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TH 61 North Shore Dr., Reconstruction

Project Abstract

The purpose of the project was to improve roadway safety and improve traffic flow by reconstructing a 2.0-mile section of Highway 61 along Lake Superior’s Good Harbor Bay.



TH 61 North Shore Dr., Reconstruction :

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: Good Harbor Bay, Minnesota

Lead Agency: Minnesota DOT

Contact Person: Scott Bradley

Phase completed: Construction/Operations

Source: Stamatiadis, Nikiforos, et. al. GUIDELINES FOR QUANTIFYING THE BENEFITS OF CONTEXT SENSITIVE SOLUTIONS. NCHRP 15-32. April 2009.

CSS Qualities

Project Team (make up)
The project team was primarily composed of the Minnesota DOT, with advisory and resource input from a wide range of stakeholders.

Stakeholders (make up, utilization, interaction)
A balance was achieved for the goals and objectives of transportation interests, the community, environmental representatives, and stakeholders.

Public involvement (types, documentation)
A context sensitive design was achieved through a proactive management approach and involvement of stakeholders without contentious public involvement.

Design solution (process, modes and alternatives examined)
The project involved improving roadway safety and traffic flow while minimizing impact to the surrounding area.

CSS Concepts

  • Proactive project management and stakeholder involvement accomplished the following project benefits:
  • Enhance the scenic and visual qualities of the corridor
  • Preserve historic and traditional views and vistas from the highway
  • Preserve and enhance public access to the lakeshore
  • Avoid adverse impacts to residential and commercial property owners
  • Avoid adverse impacts to the environment and state parkland
  • Reduce erosion along the lakeshore and Cutface Creek

Lessons learned
Consensus was reached in determining project purpose and need to balance transportation, community, and environmental objectives, as well as selecting a lower design speed appropriate for the project characteristics.

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

3.7

Involve stakeholders

3.3

Seek broad-based public involvement

3.7

Use full range of communication methods

3.3

Achieve consensus on purpose and need

3.7

Utilize full range of design choices

3.3

Address alternatives and all modes

3.3

Maintain environmental harmony

3.7

Address community & social issues

3.7

Address aesthetic treatments & enhancements

3.7

Consider a safe facility for users & community

3.7

Document project decisions

3.3

Track and meet all commitments

3.3

Create a lasting value for the community

3.7

Use all resources effectively (time & budget)

3.7



Discussion on CSS principles


Project team’s perspective
There was one survey completed and returned by the project team. The team member was an employee of the Minnesota DOT. The respondent expressed a relatively high opinion relative to the 15 CSS principles were applied.

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

3.0

Increased stakeholder/public participation compared to other projects

NA

3.3

Increased stakeholder/public participation

--

3.0

Increased stakeholder/public ownership

--

3.7

Increased stakeholder/public trust

--

3.7

Decreased costs for overall project delivery

NA

3.5

Decreased time for overall project delivery

NA

3.5

Improved predictability of project delivery

--

3.3

Improved project scoping

NA

4.0

Improved project budgeting

NA

4.0

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

--

3.7

Improved opportunities for joint use and development

--

3.5

Improved sustainable decisions and investments

NA

3.3

Improved environmental stewardship

NA

3.7

Minimized overall impact to human environment

--

3.7

Minimized overall impact to natural environment

--

3.7

Improved mobility for all users

--

3.7

Improved walkability

--

3.7

Improved bikeability

--

3.5

Improved safety (vehicles, pedestrians, and bikes)

--

3.7

Improved multi-modal options

--

3.3

Improved community satisfaction

--

3.3

Improved quality of life for community

--

3.3

Fit with local government land use plan

--

3.5

Improved speed management

--

3.5

Design features appropriate to context

--

3.7

Optimized maintenance and operations

NA

3.5

Minimized disruption

--

3.7

Increased risk management and liability protection

NA

4.0

 

Discussion on Benefit Values


Semi-Quantitative Benefits
There were no responses from the stakeholders who received the survey, and only one response from a team member as noted in the previous section. The responder indicated a high level of approval for improved project scoping and budgeting, as well as increased risk management and liability protection related to the project. Other benefits resulting from the project as perceived by the project team were minimized impacts to the environment, both natural and human, as well as improved safety, increased mobility, and minimal disruption.

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

--

NA

I am satisfied with the relationship I had with the stakeholders

NA

3.5

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

NA

3.5

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

--

4.0

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).

The first four questions of the Arnstein comparison section attempt to evaluate the relative view and perceptions of the project team versus the view and perceptions of the stakeholders. Without stakeholder responses, this comparison was not possible. 

  

Arnstein Questions Part 2

Stakeh.

Team

My relationship with the project team was best described as

--

NA

My relationship with the stakeholders was best described as 

NA

3.7

My relationship with the interested public was best described as

NA

3.3

Note: The project team and stakeholder rankings are based on the survey results of a 4.0 scale (4: They allowed us to provide direction; 3: We established a partnership; 2: We established a consultation relationship; and 1: We established an informational relationship).

The last three questions of the Arnstein comparison were opinions of relationship roles of the stakeholders with project team members and the role of project team members with the stakeholders and the public. Without stakeholder responses, this comparison was not possible.

Overall level of success
A context sensitive design was achieved through a proactive management approach and involvement of stakeholders. There was one survey completed and returned by the project team, an employee of the Minnesota DOT. The respondent expressed a relatively high opinion regarding the 15 CSS principles. However, no stakeholder responses were returned, so any comparisons with the project team are not possible.



    
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