Middleton, Wis. — Mead & Hunt received an Engineering Excellence Award for its role on the $10 million, environmentally sensitive roadway reconstruction of USH 14 in the Village of Cross Plains, Wis. The American Council of Engineering Companies of Wisconsin’s Engineering Excellence Awards competition honors outstanding engineering design and pays tribute to exemplary achievements around the state.

This highly traveled 1.2-mile segment of USH 14 needed major repairs. Mead & Hunt enhanced the natural environment using innovative engineering techniques and made safety upgrades.

Mead & Hunt’s public involvement and stakeholder coordination efforts sought to understand issues and concerns before proposing solutions. The USH 14 project involved collaboration between multiple government agencies and the public. The highway is owned by Wisconsin Department of Transportation but recognized locally as Main Street by the citizens of Cross Plains. As a result, Mead & Hunt worked closely with these entities to coordinate concerns and design a roadway that best fit their needs.

This project required comprehensive environmental documentation. Black Earth Creek is located near USH 14 on federally funded and protected conservation lands. It is a Class 1 cold water fishery considered to be one of the best trout streams in Wisconsin. As Mead & Hunt completed the environmental document and project plans, the firm understood the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources needed to be deeply involved in this phase.

The unique stormwater detention basin design mitigates the environmental impacts. The new basin keeps the creek’s temperature low to create a more sustainable environment for trout to flourish. It accommodates a cold water environment essential to a healthy trout ecosystem. The underground rock cribs eliminate costly and time-consuming repairs.

The cohesive design evolved from a coordinated collaboration with WisDOT, Dane County, Village of Cross Plains, WDNR, private businesses and the public. Infrastructure upgrades to USH 14 include new intersections with added traffic signals to improve safety and operations, and the removal of numerous access points to steady traffic flow. Further improvements eliminated on-street parking to increase pedestrian and vehicular visibility. Final upgrades involved replacing two bridges over the Black Earth Creek and Brewery Creek that were in severe disrepair, and reconstructed sewer and water utilities located under Main Street.

Through five public meetings, a public hearing, site visits, business walks and attendance at village board meetings, Mead & Hunt gained an understanding of the community this project serves. By working closely with the business community, Mead & Hunt aligned project goals with the Village’s vision for economic and community development along this corridor. The project team was able to keep existing businesses open during construction and help the village create redevelopment areas along their Main Street, attracting new businesses, which increased their tax base by $10 million.