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Crews Rebuild Bridges in Historic Route 66 Community

Tue October 09, 2018 - West Edition #21
Chuck Harvey – CEG Correspondent


The current decks have worn under weather and use over the decades.
(Arizona Department of Transportation photo)
The current decks have worn under weather and use over the decades. (Arizona Department of Transportation photo)
The current decks have worn under weather and use over the decades.
(Arizona Department of Transportation photo) Seligman is important in providing a historic look at the area that was a vacation stop for tourists traveling along Route 66.
(Arizona Department of Transportation photo) The Arizona Department of Transportation, in conjunction with the Federal Highway Administration, is repairing the bridges on Business Route 40 (I-40B) in Seligman, Ariz.
(Arizona Department of Transportation photo)

A historic community along old Route 66 will be open for visitors as crews repair three area bridges over Interstate 40 in the Phoenix area. The project is scheduled to last 10 months. Construction began on June 11 and is scheduled to be completed next spring.

The Arizona Department of Transportation, in conjunction with the Federal Highway Administration, is repairing the bridges on Business Route 40 (I-40B) in Seligman, located in Yavapai County, Ariz. Work will occur at the West Seligman Traffic Interchange (TI) overpass located on I-40B at milepost 138; West Seligman Burlington Northern-Santa Fe Railroad overpass located on I-40B at milepost 139; and West Seligman overpass located on I-40B at milepost 139.45.

The purpose of the project is to replace the damaged elements of the bridges, and complete other upgrades to increase the lifespan of the bridges.

The bridges, which are 40 and 50 years old, have reached a point where they need new bridge decks and other repairs to keep them functioning safely in the long term.

Current Bridges Were Well-Worn

The current decks have worn under weather and use over the decades.

“Traffic in the area has seen a slow but steady growth in recent years,” said Ryan Harding, public information officer for Arizona Department of Transportation.

The project includes:

  • Replacing the deck portions of the three bridges
  • Removing and replacing guardrails as needed
  • Reconstructing approximately 40 ft. of road on either side of the bridges
  • Repairing embankment damaged by erosion
  • Removing and replacing of the approach slabs and joints

During the project, ADOT will maintain access to Seligman and Historic Route 66. Exit 121 will be closed, but drivers can use exit 123 to access I-40 businesses.

The project does not include construction of new roadway near the new bridges.

“There will be some concrete and asphalt paving near the bridges,” Harding said. “There will be some temporary traffic control set up on the roadways below the bridges but no permanent changes.”

Work near the bridges has not been completed, Harding added.

Over the course of the project, workers will lay 1,771 tons of asphalt; 452 sq. yds. of concrete paving; 775 cu. yds. of structural concrete; and 317,000 lbs. of steel. Asphalt from the project is recycled.

Heavy Equipment on Site

“We have a dozer, front-end loader, Gannon, backhoe, forklift and compactor onsite,” Harding said. “There will be multiple cranes eventually.”

Pulice Construction of Phoenix is prime contractor for the project. Pulice submitted the low bid for the work.

The company's experience includes work in three primary market sectors — transportation, wastewater and water. Transportation sector includes airports, bridges, roads and highways. Water sector includes dams, reservoirs and distribution mains. Wastewater sector includes sanitary and storm sewer, treatment plants and pump stations.

Project manager is Robert LaJeunesse.

Pulice is assisted by 11 subcontractors. Some major names include A-Core of Mesa, Ariz.; Hunter Guardrail of Glendale, Ariz.; Paveco of Houston, Texas; PMI of Tempe, Ariz.; and Trafficcade of Phoenix.

Between 10 and 15 workers are currently on the job daily.

Project Should Benefit the Area

The completed project is expected to benefit the greater Phoenix area.

“This project will extend the life of the bridges and allow the western entrance-exit into Seligman to continue moving traffic and serving the community and local businesses for decades to come,” Harding said.

Route 66 Passes Through Seligman

Seligman is important in providing a historic look at the area that was a vacation stop for tourists traveling along Route 66.

“Beyond the Route 66 signage and souvenir shops, Seligman maintains that classic Route 66 town look and feel,” Harding said. “They attract tourists from all over the world who want to experience what a Route 66 town is like with vintage eating establishments and motels.”

Also, in the Seligman area, Route 66 closely parallels I-40.

Route 66 in this area was designated a State Historic Road by ADOT in 1987. In 2008, it was granted All-American Road status by the FHWA after the joint efforts of ADOT and the Historic Route 66 Association of Arizona.

Connection with Interstate 40 is the lifeblood of historic Route 66 towns like Seligman where many tourists drop in for a taste of neon-lit days gone by.

That's why the Arizona Department of Transportation is partnering with Seligman to let travelers know the town will be accessible while ADOT improves bridges leading from I-40 to the west side of the community, which is about 60 mi. west of Flagstaff.

While the second I-40 exit (Exit 123) and route to Seligman's east side will remain open, the project will replace decks on the three bridges between I-40 exit 121 and the west side of Seligman.

The new bridge decks are designed to provide a smoother ride into Seligman for decades.

Minimizing Disruption to Businesses

ADOT is working with local businesses to reduce disruption from the project.

“ADOT understands there is never a convenient time to do construction work, but we partner with local businesses and communities to do what we can to support them through a project,” said Alvin Stump, district engineer of ADOT's Northwest District.

ADOT representatives have met with Seligman business owners to listen to concerns and suggestions and to coordinate on ways to let travelers know Seligman will remain accessible from I-40.

The result: Signs on I-40 will direct travelers to exit 123, connecting to the east side of Seligman. ADOT also has produced a brochure and video explaining the project and noting that visitors will be able to reach Seligman from I-40 throughout the project.

Historic Route 66 will be open east and west, and visitors can still get to their favorite restaurants and tourist attractions.

CEG