Context Sensitive Solutions
Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) is a broad-reaching principle that helps ensure that a large project works to meet the local needs while fitting into the natural environment and cultural fabric of those communities. The New US 31 Hamilton County CSS elements include pedestrian and bicycle trails; bridge aesthetics; and landscape protection and enhancement.
Pedestrian and Bike trails
Hamilton County is a leader in the state in terms of bike and pedestrian trails, and that will continue through the New US 31 Hamilton County project. In 2006, INDOT and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) co-published Indiana’s first state trails, greenways and bikeways plan, which would place every Hoosier within 15 minutes of a trail by 2016. The design for the New US 31 Hamilton County corridor follows these guidelines and incorporates several pedestrian/trail facility connections along the corridor. In fact, some form of east-west pedestrian access will be included at all interchanges where one roadway passes over or under US 31 in Hamilton County.
Bicycle and pedestrian access is a primary concern, and planning for it has been a focus for the project since its inception. Bicycle access routes in the project were developed using local community plans as a reference and with input from local leaders. Work is ongoing with both Carmel and Westfield to develop detailed plans for the sidewalks and shared use paths. Click the image below to review the proposed bicycle and pedestrian facility connections plan.
Structures and corridor landscape
The design concept highlights the portal of the bridge structure, concentrating budget dollars on the largest impact area and allowing the retaining walls to recede into the background. The design is contemporary to ensure that the structures remain aesthetically relevant for the life of the facility. Most of the impact along the corridor will be created by the new landscape and this will provide the foundation of the corridor’s overall aesthetic. The intent is to create a calm, contemporary aesthetic, providing the motorist with a consistent series of experiences as they move through the corridor.
The following enhancements will be incorporated by INDOT:
- Surface treatments for the structures
- Formliners for concrete form/texture – formliners are molds into which concrete is poured to create an artistic effect
- Architectural surface sealers and colors – helps protect a structure’s surface
- Anti-graffiti coating
- A limited amount of landscaping in lieu of turf, including woody plants, native grasses and wildflowers
- Painted railings may also be included
In addition, project designers have prepared and shared a series of optional upgrades to the structures with Carmel and Westfield. The cities will have the option to add custom elements that reflect their unique character and aesthetics, such as enhanced landscaping, lighting and upgraded railings on local roads going over US 31.
Click the image below for a closer view of graphic illustrations of potential bridge and landscape treatments.