City of Charlotte’s University Pointe Boulevard Verified Envision Bronze
The University Pointe Boulevard in Charlotte, North Carolina, has earned the Envision Bronze rating for sustainable infrastructure. This is the first project in North Carolina to receive Envision recognition.
The University Pointe Boulevard project, completed in the summer of 2017, is a roadway improvements project addressing a need identified in the Charlotte University Area Plan for a new roadway and pedestrian corridor to cross over Interstate 85 (I-85), connecting businesses, neighborhoods and schools west of the interstate to the developments and light rail station on the east side. The project includes a new bridge over I-85, new secondary access road to two schools, a roundabout intersection to improve traffic flow, pedestrian and bicycle facilities, and two creek crossings built with bottomless culverts to maintain the natural creek beds.
“The University Pointe Boulevard project is a clear example of sustainable leadership,” said ISI President and CEO John Stanton. “This road improvements project improves community quality of life, enhances mobility and access to public spaces, and has been designed to integrate well with the larger transportation network in Charlotte. ISI is pleased to recognize this project with the Envision Bronze award for sustainable infrastructure.”
“The University Pointe Boulevard project is a prime example of systems thinking,” said Sean Melville, WSP Senior Engineer who served as the Envision Sustainability Professional for the project. ”The project team studied the challenge from a holistic point of view and delivered a product that responds to the needs of the community, businesses, roadway network, public school system, public transit system and environment. The collaboration between the project team and these entities helped ensure the project would serve the well-being of the entire community.”
The Envision sustainable infrastructure rating system assesses sustainability in five categories: Quality of Life, Leadership, Natural World, Resource Allocation, Climate and Resilience. These contribute to positive social, economic and environmental impacts on a community during the planning, design and construction of infrastructure projects.
Key sustainable features that contributed to this project earning Envision recognition include:
Quality of Life: The University Pointe Boulevard project directly addressed the community needs identified in the Charlotte University Area Plan and delivered multiple benefits: 1) increased accessibility to public spaces, including athletic fields and bike and pedestrian pathways; 2) enhanced pedestrian safety with improved sidewalks and a tree-planted strip between the road and sidewalks; 3) incorporated bicycle facilities; 4) implemented measures to reduce traffic congestion; and 5) improved connections between schools, residential areas and businesses.
Leadership: This project exemplifies collaboration and teamwork. Throughout project planning and design, the project team collaborated with community members, utility companies, two schools with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and the North Carolina Department of Transportation. This ensured the project aligned with the goals and needs of the community and addressed community safety and access concerns during the construction phase. Meaningful risk-and-reward sharing was also made part of the contract between project owner and project team to incentivize high-quality, safe, and efficient work.
Resource Allocation: The project team used reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) as an alternative to aggregate in the asphalt. Using RAP involves grinding the existing roadway pavement into gravel-sized pieces, incorporating them into the new asphalt cement rather than harvesting quarry rock to serve the same purpose. The project team also sourced materials for this project locally. Approximately 65% of materials used on this project, including soil, asphalt, aggregate and concrete, met the regional materials distance requirements set forth in the Envision framework.