Birch Street Interchange Study

Eau Claire, Wisconsin

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation and the City of Eau Claire selected SRF to develop and evaluate interchange alternatives for the intersection of US Highway 53 (Hastings Way) and Birch Street. Hastings Way is presently a state highway, but it will be turned over to the City when the new US Highway 53 Bypass is completed. The existing Birch Street bridge is in poor structural condition and needs to be replaced; as part of the jurisdictional transfer process, WisDOT will fund the bridge replacement and is spearheading the interchange evaluation study.

SRF developed multiple concepts for replacing the existing tight urban diamond interchange at Birch Street and reconfigured the existing partial intersection at Seymour Road, which has a number of geometric constraints. We developed more than 20 potential design concepts for the two locations, which considered:

  • Changes in elevation due to bridge replacement. The existing bridge is a concrete slab. For a new interchange to be constructed in the same location, Hastings Way must be lowered to accommodate the new structure depth.
  • Need for retaining walls because of grade changes
  • Limited ability to expand Birch Street
  • Reduced mainline volumes due to construction of the new bypass
  • Demand for traffic to cross Hastings Way at both the Birch Street and Seymour Road locations
  • Ability to serve existing residential and commercial accesses
  • Right-of-way and grading impacts

We evaluated the proposed concepts for advantages and disadvantages and selected six primary concepts. Based on input from the agencies and the public, the tight urban diamond interchange and at-grade intersection concepts underwent more detailed analysis with regard to cost, traffic operations and constructability. The two concepts have been presented at an open house and to the City Council.

CLIENT: City of Eau Claire