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Revitalizing Garland Street

September 1, 2016

PROJECT NAME: Garland Street
CHALLENGE: Installing Detailed Stamped Concrete For Sidewalk and Roadway; Field Adjustments To Unknown Underground Utilities
SOLUTION: Patience, Attention To Detail; In-House Manhole Manufacturing And Invert Adjustment For Field Changes

OWNER: City of Traverse City
CONTRACT AMOUNT: $1,581,707.00
DESIGN ENGINEER: Timothy Lodge, City of Traverse City Engineering Department
LOCATION: Warehouse District, Downtown Traverse City
DATE STARTED: April 25, 2016
DATE COMPLETED: September 1, 2016
PARTNERS: Fleis & Vandenbrink, Bella Concrete, Top Line Electric


As the City of Traverse City works to revitalize the downtown Warehouse District, Team Elmer's is one partner helping lead the charge. In the spring of 2016, we completed the Pine Street pedestrian bridge built across the Boardman River, with the goal of connecting the Warehouse District to the rest of downtown Traverse City in meaningful way. Previously, the Warehouse District had been isolated from downtown, but Team Elmer's helped to close the separation.

With the gap between the Warehouse District and the rest of downtown successfully bridged—both literally and figuratively—Team Elmer's set to work on the next stage of Traverse City's revitalization plans. This time, we set up shop on Garland Street, a road slated for realignment and falling into disrepair; greatly impeding the Warehouse District's chances at growth and redevelopment.

Revamping Garland Street went a long way toward beautifying the Warehouse District and preparing it for more traffic and activity. Team Elmer's removed the sidewalk to make way for 458 feet of eight-inch sanitary sewer and 838 feet of storm sewer. We also laid down fresh asphalt for several sections of the road, replaced sidewalk, put in new crosswalks at Hall Street, Union Street, and Grandview Parkway, and more.

In a unique twist, this project involved using stamped concrete patterns for the sidewalk and roadway. The patterns, designed by the city and Fleis & Vandenbrink, had different colors and textures to signify the division between the sidewalk and roadway. The goal was to slow traffic down a bit—something accomplished through both the stamped concrete roadway and vertical elements like signs and light poles. These features together help make Garland Street a more pedestrian-friendly area, something businesses in the Warehouse District were looking for.

The stamped concrete pattern, installed by Bella Concrete, also brought its own unique set of challenges. The stamping involved finer detail work than a standard concrete job, which added extra time and additional steps to the timeline. From the pouring and setting of the concrete to the use of a release agent, antiquing agent, and stamping mechanism to create the preferred look and texture, these concrete patterns weren't easy to achieve.

Another hurdle of the project—and a less expected one—was the discovery of unknown or mislocated underground utilities beneath the worksite. These late discoveries required on-the-fly changes to the design of the project. Team Elmer's took these engineered changes and adjusted manhole invert locations as needed. As well as, redesign grades, and relocate a few manholes. In most cases, the need for different manhole specs would have led to several days of delay in the project. Luckily, since Team Elmer's has an in-house manhole production shop, we were able to get the new designs fabricated and keep the project going without a hitch.

Already, feedback for the work Team Elmer's did on Garland Street has been positive. Businesses are glad to have a fresher, more modern looking street, while foot and car traffic alike is starting to pick up in the area. Between this redesign and the Pine Street pedestrian bridge, Team Elmer's is a proud partner bringing the Warehouse District up to a new standard in Downtown Traverse City.

By the Numbers

  • 838 lineal feet of storm sewer
  • 458 lineal feet of 8-inch sanitary sewer
  • 15 catch basins
  • 11 manholes
  • 28 drainage structure covers
  • 2,644 feet of conduit
  • 1 underground storage tank removal
  • 1 buried building foundation wall removal
  • 2 decorative concrete planters
  • 40 feet of retaining wall
  • 2,656 square yards of cold milling
  • 462 tons of hot mix asphalt
  • 3,516 feet of flat concrete curb
  • 20,979 square feet of sidewalk
  • 2,288 square yards of concrete roadway

Click here to download the full PDF of "Revitalizing Garland Street"


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