The Stolfus Team was very excited to see this construction completed in Fall 2018. This was the culmination of an effort begun in 2011, when Stolfus authored a plan for maintenance and repair to stabilize a failing shotcrete wall in De Beque Canyon. In conjunction, the Stolfus Team collaborated with CDOT to identify other existing deficiencies in the immediate vicinity that could be effectively corrected simultaneous to the shotcrete wall repair. Despite initial expectations that crash history would identify a need for significant correction of geometric deficiencies, the study found no crash patterns to suggest that improvements to the interchange should be a high priority for CDOT. Rather, the best value was obtained from near-term improvements to the failing wall combined with relatively low-cost safety modifications to the Eastbound I-70 off-ramp.
In 2015, with construction funding anticipated in the near future, CDOT asked Stolfus to design the plan for FIR-level, and once funding was fully in place in 2016, Stolfus prepared a full-blown design; including final design of ramp improvements for the eastbound off- ramp and westbound on-ramp. The proximity of the Colorado River and the constrained roadway geometric conditions in the canyon required a very detailed analysis and design.
Stolfus has conducted roughly a dozen project safety assessments for CDOT, including assessments for several prominent urban corridors in the Denver metro such as the I-25 / Arapahoe Rd interchange; University Blvd (CO 177A) from Arapahoe Rd to Hampden Ave (CO 285); and Wadsworth Blvd from W 32nd Ave to I-70; and a study with Denver East High School students. Stolfus has received formal training and is well-acquainted with CDOT’s Vision Zero Suite software, providing us the tools to accurately diagnose whether an intersection has an abnormally high frequency of crashes, a crash severity problem, or a pattern of crash types when compared to other comparable locations within the state.
Our communities are growing in numbers at a high rate; meanwhile, the public’s appetite for multiple modes of transportation and a high quality of main street life is growing even faster. Stolfus is helping our state and local communities plan for this ongoing and future growth by providing a unified vision of future access needs through Access Control Plans (ACPs). Having led several such plans over the years, Stolfus recently completed three of them: CO 92 Rogers Mesa, Delta (CO 92/50), and Montrose (US 550). Stolfus was able to bring each plan to adoption and agreement by providing solid technical analysis, offering creative access solutions that were coordinated with property owners, helping communities balance objectives for the greater good, and incorporating new ideas into the plan. We are also currently working on ACPs for US 50 in Canon City and US 34 from I-25 to Loveland.
Stolfus continues to help CDOT perform various statewide Traffic Incident Management (TIM) activities. Included activities are:
-Developed a Traffic Incident Management Plan (TIMP) template to provide a consistent product statewide.
-Organized a TIM technical working group to advise CDOT regarding practices and perspectives of TIM partners, including topics such as training, communication, shared responsibilities, intergovernmental agreements, performance measures, and goals.
-Assisting with facilitation of Statewide Responder Safety Task Force
-Using FHWA’s SHRP2 Implementation Assistance Program and its PlanWorks tool, Stolfus helped CDOT and other stakeholders develop a linkage between TIM and CDOT’s long range transportation process.
CDOT Region 3 is currently designing improvements for approximately 2 miles of CO 9 in Frisco from Main St to Iron Springs. Stolfus was tasked with providing traffic, geometric, and access analysis and recommendations to help CDOT and stakeholders identify and prioritize projects. In conjunction, Stolfus assisted with stakeholder outreach and work sessions to build consensus for appropriate improvements. This process resulted in additional design scope for Stolfus starting in December 2017 to provide traffic signal designs, roundabout design peer reviews, a Vissim corridor visual model, and participation in a public open house meeting.
As a follow-up to a study Stolfus performed in 2015, CDOT identified the need to improve the I-70 Exit 105 Interchange at New Castle. The current contract calls for a 30% design (Shelf Level 3), including the 2040 Roundabout Interchange alternative, which consists of three two-lane roundabouts at the eastbound and westbound ramps and the US 6 / Castle Valley Boulevard intersection.
Members of the Stolfus team recently attended the 2018 Training for Colorado Transportation and Environmental Professionals, lead by the American Council of Engineering Companies of Colorado (ACEC), along with Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and the Colorado Contractors Association (CCA). This yearly training event provides Colorado-wide industry policy updates, best practices, and lessons learned from the past year.
