Abonmarche SJ and Grand Haven projects win Professional Design Awards


The Langley Avenue project in Abonmarche in St. Joseph won the APWA Michigan – Southwest Branch 2021 Project of the Year in Transportation award for projects under $ 5 million. In addition, Abonmarche’s Grand Haven Downtown Waterfront & Infrastructure Resiliency project in Grand Haven won the APWA Michigan – Midwest Branch, 2021 Project of the Year in Structures under $ 1 million award.

These two award-winning projects have brought together a talented team of partners to improve the fabric of each community. “Our team at Abonmarche is honored to shine the spotlight on two communities – the City of St. Joseph and the City of Grand Haven – who are investing in their future by improving public gathering spaces and valuable public services,” said Tim Drews. , director and vice-president at Abonmarche. “These two projects are a testament to the impact that successful public works projects can have on a community, and we are proud to be part of the exceptional teams behind these projects.

Langley Avenue is one of the main north-south corridors of the City of St. Joseph, connecting the downtown area with commercial and residential areas further south. The road serves as the main collector of traffic from the southern districts of the city to the north and south to the community’s shopping and employment centers. This historic model resulted in a pavement that was originally a vehicle-centric two-lane asphalt section with concrete parking tapes running its entire length and that needed to be modernized to meet the needs of all users of the system. , including cyclists and pedestrians who use the corridor. In addition, the hydraulic, sanitation and rainwater infrastructure under the pavement had reached or exceeded its useful life and needed special attention to provide resilient service in the future.

Five objectives were established as part of this project: to narrow the section of the roadway to create an atmosphere closer to the neighborhood, to create on-street parking zones, to build a 10-foot-wide non-motorized path for connection to d ‘other non-motorized installations, replacing and upgrading water supply, sanitary and storm sewer infrastructure, and finally, assisting utilities with long-term upgrades and system reliability.


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This project brought transformative change to the neighborhood while maintaining the functionality of the pavement and improving safety. The project included the installation of recessed pavement markings, backplates on traffic lights in Napier, and reflective stop traffic bars to promote vehicle and pedestrian safety. Additionally, a set of flashing crosswalks have been added to Orchard for school traffic to ensure that venerable road users have extra protection when crossing the active pavement.

Another major safety achievement was to refine the curve route towards the middle of the project, which previously did not meet design standards and had a history of accidents associated with the setup. By flattening the curve and shifting the approach pavement, the design helped maintain non-motorized facilities and accommodate utilities, while improving the curve to meet current design standards.

The resulting project achieved these goals by creating space for a dedicated non-motorized path, building a narrower section of pavement with targeted parking areas and replacing / upgrading the infrastructure system. Working with the community of St. Joseph, Abonmarche defined the desired outcomes of the project and applied sound engineering and construction principles to create a project that meets the needs of the community both now and in the future.

The Grand Haven Downtown Waterfront Improvement Initiative was a critical community investment to meet the infrastructure needs of downtown businesses and provide amenities to support the community’s tourism economic sector. The project, designed and built by Abonmarche, was completed in March 2021.

This project area is the heart of the nationally recognized annual Coast Guard festival and the hub of the local tourist economy. This part of downtown has been a key part of the community’s function and economic vitality for centuries. Over the years, the river has served as a catalyst for the fur, lumber manufacturing, and now tourism industries. Making the necessary improvements to this area to prepare it to serve the community for another 100 years has required dealing with a confined construction environment, high and contaminated groundwater, and a multitude of underground utilities.

Considering the intensive use of the area and its importance to the community, Abonmarche structured this complex project into two phases: first, defining the infrastructure and public services in the area for future viability, and second, by creating additional amenities and improved connectivity across the board for future generations to enjoy.

During Phase 1, Harbor Drive was rebuilt between Franklin Avenue and Columbus Avenue. The focus was on addressing many gaps and capacity issues in public services. The main elements of this phase included the complete replacement of the roadway, sanitary and storm sewers, the water main, the replacement of traffic lights, retaining walls and sidewalks.

Phase 2 focused on the area between Harbor Drive and the riverside, which was beset by many issues including narrow sidewalks, unsightly trees, and power lines obstructing view shelters. This phase was successful, as the Abonmarche team was able to create a flexible space that effectively flexes between the demands of the warmer months and activates the community’s riverside.

At the end of Phase 2, the elevation change between the sidewalks along Harbor Drive and the adjacent riverside was over 12 ′; this resulted in universal access to the waterfront in this part of the community. New rest and gathering areas along the river and a newly created esplanade allowed people to socialize while being able to safely wander outside, and viewpoints were opened up to create connectivity visual.


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