Contractors Tie Up Eight Interchanges Along I-20

Mon December 15, 2003 - Southeast Edition
G.W. Hall

By the end of the year, eight heavily-traveled interchanges on Interstate 20 east of Atlanta will be much safer. Contractors are expected to complete the majority of two major interchange reconstruction contracts for the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) later this month.

GDOT let the contracts in 2001. Rogers Bridge Company, Shepherd Construction and E.R. Snell Construction won the $16.5-million contract covering the demolition and replacement of bridges and interchanges at Almon Road and Georgia state Roads 11 and 12 in Newton and Walton counties. Rogers Bridge Company, Shepherd Construction, E.R. Snell Construction and Pittman Construction Company won the $25.5-million contract for the demolition and replacement of bridges and interchanges at Newborn Road, Buckhead Road, state Roads 44 and 83, and U.S. 441 in Morgan and Greene counties.

“The contracts entered the final stages this fall,” said Cecil Pearce, president of Rogers Bridge Company. “We expect to complete all of the major work before the holidays.”

As of press time, three interchanges in Newton County are in the final stages of topping and the installation of traffic signals is nearly complete. Stripping is down on four of the five remaining interchanges, and on exit 105, the final interchange, two weeks of concrete work remains until it can be topped with asphalt and the signals can be installed.

During construction, contractors followed the same basic pattern of building new approach routes and bridge spans at each site. As soon as GDOT shifted traffic onto a new bridge, a team from Penhall Demolition moved in to demolish the existing structure. Bridge builders then erected new spans to replace the original structures while road contractors completed work on reconfiguring, widening and repaving on- and off-ramps.

The state Road 12 overpass and interchange required Shepherd Construction and Rogers Bridge Company to move 200 cu. yds. (153 cu m) of earth. The structure also required 12,636 sq. ft. (1,174 sq m) of grooved concrete, 267 cu. yds. (204 cu m) of Class A concrete and more than 46,300 lbs. (21,000 kg) of bar reinforced steel.

Similarly, the state Road 11 overpass and interchange required Shepherd Construction and Rogers Bridge Company to move 134.7 cu. yds. (103 cu m) of earth. In building the structure, crews used 14,725 sq. ft. (1,368 sq m) of grooved concrete, 266 cu. yds. (203 cu m) of Class A concrete, and nearly 48,500 lbs. (22,000 kg) of bar reinforced steel.

The counties’ sheriffs’ departments played an important role throughout the demolition and construction processes.

“The law enforcement officers from the various counties have provided crucial assistance to us throughout the projects,” said Don Rogers, vice president and project superintendent of Rogers Bridge Company. “Their assistance in directing traffic around construction zones and equipment transfers did a great deal to minimize the impact to the driving public.”

In addition to traffic, contractors had to cope with adverse weather conditions. After several years of a prolonged drought, north Georgia had a surplus of rain in 2003, with the majority of the downpours taking place during the first half of the year. The road and bridge builders also had to coordinate their activities with Georgia Power and other utility providers at various locations along the way.

In the end, however, GDOT officials and contractors agree that the projects will dramatically improve driving conditions for Georgia motorists at each location.

“The wider bridges and on-ramps will do a great deal to ease traffic congestion and improve safety for the motorists who utilize the nine interchanges included in the two contracts,” Pearce said. “I’m confident that the driving public will appreciate the improvements very much.”

A Variety of Equipment From Georgia Distributors

The equipment used in completing the work varied greatly with each phase of a project. Penhall Demolition relied on a Caterpillar 345 excavator with a 10,000-lb. (4,536 kg) breaking attachment for breaking up concrete bridge decks. The company also had a Bobcat 863 skid steer on hand to assist with clean-up.

“We have worked with Penhall on similar projects for the last several years,” said Darrell Massengill, project superintendent of Rogers Bridge Company. “They have equipment that’s specially equipped for this type of work, so they can usually complete demolition work in half the time that we used to spend on it.”

Bridge builders, meanwhile, relied heavily on their cranes. The fleet of cranes assembled by Rogers Bridge Company included three Link-Belt 138s, and three Link-Belt 118s. Rogers Bridge Company obtained its Link-Belt cranes from Owsley Equipment Company.

E.R. Snell brought in an 88-ton (79.8 t) Manitowoc crane, a Loraine LRT230E and a Bidwell screed to assist in the work on the bridges at Newborn Road, Buckhead Road, state Road 44 and Almon Road. Snell purchased its Manitowoc crane from Southeastern Crane. All the companies involved in the project had plenty of other equipment on hand as well. Shepherd Construction brought in a Komatsu PC300LC excavator, a D38E dozer and WA250 wheel loader; Kobelco Mark IV excavators; Dresser TD84 dozers; Ingersoll-Rand Pro Pack Series 100 vibratory rollers; Cat D6 dozers, a 963C loader, a 12H motorgrader, a CP-563C vibratory soil compactor, a 330L excavator, a 613C scraper; and a Dynapac CA251 roller.

Senior Project Coordinator Don Watson, Engineer Charlie Henderson and Pittman relied on a Gomaco Commando 3 paver. Like Shepard, they used a multitude of Caterpillar equipment: a 325L and 330 excavator, a D3C dozer, a 416C backhoe loader, Caterpillar 12G motorgraders, and Caterpillar D3 and D5 dozers.

The majority of the Caterpillar equipment working at the bridges came from Yancey Bros. in Atlanta. Other suppliers that sell and provide parts and service for the various models of machinery on the job include METRAC, Perimeter Bobcat Inc. and the Stith Division of Tractor & Equipment Co.