Milwaukee — Michael Baker International recently garnered high praise for its role in rehabilitating the Hoan Bridge, a key artery in southeast Wisconsin’s transportation network that connects I-794 in downtown Milwaukee to the Lake Freeway across the Milwaukee River.  In March, American Council of Engineering Companies Wisconsin (ACEC WI) presented Michael Baker with the Best of the State Award for Structural Systems for the company’s work on the project.   In addition, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) recognized Michael Baker with the 2016 Excellence in Highway Design Award for Consultant Structure Design of the project. 

WisDOT selected Michael Baker to serve as the lead engineering consultant on the $182 million, multi-year project. The firm developed preliminary and final roadway and structure designs for the reconstruction of the bridge and rehabilitation of the connecting roadways, which carry 42,000 vehicles per day. 

“The Hoan Bridge is an iconic structure that plays an important role in the region’s transportation infrastructure, and our team at Michael Baker International knew that we would need to bring the company’s full continuum of innovative solutions to bear on this project,” said Kent Zinn, vice president and office executive for Michael Baker’s Wisconsin operations. “We delivered on that challenge by minimizing disruptions during construction and introducing engineering innovations that should stand the test of time. We’re honored by the accolade from ACEC WI.” 

Michael Baker’s design called for the use of stainless steel reinforcement in the rehabilitated Hoan Bridge’s deck, the first time such reinforcements have been used in the state’s history on an infrastructure project of this scale. Combined with high-performance concrete, the reinforcements are poised to extend the life of the bridge by 40 to 50 years while also offering lower life-cycle maintenance costs.

The team also used a moveable concrete barrier during construction to lessen delays for motorists.  The adjustable barrier enabled construction crews to reconfigure the lanes on a regular basis to match daily traffic patterns. 

In addition, the design team coordinated closely with community leaders and business owners to minimize the project’s impact on local merchants and annual gatherings held in nearby Maier Festival Park.