Industry News

Divided Highways-Rural (SILVER)

Muskogee Turnpike (MU-MC-42), Wagoner County, OK
Contractor: Koss Construction Company
Owner: Oklahoma Turnpike Authority
Engineer: Craig & Keithline, Inc.


The construction of this project on Oklahoma’s The Muskogee Turnpike was a challenging project that required a major commitment from Koss Construction and their subcontractors. Plans called for the project to be completed in 370 days, however, days were added to the contract for additional work that was added to the contract after work was in progress.

Koss was tasked with removing the existing four lane highway, which was a difficult and time-consuming operation. The existing concrete was crushed and used as aggregate base in the roadbed. Crushing the existing pavement and reusing it as aggregate base proved to be both cost effective and environmentally responsible, as it reduced the amount of virgin aggregate by 100,000 tons.

Koss placed the 10.5 in. doweled, jointed concrete pavement over 12 in. of base material. In all, Koss crews placed 450,300 SY of concrete, for the construction of 36.32 lane miles of highway pavement. The project was divided into five phases of construction, with each phase divided into two parts.

The contractor’s control department continually testing the concrete to ensure a quality pavement was constructed. Koss QC Technicians used a type B pressure pot and a Super Air Meter to monitor air content and air spacing in the plastic concrete.

Koss project superintendents regularly talked with landowners and business owners to keep them informed before any traffic switches or lane closures were activated. Arrow boards were placed at the beginning of the project in both directions to benefit the traveling public.

The skill and hard work of the project team resulted in a quality reconstruct of this important toll highway.

Urban Arterials and Collectors (GOLD)

SH 45 Pueblo Boulevard (SH 96 to US 50), Pueblo, CO
Contractor: Castle Rock Construction Company
Owner/Engineer: Colorado DOT Region 2

State Highway 45 in Pueblo is a 3.5 mi. stretch of heavily-trafficked roadway that connect the town of Pueblo west of US 50 to the downtown area.

The existing asphalt roadway was severely damaged with transverse cracking and need complete replacement.

Several concrete contractors, including Castle Rock Construction, met with the Colorado DOT prior to the bid process to discuss constructability of concrete on SH 45. The existing median curb & gutter sections needed to remain in place for a portion of the project, and adjacent to the curb & gutter, the paving needed to be constructed with zero clearance for paver tracks. The industry worked through those concerns with the DOT, and the project was bid as a concrete paving job.

The project included 190,000 SY of asphalt planning and 170,000 SY of full-depth reclamations, as well as 38,000 CY of excavation and mitigation of unsuitable subgrade using aggregate base course with geogrid reinforcement.

The project also called for 160,000 SY of 8.25 in. doweled concrete pavement. Additional work included traffic signal reconfigurations; bridge jacking, rehab, and resurfacing; and rock check dams and drainage grading.

In addition to performing its own contract work, Castle Rock also provided direct oversight of 22 subcontractors while working with 14 contract modifications totaling approximately $1M.

The project had three main phases, with multiple smaller phases. Dividing the paving into these so many phases, along with the three bridges and gaps at all four intersections could have adversely impacted the pavement smoothness, but with proper planning, the effects were minimized.

Sustainability features included a 10% limestone replacement cement, which lowers the carbon footprint. The use of fly ash and a batch plant on site also significantly reduced the fuel and emissions that would have been associated with trucking the materials. The concrete and asphalt removed from the project were crushed and used as part of the full-depth repairs on the base.

In addition to the sustainability features of the project, the owner, taxpayers, and travelers have a long-lasting concrete roadway that will provide many years of service.

Urban Arterials and Collectors (SILVER)

159th Street Reconstruction (Nall Ave. to Mission Rd.), Overland Park, KS
Contractor: Miles Excavating, Inc.
Owner: City of Overland Park
Engineer: Affinis Corp.

This project is in one of the fastest-growing area in the county. Increased traffic volumes had elevated the need for this project, which expanded the 159th Street from a two-lane country toad to a four-lane, divided roadway.

The approximately $8.93 million project also included other improvements, including bike lanes; a new roundabout at the Mission Road intersection; curb and gutter; and storm sewers. The project also called for a reinforced concrete box culvert under the road; street lighting; sidewalks; and a multi-use trail.

