First-of-its-Kind UConn Roundabout Wins CSCE ACE Award

VHB’s right-sized design solution makes a key campus intersection safer, improves traffic flow.

May 16, 2024

Joe Balskus, VHB Director of Transportation Systems, accepts ACE award with the project team

VHB’s unique design solution for a vital yet problematic intersection on the University of Connecticut’s Storrs campus has won a 2024 Achievement in Civil Engineering (ACE) Award for Traffic Design. VHB, along with other project team members, accepted the award acknowledging their work on UConn’s first hybrid mini-roundabout from the Connecticut Society of Civil Engineers (CSCE) at a May 15 ceremony. These annual awards spotlight examples of civil engineering in Connecticut that demonstrate innovation and excellence in the discipline.

UConn’s transformative Northwest Science Quad project proposed connecting the envisioned 198,000-square-foot Science 1 building to the Hillside/Alumni intersection via a new woodland walkway corridor. The goals for realigning the intersection included enhancing safety for the many pedestrians who would reach the new science quad by foot while allowing car traffic to circulate smoothly.

There was no ready-made solution for rebuilding the all-way-stop-controlled Hillside/Alumni intersection, which faced a 1,027-space parking garage where hundreds of cars and pedestrians converged at peak hours. A traffic analysis ruled out traffic signals and the intersection’s footprint couldn’t accommodate a modern 120-foot roundabout. VHB’s engineers also had to accommodate low-clearance trucks on a slope.

Customized precisely to its locale, the 91-foot-diameter roundabout holistically addresses all the University’s aims for this challenging intersection. Redesigned sidewalks encourage pedestrians to use crosswalks and raised splitter islands protect them as they cross. Alleviating congestion has reduced carbon emissions, aligning with the University’s sustainability goals.

“UConn, VHB, and our project team members place a premium on collaborating and innovating—drivers for the landmark science quad project. It’s an honor to be recognized for the creative engineering and teamwork that went into this right-sized intersection solution to more safely, seamlessly connect the new Science 1 building,” said Joe Balskus, PE, PTOE, RSP1.

To learn more about the UConn roundabout and how VHB designs intersection improvements that meet clients’ unique and complex needs, connect with Joe via email or on LinkedIn.