Industry: Road and Rail
Product: Descartes, iModel.js, LumenRT, MicroStation, OpenBridge, OpenFlows, OpenGround, OpenRoads, ProjectWise, RAM, STAAD
User: Foth Infrastructure & Environment, LLC
Country: United States

October 21, 2019

Foth Transforms, Connects, and Revitalizes Cedar Falls, Iowa Corridor, Delivering USD 32 Million in Savings over 25 Years

The City of Cedar Falls, Iowa is a busy community with a growing economy and home to the University of Northern Iowa. University Avenue, a former Iowa Department of Transportation roadway that the city took ownership of in 2014, is a critical six-lane arterial corridor, which services a high volume of daily traffic for a mixture of land uses, including residential, public utilities, and commercial.

Due to the deterioration of the 60-year-old roadway and increasing public pressure to improve conditions, the Cedar Falls City Council identified this USD 38.9 million project as one of its top priorities. City Council hired Foth Infrastructure & Environment, LLC to develop a comprehensive transportation plan for the roadway based on public input and other design considerations from the preliminary engineering phase through final design and construction. 

The new corridor design needed to modernize University Avenue. Their criteria were to improve traffic flow, enhance safety, ensure bicycle and pedestrian access and mobility, provide a “living street”, be compatible with the existing network, lower upfront capital investment and operational costs, and enhance commercial access. Working in close partnership with the City of Cedar Falls and the public, Foth worked to achieve these objectives using Bentley’s comprehensive infrastructure applications to create a design that both accommodated design requirements and supported public access to over 100 businesses along the corridor. 

The project had many challenges, including aggressive timeframes, negative public perceptions by a vocal minority, two bid packages driven by city mayor/council elections, public and private utility stakeholders, and escalating costs due to a growing list of demands. To support the conception and public engagement phase of the project, Foth used MicroStation and LumenRT to create information-rich 3D models and visualizations to effectively share project information at key stakeholder and public meetings to ensure project buy-in and approvals. 

During the design phase, the firm employed OpenRoads, OpenFlows, and STAAD to create multidiscipline 3D models for roadway, grading, drainage, and more to support right-of-way acquisitions and plan creation, specifications, and construction estimates. Foth also used these applications to design and analyze roadway and intersection alternatives, coordinate utilities, and develop traffic models for proposed road scenarios and corridor simulations. ProjectWise and OpenRoads were used during construction for project bidding, construction administration and observation, as well as construction surveys. 

Collaboration and effective sharing of engineering project data were critical to meeting the aggressive schedule and developing an optimized, cost-effective design. The core project team changed during each of the three project phases, and work was dispersed across other regional offices and design teams. ProjectWise was instrumental in sharing the 122 gigabytes of data and more than 21,000 files, and helped teams remotely manage data and bring consistency in document management, digital workflows, naming taxonomies, and more. Audit trails were employed for design change management and helped the team to quickly diagnose issues and remediate them within hours instead of weeks. 

Foth’s safe, efficient, and economical modern design delivered an ROI estimated at USD 32 million in savings to the public of Cedar Falls, Iowa to be realized over the next 25 years. Using Bentley’s open applications enabled Foth to meet the deadline for the design phase while reducing the timeline by 50%, from three years to one-and-a-half years. The achieved efficiencies represented a significant savings in resource hours. In addition, total construction costs came in 3% below the total contract bid amounts, saving the city more than USD 500,000. 

“Our implementation of Bentley applications is a key ingredient to Foth’s culture of continually making our clients successful. Using a BIM model we reduced design time, modernized workflows, enabled the reuse of rich digital deliverables throughout the project lifecycle and increased our ability to collaborate internally and with our stakeholders,” said Blaine Buenger, senior technology manager, Foth Infrastructure & Environment, LLC. “All of these things increase our competitive advantage and allow us to deliver the highest level of service to our clients.”


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