Industry News

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.

Overlays, Streets and Roads (GOLD)

Western Avenue Corridor Improvements (Bendix Dr. to Olive St.) South Bend, IN. 
Contractor: Selge Construction Co., Inc.
Owner: City of South Bend, Department of Public Works
Engineer: Abonmarche Consultants, Inc.

Concrete was once again the pavement of choice in the ongoing efforts to improve urban aesthetics and restore neighborhoods, while also providing a longer service life of arterial routes into downtown South Bend. This project constitutes a segment of a multi-phase corridor improvement on Western Avenue, and it runs approximately 2500 lineal ft. from Bendix Drive to Olive Street.

The project scope included reconstruction of the existing pavement and redesign of traffic flow patterns to include designated turn lane; permeable parking spaces; and a mix of full-depth concrete and a thin concrete overlay. The project also included placement of new underground utilities, storm/sanitary separation, and construction of new sidewalks and curbs, and the addition of updated street lighting.

The contractor, Selge Construction, placed 10-in. of full-depth pavement was placed where new underground utility work was performed, as well as a 4 in. concrete overlay over existing asphalt pavement. In all, the project consisted of 3,800 SY of 10 in. full depth concrete, and 4,300 SY of 4 in. concrete overlay, and 727 SY of 6 in. concretes. The project also included 2,500 SY of 4 in. sidewalks; 2,653 lineal ft of 6 in. and 8 in. curb; 1,300 lineal ft of ribbon curb; and 1,050 SY of permeable pavers in the designated parking lanes.

Traffic was maintained in one direction throughout the entire project, thus minimizing the impact on local business.

The Western Avenue Corridor has endured several economic upturns and downturns, but the area is now experiencing a resurgence of neighborhood pride and ethnic diversity. This and other corridor updates are well served by concrete pavement because it provides a longer service life, improved night-time visibility, and a reduced urban heat island effect. The concrete roadway will require little to no maintenance, which reduces the city’s cost of ownership.

The vibrancy of the neighborhood can be seen in the murals painted on buildings and the colorful storefronts. The central character in the renewal is the long-lasting concrete, which will provide many years of service to the residents and visitors to this area.

Overlays, Streets and Roads (SILVER)

State Aid Project (SAP) 43-603-032, McLeod County, MN
Contractor: PCI Roads
Owner/Engineer: McLeod County Public Works

When an existing bituminous roadway needed to be rehabilitated, the McLeod County Public Works department decided on a concrete overlay to provide a long lasting, durable, pavement that not have the future road-user delays associated with traditional bituminous maintenance. The concrete overlay is also expected to provide better fuel economy than a bituminous solution, thereby lowering the road’s carbon footprint.

State Aid Project (SAP) 043-603-032 was a 6.4 mi. concrete overlay on County State Aid Highway (CSAH) 3 in McLeod County, which is located approximately 60 miles west of the Twin Cities. CSAH 3 is a major collector and serves as a primary connection between the City of Glencoe and Trunk Highway 15 to the west, serving many farm-to-market haulers.

The existing bituminous roadway was 24 ft. wide and had 8 ft. aggregate shoulders with several horizontal curves. The project consisted of milling the existing asphalt pavement to a designed profile and cross slope to improve the ride as well as correct deficient super elevation transitions associated with the existing horizontal curves.

The concrete section consisted of 6 in. of undoweled, plain concrete that was jointed in 6 ft by 6 ft panels with a tied shoulder, all of which was placed in a single 32-foot wide operation.

Some of the bituminous millings taken from this project were used for part of the shoulders, while the remaining materials were stockpiled and will be used on future County projects, thereby avoiding minimizing the use of virgin materials.

The concrete mixture called for a low water/cement ratio to impart durability. The owner also specified 100% class A (granite) coarse aggregate.

The contractor encountered some random areas where the old transverse cracks in the bituminous pavement were very deep, but to address the problem, the areas were monitored closely, and filled with washed sand to prevent formation of paving lugs and to keep the concrete quantities in line.

CSAH 3 was closed to all through-traffic during construction, but the contractor provided access to residents and businesses along the project route during portions of the project.

In advance of the project, McLeod County Highway Department sent letters to all property owners in the area two months prior to the project. The letters detailed the project schedule and traffic concerns and included contact information for owners wanting more information. Agricultural businesses that were in operation and potentially affected during the construction phase were also contacted, and in addition to the outreach by the highway department, the contractor also communicated with owners prior to paving to help determine how and when they would leave and re-enter their property.
A press release was also used to inform the general public of the project which included details about the road closure and project schedule, and this effort was also augmented with social media posts.

