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Francis J. Palo Wraps Up First Phase of Route 219 Job

Tue January 08, 2008 - Northeast Edition
David Hunt

Francis J. Palo Inc. of Clarion, Pa., remains slightly ahead of schedule as it completes work on a six-span bridge over the Clarion River, which is part of a new Route 219 Bypass around the city of Johnsonburg, in northcentral Pennsylvania.

The bypass will reroute traffic around Johnsonburg on a new alignment that includes the bridge.

The scope of the work on this first $12 million section involves building a super-elevated prestressed concrete bridge that includes six spans, five piers and two abutments. Palo also will construct a small 0.25-mi. (0.4 km) section of road.

Paul Roman, president of Palo, said the project is 80 percent complete.

The Johnsonburg Bypass project is the first of two contracts that will reroute traffic around this small city. Work on the second contract, which will complete the new bypass, began in December.

John Covert, project engineer of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), said piers for the six-span bridge were completed last year. He said the piers are located on different skews, creating a reverse curve on the structure.

The deck for the concrete bridge was placed in early July.

Doug Vidic, project superintendent of Palo, said the approach slabs were placed in mid-July on both the north and southbound sides of the bridge. He also said that the concrete was placed in forms to create the parapets on both north and south ends of the bridge.

Palo is using Dubrook of St. Mary’s, Pa., to supply concrete on the project.

Vidic said Palo placed subbase for the small section of roadway before the end of 2006, which allowed the material to settle over the winter months.

In addition, Palo trucked in rock to line the Clarion River from land it purchased locally. In all, 40,000 cu. yds. (30,400 cu m) of fill, 7,000 cu. yds. (5,320 cu m) of R7 rock and 3,000 cu.yds. (2,280 cu m) of R6 rock were trucked in.

The company paved asphalt in front of the north end of the bridge in early August. The small .25 mi. (.4 km) of Superpave asphalt roadway on the project consists of 12-ft. (3.6 m) lanes and 10-ft. (3m) shoulders.

PennDOT has specified 10 in. (25 cm) of 2A subbase, 10 in. (25 cm) of BCBC, 3 in. (7.6 cm) of binder and 2 in. (5 cm) of Superpave wearing course.

In 2006, approvals for some highway design features had to be granted from a railroad, which maintains a line parallel to the new road. The railroad line serves Domtar Industries. Domtar, a Canadian papermaking company, maintains a large facility in downtown Johnsonburg. where it employs 400 people.

Ron King, public relations director of Domtar, said the project will go a long way in relieving congestion on an artery that runs through the middle of the company’s Johnsonburg papermaking operation.

“We feel the construction company is doing a great job. “This project will stop a lot of traffic that travels the center of our facilities,” King said.

The work is being performed out of sequence as the design work on the sound walls continues. In all, 1,600 ft. (480 m) of sound wall will be erected to mitigate noise from the new bypass.

He is working with the Elk County Conservation District and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to control erosion and sedimentation on the site. A branch of the Clarion River, designated as a high quality stream, runs through the project site.

The erosion and sedimentation control on the project includes supersilt barrier fence staked to the ground, straw bale barriers, rock barrier, filter bags, and finally, a rock lining closest to the stream to help filter out sediment particles, which protects the stream’s habitat.

Covert said the contractor has been diligent about maintaining the integrity of the erosion and sedimentation barriers project.

“We are inspecting the barriers after every heavy rain,” Covert said.

In addition to Palo, L. Robert Kimball & Associates of Ebensburg, Pa., is serving as the prime engineering inspector on the job, while SAI Engineering of Pittsburgh, is supplying personnel on the project.

Covert rated the cooperation between Palo, PennDOT, environmental agencies and the public as excellent.

“I have really enjoyed working with the contractor on this project,” Covert said. CEG

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