This project also will accommodate a planned future interchange reconstruction at MD 65.
A $33 million project to widen and rehabilitate bridges is nearing the completion of Phase 2 in Hagerstown, Md., in Washington County.
The Maryland Department of Transportation's State Highway Administration (SHA) initiated the project, which involves the I-70 (Eisenhower Memorial Hwy) Bridges over MD 65 (Sharpsburg Pike) and CSX Transportation.
According to Shante Felix, media relations manager, office of communications of SHA, Phase 1 began in the fall of 2018 and was completed in the spring of 2020.
Phase 2 began in the spring of 2020 and is on track for substantial completion by June 2023, weather permitting.
The total budget for both phases was nearly $33 million.
Felix said that Phase 1 had a construction budget of approximately $6 million and included construction of stormwater management facilities (pipes, inlets and ditches), and signing and highway lighting upgrades, as well as shoulder reconstruction to accommodate temporary traffic during Phase 2 of the project.
Phase 2 has a construction budget of approximately $25 million and includes a complete removal and reconstruction of the I-70 bridges over MD 65, as well as a deck replacement and substructure repairs to the I-70 bridge over CSX Railroad just east of MD 65.
For the current phase, Phase 2, Concrete General Inc., Gaithersburg, Md., is the prime contractor, with Steve Beckley serving as the contactor lead. For Phase 1, the contractor was C. William Hetzer, with Rick Finney as project manager.
According to Felix, this project involves the replacement of the decks on the four bridges and superstructure of two bridges on I-70 over MD 65. One of the bridges is rated in poor condition, which means it is safe to ride on but has outlived its useful service life. This project also will accommodate a planned future interchange reconstruction at MD 65.
Details of the work for the MD 65 bridges portion includes a four-span steel beam bridge with two 30.8-ft. spans (abutment to piers) and two 57.8-ft. spans. The eastbound structure will be widened from 45.5 to 62.3 ft. and the westbound structure will be widened from 38.5 to 68 ft. to accommodate future interchange upgrades.
This structure was removed and reconstructed in stages to maintain traffic. Piling was driven, footers poured, abutments and piers constructed, new structural steel erected and a new deck was poured.
The CSX structure portion includes a three-span steel beam bridge with span lengths of 38.10 ft., 39.2 ft. and 38.6 ft. The eastbound structure was widened from 33.5 to 55.5 ft. The westbound structure is variable width and upgrades included adding a combined shoulder width of 5 ft. to the existing shoulders providing a 10-ft. median shoulder and a 9.5-ft. outside shoulder.
Work included substructure repairs to the existing piers, construction of new piers and widened abutments to accommodate widening, structural steel repairs, and removal and replacement of the deck. Slope protection repairs also were made to this structure.
This phase was broken into four maintenance of traffic stages.
Stage 1 involves the construction median stormwater management facilities, median temporary roadway widening and median structures.
Stage 2 includes the construction of the eastbound middle lane of bridges over MD 65 and CSX Transportation. This involved closing a ramp from I-70 EB to MD 65 NB and utilized an approximately 5.5-mi. detour. It also included the beginning of construction of the westbound I-70 bridge over MD 65 and the construction of the middle lane of CSX WB.
Stage 3 includes the construction of the outside of MD 65 and the outside of CSX Railroad in both directions. Work also continued on the outside of the westbound MD 65 bridge.
Stage 4 will involve the removal of temporary widening in the median and final paving.
"This project was part of an initiative to address poorly rated structures across Maryland," Felix said. "Although the bridges were still safe for travel, they were reaching the end of their useful service life. Once this project is complete, these widened and rehabilitated bridges will provide a safe roadway well into the future."
Felix added that the main challenge on the project is congestion related to the maintenance of traffic.
"This includes temporary detours, bridge substructure and steel repairs, and a limited workspace, as well as challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic," she said.
Felix reported that there was no way to perform the work on the structure over MD 65 without temporarily detouring traffic.
"To limit duration, an incentive/disincentive clause was added to the contract to limit the work to 150 calendar days and limit the time of year, avoiding holiday-related traffic," she said.
Another challenge involved substructure and steel repairs.
"When you are faced with repair of existing bridges, it's sometimes difficult to know the extent of the repairs needed until scaffolding has been erected and crews have a firsthand look at the various section of the bridge," she said. "To avoid construction-related delays, we held field meetings with the contractor, onsite inspection staff and our engineers from the State Highway Administration's office of structures to evaluate these locations as soon as we could gain access.
With the prompt internal response and the experience of the contractor, the repairs were sufficiently made without major delay to the contract and were meeting the expectations of everyone involved."
Limited workspace with traffic was another challenging aspect.
"The average annual daily traffic on this roadway is 69,660 with 17 percent truck traffic," Felix said. "The narrow lanes and work phases with traffic on both sides of the work zone presented challenges for drivers and highway workers."
A Maryland Safe Zones Automated Speed Enforcement vehicle was used to significantly improve worker and driver safety throughout the work area. The speed limit also was reduced from 70 mph to 60 mph in this work area as an added enhancement to a safe work zone.
COVID-19 also delayed the start of the project. Materials required additional time and the workforce was limited.
"Many illnesses associated with the virus presented temporary reduction of crews working on the project," Felix said. "Arrangements were enacted to bring different crews or move their existing to cover critical activities to the best of their ability. The contractor and state workforce were deemed essential and continued working throughout the pandemic."
The project involves approximately 40 people, including the contractor and subcontractor. Roughly 10 crew members are on site for inspection.
Major subcontractors include Road Safety LLC for signage for long term temporary traffic control; Midlantic Marking Inc. for temporary and permanent pavement markings; Interlock Steelworkers Inc. for reinforcement bar and structural steel for bridges 21118 and 21119; C. William Hetzer Inc. for asphalt maintenance, patching and resurfacing; and L. S. Lee Inc. for installation and maintenance of traffic barrier.
Cranes for the project include a Liebherr 50-ton (rented for steel erection), a Liebherr 40-ton (rented for steel erection) a Grove (owned by CGI and used for general construction purposes), and a Manitowoc (owned by CGI and used for general construction purpose).
Other equipment includes a John Deere 550 dozer (used for general construction and grading), Caterpillar and Hitachi loaders, Caterpillar trackhoes and a Gradall XL4100 grader.
The project included 3,000 cu. yds. of concrete and 30,000 cu. yds. of excavation.
There were 386,167.91 lbs. total weight of structural steel. This includes the following: MD 65 eastbound — 209,347.74 lbs.; MD 65 westbound — 118,226.54 lbs.; CSX eastbound — 29,306.30 lbs.; and CSX westbound — 29,287.33 lbs.
"Once the project is complete, the traveling public will benefit from new structures and paving though this highly traveled section of I-70," Felix said. "Additionally, oversize/weight loads can now travel across the westbound structure over MD 65. It was restricted previously, and the loads would have to exit, cross MD 65 and enter I-70 again using a police escort. The location is now upgraded to accommodate future improvements at this interchange to increase safety and mobility." CEG
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