Monday, March 11, 2013
Olsson Associates was given three awards at the 2013 American Council of Engineering Companies/Nebraska’s Engineering Excellence Awards held February 19 in Omaha. Awards included an Honor Award (one of three given) for Lincoln’s 14th and Superior Street Roundabout, a Merit Award (and category winner) for Antelope Creek Improvements with the Lower Platte South Natural Resources District, and the Public Relations Grand Award for our new website and branded collateral. Please read below for more information on these award-winning projects.
14th and Superior Street Roundabout
Olsson’s design team saw the need for constructing a safe intersection that would not inhibit traffic capacity or access and that required less right-of-way. With projected entering traffic volumes in excess of 52,000 vehicles per day, a multilane roundabout design was not the typical solution, but this intersection had many characteristics that made it a prime candidate for a multilane roundabout design.
Olsson and the city hired Ourston Roundabout Engineering, a nationally recognized roundabout design firm, to conduct an intersection capacity analysis. The results of the study indicated that a multilane roundabout design at this particular intersection would perform better from a capacity standpoint, save thousands in paving costs, and provide safer intersection control when compared to the traditional signalized intersection. Olsson moved forward with the multilane roundabout design and helped the city conduct an extensive public engagement program to achieve public buy-in.
Construction of this multilane roundabout at N. 14th Street and Superior Street was completed in August of 2012, and volumes are already back to pre-construction levels. By selecting the multilane roundabout design over the signalized intersection, the money saved by this alternative was reinvested into the project in the form of safer pedestrian facilities. Two pedestrian underpasses and two signalized pedestrian crossings were installed to ensure that students at the nearby middle school had a safe route to school.
Antelope Creek Improvements
The Antelope Valley project, the largest flood control project in Lincoln’s history, was undertaken to reduce flooding along Antelope Creek. The project restored open-channel flows and reduced flooding along Antelope Creek in the vicinity of the closed conduit that conveyed Antelope Creek flows from just upstream of ‘N’ Street to downstream of Vine Street. The channel was designed to contain the 1-percent annual chance event, or 100-year flood, within its banks and eliminate the flood prone area from the overbanks in this reach.
The Antelope Valley project had significant flood reduction impacts and FEMA’s Flood Insurance Rate Maps were revised in February 2011. Although the project was successful in reducing flood prone areas, the limits of Antelope Valley project flood reductions ended at South 27th Street. In order to reduce the extents of the floodplain upstream, the Lower Platte South Natural Resources District (LPSNRD) and the City of Lincoln undertook a study to evaluate potential Antelope Creek improvements upstream of South 27th Street.
The study findings indicated that there were several locations limiting the conveyance of storm water flow. In addition to the South Street Bridge, which was already programed for replacement, the existing box culvert at ‘A’ Street also restricted flows. The channel between ‘A’ Street and South 27th Street was too narrow and allowed water to flow out of the banks in a large storm event. The final selected alternatives for Antelope Creek Improvements project included construction of additional box culverts at ‘A’ Street, channel conveyance improvements between ‘A’ and South 27th Streets, and detention improvements within Antelope Park. The project's ultimate goal was to remove approximately 100 structures from the floodplain.
Olsson Associates’ New Website and Marketing Materials
Olsson's external-facing website had not been updated in four years. During this time, our firm had grown in the services we offered, the industries we served, and the geographic footprint we covered. It was challenging to modify the existing website to accommodate for this growth, and members of our firm started to receive client comments that our site was hard to navigate. Even more concerning was clients commenting they couldn’t easily find information on the services in which they were interested.
We also knew that “Olsson Associates” didn’t show up with acceptable regularity when conducting search engine searches (e.g. Google, Bing, Yahoo etc.), and it did not generate a high ranking when showing up in search results. Understanding that our website—and finding our website—was a critical marketing tool for potential clients in this increasingly Internet-dependent world, we knew a website update was needed.
In the midst of planning for the website update, we also took on updating the design of our nearly 40 service marketing pages and business cards. Rather than do each in a vacuum, we collaborated on the design and content so that our new marketing materials coincided exactly with the service information on the website. In doing this, we were able to create synergy between our printed marketing materials and our website so that no matter what medium our clients were directed to, the message we conveyed about Olsson Associates would be consistent. Although this was not a planned coordination when we first began talking about a website update, we understood the value in updating these materials at the same time and were able to offer added benefit to our clients in the process.