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Coal Trucks Get Smoother Ride in Emery County, Utah

Fri July 30, 2010 - West Edition
Jennifer Rupp

The majestic mountain views of SR 10 may once again be enjoyed by travelers who no longer have to worry about keeping their eyes glued to the precarious roadway.

A new 3-mi. (4.8 km) stretch of SR 10 is now open to car and truck traffic between Emery and Muddy Creek in Emery County, Utah. Nielson Construction of Huntington headed up the $7 million project that resulted in a new alignment 28 ft. (45 km) over from the existing two lanes.

“The roadway was very dilapidated and unsafe for the heavy truck traffic that it receives,” said Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) Project Manager Daryl Friant. “It consisted of two 12-foot lanes with one foot shoulders and the pavement was falling apart in many sections.”

This area of SR 10 plays an important economic role to the surrounding counties of Emery and Carbon, which both produce coal, because it is the only route for the coal trucks to travel. Previous maintenance has been difficult due to the narrow shoulders and constant heavy traffic.

Construction began on the new alignment in November 2009, while travelers continued to use the old route. The new lanes are 12-ft. (3.7 m) wide with 8-ft. (2.4 m) shoulders. Flagging was necessary during the excavation for the pipe culverts and again during paving.

The total project value was $7 million; $5million went to construction costs, with the remaining $2 million covering administrative costs, designs, permits, environmental litigation and construction engineering.

Nielson was responsible for the majority of the new road construction duties, including roadway excavation, gravel, and asphalt placement. B. Jackson Construction of West Jordan was subcontracted for rumble strips, Jones & DeMille Engineering Inc. of Richfield provided the surveying services, and Premiere Striping Inc. based in Cottonwood Heights, did line painting.

Wall Contractors, headquartered in Price, placed the concrete head walls, Grass Master of Draper was hired for seeding and erosion control, and B&K Construction of Utah provided fencing, guardrails and signs.

Wilco Horizontal Directional Drilling Inc. of West Jordan was hired for pipe culvert placement. Due to necessity of this route remaining open during construction, the process of pipe ramming was chosen over traditional methods of excavation.

Wilco rammed 48-in. (122 cm) casings through the embankment to the depths of 30-ft. (9.1 m) in three separate areas. Workers used a 24-in. (61 cm) HammerHead ramming tool and a Barbco 48/60 auger boring machine for the task.

Building the new lanes required 104,000 cu. yd. (79,513 cu m) of earth to be excavated. Two-thirds were recycled on the project and 30,000 cu. yd. (22,937 cu m) was disposed of. Crews used Cat 627G and 637G scrapers, a Cat D9T dozer, and a Cat 825 sheepsfoot compactor for excavation.

During pipe installation, Nielson used their own Cat 324B trackhoe, and rented a Cat water wagon and a couple of Wacker walk-behind compactors from the Salt Lake City location of Wheeler Machinery Company.

Crews used 31,000 tons (28,122 t) of hot mix asphalt (HMA) and 6,300 tons (5,715 t) of stone matrix asphalt (SMA) for paving.

“This mix adds structural value to the road and serves as a seal coat,” said Friant. The project had 15 to 20 first shift workers on-site for the duration. During paving, the contractor ran two shifts for about three weeks.

While there were no major set-backs, the wet winter demanded additional excavation of the subgrade. Nielson consulted Tensar International, the Geogrid dealer, about what course of action to take.

“Typically, we use two layers of BX1200 Geogrid for this type of project,” said Tim Guymon, Nielson project superintendent. “Tensar came out and took soil samples, then recommended that we go through the weed barrier and place an additional 18 in. (45.7 cm) of TX140, for a total of three layers.”

Conversely, the mild weather allowed the contractor to work through the winter and finish nearly 30 days ahead of schedule, earning them the full incentive bonus. The majority of the work was completed mid-June and the new lanes were open for travel.

Additional seeding will take place in September.

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