive schedule were significant in obtaining these funds. Future value to the engineering profession and perception by the public The Franklin Avenue Improvement project prepares the public for planned Tollway improvements along I-490. These improvements will also connect I-294 to the hub of Franklin Park to improve downtown access, enhance regional mobility, and add freight capacity. EXP actively engaged with the local community as they provided insights to the project area as well as their own ideas for Franklin Avenue. Initiating a public outreach program from the inception of the project and continuing meetings with stakeholders and local users of Franklin Avenue was paramount in understanding the needs and goals for all involved. Social, economic and sustainable design considerations Franklin Avenue in the Village of Franklin Park underwent significant road improvements to improve local quality of life, with improvements creating safer commutes for pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers, as well as accommodating for the growth of the population and surrounding businesses. Members of the community were actively involved throughout the project, providing insight on Franklin Avenue and creating a multimodal road to support their growing community. The reconstruction project widened the road from two lanes to four, with an additional center turning lane. The project included traffic signal improvements and new signals to address public concerns of long traffic lights and excessive speeding that takes place on the road. This redevelopment will help the Village achieve its goal of becoming a thriving commercial core by providing better accessibility to markets and resources, increased employment opportunities, and enhance the transportation system’s efficiency. New direct access to regional expressways and major interstates in Chicago will open business and job growth opportunities and make the transportation of goods faster and more economical. Benefits to the community also entail a safer road, less traffic congestion, and an end to roadway flooding. In existing condition, a large capacity ditch runs along the westbound lanes of Franklin Ave. This large capacity ditch line takes runoff from Franklin Ave and a portion of the CPRR yard north of Franklin, and it bypasses a large amount of off-site flow from west of the site to Silver Creek. Due to its size and rip rap lining, this ditch has been hard for CPRR to maintain. EXP worked with Franklin Park and the CPRR to replace the ditch with a closed storm sewer system topped by a small capacity ditch that can be easily maintained. EXP also designed a closed drainage system for Franklin Ave and inline and open detention facilities. We prepared hydraulic modeling to replace the culvert crossing of Silver Creek under Franklin Ave and designed compensatory storage facilities to account for the widening of Franklin in the Silver Creek floodplain. Complexity The Village did not have adequate funds to design and construct the proposed reconstruction project. Discussions of raising the local taxes or adding service fees for various activities to raise the required capitol for this improvement worried the community. During these discussions, EXP found the Illinois Competitive Freight Grant (ICFG) opportunity. EXP prepared and submitted the application and among 50 candidates, was ranked first. The requested budget was approved. Consequently, the State of Illinois took responsibility of project costs, reducing the financial impact on the Village. EXP coordinated the planning and design work with the West Central Municipal Conference (WCMC), Cook County, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), the Illinois Tollway, the Canadian Pacific (CP) Railway, as well as Village and local businesses to obtain several sources of grant funding including an Invest in Cook grant and the first Illinois Competitive Freight Grant. EXP developed a preliminary engineering study that secured design approval from IDOT’s Bureau of Local Roads and Streets as a Group II Categorical Exclusion. In addition to securing substantial grant funding from multiple sources, EXP was instrumental in getting early buy-in and approvals from the CP which could have proved to be difficult given the delays experienced by other agencies. EXP provided value by engaging in early and proactive coordination, including understanding areas and aspects of the project important to CP. EXP and the Village met with CP in their headquarters in Minneapolis to facility a more collegial working relationship that helped establish early understanding, buy-in from all parties, and ultimately approvals and agreements. Exceeding owner needs A true partnership was built between EXP and the Village of Franklin Park. EXP accomplished the goals of Phase I through careful consultation with stakeholders. EXP listened to and understood public concern, briefed local and state officials on a regular basis, and developed partnerships with stakeholders to integrate their needs into project submissions. EXP addressed all issues raised including the hostile cycling environment, pedestrian crossing, double parking, speeding, congestion, jaywalking and long signal cycles. This success led the Village to continue working with us on further phases of the Franklin Avenue Improvement project.
Village of Franklin Park