Delivering ADA Compliance with Accuracy, Efficiency and Expertise
Sidewalks, street crossings and other elements in the public right-of-way can pose challenges to accessibility. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), signed into law in 1990, sets standards to mitigate those challenges. With the growing urgency of ADA compliance to increase public safety and accessibility, it is important to navigate these complex guidelines with accuracy and efficiency.
Compliance Can be Costly
ADA requirements can complicate design, with a broad range of considerations from driveway crossings and curb ramps to pedestrian signals and slope or grade. These requirements tend to cause even more difficulties for contractors, expanding project timelines and cost as they work through unforeseen obstacles. Without the right partner, project teams can easily get caught in a cycle of rework and scope creep.
Because ADA-compliant projects are complex, it is critical to develop a cohesive set of plans that leave nothing to interpretation. For instance, many sidewalk plans only show plan view information, but designs will serve the construction team even better if detailed grades are included. In addition, clearly portraying ramp construction styles, locations, landings and maximum slopes can bring even more clarity to the project.
By working closely with several sidewalk contractors in recent years, Bartlett & West project managers have developed a specialized niche of efficiently managing ADA compliance and avoiding costly change orders or disputes during construction.
“Beyond knowledge of ADA compliance, our teams bring expertise along each stage of the project, from mapping and design to construction observation and management,” said Bartlett & West’s Bruce Green, P.E. “We can also interact with property owners and assist the city with public updates on our projects.”
Unique equipment like mobile Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) units can quickly gather complex data in an urban environment with minimal disruption to traffic flow. Overlaying static LiDAR imagery and aerial photography provides a more in-depth picture of the landscape. This data provides critical insight during the design phase, which in turn helps the project progress more efficiently.
“Mobile LiDAR can safely and efficiently acquire data with no obstruction of vehicle and pedestrian traffic flow,” said Bartlett & West’s Scott Uhl, P.E., “In turn, this helps us maximize efficiencies in terms of project cost and time.”
Retrofitting ADA-compliant design features within an existing space is one common approach to effectively manage costs and minimize traffic disruptions. When city leaders in California, Missouri, needed to update 3,000 feet of deteriorated sidewalk, Bartlett & West project teams successfully brought the city’s sidewalk network into compliance with ADA standards, and even installed ADA-compliant sidewalks and curb ramps at one of the city’s largest intersections.
Cole County, Missouri, saw similar success with a project. Bartlett & West helped the county construct sidewalk and 1,000 linear feet of roadway, including new curb and gutter. Bartlett & West project teams also built a new stormwater system and reconstructed numerous driveways along the route to accommodate ADA-compliant cross slopes.
“With extensive expertise, attention to detail and specialized experience and equipment, Bartlett & West is uniquely qualified to assess existing conditions and bring spaces into compliance with ADA,” said Bartlett & West’s Todd Kempker, P.E. “From small-scale to longer projects, we enjoy partnering with clients to navigate challenges and encourage efficiencies.”