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Caltrans Taps Granite to Head Up $44M I-40 Work

Tue March 31, 2009 - West Edition
Jennifer Rupp

California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) District 8 and Granite Construction’s Southern California branch are partnering on the 30-mi. (48 km) pavement rehabilitation of I-40 westbound and eastbound lanes near Essex, Calif. The $44 million project began in spring 2008 and was estimated to be complete by fall 2009. The partnership is committed to building a safe, quality, award-winning project in a timely manner.

Granite Construction was awarded the contract in October 2007. The work being done includes new asphalt paving, wider shoulders, improved drainage, and upgraded guardrail and rumble strip installation.

Shane Moore, project manager for Granite Construction, said that the cost at this time is around $46.5 million because of the fluctuation of oil prices and the quality control bonus.

The roadway on I-40 was showing considerable deterioration between Kelbaker Road and Mountain Spring Road, due to a substantial amount of traffic, heavy vehicles and extreme weather. This project will provide motorists and truck drivers with a smoother, more comfortable drive. The 30-mi. stretch is located 30 mi. west of Needles, Calif., and 90 mi. east of Barstow, Calif.

Subcontractor Pavement and Recycling Systems Inc. (PRSI) brought in their three Roadtec RX500 Roadsters for cold milling the roadway. According to PRSI, “A significant benefit of cold milling is that the milled material can usually be recycled and used on other projects as compactible base or recycled asphalt pavement.”

Cold milling operations started two hours in advance of paving operations everyday. Moore said that approximately 5.3 in. (13.5 cm) were milled off the surface of the main roadway and about 1.1 to 2.4 in. (3 to 6 cm) milled off the shoulders. All milled material was taken to Granite’s 29 Palms recycling facility to be processed and used on future asphalt jobs.

Granite is shipping the aggregate material (via bottom dump trucks from Terra Trucking Company) from its 29 Palms Plant located in Twentynine Palms, Calif., to its portable Gencor 400 Hot Plant located on the I-40 job site in the median. The oil (PG64-28PM) is shipped from Paramount Petroleum’s facility in Paramount, Calif. The aggregates and oil are then mixed at the Gencor 400 Hot Plant and shipped using bottom dump trucks to the paving spread. The millings are backhauled from the cold planners to a stock pile at the hot plant. The stockpiled millings are in the process of being backhauled to Granite’s 29 Palms plant to be re-used in future asphalt concrete mixes or as a base material for roadways.

Granite then proceeded with base lift paving operations of the Type “C” asphalt concrete at 2.9 to 3.9 in. (7.5 to 10 cm) thick to match the milled surface on the shoulders. After the base lift was complete, the top lift of Type “C” was placed at 2.4 to 3.1 in. (6 to 8 cm) thick on the mainline, and 2.4 to 3 in. (6 to 7.5 cm) thick on the shoulders. The final lift is the open-graded asphalt concrete to be placed at .7 in. (2 cm) thick. The Type “C” asphalt concrete totals 358,321 ton (325,000 t) and the open-graded asphalt concrete totals 38,581 ton (35,000 t).

Granite’s paving equipment consisted of a Cedarapids CR562 asphalt paver with a Cedarapids feeder (used for mainline paving), a Cat AP655C asphalt paver with a Cedarapids feeder (used on the 10 ft. [3 m] wide shoulders), a Sakai SW 900 roller, two Sakai SW 850 rollers, a Cat PS200B pneumatic rubber tire roller, a Hyster C350C 8 to 12 ton (7.3 to 109 t) DD roller (used to roll in the rumble strip), and a Peter Built 1,800-gal. (6,814 L) oil distribution truck (used to place tack oil).

Crown Fence was subcontracted for metal beam guard railing, and Chrisp Company is applying the permanent striping and pavement markers.

As a partnering stakeholder, a California Highway Patrol officer is posted at the job site where the lane closures begin to enforce the road construction speed limit of 45 mph. Crews have been closing off one lane at a time during the week and opening up both lanes for weekend traffic. Caltrans has been posting regular traffic alerts on their website,

“This has been a smooth project,” said Moore. “Partnering efforts have resulted in no major delays, and the traffic flow is good with minimal impact to the traveling public.” Moore said that the project is running 10 to 15 percent ahead of schedule and that they hope to have it complete by June of this year.

“Additional cooperative goals of the project include complying with all environmental requirements and finishing the project with zero unresolved claims.”

Through partnering, Caltrans and Granite Construction have received a rating of 1-A for their Storm Water Pollution Prevention Program (SWPPP). This is the state’s highest available rating that can be awarded for SWPPP. CEG

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