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Five Bridges Along State Route 11 Get Much-Needed Work

Wed March 21, 2001 - Southeast Edition
Tonya Layman

Leware Construction Co. has a big incentive to finish a project for the Florida Department of Transportation early.

For each day the company completes the project early, they will receive $3,580, up to a total of $215,000. Likewise, for every day that the company is late on the project, they are penalized the same amount.

This incentive-disincentive project consists of replacing five bridges along Florida’s State Route 11. Three of the bridges are being replaced with new bridges and two are being replaced with boxed culverts. All five bridges are located along 8 mi. (12.9 km) of SR 50, near Bunnell, FL.

Leware crews have 430 days to complete the project. They started in the middle of July, and are currently ahead of schedule. The crew is at least 70 percent complete on the Middle Hawk Creek Bridge, which is the furthest south and the longest of the bridges. Next, the crew will move north to begin work on the bridge over Sweetwater Branch Creek.

“Our concern is getting the job done right as fast as possible so we can get the road back open to traffic,” said Suzanne Phillips, project engineer for Florida DOT District 5.

Getting the project done as quickly as possible also is Leware Executive Vice President Andy Clark’s main concern.

“We have planned all along to get the maximum incentive out of the job,” he said, adding that means they have to complete the job fast — a challenge, but not impossible.

The job was divided into three different work zones. In order to expedite the work, Leware’s crews created a couple of extra detour routes so they could work on two sites at the same time.

“The biggest challenge on this job is you can do only one zone at a time and there is a short time limit on each zone,” Clark said. “It was a creative idea to develop a couple of extra detour routes. That way we could work on two of the sites simultaneously.”

Some of the detour routes are actually dirt roads on private property so Leware employees worked with landowners in order to use the land for the detour routes. The detours were even developed to allow access for emergency vehicles, maintenance vehicles and, of course, the general public.

Fortunately, there are only two residents that live on the road where the work is being done and the detours in place don’t take them too far out of the way.

“Putting the extra detours in on this short of a project means everyone will win,” Clark said. “It cuts our time down on the job a little further than we originally planned. The DOT will have its people out there less time and we can get our equipment and personnel out of there sooner.”

When the project is complete Leware will be able to send Project Superintendent Keith Prestage on to his next assignment and all of the equipment will be moved to new job sites, he added.

For the removal of the existing bridges, Leware crews are using a walk-behind saw that operates a large saw blade in addition to cranes and backhoes. To replace the bridges, crews are using cranes and pile driving hammers.

The cranes on site include an American 100-ton (90 t) crawler crane, an American 60-ton (54 t) crawler crane, an American 60-ton (54 t) truck crane and a Grove 20-ton (18 t) rough terrain crane. Crews also are using a Komatsu PC-300LC-5 excavator and a Komatsu WA250-1 wheel loader.

During the pile-driving phase of placing new bridges, Leware is using an APE D3.0-02 diesel pile driving hammer. For substructure concrete pouring, cranes and buckets are utilized and the decks are poured with truck-mounted concrete pumps.

“The contractor has worked well with the residents to minimize any impact the project has had,” Phillips said, adding the roadway will reopen in graduated phases as construction is done to each area. “They will probably complete the three bridges first then drop back to do the box culverts.”

In addition to the bridge replacement portion of the project, some roadwork will be completed to help the road transition to bridge.

“They are taking the existing roadway and gradually widening it to meet up with the new bridge,” Phillips said.

The bridges are being replaced in an effort to update them and bring them up to today’s standards.

“A majority of the bridges in that area were built around the 1950s,” Phillips said. “It is time to replace them and bring them up to standards. They still have the original wood timber pilings, which we are replacing with concrete piles.”

Phillips is very pleased with how the project is going, so far. “It has gone very well and we have had next to no complaints about State Route 11 being closed,” she said. “The contractor is very motivated to get the job done.”

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