Electronic polling to be used in bridge design selection

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By Lorrie Kinkade


The Trimble Banner

Electronic polling will be used next week to help designers learn more about what local residents want to see in a new bridge.

A meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 12 at the Brown Memorial Gymnasium in Madison, Ind. will give the general public the opportunity to talk with designers and engineers working on the Milton-Madison Bridge project, as well as look at some design elements that could be included in a possible new bridge.

Beginning at 6:30 p.m., those in attendance will be shown computer generated images of 18 bridge designs, and asked to rank each by visual appeal on a scale of 1-10.

After each design is displayed, with images shown from three vantage points, attendees will punch in their ranking on small handheld keypads, which transfer a “group score” to monitors immediately. After all 18 designs are viewed and rated, the meeting will be opened for public comment, giving residents a chance to say what they liked or did not like about particular designs.

Anyone wishing not to make their comments aloud may submit them at the end of the meeting, or up to 15 days afterward.

The key to this process, according to project manager John Carr, is for people to understand they will not be voting for a particular bridge design.

“This poll will provide information about what characteristics people find most appealing for a bridge in this area. Dr. [Ted] Grossardt will then send that data to the designers and they will use it to create designs that include the most favorable aspects,” Carr said.

Grossardt, who has been working with the electronic polling system for more than 10 years, said the process has been used successfully on bridge projects in Louisville, bike trail projects and land use planning. He said getting the public’s opinion on characteristics such as complexity and style can be difficult to gather in surveys, however the computer program used for the electronic polling is able to pull common characteristics from the highest-ranking designs.

“This is about how do you get the public involved and gather accurate information,” he said.

Because a location for the proposed bridge has not been decided, everyone associated with the project agreed that people attending the meeting need to focus solely on the bridge and not just how it would look from a particular junction.

It is imperative that anyone interested in participating in the electronic polling arrive at the meeting no later than 6:30 p.m.

For more information on the bridge project or upcoming meetings, visit www.MiltonMadisonBridge.com.