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Gilbert Southern Treads Softly Through Traffic

Wed May 31, 2000 - Southeast Edition
Tonya Layman

Atlanta residents are always fighting traffic. If the cause of the traffic tie-up isn’t a 10-car pile up, it’s road construction. But officials from the Georgia Department of Transportation are happy to report that a road project on one of Atlanta’s most heavily traveled roads is nearing completion.

A concrete rehab project for at least 80.5 kilometers (50 mi.) on Interstate 285 is going through the punch list phase, leaving DOT engineers to begin other state road improvement projects.

The DOT contracted with Gilbert Southern Corp.’s Atlanta district office to complete the $7.9-million project after a bid process.

The project, which started near Interstate 85 and Camp Creek Parkway, involved the removal of sections of asphalt along Interstate 285. The project extended around the south and east sides of Atlanta to the Tom Moreland Interchange in northeast Atlanta. The concrete rehab took place on both the road’s surface and the exit and entrance ramps.

“The slabs were cracking and deteriorating and the state recognized voids developing underneath the slabs,” Gilbert Southern’s Ben Bentley said, adding that the project was part of the state’s roadway maintenance programs.

Along with the removal of 33,627 square meters (40,217 sq. ft.) of roadway, which was replaced with at least 10,000 cubic meters 13,079 cu. yds.) of concrete, 73 bridge joints were sealed.

“In the past what happened with this portion of 285 was concrete was the main surface with an overlay of asphalt at some points,” said DOT Project Engineer Darrell Williams. “We are now removing that asphalt along these portions of the road.”

The project, which was state and federally funded, started in August of 1998.

The correction list process is currently under way, after the cold temperatures that swept through Georgia in January delayed the process.

“The temperature had to be above 43 degrees to do some of the work,” Williams said, adding that some small areas have to be redone and there is still some cleanup involved.

Another challenge of working on Interstate 285 is the number of vehicles that travel on the road. All of the work was completed at night which cut down on traffic, but even during the early morning hours, Interstate 285 has travelers and trucks on tight schedules to reach their destinations.

This forced crews to divide up work by lanes to avoid road closings. They would work on lanes one and two first. As that work cured, the crews would move operations down the road to work on three or four bridges. They would then return to the original work area to complete the concrete rehab on lanes three and four. In some cases, ramps were closed and the crew had to detour traffic.

Bentley said the biggest risk associated with this job was working around the traffic. Since the company is always concerned about the safety of their workers, they encouraged workers to be attentive to the motorists.

In order to efficiently get the job done, Gilbert Southern brought in equipment that was particularly mobile and best at maneuvering traffic on the road. The company owns most of the equipment used, including backhoes and front-end loaders that were used on this job.

The backhoe on the project featured a bucket with a thumb attachment. The attachment helped remove concrete slabs as they were sawed in smaller sections. This piece of equipment was on wheels rather than a track making it more mobile and enabling it to move significantly faster.

“As far as going from point A to point B, it is more efficient,” Bentley said.

Subcontractors were also used for some portions of the work. The Atlanta branch of ABC Cutting was called in to handle the sawing of the roadway and Costello Industries’ Atlanta crews performed the concrete sealing.

Sawing, removal and replacing concrete, and sealing occurred in stages at different times.

“At any one location we had to put up four different lane closures,” Bentley said.

In addition, several front-end loaders were used at the work site and were helpful in moving materials and in cleanup efforts. Air compressors were also used throughout the scope of the project.

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