Colorado's Eagle-Vail I-70 Bridge Nears Completion

Construction is continuing on an $8.1 million Eagle-Vail Interstate 70 bridge improvement project in northwestern Colorado.

📅   Wed June 22, 2016 - West Edition #13
Chuck Harvey - CEG CORRESPONDENT


Construction is continuing on an $8.1 million Eagle-Vail Interstate 70 bridge improvement project in northwestern Colorado.
Construction is continuing on an $8.1 million Eagle-Vail Interstate 70 bridge improvement project in northwestern Colorado.
Construction is continuing on an $8.1 million Eagle-Vail Interstate 70 bridge improvement project in northwestern Colorado. The project is located where I-70 crosses over the Eagle River and U.S. Highway 6 in Eagle County.
Work started in August 2014 on the project to restore two bridges, one eastbound and the other westbound on I-70. The project is slated for completion in late-June of this year. Micro piles and reinforced concrete are being installed on the south side of both bridges. New expansion joints are being installed at both abutments of each bridge. Bridge railing and fencing are also being repaired. Remaining work includes deck repair on westbound I-70, slope and ditch paving and median work. New slope and ditch paving is being done between the railroad tracks and the western-most abutments.

Construction is continuing on an $8.1 million Eagle-Vail Interstate 70 bridge improvement project in northwestern Colorado.

The project is located where I-70 crosses over the Eagle River and U.S. Highway 6 in Eagle County. On March 28 workers began construction on the westbound I-70 bridge after a winter break.

Work started in August 2014 on the project to restore two bridges, one eastbound and the other westbound on I-70. The project is slated for completion in late-June of this year.

Remaining work includes deck repair on westbound I-70, slope and ditch paving and median work.

The project is funded through Colorado Bridge Enterprise, a funding source for repairing and replacing poor-rated bridges across the entire state highway system.

Original Bridges Constructed in Early 1970s

“It is hoped that new construction will allow another 30 years of service life,” said Gus Bieber, project engineer with Atkins Global, a design, engineering and project management firm with offices in North America. Bieber added that traffic volume has increased on I-70.

Crews will replace joints on the westbound I-70 bridge, conduct slope and ditch paving in the area and reset the median to its pre-construction configuration. When finished, workers will have repaired and rehabilitated both the eastbound and westbound bridge structures located near milepost 168.7.

Specifically, work includes girder repair, bridge deck repair and repaving and reinforcing current structures.

At completion, crews will have applied 2,200 tons (1,995.8 t) of asphalt and 198 cu. yds. (151.4 cu m) of concrete. Additional materials include 6,090 ft. (1,856 m) of micro pile.

Micro piles are deep foundation elements constructed using high-strength, small-diameter steel casing and threaded bar.

Asphalt and concrete removed from the project site will be recycled.

“Both of these materials are being broken up and being used in the embankment fill,” Bieber said.

Structures Inc. of Englewood, Colo., is contractor for the project. The company submitted the low bid for the work. Project manager is Elliott Van Stelle of Structures Inc.

The project includes 32 subcontractors. Major subcontractors include: Atkinson Construction of Golden, Colo., micro piles; Elam Construction of Grand Junction, Colo., asphalt; PLM Asphalt and Concrete of Aurora, Colo., asphalt milling; Ideal Fence of Erie, Colo., guardrail and fence; Coating Specialists of Colorado Springs, lead-based paint removal and repainting; Cowboy Trucking of Gypsum, Colo., embankment and mill tailing haul; Your Way Traffic and Sign of Grand Junction, Colo., traffic control; Cooks Welding of Silverthorne, Colo., girder repair; and C & H Solutions of Ault, Colo., girder repair.

The number of workers on the job each day ranges from five to 20.

Current Construction Activity

Crews are busy repairing steel girders including welding of cracks in the webs. Existing girder diaphragms are being reinforced with steel plates at the upper web connections.

The deck concrete surfaces are being rehabilitated and repaired with new reinforcing and concrete patches where needed. The bridge decks are also being resurfaced with new asphalt.

Micro piles and reinforced concrete are being installed on the south side of both bridges.

New expansion joints are being installed at both abutments of each bridge.

Bridge railing and fencing are also being repaired.

Finally, new slope and ditch paving is being done between the railroad tracks and the western-most abutments.

Roadway improvements are limited to shoulder upgrades and new guardrail.

All Needed Heavy Equipment

Is on Site

Heavy equipment on site includes hydro platforms, man-lifts, bulldozers, loaders, compaction equipment, asphalt pavers, backhoes, concrete pump trucks, dewatering equipment (to remove groundwater or surface water from the construction site), generators, light plants, jack hammers, road grader, hydro-mulch equipment, guardrail installation equipment and forklifts.

Travel, Recreational Impacts From Project

Work hours for the bridge work are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7 a.m. to noon on Friday. Some night work is possible.

Speed limits are reduced in the area and larger vehicles will be restricted.

Boat ramp access to the Eagle River at the construction site will be temporarily inaccessible. Bicyclists and pedestrians may expect intermittent delays on the bike path directly underneath the work zone.

Challenges That Slowed Project

“Winter weather always slows progress,” Bieber said. He added that unforeseen steel girder repairs slowed progression and forced an extension of time for the project.

“This area of work added time to the contract and increased costs to complete,” Bieber said.