KLJ engineers and landscape architects partnered with City staff, residents, and business owners to create and evaluate design options. KLJ provided construction engineering services, as well as survey and design to develop construction documents.
The project used infrastructure updates to address safety and efficiency and improve user experience. New extra-large corner “bulb-outs” at intersections provide improved protection for pedestrians in crosswalks. They include dedicated ADA ramps that offer safe access between van-accessible ADA parking and the sidewalk. New trees and low-maintenance perennial flowers and grasses soften the streetscapes. New concrete surfaces include multi-colored, multi-textured aesthetic treatments and a heavy protective seal. Directional signage and monuments with historic displays were installed, providing information about the historic downtown, and directing pedestrians to various downtown destinations. Added signage directs drivers to parking spaces, and guides pedestrians to various downtown locations, most of which are within a 5-minute walking radius.
Several project challenges required a high degree of creativity. For example, regulatory guidelines call for pedestrian walkways at least four feet wide with a slope of less than two percent between businesses and the street. Previous walkways sloped up to four percent and higher in some places, and the project did not include elevations changes for businesses or the street. To create a new sidewalk with a two percent grade, while also making the sidewalk functional, ADA compliant, and inviting to use, KLJ took a fourfold approach:
- replaced the existing curb, raising it as much as possible, while still remaining compliant.
- incorporated a two-foot-wide band of decorative concrete between the curb and the sidewalk, which gained several inches of elevation.
- engaged business owners to determine which of their entrances provided ADA compliant access or if they used alternate entrances.
- In some places, incorporated railing-separated split-level paths, with curbside ramps descending to street level, and interior walkways ascending to business entrances.
The team took various measures to support economic and environmental stewardship, and ensure longevity of the improvements. Select areas of pavement were ground and resealed in lieu of full replacement. Parking areas received grooved pavement markings. Asphalt surfaces were milled and overlaid, and a chip seal was applied, maximizing service life of the pavement. The project reused all existing storm sewers. The team evaluated the possibility of refurbishing existing light poles, outfitted with new LED luminaries; ultimately full replacement was a better alternative.
The newly beautified downtown Devils Lake is attracting businesses and creating a vibrant experience for the City’s residents and visitors. Executed as a partnership between KLJ, the City of Devils Lake and community stakeholders, the end result of the project is a highly visible example of the relationship between functional excellence and aesthetics. The new sidewalks, street surfaces, bulb-outs, crosswalks, curbs, lighting, parking, greenery, street furniture, and signage are a mix of technique and aesthetic, which interplay to create the newly refreshed downtown Devils Lake.
KLJ was awarded a “2022 Engineering Excellence Award” by The American Council of Engineering Companies of North Dakota (ACEC/ND) for our work on the Devils Lake Downtown Revitalization Project.