University of Hartford Department of Civil, Environmental, and Biomedical Engineering
The University of Hartford wishes to reopen Mark Twain Drive in an effort to reconnect the school with its surrounding community. Mark Twain Drive would be a more convenient access road to the university for students, facility, staff, and visitors from the city. Mark Twain Drive will become the home of a science and technology magnet high school as well as part of the Griffin Line bus transit route. These possibilities were taken into consideration for the redesign of Mark Twain Drive.
Mark Twain Drive is the dirt road that extends from the Operations and Maintenance building to the intersection of Plainfield Street, near Annie Fisher Elementary School. Much of the surrounding area is undeveloped, largely classified as wetland. Mark Twain Drive has been a restricted access road since 1986. It was the major access road to the University of Hartford from 1956 to 1974. With the opening of the Bloomfield Avenue entrance, Mark Twain Drive was down graded to a minor access road until its entrance was restricted.
The University of Hartford wishes to reopen Mark Twain Drive in an effort to reconnect the school with its surrounding community. Mark Twain Drive would be a more convenient access road to the university for students, facility, staff, and visitors from the city. Mark Twain Drive may also become the home of a science and technology magnet high school as well as part of the Griffin Line bus transit route. These possibilities were taken into consideration for the redesign of Mark Twain Drive.
Three alternative alignments were developed for the stakeholders of this project. The first alignment was the same as the existing one throughout the entire 0.6 miles of Mark Twain Drive. The second alignment was also similar to the existing one; however, it connected to the university loop farther west, forming a T-intersection with the loop. The third alignment was designed to provide the maximum amount of buildable land for the proposed magnet school. After considering all advantages and disadvantages of each alternative and stakeholders input, alternative two was selected for a complete design. Alignment two has the inherent advantages of the T-intersection compared to alignment one at approximately the same cost. Alternative three was not selected because of the extensive wetland and flood zone impact of this alignment. It was highly uncertain whether all of the permits could be obtained for construction of this alternative.
The design of Mark Twain Drive consisted of the roadway design, multi-purpose path design, pavement design, drainage design, intersection and parking lot layouts, and landscaping concepts. The horizontal alignment was completed in the conceptual phase of this project with no significant issues. Due to the flatness of the existing vertical alignment of Mark Twain Drive, a significant amount of fill was required to maintain a minimum grade of 1% for drainage purposes. The roadway will be curbed and not have shoulders in an attempt to calm traffic. The multi-purpose path will mirror Mark Twain Drive’s alignment at a nine-foot offset to the west and connect to the existing nature trail. The pavement for the roadway was designed conservatively with a significant amount of bus traffic in mind. A full drainage design for the roadway and associated parking lots was also completed, including seventeen catch basins, two level spreader outlets, and two drainage manholes. The new T-intersection will connect to the university loop at a 3% grade, providing optimal sight distances. The parking lot to the east of the Operations and Maintenance building will be reconfigured to contain seventy-seven parking spaces. A two-tiered retaining wall system will be required to create the additional parking lot area, also providing additional landscaping possibilities. A center island will be located near the university property line on Mark Twain Drive to create an impressive entrance and, if needed, it will provide space for a security checkpoint. The opinion of probable construction cost from the ConnDot unit pricing guide is $1,320,000.