Search fhwa.dot.gov

Four Bears Bridge Replacement

Project Abstract

The existing Four Bears Bridge (ND 23) was narrow and could not accommodate existing traffic (functionally obsolete). The new Four Bears Bridge provided a modern bridge that eliminated restrictions posed by the earlier bridge. It also accommodated pedestrians and possessed aesthetic treatments that met needs of local Native American tribes in the area.



Four Bears Bridge Replacement: The existing Four Bears Bridge (ND 23) was narrow and could not accommodate existing traffic (functionally obsolete).
The existing Four Bears Bridge (ND 23) was narrow and could not accommodate existing traffic (functionally obsolete).

This is one of 33 case studies included in National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Report 642 entitled Quantifying the Benefits of Context Sensitive Solutions, published in November 2009. According to the authors, “The objective of this project is to develop a guide for transportation officials and professionals that identifies a comprehensive set of performance measures of CSS principles and quantifies the resulting benefits through all phases of project development”. The report documents a wide range of case studies in which the principles of CSS were applied. Each of these case studies was evaluated to determine the benefits of applying CSS. NCHRP Report 642 is available here.

Location: Ft. Berthold Indian Reservation over Lake Sakakawea near New Town, North Dakota

Lead Agency: North Dakota DOT

Contact Person: Mike Kopp (ND DOT)

Phase completed: Maintenance and Operations

Source: Stamatiadis, Nikiforos, et. al. Context Sensitive Solutions: Quantification of the Benefits in Transportation. National Cooperative Highway Research Program – Report 642. 2009.

CSS Qualities


Project Team (make up)
The ND DOT staff involved with this study included environmental, planning, design and construction officials. FHWA also participated in the project team. They teamed with several consulting firms (Kadimus, Lee & Jackson and Lichtenstein Consultants) and the bridge designer, Figg Engineering.

Stakeholders (make up, utilization, interaction)
Stakeholders included representatives of the three affiliated tribes of Native Americans inhabiting the Fort Berthoud Indian Reservation (Hidatsa, Mandan and Arikara). Also participating were representatives of local communities outside the reservation, the North Dakota Historic Society and other transportation users.

Public involvement (types, documentation)
Community meetings were held to inform the tribes and neighboring communities about the project. A charrette was held with a Cultural Advisory Committee (CAC) composed of the three tribes that provided input on aesthetic treatments to be used on the new bridge.

Design solution (process, modes and alternatives examined)
A wide two-lane segmental concrete bridge was designed/constructed containing a pedestrian walkway. Some bridge elements (piers, pedestrian guardrails and lighting) were based upon input from the CAC. Native American art was placed on the side of the bridge (emblems of animals) and on the walkway (medallions) depicting the history and culture of the three affiliated tribes. The overall color of the bridge was selected to blend into the surrounding environment. Special night lighting was employed to highlight the Native American emblems on the side of the bridge.

CSS concepts (by project phase)
The design of the bridge included significant public (Native American) input. The existing bridge was kept in service until the new bridge was completed to maintain traffic.

Lessons learned
The project team believed that it was important to keep all stakeholders involved. Public involvement in decision making could be assigned to local community leaders in a committee format. Some people may object when a facility is tailored to an ethnic group. In this case, the public should be informed of the associated costs and what the enhancement is intended to achieve. Communications is important in CSS and when dealing with Native Americans, it needs to be customized to address them. ND DOT benefited from having the Native Americans show them the enhancements necessary to make the bridge fit into their community. Early involvement of resource agencies helped with timely approvals. It took time to properly engage all the stakeholders and patience to listen to their input. It is also beneficial to provide stakeholders of a timeframe in which all project decisions must be made. Establishing a budget for enhancements is also useful to prevent runaway costs.

CSS Principles


A fundamental aspect of the NCHRP 642 research effort was the identification of CSS principles. The principles below were developed by a multidisciplinary team and were based on previous work by FHWA and AASHTO participants in the 1998 “Thinking Beyond the Pavement” conference, and others.

For this case study, web-based surveys were developed to solicit the expert opinions of the project team on the level of satisfaction from the application of the CSS principles on the project. The analysis of the scores noted in the survey, and presented in the following table, is based on a 4.0 scale, where 4.0 is Strongly Agree, 3.0 is Agree, 2.0 is Disagree, and 1.0 is Strongly Disagree. Additional information on the data analysis, a summary of the scores for each case study, and general findings (from all case studies) is presented in the NCHRP Report 642, available here. .

CSS Principle

Project Team

Use of interdisciplinary teams

3.5

Involve stakeholders

3.9

Seek broad-based public involvement

4.0

Use full range of communication methods

3.3

Achieve consensus on purpose and need

3.1

Utilize full range of design choices

3.1

Address alternatives and all modes

3.2

Maintain environmental harmony

3.5

Address community & social issues

3.9

Address aesthetic treatments & enhancements

3.9

Consider a safe facility for users & community

3.6

Document project decisions

3.5

Track and meet all commitments

3.4

Create a lasting value for the community

3.9

Use all resources effectively (time & budget)

3.3

Note: The project team and stakeholder scores are based on the survey results of a 4.0 scale (4: strongly agree; 3: agree; 2: disagree; and 1: strongly disagree).