Some of the challenges on this project were anticipated, including the need for significant grade changes that required large solid rock excavation; utility relocations before and during construction; and continuous access to a utility substation and three nearby schools.

One factor that was less predictable was the number and frequency of 100-year rain events during the project. The project team worked together to rise to the challenge and overcome each one without sacrificing safety or schedule along the way.

Miles Excavating placed the roadway on a base comprised of 8-in. fly ash compacted subgrade and 6-in. AB-3 modified aggregate.

Large areas of rock required over-excavating the rock to a 9-inch depth below the normal subgrade, then replacing it with a drainable base layer. The modified AB-3 remained above as the base. A layer of shale was discovered at the Mission Road intersection, so after consulting with a geotechnical engineer, the fly ash treated subgrade was replaced with an additional 6 inches of modified AB-3 for a total thickness of 12 inches.

During construction, the city and contractor focused attention on sustainability measures. For example, concrete was chosen for the roadway because of its inherent sustainability benefits, including reduced maintenance and reduction of waste, such as millings associated with asphalt overlays. The contractor and city also hired a water pollution control manager to oversee erosion control on the project. Because of the steep slopes and large areas affected by the project, this was instrumental in combatting the large rain events. Some of the measures used included hydraulic erosion control; erosion control mats; biodegradable logs; and temporary seeding. The project also included post-construction stormwater treatment devices and four hydrodynamic separators installed at low points on the project. These units will collect sediment and trash from the roadway in the future.

The contractor place 35,377 SY of concrete for a total of just over 5 lane miles of roadway. The contractor used both slip form paving (for the mainline portion) and fixed form paving, mainly at the roundabout and its approach legs, as well as at main intersections.

As a result of the exceptional team effort, this rapidly-growing area now has a arterial roadway that will serve the city for many years.

Overlays, Highways (GOLD)

US Highway 71, Clay County, IA
Contractor: Cedar Valley Corp., LLC
Owner/Engineer: Iowa Department of Transportation

US Highway 71 is a major north-south artery that intersects east-west US Highway 20. The highway was originally paved with 7 in. concrete in 1931. Over the years, the roadway received numerous asphalt overlays, and in some places, it had deteriorated so badly that full depth asphalt repairs had been performed.

The highway was plagued with thermal cracks, failing joints, severe joint roll-down, and bottom-up cracking. The contractor, Cedar Valley Corp. performed the work on this 6.88 mi. project, which called for milling the existing highway and placing a 124,000 SY of nominal 6 in. unbonded concrete overlay.

During the design process, the Iowa DOT determined that different saw cut patterns were necessary over the full-depth asphalt compared to the pattern called out for over the composite sections. The DOT specified sawing the concrete overlay on top of the full depth asphalt sections in 6 ft. x 6 ft. panels. Therefore, five longitudinal saw cuts and crosscuts on 6 ft centers were made on the 32 ft wide pavement in the full-depth asphalt sections.

The composite sections, which made up about 47 percent of the project, were treated differently. The sawing pattern for those sections created 8 ft x 9 ft panels. The composite sections required three longitudinal saw cuts and crosscuts on 8 ft centers. On a typical paving day more than 35,000 lineal feet of sawing was required. The entire project required a total of 305,700 lineal ft of sawing.

To transition between the full-depth asphalt sections and the composite sections, the DOT specified that 15 lineal feet of 16 in. concrete was to be placed on the 32 ft wide pavement. The project contained five of these transition sections. The plan did not address how to transition successfully between the two different saw cut patterns, which did not line up. The plan also did not address how local traffic and haul traffic would be able to pass through the full-depth asphalt pavement removal areas during construction.

CVC proposed a mutually beneficial solution that was accepted by the owner. The joint at each edge of the five transitional 15 lineal foot, full depth sections was sawed full-depth transversely to stop the longitudinal saw joints from propagating across the panel.

Another problem was how to maintain local access and haul concrete through these transitional areas. To address the problem, the contractor recommended filling half the pavement transition area with rock and haul material. Then after reaching the transition area, the paving crew stopped long enough to allow a fine-grade crew to remove the rock and fine-grade the transition panel to the correct 10-in. depth.

