Billion-Dollar Water Tunnel Burrows to Halfway Point

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D’Annunzio Leads Way to Holland Tunnel

Mon February 06, 2006 - Northeast Edition
David S. Chartock



Work is under way to reconstruct the 12th Street and 14th Street viaducts, which support the approaches to the Holland Tunnel from Jersey City, NJ.

Included in the project’s scope of work, according to Bill Weissman, a project executive of D’Annunzio & Sons Inc., the project’s Clark, NJ-based general contractor, is replacement of the concrete decks; repairs to the substructure, performing seismic retrofits to the viaducts; construction of a new shoulder; widening the structure along the 14th Street Viaduct, which is the westbound approach to the Holland Tunnel; construction of a new retaining wall on the east end of the 12th Street Viaduct; replacement of structural steel stringers; replacement of the bearings and miscellaneous approach road work.

According to Weissman, the 14th Street and 12th Street Viaducts are approximately 1,800 ft. (549 m) long and four lanes wide. Deck replacement will consist of removing the existing concrete decks and replacing them with high performance reinforced concrete decks.

The west approach, which is the 12th Street Viaduct, is on the south ramp. Work for this will consist of waterproofing the subgrade over the existing reinforced concrete arch structure,

Work also will include construction of new parapets that will be 40-in. (101.6 cm) high and 2 ft. (.6 m) wide. The parapets run along the outside edges of each viaduct, he explained.

Initially, Weissman noted, the project was to be completed in 13 phases. However, his firm submitted plans to revise the staging of four stages in an effort to reduce the overall construction time by approximately six months. This effort also will save $3 million in road user fees.

The contact is a bonus-penalty contract with three milestones. Two of the milestones contain a bonus-penalty of $20,000 per day, while the third milestone is affected by a bonus-penalty of $10,000 per day. The maximum bonus potential is $2.7 million over the five-and-a-half-year life of the contract.

Weissman said his firm will attempt to earn this bonus through the implementation of “innovative construction methods,” which he did not want to disclose saying that it would result in the loss of his company’s “competitive edge.”

In addition to earning the bonus called for in the contract, the project has other challenges, too. One of those, according to Weissman, is the project’s schedule, which can be achieved through a combination of the revision of the project’s staging, the company’s innovative construction methods, and a well-trained management staff and workforce that includes “four in-house engineers, a project manager, an experienced supervisor, an experienced foreman, and a steady workforce of between 40 and 50 workers on any given day.”

Another project challenge facing the project team is the retrofit and repair of the existing structures, one of which was built in the 1920s and the other built in the 1940s.

“This means that deterioration has occurred on much of the frame substructure,” Weissman said.

The solution to this project challenge, he added, is to “coordinate the repairs with an experienced steel fabricator.” In this case, the steel fabricator is L.B. Foster-Precise Inc. of Georgetown, MA.

Another challenge facing the project team is the installation of 12 6-ft. (1.6 m) diameter caissons for widening the shoulders. The reason this is a challenge, he said, is because the caissons must go in up to 120 ft. (36.6 m) deep. The company has hired Case Foundations Co. of Broomall, PA, to perform this work.

Seismic retrofitting the 14th Street Viaduct also poses a challenge for the project team. To accomplish this task, 160 7-in. (17.8 cm) diameter micro-piles will be installed up to 140 ft. (42.7 m) deep for five of 26 of the viaduct’s footings. These micro-piles will be installed by Nicholson Construction Co. of Sparta, NJ.

Partnering is serving as the solution to the team communication challenge. According to Weissman, D’Annunzio & Sons is partnering with the project owner, the New Jersey Department of Transportation and the project’s design engineer, DMJM+Harris of Iselin, NJ.

Partnering efforts also include a community outreach program for residents of Jersey City. The program includes informational and educational public workshops.

It also includes keeping the city of Jersey City informed of project activities as well as the following governmental agencies: the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the New York City Department of Transportation, and the New Jersey Turnpike Authority. It also includes posting a two-week schedule on the project Web site, including advance notices of stage phases one month prior to the start of a stage.

The project Web site includes input from the work site using a Web-cam that updates the site every 30 to 60 seconds. It also contains project information and a project overview. The Web site’s address is: www.state.nj.us/transportation/commuter/roads/jcviaducts/camera.shtm.

The project team also must keep traffic flowing, Weissmnan said. To accomplish this requires periodic nighttime lane closures and use of advanced signage and temporary barriers.

Equipment used on the project includes a Komatsu 250 with a LaBounty concrete pulverizer; a Caterpillar 312 excavator with a hoe ram attachment; an L5218 Link-Belt 110-ton (99.8 t) crane; a Manitowoc 888 crane, a Grove 50-ton (45.3 t) crane, and a Manitowoc 999 crane that is being rented from United Crane; a Caterpillar 950 loader with bucket, forks and boom; a Lull 1044C-54 forklift with forks, wench and 10-ft. (3 m) long boom,; and six Genie personnel lifts, including models 585, 565 and 560, a JLG scissor lift.

Case Foundations is using a Manitowoc 4100 W crane for its work and a custom-made high pressure system is being used for demolition of the concrete and casement on the structural beams by Rampart Construction of Pittsburgh, PA.

Barrier Systems Inc. of Rio Vista, CA, is leasing a BTM-3 barrier transfer machine to move the temporary barriers around. The BTM-3 is being transported from California by truck because there are no BTMs available for lease on the east coast.

The project is scheduled to be completed Jan. 14, 2010. CEG