Discussion on CSS principles


Project team’s perspective
The project team included planners, design, structural and construction engineers a transportation enhancement coordinator (including 3 consultants) and an FHWA project engineer. Eight of those had more than 10 years experience in project development. Two had 4 to 6 years experience with CSS, two had more than 6 years experience with CSS while the other five team members had less than three years of CSS experience. The project team agreed that all CSS principles were applied. They were in strong agreement on the application of “Involve stakeholders”, “Seek broad-based involvement, “Address community & social issues”, Address aesthetic treatments & enhancements and “Create a lasting value for the community”.

 

CSS Benefits


Surveys were also utilized to ask the project team, as well as external stakeholders in the process, about their perceptions of the benefits derived from a CSS process. As with the surveys regarding CSS Principles, the Benefits were scored on a 4.0 scale, where 4.0 is Strongly Agree, 3.0 is Agree, 2.0 is Disagree, and 1.0 is Strongly Disagree.


CSS Benefit

Measured

Stakeh.

Team

Improved stakeholder/public feedback

NA

3.4

Increased stakeholder/public participation compared to other projects

NA

3.6

Increased stakeholder/public participation

3.3

3.3

Increased stakeholder/public ownership

3.3

3.6

Increased stakeholder/public trust

3.3

3.5

Decreased costs for overall project delivery

NA

1.8

Decreased time for overall project delivery

NA

2.0

Improved predictability of project delivery

3.0

2.8

Improved project scoping

NA

3.4

Improved project budgeting

NA

2.6

Increased opportunities for partnering or shared funding or in-kind resources

3.0

3.0

Improved opportunities for joint use and development

3.0

3.2

Improved sustainable decisions and investments

NA

2.8

Improved environmental stewardship

NA

3.3

Minimized overall impact to human environment

3.5

3.0

Minimized overall impact to natural environment

3.5

3.1

Improved mobility for all users

3.8

3.3

Improved walkability

4.0

3.4

Improved bikeability

3.8

3.5

Improved safety (vehicles, pedestrians, and bikes)

4.0

3.5

Improved multi-modal options

3.7

2.7

Improved community satisfaction

3.8

3.8

Improved quality of life for community

3.5

3.4

Fit with local government land use plan

3.3

3.3

Improved speed management

3.8

3.3

Design features appropriate to context

3.8

3.6

Optimized maintenance and operations

NA

3.0

Minimized disruption

3.5

3.0

Increased risk management and liability protection

NA

3.0

Discussion on Benefit Values


Semi-Quantitative Benefits
The semi-quantitative benefits analysis had a balanced stakeholder/project team survey response (stakeholders-5; project team-9). In general, the stakeholder scores were equivalent or higher than those of the project team. The project team rankings for several benefits were low including: “Decreased costs for project delivery”, “Decreased time for project delivery’, “Improved predictability for project delivery”, “Improved project budgeting”, sustainable decisions and investments”, and “improved multi-modal options”.

Quantitative Benefits
There was no additional information provided to the research team to be utilized in the development of quantifiable benefits.

Arnstein Comparison

The surveys conducted for this case study included a set of questions that could be used to evaluate potential differences in the level of satisfaction between project team members and stakeholders. These differences in satisfaction are known as the Arnstein gap, which is a heuristic metric by which the existing quality deficit of public involvement can be measured. Arnstein developed an eight-step scale (Arnstein’s Ladder) characterizing levels of public involvement in planning, ranging from “Manipulation” of the public (non-participation) to “Citizen Control” of the process. The NCHRP 642 authors adapted this approach to assess the perceptions of stakeholders and the project team.


Arnstein Questions Part 1

Stakeh.

Team

I  am satisfied with the relationship we had with project team

3.5

NA

I am satisfied with the relationship I had with the stakeholders

NA

3.3

I am satisfied with the relationship I had with the interested public

NA

3.0

I am satisfied with the procedures and methods that allowed input to project decisions

3.5

3.0

Note: The project team and stakeholder scores are based on the survey results of a 4.0 scale (4: strongly agree; 3: agree; 2: disagree; and 1: strongly disagree).

Arnstein Questions Part 2

Stakeh.

Team

My relationship with the project team was best described as

2.3

NA

My relationship with the stakeholders was best described as

NA

2.9

My relationship with the interested public was best described as

NA

1.6

Note: The project team and stakeholder rankings are based on the survey results of a 4.0 scale (4: Stakeholders provided direction; 3: Stakeholders partnered with DOT; 2: DOT consulted with stakeholders; and 1: DOT informed stakeholders).

Overall level of success
In general this was a very successful CSS project. The project team seemed to be focused on the traditional issues of project scheduling/costs and oblivious to potential negative impacts off public opposition, especially by the Native Americans. The project team seemed to be less enamored of the positive outcomes of the project in terms of public/stakeholder satisfaction than the stakeholders.



The existing Four Bears Bridge (ND 23) was narrow and could not accommodate existing traffic (functionally obsolete).     
Info Icon


Related Content:

Feedback, questions, comments, or problems?
email info@contextsensitivesolutions.org

Copyright © 2005 Context Sensitive Solutions.org. All rights reserved.
About Us | Site Map | Privacy Policy

United States Department of Transportation - logo
Privacy Policy | Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) | Accessibility | Web Policies & Notices | No Fear Act | Report Waste, Fraud and Abuse | U.S. DOT Home |
USA.gov | WhiteHouse.gov

Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000