Chapel Lane Extension


Engineering a solution for Hoover: Sound CE&I keeps project
on track

Neel-Schaffer is good at solutions.

Just ask Alan Pate, the executive director for the city of Hoover, a growing suburb of Birmingham.

When Hoover was building an extension to Chapel Lane, Neel-Schaffer discovered an issue that had not been addressed in the design phase, and quickly developed a solution, keeping the project on time and within budget.

Pate credits the teamwork and innovative thinking of Neel-Schaffer, led by Alabama Operations Manager Chris Sellers, for keeping the project on schedule.

“Chris and his team identified and resolved issues throughout the construction process before those issues became an impediment to the project or resulted in expenses or losses to others,” said Pate.

In particular, said Pate, was the drainage issue.

“Chris and his team identified the problem, proposed and engineered a solution, and sought and obtained approval from the state DOT,” said Pate. “And they coordinated the installation with the road contractor. The new roadway was able to open on time.”

Neel-Schaffer provided construction engineering and inspection services for the $7.5 million project, which was 18 years in the planning stages and took more than two years to complete. The ¾-mile extension provides a new route for drivers to reach the busy Riverchase Galleria and Patton Creek shopping centers.

“It’s really going to relieve a lot of congestion,” Hoover Mayor Gary Ivey told in November of 2013, during a grand opening ceremony for the extension. “We’re anticipating it’s going to take some 8,000 to 10,000 cars off the other highways … This is a great day for the city, a great day for the businesses and the citizens, so they can get through and move around the city much easier.”

The Chapel Lane extension helps divert traffic that is north of I-459 and allows vehicles to reach both major shopping centers or enter I-459 without using US 31, an often-congested north-south thoroughfare that cuts through the heart of Hoover’s business district.

Carl Gober, Neel-Schaffer’s Senior Inspector for the project, maintained daily on-site contact with the contractor, helping keep the project on track.

Neel-Schaffer Project Manager Chuck Reynolds called the project a “tricky one” because “it was a bridge under the existing I-459 bridge, and because Patton Creek was an environmentally sensitive creek that runs right through the project.”

During the construction, Neel-Schaffer personnel recognized the drainage issue and then Neel-Schaffer Bridge Engineer Mary Margaret Nicholson designed a solution.

“We designed a gutter system to collect that water and discard it below our bridge,” said Reynolds. “That was a pretty big deal. It was a heck of a gutter system.”

It was a solution that kept a project on track and on budget – a Neel-Schaffer specialty.

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