List Your Equipment For Free  /  Seller Login

Fort Myer Construction Leads Design-Build Job On D.C.-Area Roadway

Thu August 24, 2023 - Northeast Edition #18
Chuck MacDonald – CEG CORRESPONDENT


The road has been in operation for more than 60 years and needs work to make it more reliable and safer for motorists.
(National Park Service photo)
The road has been in operation for more than 60 years and needs work to make it more reliable and safer for motorists. (National Park Service photo)
The road has been in operation for more than 60 years and needs work to make it more reliable and safer for motorists.
(National Park Service photo) The construction team plans to maintain the character of the park, including enhancing the low stone walls that have marked its borders for many years.(National Park Service photo) The parkway carries approximately 70,000 cars per day.
(National Park Service photo) The project is a complete reconstruction, including drainage, guardrails, utility relocations and rebuilding the interchange at Route 123.
(National Park Service photo) Begun last summer, the project is expected to last through 2025 and will cost $162 million.
(National Park Service photo) The job is a design-build project that will be handled by Fort Myer Construction from D.C. with engineering led by WSP.
(National Park Service photo) In addition to building a new asphalt road, Fort Myer will be rehabilitating nine bridges.(National Park Service photo)

The George Washington Memorial Parkway has been called the gateway to the nation's capital.

The road snakes along the edge of northern Virginia, mirroring the path of the nearby Potomac River. If there is such a thing as the classic Sunday afternoon drive for busy residents of the region, this is it. Motorists can even peek through the trees and see many of the national monuments on the other side of the river in D.C.

Sections of the road were built in the 1930s with the northern piece opened for traffic in 1962. The highway is located in a national park, and the National Park Service (NPS) has determined that it is time for an upgrade. The rehabilitation of the northern end of the parkway will encompass a 7.5-mi. section from the Capital Beltway, I-495, to Virginia's Spout Run Parkway. Begun last summer, the project is expected to last through 2025 and will cost $162 million.

The job is a design-build project that will be handled by Fort Myer Construction from D.C. with engineering led by WSP.

"The road has been in operation for over 60 years and needs work to make it more reliable and safer for motorists," said Mark Maloy, spokesperson of the National Park Service. "It offers some great views, but we are planning to eliminate barriers to that view, including removing trees that have grown up over the years."

The project is not just to build another interstate.

"We want to maintain the character of the park," said Maloy. "The park has been known for the low stone walls that mark its borders. We have determined to build the walls higher for safety and we will be going to the quarry near Bethesda, Md., that the original stone came from for the additional stone needed."

The rehabilitated parkway will still have just two lanes in each direction. A temporary third lane has been added in some locations for traffic to allow space for construction workers and equipment.

"We believe this will help keep the workers safer and have less confusion for the drivers. At least one lane will be open in each direction at all times. A reversible lane will help commuters in the morning and evening. We hope this will relieve most of the congestion caused by the work."

The rehabilitation will require a full-depth reclamation, with 15-20 percent of the old road recycled and used for the subgrade and intermediate layers. By recycling the asphalt, Fort Myer and the NPS will save costs and experience environmental benefits. Recycling means fewer truck trips and less stone and asphalt will be required.

In addition to building a new asphalt road, Fort Myer will be rehabilitating nine bridges. Its efforts include deck repairs, bearing fixes, painting, railing maintenance and erosion control. The project will require about 100,000 tons of asphalt, 160,000 linear ft. of concrete curb and 700 inlets for drainage.

Road Reconstruction

Sam Patel, vice president of Fort Myer, is leading the design-build project.

"Our job will be to restore the road to a pleasant, safe drive," he said. "That means a complete reconstruction, including drainage, guardrails, utility relocations and rebuilding the interchange at Route 123."

Patel described the roadbed as varied in strength with some areas requiring complete restoration. The new road will be about 13-in. in depth. Most areas will require 8 in. of asphalt with some sections needing as much as 12 in. of recycled asphalt and cement-treated middle layer.

"Since this is not a road that carries a lot of truck traffic, we believe the road will last a long time," said Patel. "We are being proactive to build a new road before it becomes unsafe."

Fort Myer will be using milling machines, pavers, dozers and excavators for the project. The construction team will be using GPS assistance on the equipment to assist with accurate placement of materials. The efforts were hampered by the heavy tree coverage near the road.

"Some of the outfalls next to the bridges were so steep that we decided to use remote-controlled Bobcats," said Patel. "That meant we could get the work done without worrying that the machinery would tip over and injure our workers. Our ASV RT60 Posi-track loader could dig stone and rip rap at grades of 30-40 percent, which is quite steep."

In some places, the parkway looks like a tunnel of trees. This foliage limited the use of dump trucks, which would have hit the trees when depositing the asphalt. Instead, the highway workers used trucks that feed the asphalt onto the road from the bottom of the truck beds.

"This is a historic roadway," said Patel. "So, we are trying to have less disturbance than might be for normal highway work. When the reconstruction is complete, motorists will once again have a beautiful driving experience." CEG


Chuck MacDonald

Chuck MacDonald is an editor, blogger and freelance feature writer whose writing adventures have taken him to 48 states and 10 countries. He has been the editor for magazines on pavement construction, chemicals, insurance and missions. Chuck enjoys bicycling, kayaking and reading. He graduated from the University of Missouri with a degree in journalism. Chuck lives in Annapolis, Md. with his wife Kristen. They have seven grandchildren.


Read more from Chuck MacDonald here.





Today's top stories

Intel Makes Progress On Its $28B Ohio Facilities

GGI Constructors Takes On $908M South Florida Highway

Historic Flooding Hits Midwest

The Ironpeddlers Celebrates 50th Year in Business

Officials in N.J., N.Y Celebrate Deal to Fully Fund $16B Hudson Tunnel Project

VIDEO: JCB Partners With Rock Legend Joe Walsh, VetsAid to Rock & Rebuild

Volvo CE Continues to Transform in Q2 2024 Through Tougher Industry Landscape

West Homewood, Alabama Anticipates New Mixed-Use Redevelopment


 







39.04690 \\ -77.49030 \\ Ashburn \\ PA