Improvements to Harrison Avenue accommodate urban growth


September 2013 to April 2014


The City of Rockford hired Fehr Graham to help reconstruct 1.5 miles of Harrison Avenue, from Ninth Street to 20th Street. Harrison Avenue was converted from a four-lane to a five-lane road with a raised median and upgrading all intersections to address projected traffic volumes and improve road conditions.

The road became a Strategic Regional Arterial route that better accommodates urban growth in the mixed-use region. Improvements included pavement reconstruction, two triple-cell box culverts, box culvert extension, concrete channel and retaining wall, storm sewers, water main, lighting, shared-use path, landscaping, irrigation, fiber optic raceways, turn lanes, traffic signals and signage.

Our team secured environmental, historical, and cultural clearances, and we filed a Project Development Report and an Access Management Study and Plan. All our work was performed under Illinois Department of Transportation review. Because the project was in the Southeast Rockford Groundwater Contamination Superfund site, soil remediation and a Health and Safety Plan were needed to protect workers. Special provisions and associated pay items also were included to handle and dispose of any contaminated soil and groundwater.

We created plans, specifications and cost estimates for Phase II of the project. Road widening and reconstruction, lighting and traffic signal upgrades, sidewalks, overhead utility and stormwater drainage channels were designed in Phase II. The road widening and realignment to the north required 80% of the southeast drainage channel to be reconstructed. During Phase II, we conducted an environmental Preliminary Site Investigation, which included investigating 33 potential waste sites along Harrison Avenue that required 72 soil borings. A portion of the channel was reconstructed with a vertical retaining wall to minimize the channel width from right-of-way constraints. The two triple-cell box culverts and main replacement of 1,700 feet of channel better maintain flood elevations. Three entrances were also replaced with a single-entrance structure crossing the channel.

The project received Surface Transportation Program funding. Construction was completed in 2018.

» Completed Phase I and II engineering and preliminary design reports.
» Completed environmental investigation.
» Completed intersection design surveys.
» Accommodated pedestrians, lighting and utilities.
» Analyzed stormwater plans and reports.
» Completed topographic surveys.