American Public Works Association (APWA)

The Bayfield Historic Streets Reconstruction Project in Bayfield, WI was recently named a 2016 Public Works Project of the Year by the American Public Works Association (APWA). The project is being honored with APWA’s Project of the Year award in the Small Cities/Rural Communities – Historical Restoration/Preservation category. This award honors agencies representing cities and communities with a population of 75,000 or less that include historical restoration, preservation, and adaptive reuse of existing buildings, structures, and facilities.

The Small Cities/Rural Cities Project of the Year Award was established to promote excellence in demonstrating creativity, ingenuity and efficiency in the delivery of public works projects that have a profound impact on the community. For 2016, the team of winners includes City of Bayfield, WI, as the managing agency; Chippewa Concrete, Inc., as the primary contractor; and Strand Associates, Inc., as the primary consultant; who will be presented with the award during APWA’s 2016 PWX, Public Works Expo annual conference, in Minneapolis, MN during August 27-31, 2016.

The APWA Public Works Projects of the Year awards are presented annually to promote excellence in the management and administration of public works projects, recognizing the alliance between the managing agency, contractor, consultant and their cooperative achievements. This year, APWA selected projects in five categories in the Small Cities/Rural Communities area: Disaster/Emergency, Environment, Historical Restoration/Preservation, Structures, and Transportation.

On the shore of Lake Superior, Bayfield has a population of 487, and depends on local tourism to support the community’s economy. Since 2000, the city has invested in utility and street infrastructure improvements in an effort to restore the original character of the streets. The Historic Bayfield Streets Reconstruction project serves as the achievement of this effort.

The project, which included the key tourist areas of S. Broad Street, N. Broad Street and S. Second Street, contained the last remnants of the c. 1920 clay brick pavers, which were once prevalent throughout the city’s Historic Downtown and Waterfront District. However, years of traffic loading warped the existing road, and numerous utility reconstruction projects left the streets as a patchwork of brick and asphalt. In addition, minimal street lighting and antiquated pedestrian features limited the district’s appeal.

In 2008, the city culminated in the Downtown Waterfront Plan, and plan development included meetings with local business owners and residents to identify the community’s goals and priorities for the district. The plan outlined pedestrian and bicycle circulation routes, developed streetscaping concepts for the district, and identified the need for renovation of the existing brick roadways.

The focus of the project was to address the condition of the brick pavement. During the project, all the brick pavers were removed manually by hand, sorted for quality, cleaned with wire brushes and chisels, and then stacked on pallets for reuse. The pallets were wrapped for additional protection and then stored in a secure location, with other pallets of pavers that had been removed during a utility replacement project in 2010 and saved in anticipation of this full pavement rehabilitation. Once the bricks were removed, the remaining existing curb and gutter and sidewalks were removed and the roadbed excavated to the new subgrade depth. An aggregate base course layer was placed over the compacted subgrade and a new concrete base layer placed above that. Finally, a sand leveling course was placed over the concrete base and the original brick pavers reset to finished grade.

Modern stormwater drainage was installed, including nearly 2,000 feet of perforated polyvinyl chloride (PVC) underdrain, which promoted infiltration to reduce the downstream sediment discharge that previously ran into Lake Superior. Weeper holes coupled with a geotextile fabric layer to provide drainage from the sand setting bed into the underdrain were also set into the concrete base layer at regular intervals to protect the bricks from potential frost damage. This cross section, while substantial, was chosen in order to maximize the design life of the roadways while providing the greatest support structure to the nearly 100-year-old brick pavers.

For more information on the APWA 2016 Public Works Projects of the Year, please contact APWA Media Relations and Communications Manager, Laura Bynum,, or call 202.218.6736.

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