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GIS for Humberto de Campos street extension project

Over the past years, geospatial technologies are being used increasingly by governments. It is often incorporated with the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) areas to analyse and develop terrain modeling. In this paper, authors will highlight how GIS technology was used in Humberto de Campos street extension project, Brazil. Bentley’s PowerCivil for Brazil was used for this project which contains tools for road designing.

The Humberto de Campos street extension project is part of the city’s planning agenda for land development and is funded by the Inter-American Development Bank. The aim of the project is to have a 2km extension of the existing street, which in future will become a radial street connecting the northwest part of town to downtown.

History, project and its regional characteristics
The city of Blumenau has a population of more than 300,000 people and over 200,000 vehicles ply on roads. The road structure of the city resembles that of a river valley with narrow and winding roadways having no connection with the neighbourhoods.

In 2008, the city invested in the Blumenau 2050 project. The extension of Humberto de Campos is part of Project Blumenau 2050. The project aims to establish plan and design guidelines for the city of Blumenau, in relation to the territorial planning, which will ensure a quality life for its citizens. Sotepa Limited has been participating as a consultant in the 2050 Blumenau Programme for urban infrastructure development in Brazil.

This programme aims to establish a structural road system and develop a radial roadway connecting downtown to the west and northwest part of the city.

The Inter-American Development Bank has awarded BRL 22 million for the Humberto de campos street extension project. Covering a stretch of 1.8 km, the project will cross a dense residential area, in a narrow valley region susceptible to floods.

The Humberto de Campos street, connects two districts, that today has a day traffic volume of 50,000 vehicles.

Figure 1: The road structural system

In 1978, the city of Blumenau had a strip of land with no constructions between the two main roads in the Velha district. This strip was large enough to support a wide avenue connecting downtown district with Velha district.

Years later, the city started acquiring these areas, especially the ones with no construction, for street extension. The study of orthophotos revealed growing acquisition of these areas which narrowed the freedom of choosing road offsets. Due to its primitive design and surrounding hills, the valley suffered problems of flooding and landslides and was declared a danger zone.

As a result the narrow corridor was supposed to be designed in such a way so that it can adapt to the present day traffic and environmental conditions. Blumenau 2050 envisaged construction of road infrastructure and urban mobility, which will enable the implementation of actions in the short, medium and long term under the project.

The project Humberto de Campos was first developed by Sotepa Limited. The firm defined a cross section that accommodates three lanes in each direction, pedestrian sidewalks, and a bicycle lane.

Use of GIS technology
Bentley’s PowerCivil for Brazil was used to perform complex calculations for the design, in which each lane follows a distinct grade and grade adjustments at intersections and access ramps.

During the survey phases, the firm was able to collect a database from the Blumenau Department of City Planning, which helped them in developing vector data for the drainage system, the flood stage contours, the residential land use and the city zone map. By compiling all this information the firm was able to develop an updated map which provided them with all kinds of data needed for the planning.

For the drainage project, the data helped the surveying team to fasten their “on-field” work. An appropriate design for the drainage system was developed with the help of this data.

Figure 2: Part of the Drainage system: Sotepa, 2011

The manual survey done by the company was not able to identify the accurate boundaries of each and every property. Here, the database collected from the department also helped the firm in mapping all the residential plots in the area. The vector data contained all the cadastre information and helped the firm in preparing necessary documents for evaluating costs and procedures for the project.

Figure 3: Right of way map Sotepa, 2011

The zonal maps helped the company in verifying property permits. The maps also helped in identifying urban areas from those reserved for the street extension project. As a result the company was able to propose alternative solutions for those urban areas falling under the street extension project. The map also helped the firm in formulating landslide mitigation solutions for the residential areas.

Figure 4: Zone map and the project. Sotepa, 2011

The company was able to overcome the challenges of acquiring thousands of houses, high levels of floods, differentiating residential area from the area reserved for road extension etc. with the help of GIS technology. By utilising GIS solutions, Sotepa was able to obtain precise information which helped it in optimizing the design for this project. The timely availability of up-to-date and accurate data with the city planning department thus greatly helped the project.