Local engineering firm Stantec has received the Grand Conceptor top award for engineering excellence for its design of the reconfigured Harrodsburg Road (US 68) interchange at New Circle Road (KY4), according to a press release. The design solution, known as a Double Crossover Diamond (DCD), was the first in the state and only the sixth in the nation when it opened to traffic in August 2011. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) has credited it with improving safety, saving costs, and easing congestion at the highly travelled interchange.
The annual American Council of Engineering Companies/Kentucky Engineering Excellence Awards were announced on February 7, 2013. The Engineering Excellence program is an annual design competition that recognizes engineering achievements which demonstrate the highest degree of merit and ingenuity.
As the top award winner in Kentucky, the Harrodsburg Road design solution is now in the running for a national award from the ACEC, a design competition known as the “academy awards of engineering.”
The DCD design, developed by a team of Stantec transportation engineers in Lexington, addressed issues at one of the city’s most congested and crash plagued interchanges. In addition to adding new lanes, the DCD approach eliminated left turns across traffic with an “at grade” configuration that saved the KYTC from the multi-million costs of constructing new interchange overpasses.
Significant features include:
• Project costs were held to $5.5 million versus $15-$20 million to completely rebuild the interchange.
• A five-month construction period, versus two construction seasons for a complete interchange reconstruction.
• The ability to maintain the current number of traffic lanes, while maintaining full-width shoulders and adding two shared use paths for pedestrians and bicyclists.
• A nearly 50 percent reduction in crashes since the project was completed in November 2011. Prior to the new design, the half-mile stretch of Harrodsburg Road adjacent to the DCD had the highest crash rate of any major artery in Lexington.
• A 2012 survey by the Kentucky Transportation Center at the University of Kentucky found 73.1 percent of those polled found the project “somewhat” or “very much” improved over previous conditions.