US119 CoLine-Crossover Rd, Mt. Pleasant, PA
Contractor:  Golden Triangle Construction Co., Inc.   
Owner: Pennsylvania DOT           
Engineer: SAI Engineers    

Golden Triangle Construction Co., Inc was awarded this two-year, $37.8 million reconstruction project by the Pennsylvania DOT (PennDOT).   This highway reconstruction project was located on State Route 119 in East Huntingdon, PA.

The roughly 5-mi. long, two-lane divided highway project included more than 190,000 SY of 12 in. jointed concrete pavement; almost 3.4 miles of upgraded drainage and stormwater retention systems, median upgrades with concrete barrier separation; paving inside shoulders; and mine stabilization.

Some major project highlights include: cement soil stabilization, a roller compacted concrete truck-inspection area, recycled concrete for site stabilization and toe bench rock, ASR concrete, long-life concrete, roughly 14,500 lineal ft of concrete glare screen barrier, and mine shaft repair with concrete support columns.  The project also included lime soil stabilization, an onsite concrete batch plant and a DBI concrete paver along with other emerging technologies.

A winter shutdown was mandated, during which no work could take place from November 1 to April 1. With the amount of work that needed to take place in two seasons, the winter presented a challenge to an already tight schedule.

During the paving season, Golden Triangle crews worked overtime to allow the adjacent paving to coincide with cure times for the mainline and ramps. A utility delay in the project schedule occurred when a utility company did not move their line before the planned date.  

In the second year, work on a mainline section was halted for a month in order to allow the utility contractor to move a line that would have been exposed if not lowered under the subgrade. In the first year, unusually high temperatures impacted daytime placement of concrete placements. During that time, most the concrete was placed at night during cooler temperatures.  High temperatures in both years necessitated installing  a water chiller at the contractor’s batch plant.

Also in the second year, large rain storm events delayed concrete paving almost a month. From April to July, it rained and average of three days per week almost every week. It was difficult to coordinate concrete pours with the weather and other project demands, but crews once again worked weekends when rain was not forecasted.  

A late warm spell in the first year allowed the crews to into November and December for smaller concrete pours. This was a huge help as progress was delayed in late fall due to some unforeseen conditions and changes to the subgrade and pavement design. Warm weather in the late fall, early winter is unusual in the northeast where the end of October is usually the end of concrete paving, without being forced to use artificial heat or concrete blankets.

There were also design issues with two of the on ramps, which forced Golden Triangle to reschedule the ramp closure work. In the first year, construction of a ramp was scheduled during the school season, but was pushed to later summer so that ramp could remain open to school buses and the elevated traffic levels. In the second phase, a ramp closure was unexpectedly prolonged for a full year, instead of just 42 days as planned. To solve the Golden Triangle worked out of sequence to reconstruct the ramp and correct the grade issues in the beginning of the season rather than later in the year. This allowed the work to be performed safely and quickly.  The ramp closure work was completed in 39 days and opened early in order to open in time for the Memorial Day traffic.

This project also had several sustainability factors, including:

  • Selection by PennDOT for the study of preventive measures to address Alkali-Silica Reactivity in pavement, based on the AASHTO PP65-11 program.
  • Construction of a 500 ft section using an optimized long-life concrete mixture, which the contractor requested to be used in the mainline pavement as a trial for future optimized mixes.
  • Use of a central mix batch plant to produce 64,000 CY of concrete, cement-treated permeable base course, and roller compacted concrete. This allowed a more consistent concrete mixture and fewer trucks to deliver the material, thereby burning less fossil fuel and minimizing the environmental impacts.  The plant also used three-phase power instead of diesel generators, which saved thousands of gallons of fuel, plus even more fuel to deliver the diesel to the site.
  • Recycled and reused materials throughout the project. This included more than 25,000 CY of concrete pavement, 4,500 linear ft of concrete median barrier, and limestone aggregate.

Despite the complexity of the project, as well as unforeseen delays, Golden Triangle completed the work in just 20 working months.  The hard work and dedication by more than 130 employees showcased a beautiful concrete highway which provides the owner, tax payers and motorists a superior and durable project.