Curb ramps were a popular topic during this year’s training. CDOT has been working through their Curb Ramp Prioritization Plan, and several municipalities have been sharing their best practices and lessons learned with CDOT along the way. The City and County of Denver held a breakout session with CDOT and shared the following tips:
- The City and County of Denver has been doing most of their curb ramp projects by just showing a location and anticipated type of curb ramp. No layouts are being done. This could be useful to apply on other projects where the terrain is fairly flat, and the curb ramp standards can be applied fairly easily.
- Inlaid striping removal on concrete roadways to remove crosswalks for relocation have been creating ponding issues where the old striping was. This tends to freeze up and become icy for vehicles and pedestrians. CDOT wants to find a solution to this.
- City and County of Denver has recently changed their design specifications for curb ramps so that they are not designed to the maximum slope allowed. They give tolerances in their standards, but the 8.33% ramp slope is a firm requirement with no tolerance. A good practice is to check the tolerances of curb ramp slopes in a municipality you are working in.
Utility break-out sessions were also popular during this year’s training, given the upcoming changes involving responsibility of utility information for roadway projects. CDOT shared several of the upcoming utility changes:
- CDOT has a new workflow for utilities during the design. More information will be required about utilities at 30% design.
- An interactive web tool is coming to CDOT that will host utility information that is being gathered.
- Existing utility information will be a larger focus during the NEPA process.
- There are different quality levels for utility information. Most traditional roadway proejcts will be required to supply Quality Level B (QLB) utility information. This will require survey of existing utilities for location and depth, and will need to be sealed by a Professional Land Surveyor (PLS).
- A subsurface CAD manual will be released by CDOT that will have new standards on how and when utilities are shown on plan sets.
- Complicated utility projects will often have a “Utility Preconstruction Meeting”.
We look forward to incorporating the information gathered from the training on future projects throughout the state.
Elizabeth Stolfus and other ACEC members recently participated in the Colorado Business Roundtable radio show and podcast. Check it out!
One of our favorite authors, Daniel Pink (Drive), recently joined forces with three other fantastic non-fiction authors, Malcolm Gladwell (The Tipping Point), Susan Cain (Quiet), and Adam Grant (Originals) to start a curated book club of exciting, groundbreaking non-fiction called the Next Big Idea Club. The club includes two curated book selections per quarter along with bonus course materials and exclusive video shorts, which break down key concepts and help you apply the insights to your own life. Several of us at Stolfus joined the club together and recently received our first two books, Endure: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance by Alex Hutchinson and The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups by Daniel Coyle.
We plan to meet as a group and view the videos together over the next couple of months and see what comes out of it. We’ll try to update our thoughts on this experiment as we go.
June 2018 Update: We met in April to view the videos for The Culture Code and in May to review the videos for Endure. Between these two, The Culture Code was the group favorite by a mile. We found it very accessible, entertaining, inspiring, and highly relevant to our daily experiences. Endure had the unfortunate luck of following The Culture Code. It is a much more focused piece that we thought might be more interesting to runners and endurance athletes that are as interested in the science of performance as the author obviously is. The stories, while fairly interesting, were much less compelling to us than what we read in The Culture Code, so it felt like a bit of a slog and was difficult to relate to our experiences, even those that are athletes.
We received our Spring Box in June, but before we hit those, some of us are reading the bonus book from the Winter, Daniel Pink’s When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing.
After that, we’ll hit these next two: New Power and The CEO Next Door.
Stolfus competed for, and was awarded, this project in this first half of 2015. Due to a large volume of truck traffic, the City of Thornton desired to increase the left-turn capacity at this intersection. Stolfus recommended performing a traffic operations analysis to confirm the need, followed by a conceptual design effort to determine the possible alternatives. Following the completion of the operations analysis and alternatives’ design, the City and Stolfus collaborated on a final design concept which was then elevated to construction plans completed in Spring 2016. Construction elements included the addition of left turn lanes to create double-lefts at each leg, lane alignment with adjacent signals, and full traffic signal replacement design. The City completed right-of-way acquisitions in 2017 and construction is starting in Fall 2017.