Olsson Associates


Olsson Associates takes on Main Street project in Joplin, Missouri

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Linda Van Hoosen, Communications


Nearly six years have passed since an EF5-rated tornado hit Joplin, Missouri. The tornado grew to one mile wide during its destructive path. One hundred fifty-eight people were killed, over a thousand were injured, and damages to buildings and infrastructure totaled nearly $3 billion. Joplin’s Main Street was damaged from the tornado and from the subsequent hauling of storm-related debris. The road was also aging and in need of a facelift.

The City of Joplin hired the Joint Engineering Team (JET), consisting of Olsson Associates as prime and TranSystems and CJW Consultants as subs, to not only design Main Street’s new look, but to manage a series of projects related to rebuilding from the tornado damage.

There are 17 projects total, all funded by a Community Development Block Grant for Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR). The Main Street project is a small part of it. The new Main Street, from 15th Street to 32nd Street, will have new pavement, new sidewalks, curbs, gutters, new street lighting, benches, trees, and planters.

Some of the other aesthetic elements include up-lighting on the trees and decorative intersections. 

“As you travel down Main Street, each intersection will have different design elements to delineate the section of town you’re in,” said Clayton Cristy, program manager.

 At the beginning of the project, Olsson helped the city formulate all its CDBG-DR projects.

“We helped the city prioritize the projects, which included anything that had to do with infrastructure: roads, curb and gutter, and street lights,” said Jack Schaller, Olsson senior engineer. “We helped them develop a methodology that best used the funds. It was a simple plan – basically, fix the stuff that was damaged the worst first.”

                                                                                                The Olsson team developed a plan that included damage level assessments from the field, construction cost, design cost, and whether it was a low to moderate income (LMI) area. The Main Street project is one of two streetscaping projects. The other one is 20th Street. Both streets had been heavily damaged by the tornado. The projects required a design firm that could provide multiple services to repair the damage. Olsson’s depth of services was a good fit to manage the projects.

“We have local presence here, which helps us understand what the client wants, and we have depth across the firm,” Jack said.

Olsson’s services for the project include streetscaping from the firm’s Design Studio, and its Kansas City Traffic team provided electrical work. Staff from Olsson’s Kansas City Environmental team and Olathe Geotechnical team were also brought in for the project.

Olsson’s Springfield Water Resources team designed the storm water systems, and its Transportation teams are helping with the workload to get it done on time. The firm’s Lincoln office provided grant administration and construction administration services, while the Joplin/Springfield Special Inspections group is doing the inspection and testing.

“I think this project showcases that we are a local company with a national reach,” Jack said. “This project has also shown we can multitask as well as work well with and manage other consultants.”

The construction of the Main Street project is expected to be complete by December.

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