The transition areas presented their own set of challenge, including the paving thickness, which abruptly changed from 6 in. to 16 in. The contractor was concerned about smoothness, and the likelihood of creating either a bump or a dip. To solve the problem, CVC paved the 10 inches by hand, with the help of a material placement/transfer machine, to bring the transition panel up to the existing elevation. This allowed the contractor to pave the remaining 6 in. with the paver while the 10 in. of concrete was still plastic.

The DOT assigned 116 working/calendar days to this project. Cedar Valley started the project on June 17, and completed the entire project by October 28, earning $118,500 in time incentive pay.

The varying depths, transitions, and other factors had the potential to impact Cedar Valley’s ability to attain the maximize pavement smoothness incentive. However, excellent pre-planning and execution enabled the contractor to achieve excellent smoothness. In fact, the contractor earned 83.3% of the maximum zero band smoothness incentive on the mainline paving, earning a $95,500.

Overlays, Highways (SILVER)

Chester Unbonded Concrete Overlay Project, Chester, WV
Contractor: Golden Triangle Construction Co., Inc.
Owner/Engineer: West Virginia Department of Transportation

The West Virginia State Highway Route 30 unbonded concrete overlay project was the first concrete overlay constructed in West Virginia.

The project consisted of 20,000 SY of 7 in. concrete overlay on Route 30; a concrete overlay on four ramps; variable depth concrete reconstruction at the overlay transition areas; and concrete preservation (patching) operation on Route 2 ,which runs north and south at the interchange of Route 30.

There was also some minor drainage work in the median and upgrades to signage, guardrail and other roadside work. The proposed overlay was constructed on a 1 in. asphalt separation layer on the existing 9 in. plain concrete pavement roadway. The project plan also called for 8 in. deep asphalt shoulders adjacent to the overlay.

After the project was awarded, Golden Triangle approached the West Virginia Department of Highways with some welcome changes to the scope of the project. The contractor proposed to construct 8 in. deep concrete shoulders in lieu of asphalt at no additional cost to the Department.

Golden Triangle replaced the entire Route 2 concrete roadway for the same cost as patching the roadway would have been. The contractor also was able to minimize disruption to the business owners by designing a traffic scheme to allow Route 30 traffic to continue during the overlay construction. The new traffic plan eliminated the 20 mi. detour, which was popular with business owners and municipal authorities. The overlay portion of the schedule was originally supposed to be complete in 9 days with a $10,000 per day incentive/disincentive clause. The revised plan allowed more time to construct the overlay without the major disruption of the long detour, and as a result, contract was complete on schedule in just under 4 months without the cost of liquidated damages.

Golden Triangle requested permission for the Department of Highways to use an optimized concrete mixture in lieu of West Virginia’s standard slip form mix. This allowed the Golden Triangle the ability to lower the cement content, provide a well graded mix which in turn, resulted in IRI numbers in the 50’s and 60’s and hopefully a more durable pavement.

Non-destructive testing was used in lieu of cores to determine actual pavement depths. Round metal discs were nailed to the asphalt layer prior to paving. Each disc was surveyed to determine a
location. After the pavement had hardened sufficiently to use a MIT-2 scanner, the disc was located and the scanner was passed over the disc to determine depth. This method eliminated the 40+ cores typically required for this amount of pavement.

The widths of the shoulders ranged from 4 ft to 11 ft, so a variable width slip form mold was used to slip form the shoulders, thus combining multiple placements into one operation.

West Virginia DOH expressed their happiness with the project and indicated their readiness complete more concrete overlays throughout the state. The cold/wet spring delayed our paving schedule from an April-to-August paving schedule to a May-to-August schedule. Crews worked 10 hours per day, 6 days a week during to complete the paving in time for the first day of school in late August.

Golden Triangle actively engaged with the local government and businesses in the area. The contractor attended City Council meetings, which area business owners, residents and city/county officials also attended. It was at one of these meetings, where the revised traffic plan and schedule were presented. Traffic plans and phase changes also were communicated through the local newspaper and on the city’s website.

The contractor was able to minimize disruptions on the Route 2 reconstruction work by using night and weekend closures of intersections that allowed completion of intersections that are too busy during weekdays.

West Virginia DOH expressed their happiness with the project and indicated their readiness complete more concrete overlays throughout the state. The cold/wet spring delayed our paving schedule from an April-to-August paving schedule to a May-to-August schedule. Crews worked 10 hours per day, 6 days a week during to complete the paving in time for the first day of school in late August.

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