Project Spotlight: Liberty Drive Improvements

Posted on Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016 by
In Projects, Traffic, Transportation Engineering, tagged in Tags: , , , ,

Affinis designed improvements to Liberty Drive from South Ridge Avenue to West Mill Street. The Liberty Drive Improvements project involved:

  • Reconstructing, milling, and overlaying the pavement;
  • Adding or replacing curb and gutter and sidewalk;
  • Adding bicycle lanes and connections through the corridor;
  • Retaining wall construction to help save backyards and utilities and make room for sidewalks;
  • Installing and improving an enclosed storm sewer system;
  • Replacement and installation of new water mains and services;
  • Replacement and rehabilitation of sanitary sewer lines and services.

This section of Liberty is the link between the historic downtown area and the business loop. To continue the existing streetscape elements of downtown, landscaping, stone retaining walls, and decorative street lighting were included in the infrastructure improvements.


The city used Federal STP funding in conjunction with city funding, and the project was administered through the Missouri Department of Transportation’s (MoDOT) Local Public Authority (LPA) program. Our familiarity with MoDOT’s LPA processes facilitated the design and project progress. The team was able to create a set of plans, specifications, and easements that met MoDOT’s requirements, while still delivering a project that accomplished the city’s goals.

“To keep the project within budget, Affinis worked diligently to bring us solutions that assessed first costs and long­term maintenance. As an example, we originally intended to reconstruct the entire pavement for the length of the project, which left a minimal amount for streetscape enhancements,” said John Findlay, PE, Public Works Project Manager, City of Liberty, Missouri, “Affinis performed a pavement condition assessment and identified locations that could be repaired with a mill and overlay.” This allowed a portion of the city funding to be reallocated to other project improvements.

A partner on the project, Vireo reviewed the project corridor, as it related to the larger context of community planning; assessed the level of bicycle and pedestrian accommodation; and provided input into the safe and cost-effective access and flow through the corridor.

Improving pedestrian and bicyclist safety was a goal of this project. To this end, our design team included a dedicated bicycle lane in each direction and provided ADA compliant pedestrian access with ramps and crosswalks at intersections. The sidewalk is continuous between South Ridge and West Mill Street on one side of the street. To accommodate a new sidewalk and maintain existing yards and utilities east of South Ridge, a 1,000-foot long, soldier-pile retaining wall was constructed.


Originally, the Liberty Drive and South Fairview intersection had a triangular-shaped island separating the lanes of traffic on South Fairview, which created two pedestrian crossings. The intersection was redesigned to a traditional tee, eliminating the island and creating only one pedestrian crossing. The modification also eliminated driver confusion and improved intersection sight distance. Raised medians on Liberty Drive were added to provide a pedestrian refuge through the crosswalk at the South Ridge Avenue intersection.

Utility coordination was a primary focus and one of the keys to this project’s success. We coordinated with all utilities to identify conflicts and review facility relocations and replacements. The city took the opportunity to replace and relocate some of their aging and undersized water lines and sanitary sewer facilities. Our team performed the facility design and coordinated it with the roadway design and construction.

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