Aging Md. Bridges Bolstered by New Project

Tue August 13, 2013 - Northeast Edition
Brenda Ruggiero


In the first phase of construction, lanes are shifted to the outside of the bridges while crews work to replace the bridge deck (driving surface) in the center portion of the bridges.
In the first phase of construction, lanes are shifted to the outside of the bridges while crews work to replace the bridge deck (driving surface) in the center portion of the bridges.
In the first phase of construction, lanes are shifted to the outside of the bridges while crews work to replace the bridge deck (driving surface) in the center portion of the bridges. Crews use a wet saw and backhoe to remove sections of the old deck (driving surface) of the I-68 bridge over Patterson Avenue. Crews use a wet saw and backhoe to remove sections of the old deck (driving surface) of the I-68 bridge over Patterson Avenue. Crews use a crawler mounted Komatsu excavator with a hoe ram attachment to break up the concrete bridge deck for removal. The hoe ram functions like a large jackhammer.

The Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) is spearheading a project in the western Maryland city of Cumberland to extend the life of two bridges that are nearly 50 years old.

The bridges are a part of Interstate 68, carrying it over Kelly Boulevard and Patterson Avenue. The project will completely replace the driving surfaces. The average traffic volume on this section of I-68 is currently 33,540 vehicles per day.

The construction contract bid amount is $9.2 million, and funding is approximately 80 percent federal and 20 percent state. Construction began in May 2013 and will be complete in the fall of 2014, weather permitting. It is currently on schedule. Work is being performed by Kokosing Construction Company Inc., where Erik Trail serves as superintendent. The SHA’s project engineer for construction is Tom Fulton.

This project includes removal and replacement of the bridge decks on I-68 over Patterson Avenue and I-68 over Kelly Boulevard, rehabilitation and repairs to the substructures of both bridges, cleaning and painting the structural steel of both bridges, grinding and paving 1.02 mi. (1.6 km) of I-68 (five lanes plus two shoulders, resulting in seven “lane miles”), constructing storm water management measures, replacement of concrete median barrier (3,455 linear ft. [1,053 m]), and installing new roadway markings and signs.

“To complete this project while maintaining two lanes of traffic in each direction, work will be completed in four phases, with crews removing and replacing the bridge decks essentially one lane at a time,” said Heather Keels, SHA’s district 6 and 7 community liaison of the office of customer relations and information. “This phased construction approach will require five traffic pattern switches and placement of about 30,000 linear feet of temporary concrete barrier. The phased construction also required extensive splicing of reinforcement bars.”

Keels noted that due to its proximity to the work zone, the on-ramp from Lee Street to westbound I-68 is closed for the duration of the project.

“Leaving the ramp open while working on the bridges would have required vehicles to do too much weaving to merge into traffic,” she said. “Instead, detour signs direct vehicles to the westbound on-ramp from Greene Street one mile to the west.”

For the safety of workers as well as drivers and their passengers, the Maryland SafeZones automated speed enforcement program is in place for traffic on eastbound I-68. This is the first time SafeZones has been used in a work zone in Allegany County. Drivers speeding by 12 or more mph over the 55 mph speed limit (67 mph or more) will be mailed a $40 civil citation.

The project also will require close coordination with CSX Railroad because crews will be working over railroad tracks while cleaning and painting the steel beams that support the Kelly Boulevard Bridge.

The project involves the demolition of 44,000 sq. ft. (4,088 sq m) of bridge deck, placement of approximately 3,500 cu. yds. (2,676 cu m) of concrete, placement of approximately 600,000 lbs. (272,155 kg) of steel, cleaning and painting 65,000 sq. ft. (6,039 sq m) of beam steel, placement of approximately 12,000 tons (10,886 t) of Hot Mix asphalt, and placement of approximately 30,000 linear ft. (9144 m) of inlaid marking tape.

Major subcontractors include:

• Protection Services Inc., Cumberland, for traffic control items and final signing and markings; Swank Construction Co., New Kensington, Pa., for grinding of existing roadway;

• Eastern Steel Constructors, Fallston, Md., for placement of steel items;

• DRM Assoc. Inc., Manchester, Md., for placement of galvanized steel “stay-in-place” formwork;

• Strongtowns B&K Enterprises, Strongtown, Pa., for placement of temporary concrete barrier;

• P&W Excavating Inc., McConnelsburg, Pa., for placement of hot mix asphalt; and

• Reglas Painting Company Inc., Baltimore, Md., for clean and paint structural steel.

Major equipment used on the project for each company includes a 75-ton (68 t) Link-Belt HTC 8690 with a 140-ft. (42.7 m) boom and a 90-ft. (27.4 m) jib, an American Pile Equipment (APE) 150 vibratory hammer with an APE 375 power unit to be used with the crane to drive sheet pile; two Komatsu 228 excavators with allied 785 B hoe rams; a Bidwell model 3600 concrete paver for finishing bridge decks, a Putzmeister 42M concrete pump for supplying concrete to the bridge deck; a Wirtgen 120F milling machine; a Cedarapids CR662RM asphalt paver; and a Miller 8800 slipform paver for slipping the median barrier.