UT engineering students’ contribute to Alcoa Highway redesign
The City of Alcoa requested an alternative layout concept that would prioritize the multimodal infrastructure at a reasonable cost.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Four engineering seniors at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, have gotten a chance to contribute to the redesign efforts of Alcoa Highway, according to a spokesperson from the university.
Alcoa Highway connects Blount and Knox Counties. It has been undergoing lengthy and complicated construction in hopes to reroute one of the busier sections to the east. This redesign will reportedly serve as a higher-speed route for people traveling to Knoxville.
Four students, Jimmy Albert of Dandridge, Nick Cheney of Memphis, Josue Garduno of Smyrna, and Will Huettner of Herndon, Virginia, received the chance to contribute to the effort for their senior design capstone, a news release stated. They are all students at UTK’s Tickle College of Engineering.
The City of Alcoa requested an alternative layout concept that would prioritize the multimodal infrastructure at a reasonable cost. The team designed a project that won best overall at the 2021 fall Senior Design Showcase.
The design included pedestrian and cyclist infrastructure such as crosswalks, pedestrian crossing signals, widened sidewalks, and redesign of some driveways and access roads to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists, a spokesperson said.
“Their sidewalk plan has potential to serve as the link between Knox and Blount County greenways, which is a major initiative of City of Alcoa,” according to a news release.
The City of Alcoa also made recommendations for drainage, intersection design, traffic control and erosion control measures. This prompted students to use Synchro microsimulation software for signal optimization and made recommendations to improve crossing time for all traffic.
“Senior design provided a great opportunity to learn and grow in preparation for professional practice as an engineer,” said Albert. “Through the support and guidance provided by Dr. J [Distinguished Lecturer Jenny Retherford], mentors, clients, and faculty, our team was able to develop a plan to improve the accessibility and safety of vehicular, pedestrian, and bicycle traffic along a section of Alcoa Highway.”
Retherford said she was thrilled with how the project class gives students, with the four being an example, a sliver of the real engineering world.
“This senior design team took advantage of a wonderful opportunity,” said Retherford. “The seniors engaged with City of Alcoa and Gresham Smith engineers with professionalism and care. Their design solutions were well communicated, which led to an extremely valuable learning experience. Witnessing their unique individual growth was a joy! They will all be impactful junior engineers and I look forward to seeing their impact on the profession.”
More information about the design can be found on the UTK’s website.
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