As a result of the expert project management and execution, along with the effective communications, PCI finished the project on time, leaving property owners and travelers with a durable roadway that will handle vehicle traffic of all types for many years.

State Roads (GOLD)

Iowa Highway 196, Sac County, IA
Contractor: Cedar Valley Corp., LLC
Owner/Engineer: Iowa Department of Transportation

This nearly 10-mile project involved the removal of 135,000 SY of existing pavement, completion of 900,000 CY of earthwork, and placement of almost 109,000 tons of base and shoulder aggregates. The contractor, Cedar Valley Corp., paved almost 200,000 square yards of detour, mainline, and shoulder paving on the project.

The existing pavement was originally placed in 1938 and had received at least four asphalt overlays in its history. This project ran from the intersection of Highway US 71/175 on the south end, north to newly constructed US Highway 20. The Iowa DOT chose to rebuild Highway 196 and then relocate US Highway 71 from its current location in to best use the 10 miles of new US Highway 20.

The contract period was stated to be 255 calendar days with goal of opening to traffic by the day before Thanksgiving, but it was an especially wet year in Sac County. Almost 40 inches of rain hit the area, more than 9 in. more than normal. In the key Iowa construction month of August, the job was hit with 9 in. inches of rain, 6 in. of which fell in one day alone. Also, it rained on 40 percent of the days, spanning from June through September.

Two bridges were also constructed on this project. The new earth berms each had assigned settlement periods, but wet weather severely delayed completion of the berms, and the saturated soil conditions impacted the rate of settlement.

The prime contractor first scheduled the paving to start on August 3, but as the job progressed, the start date slid to September 20, again to October 5, and finally to October 12. When paving started, the contractor was able to continue for five days per week over five weeks. However, when mid-November arrived, Cedar Valley caught up with the prime contractor’s grading and base operation, so the chances of opening Highway 196 to traffic during the calendar year was looking pretty bleak.

As cold weather arrived, Iowa DOT officials expressed concerns about leaving a potentially dangerous 12-mi. detour in-place during inclement weather, mainly because it included three four-way stops and a very sharp curve on the south end of the project.

Therefore, out of concern for the safety and convenience of the traveling public, the DOT allowed a defined amount of “emergency/critical” operations to ensure the mainline of Highway 196 was opened in the winter.

All parties involved realized and agreed that this meant the roadway would need to be closed down again the following spring to complete the project. The contractor developed a plan that outlined the extra measures and expenses needed in order to make sure Highway 196 was opened to traffic in the late fall. Snow was falling as the last few days of paving were executed, but exceptional planning and execution allowed Cedar Valley to pour the two outside 14-ft. wide lanes and the 16-foot median on the south end of the project, effectively closing the detour until spring.

On the following April 4, work started up again and traffic was rerouted and placed back on to the established project detour so CVC could complete the remaining 16 miles of paved shoulders, along with a couple of paved driveways. The concrete road work was completed on April 25.

The project also included matching two newly built concrete bridges and approach pavements. Stopping the paving operation at these locations and passing over the bridges impacted smoothness in these sections. The bridge approaches, CD baskets, intakes, maintaining the many access restraints, and the extremely wet job conditions and haul roads all had the potential to negatively impact CVC’s ability to attain the maximum pavement smoothness incentive. Even so, because of preplanning and expertise on the grade, the contractor achieved almost 71 percent of the maximum zero band smoothness incentive on the mainline paving, thereby earning $111,050.

Cedar Valley used Shilstone principles to design an optimized concrete mixture, which enabled the contractor to earn the maximum mixture bonus of $121,857, as allowed by IDOT specifications. However, the money was returned to the citizens of Iowa in the bid.

In spite of the many challenges and the extraordinary steps needed to battle the weather and meet the schedule, Cedar Valley had no injuries or recordable vehicular accidents after 35,500 man-hours.

According to CVC, the best public relations a contractor can do is to get in, build the job, and get out as quickly as possible. In spite of very wet weather and other challenges, the Cedar Valley lived up to their goal by successfully battling the elements, working through the winter, and doing everything possible to meet the schedule.

Industry News Archive

Member Login

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!