Skipper Bowles Drive Reconstruction
Skipper Bowles Drive was originally a haul road for the Dean E. Smith Center and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Increased traffic volumes with larger and heavier vehicles caused major pavement deformities that required a complete renovation of the roadway.
The University contracted with AMT to complete construction documents for a Complete Streets renovation of the 2,400-foot roadway, which included considerations for bicycle and pedestrian traffic such as sharrows and painted crosswalks. The design dictated the use of full depth reclamation pavement recycling which mills and reuses the deteriorated pavement to make it stronger and reduces the amount of new material needed, thus reducing off-site waste.
The design team created a strong traffic control plan that allowed the road to stay open at all times during construction. AMT switched the existing four-lane roadway from two-way traffic to one-way traffic using two lanes in one direction. This made Skipper Bowles act as a loop road which allowed traffic, including buses to continue to use the road. Once construction was complete, traffic was easily rerouted back to two-way traffic.
Chilled water lines, steam tunnels, and reclaimed water lines exist near the surface at multiple locations along the project limits. AMT worked closely with the contractor to monitor construction activities and mark the areas where utilities were close to the surface, especially during the full depth reclamation process.
Skipper Bowles Drive now serves as a major connector through South Campus for students, personal vehicles, Chapel Hill Transit buses, along with special event usage at both the Smith Center and Kenan Stadium.
AMT’s tasks on the project included:
- Coordination with university stakeholders
- Coordination with NCDOT, Town of Chapel Hill, OWASA (Orange Water and Sewer Authority), and other utility providers
- Stormwater design, which includes the replacement of defective pipes under the existing roadway
- Traffic control plan
- Grading and erosion control
- Signing and pavement markings
- Complete street concepts that make allowance for bicycle & pedestrian activities
- ADA upgrades and compliance
- Plan development and review by the State Construction Office
- Development of project specifications
- Construction administration
Skipper Bowles was a Complete Streets project that took into account all forms of roadway users including pedestrians, bicycles and public transportation.
The project used full depth reclamation–a process in which the damaged roadway is milled and recycled into the new one.
The resulting roadway improves traffic flow through this area of the campus, particularly during sporting events.
During construction, the project used a unique maintenance of traffic plan. As this is a loop road, the traffic pattern was changed to make Skipper Bowles a one-way road during construction. Once two lanes of roadway were complete, it was changed back to two-way traffic.