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ALDOT Embarks on Its Largest Ever Project — Corridor X

Tue July 28, 2009 - Southeast Edition
Brenda Ruggiero

As work progresses on two road projects in Birmingham, Ala., the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) moves closer to a larger project that has been in the works since 1978 — the Interstate 65-Corridor X interchange in Birmingham.

The $241 million interchange will include the widening of I-65 to eight lanes, and a corridor will run underneath the interstate. It is expected to take four to five years to complete. The corridor is part of the road that will eventually become Interstate 22 linking Birmingham to Memphis, Tenn. Currently it is open from Memphis to Graysville, Ala., which is about 15 mi. from Birmingham.

The interchange project will include building ramps, tearing out existing pavement and putting in new pavement.

“The interstate will be going over Corridor X,” explained Michael Mahaffey, assistant division engineer of construction for ALDOT. “Right now, that area of I-65 is a roadway, but it’s going to be a bridge. There are 19 bridges in this interchange.”

Overall, Corridor X will involve 96 mi. (154 km), and is expected to cost $1.4 billion. It is the most expensive construction job ever undertaken by ALDOT.

One of the current projects is an asphalt paving job that involves the stretch of road from Cherry Avenue to Coalburg Road, which is a total of 1.8 mi. (3 km). It is a part of the last 5 mi. (8 km) of the corridor between Cherry Avenue and I-65. The contract for this job includes paving, signing and striping, for a total cost of $8.2 million.

“This project will take the traffic to the last interchange until the interchange on I-65 is constructed,” Mahaffey said. “Hopefully, we can tie them all together at one time and be ready to go.”

The prime contractor is Good Hope Contracting Inc., of Cullman, Ala., under the direction of superintendent Malcomb Douglas.

Work began on May 10, 2009, and is expected to be complete by the end of November 2009.

Good Hope Contracting has approximately 10 to 15 employees on the job during normal operations. They are separated into two operations, which include asphalt paving and slope paving (median flume). The ALDOT has 10 employees assigned to the project. They are separated into two groups, including office employees and field inspectors.

To date, Good Hope has completed approximately 45 percent of the project and used approximately 45 percent of the time allowed, according to project records. The project allows Good Hope 125 working days to complete the contract. Barring any significant hold-ups due to weather conditions, Good Hope should complete the project on schedule.

“This is a pretty simple, straightforward job,” a spokesperson noted.

Good Hope Contracting will place approximately 105,000 tons (95,254 t) of asphalt throughout the project.

Major subcontractors include Hodges Inc., for edge drain and median drain; Surface Preparation Technologies Inc., for pavement scoring; Carcel & G. Construction for unclassified excavation, borrow excavation and placing topsoil on the project; Grassworks Inc., for seeding, mulching, mowing and erosion control; Highway Management Systems Inc. for striping, pavement markers, traffic control markings and traffic control legends; Charles E. Watts Inc. for bituminous treatment AE and G; Alabama Barricade Inc. for traffic control items; and Alabama Guardrail Inc. for guardrail.

Equipment used on the job includes four pickup trucks, 10 dump trailers, a service truck, a fuel truck, a water truck, a Caterpillar 4160 backhoe, a Komatsu WB140 backhoe, a motorgrader, a Broce sweeper broom, one Caterpillar steel wheel roller, one Sakai steel wheel roller, an Ingersoll Rand vibratory roller, a Roadtec asphalt spreader, a Roadtec shuttle buggy and a TEC dozer.

The second project leading up to the big interchange is a grade and drain project that is 1.3 mi. (2.1 km) long. The contract was awarded to Wright Brothers Construction Company and is valued at $12.7 million. Work began on Sept. 19, 2008, and is expected to be complete by August of 2010.

According to an ALDOT spokesperson, the biggest challenge with this project involved storm water runoff.

“The ALDOT has placed a great deal of attention on environmental issues,” he said. “The contractor was only allowed to clear 45 acres of the project at a time to limit storm water problems.”

Wright Brothers has approximately 25 employees on the project, and has completed about 55 percent of the work to date. With good weather, the project could be finished early.

A total of 1,716,184 cu. yds. (1,312,116 cu m) of earth will be moved, and more than 1,000,000 yd. (914,000 m) of that is being wasted off the project site.

Subcontractors include ABD, B & H Construction, CD Roberts, Pronto Grassing, and Phillips and Jordan. Their equipment lists include five articulate Caterpillar dump trucks, four Cat dozers, three track drills, one Cat front loader and five Cat track hoes. CEG

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