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Hastings + Chivetta, KAI Design & Build Redo Busy Grand Blvd Crossings to Increase Safety

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By KERRY SMITH, EDITOR, ST. LOUIS CONSTRUCTION NEWS & REVIEW MAGAZINE

Architect Hastings + Chivetta and General Contractor KAI Design & Build are seeing the results of their recent redesign and construction of the Grand and West Pine Boulevards streetscape to enhance pedestrian safety at Saint Louis University.

Making it safely for pedestrians to cross and making the entire crossway accessible were key project priorities. KAI Design & Build Director of Field Operations Steve Kizer said the newly rebuilt streetscape runs along Grand Boulevard northbound and southbound from Lindell Boulevard two blocks south to Laclede Avenue.

“It’s not unusual for 300 to 400 pedestrians to be crossing at any of these points along Grand at peak times such as 9am and 3pm,” Kizer said.

HCA President Chris Chivetta said the fast-track project, which began right after Saint Louis University’s commencement ceremonies in May and was completed just three months later, is part of the university’s overall master plan that HCA is in the process of updating.

“The newly redesigned, rebuilt crossing features a wider median that can more safely accommodate pedestrians waiting for the light to change at these busy intersections,” Chivetta said. “The project scope also includes additional lighting, improved traffic signals and bollards situated along the media and sidewalks to prevent cars from encroaching into pedestrian areas.”

Slowing down vehicles as they approach the campus to facilitate a safer central campus core was a chief goal of the project, according to Chivetta.

More about those new bollards: Kizer said they’re designed, built and secured to be able to withstand a severe blow from an oncoming vehicle.

“Each of the bollards contains a steel tube measuring 10 inches in diameter and one inch thick,” said Kizer. “They’re installed into a concrete pad that is attached to a 10-inch I-beam that is perpendicular to the steel tube and embedded into the concrete. These bollards are built to withstand a 50-mile-an-hour vehicular impact.”

To create space for the wider median, the third northbound traffic lane was eliminated.

In addition to safety-specific improvements, the streetscape project included landscape design and aesthetic improvements.

Kizer credited civil engineer Stock & Associates for its project expertise.

“This streetscape project was fast-paced and involved a lot of people working on-site at one time,” Kizer said. “The architect, general contractor, engineer and top-quality subcontractors all pulled together and made this happen as a team.”

An unforeseen element during construction, Kizer said, was discovering a network of trolley tracks in the excavation area. Workers had to physically remove the track infrastructure before work could commence.

The new streetscape also has visual and audio instructions to indicate when it is safe for pedestrians to cross. The improvements are features of a brand-new signalization system that was installed as part of the project. Also, within the project’s scope, existing asphalt was milled and replaced, and new stamped concrete pavers were installed.

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