Construction of a new highway bypass around Roseville, IL, may constitute routine work for Halverson Construction Company, but the firm is taking advantage of new technology to get the job done more efficiently.
The $18-million bypass is a 5-mi. (8-km) stretch of four-lane highway that wraps around Roseville’s west side and connects U.S. Highway 67 on the north and south sides of town.
Currently, Highway 67 carries extensive traffic through downtown Roseville, and once finished, the bypass will divert that traffic around the western edge of town.
It’s a fairly typical highway project, according to Kyle Zellers, project manager of Springfield, IL-based Halverson.
However, the construction team is using global positioning system (GPS) technology to expedite the earthwork and finish it before winter’s plunging temperatures halt work until spring.
Although GPS technology — a satellite-based navigation system developed by the Department of Defense — has been used extensively in other industries, it’s a relative newcomer to the construction scene.
Many contractors are quickly realizing the advantages that it can offer when performing earthwork.
GPS allows operators of earth-moving equipment to see a cross-section of the terrain from a monitor within the cab, so they can assess the extent of their work without having someone on the ground check it for them.
“The operator has a cross-section right in front of him, so if he’s cutting out a ditch, he can check his grade without having somebody there on a continuous basis to do it for him,” said Zellers. “He does his own grade checking from the seat of the cab.”
For the Roseville project, Halverson mounted the GPS equipment on a Komatsu D65PX bulldozer, and it is also using the system — in combination with conventional methods — to survey the roadbed.
Zellers noted that the system is not fully automated; the bulldozer operator still maintains control of the blade and the machine’s movement, but the GPS provides him with a visual map for navigation purposes.
The biggest advantage to using GPS technology is the ability to save time on the layout process and reduce costs by eliminating the need for a grade checker when bulldozing, said Zellers.
Saving time is particularly important for the Roseville bypass, since Halverson is trying to finish the dirt work before the ground freezes.
Although this is the first time that Halverson has used GPS technology, Zellers said it will definitely use it again because of its cost- and time-saving benefits.
“There have been some bumps along the way, but we’re trying to work through them. When we’ve been able to use the complete system — the dozer and the surveying pack — we’ve really seen what a benefit it can be,” said Zellers.
Although other states are using GPS for construction purposes, the system is fairly new to both the state of Illinois and the Illinois Department of Transportation.
“It’s not widespread yet, but it’s catching on. We’re aware of a couple of other contractors in the area that have gone to the same system,” said Zellers.
“It’s a relatively new system and there are still some bugs to be worked out, but it’s definitely a benefit,” he added.
Construction of the Roseville bypass, which started last March, is expected to be completed in the fall of 2002.
Halverson plans to finish all of the dirt work before the end of the year so that soil modification and asphalt paving can start once the ground thaws next spring.
McCarthy Improvement Company of Davenport, IA, will perform the soil modification and asphalt paving.
Subcontractors on the project include B&M Construction Inc. of Sumner, IL; Ordaz Construction of Wyoming, IL; Phoenix Corporation of Port Byron, IL; Surfacers Inc. of Port Byron, IL; Varsity Striping & Construction Co. of Champaign, IL; Mt. Carmel Sand Gravel Co. Inc. of Mt. Carmel, IL; and Dan Ash Trucking Inc. of Silvis, IL.
Halverson is using Cat D8H bulldozers; a Link-Belt 4300 excavator; Volvo A25 and A35 off-road trucks; a Case Quadtrac with two 16-cu.-yd. (12 cu m) Reynolds scrapers; Cat 85C Challengers with 14-cu.-yd. (10.7 cu m) Reynolds scrapers; a Komatsu D65PX bulldozer with GPS equipment; a New Holland tractor with a 36 in. (91.4 cm) Rome disk; a Cat 825B compactor; a John Deere 690E excavator; a Cat 140H motorgrader; and a Cat 16 motorgrader.
The bypass is being funded by the Illinois FIRST program.
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