By Brenda Ruggiero
A replacement project involving bridges along I-70 in Washington County, Md., is currently moving along on schedule toward a November 2009 completion date.
The scope of the project includes the design and replacement of two existing bridges over Black Rock Road. The contract was awarded to Ahern and Associates Inc. of South Charleston, W.Va., for a bid amount of $6,637,000. Work began on April 2, 2008, under Ahern’s project engineer Steve Diehl.
According to Charlie Gischlar of the Maryland Department of Transportation’s State Highway Administration (SHA), the original spans, constructed in 1966, have outlived their useful life and require replacement.
“The new bridge structures will have a slightly higher minimum clearance,” Gischlar said. “The existing clearance is 14 feet, 5 inches, and the new bridge’s minimum clearance will be 15 feet. To accomplish the rise in minimum clearance for the bridges, Black Rock Road will be slightly lowered by approximately 5 inches.”
SHA closed Black Rock Road on Sept. 29 to expedite construction of the westbound I-70 bridge. During the bridge closure, crews will lower the elevation of Black Rock Road to meet the required 15-ft. (4.6 m) minimum clearance for the bridge. In addition, SHA will set the structural steel for the westbound I-70 bridge and complete drainage improvements.
To access Black Rock Road north of I-70, traffic is being routed south along Stottlemeyer Road to US 40 (National Pike), east to north along Crystal Falls Drive to west along Rednour Road and back to Black Rock Road. To reach points south of I-70, traffic will be detoured east along Ridenour Road, then south along Crystal Falls Drive to US 40 west to Stottlemeyer Road and back to Black Rock Road.
To accommodate the more than 64,000 vehicles that travel along I-70 near Black Rock Road each day, SHA installed a temporary bridge structure in the median along I-70 at Black Rock Road. It was opened to traffic in August.
“One of the main challenges that our team faced was completing the asphalt paving and subsequent traffic switch of the eastbound lanes of I-70 onto the temporary bridge before temperatures became an issue,” Gischlar said. “As everyone knows, asphalt requires a consistent temperature of at least 50 degrees or greater. SHA is also working with a limited staging area for materials, so we rely on timely delivery of materials in order to stay on or ahead of schedule.”
As of December 2008, work was on schedule and approximately 40 percent complete. Materials include 700 yds. (64 m) of concrete for both bridge structures, decks, and parapet walls and six 116 to 120-ft. (35.4 to 36.6 m) steel beams for each bridge superstructure.
Some contractor equipment being used on the site includes cranes to lift bridge beams in place, dozers, excavating equipment, grading machines, asphalt machines and asphalt rollers.
Subcontractors include Strongstown’s B & K Enterprises, Strongstown, Pa., for temporary concrete barrier and crash cushions; Guardrails Etc., Baltimore, Md., for traffic barrier W-beam; Shining Mountain Steel Inc., Baltimore, for structural steel and reinforcing steel; C. William Hetzer Inc., Hagerstown, Md., for asphalt; DRM Associates Inc., Manchester, Md., for metal deck forms and shear studs; Safety Grooving & Grinding LP, Abingdon, Md., for bridge deck grooving; Titan Industrial Service, Baltimore, for bridge painting; Donegal Construction Corporation, Greensburg, Pa., for rumble strips; Priceless Industries Inc., Baltimore, for pavement markings; Shelly Drilling Company, Avonmore, Pa., for drilling 24-in. (61 cm) holes; and The “U” Company of Confluence, Pa., for soil stabilization matting, seeding, and mulching. CEG