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Constant contact

Bridge replacement caps years of planning

Photos submitted by Omnni Associates Inc.

Photos submitted by Omnni Associates Inc.

Four years of groundwork paved the way for the massive $19.67 million replacement of Appleton’s College Avenue Bridge, so a little snow and huge crowds weren’t about to hold things up.

But when issues did arise, the project’s well-honed communication and construction teams reacted quickly, updating motorists and project members to any changes in schedule. The bridge is a major thoroughfare for the area, connecting east and west Appleton over the Fox River.

When Elmstar Electric Corp., Kaukauna, came close to missing a key deadline on the project due to the last-minute discovery of incorrect parts, communication down the line resulted in getting the right supplies in time, said Elmstar Vice President Carmen Fosick.

“They knew exactly what was wrong, and they stayed on top of it,” she said of the project team members.

“We communicated and coordinated it. That’s a good summary for the whole job.”

Sandwiched between two large events in Appleton — Lawrence University’s graduation in the spring and the city’s Octoberfest celebration in fall — the project’s many construction members had to stick to a tight schedule, said Mike Malcolm, transportation project manager at Omnni Associates Inc., Appleton.

Further complicating matters, the Appleton area experienced its third-highest snowfalls that winter, Malcolm said, making it tough to stay on schedule. Crews finished work on the last possible day, he said.

Stepping up with a plan to cut significant time off the project, J.F. Ahern Co., Fond du Lac, improved the project’s safety with its decision to restructure the piping timeline, said John Klinzing, J.F. Ahern senior project manager.

Using Building Information Modeling, J.F. Ahern employees determined installing water main pipes after decking was complete was a safer and faster alternative than installing them before the decks were poured, as originally planned, he said.

“It saved about a month’s worth of pipe installation,” Klinzing said.

Throughout it all, a community advisory committee and strong communication among all parties kept things moving, Malcolm said.

A variety of community members — including elected officials, neighbors and people from Lawrence University — worked with planners from the project’s early stages, he said, to ensure the bridge and water main served and fit in with the area.

Every deadline was met, Malcolm said, and everyone involved in the bridge design and construction helped make that happen.

College Avenue Bridge and water main

Location: Appleton

Submitting companies: Elmstar Electric Corp., Kaukauna; J.F. Ahern Co., Fond du Lac; Omnni Associates Inc., Appleton

General Contractors: Edward Kraemer & Sons Inc., Plain; Vinton Construction Co., Manitowoc

Architect: Omnni Associates Inc.

Engineers: Omnni Associates Inc. (civil); the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (structural)

Owners: WisDOT and the city of Appleton

Project size: Two miles

Project cost: $19.67 million

Start date: July 2008

Completion date:
October 2009

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