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After Funding Delays, Work on U.S. 219 Begins

The first phase of construction on an extension of U.S. Route 219 in Somerset County, Pa., from Somerset to Meyersdale, is well under way.

Tue October 07, 2014 - Northeast Edition
Brenda Ruggiero


Partial bridge widening is under way at the Meyersdale Interchange and the on and off ramps are taking shape.
Partial bridge widening is under way at the Meyersdale Interchange and the on and off ramps are taking shape.
Partial bridge widening is under way at the Meyersdale Interchange and the on and off ramps are taking shape. Excavation on Fogletown Road is being handled by a variety of Caterpillar equipment. A Hitachi excavator dumps a load into the bed of a Caterpillar haul truck. Equipment is lined up and ready to go.

The first phase of construction on an extension of U.S. Route 219 in Somerset County, Pa., from Somerset to Meyersdale, is well under way.

The $110.5 million contract was awarded to Joseph B. Fay Company, with Richie Schoedel in charge. The project began in September 2013 and is scheduled for completion in October 2016.

Funding is from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and the federal government. The highway is part of the congressionally designated Appalachian Highway Development System.

The improvements were held up for many years because more funding was needed, and the state was required to contribute 20 percent. However, a change in federal law allowed the project to be completed with 100 percent federal funds.

This project includes the earthwork and preparation for building a brand new four-lane highway connecting the two towns. Planned work includes, but is not limited to, clearing and grubbing, excavation, and erosion and sedimentation work.

Fay is performing work on six bridges. Pine Hill Bridge, which is 523 ft. (159 m) long, is the only complete bridge that Fay is building. The company is performing the over-excavation and preparing the pile windows and embankment in preparation for the abutments and piers for the Buffalo Creek Bridge and four other bridges.

Fay’s crews are raising the earth 140 ft. (42.6 m) on one side of Buffalo Creek and lowering it 120 ft. (36.5 m) on the other side to make way for a bridge. Another crew is using excavators and dump trucks capable of hauling 100 tons of dirt to create the outline for a new interchange near the Meyersdale bypass.

Both the northbound and southbound bridges over CSX Railroad at the Meyersdale interchange bridge are to be partially demolished in order to accommodate new on and off ramps for the four-lane highway. A total of 11 mi. (17.7 km) of drainage pipe (parallel pipe, cross pipe, and miscellaneous basin pipe) will be installed along the entire four-lane highway.

More than 1,700 lin. ft. (518 m) of electrical duct bank was installed at the Mud Pike, Pine Hill and Fogletown Road locations. In addition, extensive coordination efforts with various utility companies were needed to relocate overhead and underground utilities to prepare for the project.

“There are numerous deadlines that Fay has to meet for different parts of the job,” Schoedel said. “Staying on schedule is a big challenge for this project, and the weather in this area does not make it any easier.”

The project is unique because of the wide variety of work that is being performed simultaneously. Fay is demolishing part of the CSX bridge at the same time as they are pouring caissons and columns for the Pine Hill Bridge. Dirt is being excavated around the clock, and hundreds of feet of pipe are being installed every week.

Fay is utilizing 40-, 50-, 100-, and 150-ton trucks to move approximately 11 million cu. yd. (8.4 million cu m) of earth material (or about 560,000 coal truck loads) for the entire project. Fay is installing 65,000 ft. (19,812 m) of pipe, both corrugated metal pipe and reinforced concrete pipe.

Major subcontractors include Swank Construction, for environmental mitigation cells; West Contracting, for clearing; “U” Company LLC, for seeding and coal seam treatment; Wampum Hardware, for blasting; High Steel Construction, for structural steel erection; Amelie Construction, for concrete paving; Golden Triangle, for concrete paving; and New Enterprise, for asphalt paving.

Major equipment used on the job includes excavators: Cat 5230, 5130, 5110, 385 and 365 series; Komatsu PC 300, PC 400 and PC 600 series; and Hitachi 1900 series; dozers: Cat D6, D8, D9 and D10 series; compactors: Cat 825 series; graders: Cat 16M and 14M series; cranes: Manitowoc 200 ton and 100 ton; Link-Belt 50 ton rough terrain; articulated trucks: Cat 740 series; and Volvo A35 series; and rigid frame trucks: Cat 785 series 150 ton, 777 series 100 ton, 775 series 50 ton, and 773 series 50 ton.