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Granite Springs Into Action on a $26.2M Utah Project

Sat August 26, 2000 - West Edition
Alicia Blater

Until recently, much of the I-15 reconstruction activities in Utah were limited to Salt Lake County. As the appearance of orange cones continue to grow and move south, a 4.2-mi. (6.72 km) section of road in Provo gets its own overhaul.

Granite Construction Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Granite Construction Incorporated, was awarded the $26.2-million contract by the Utah Department of Transportation. Construction began in April and includes the reconstruction of Interstate 15 from the Provo River to just south of the Springville Interchange.

Additional project features include widening of I-15 to six lanes where it is currently four lanes; reconstruction and widening of the bridges at University Avenue, 600 South, 920 South, and Provo Center Street; completion of ramps at the I-15 interchange at University Avenue; new structure and ramps to connect 1860 South with northbound and southbound I-15; and a new traffic signal at 1860 South 150 West.

The year and a half project is about 10 percent complete. Crews continue multiple operations including excavation, building median crossovers, structure work and concrete work at the University Avenue interchange. Once crews complete the temporary widening necessary to switch traffic flow, they will then move into the next phase of the project, which includes reconstruction of a section of northbound lanes.

The project is on schedule due to, in part, good cooperation from the elements.

“The weather has been real nice to us,” said Rob Presuhn, public information manager for Granite Construction Company. “So far we haven’t found anything that’s slowing us down.”

Crews of about 50 have been working on the site with numbers expected to double as they move into the next phase. Work continued for 20 hours a day during the first month, but has been reduced for now. Presuhn estimates that there may be a point when it will be necessary to double shifts again if they run into unexpected delays.

Motorists have also been very cooperative. With construction work happening Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., chances of causing commuter delays are pretty high. “We haven’t impeded traffic too much, but we are definitely inconveniencing people,” said Presuhn.

UDOT established a 24-hour hotline where callers can leave messages of concern or complaint about the Provo project, but so far there’s been no complaints.

About 40,000 cu. yds. (30,400 cu m) of the estimated 159,000 cu. yds. (120,840 cu m) of material needed for the job has been excavated thus far. All of the excavated material will remain on site and used throughout the project. In addition, the contract also calls for 180,000 tons (162,000 t) of asphalt paving, 140,000 tons (126,000 t) of base rock and 190,000 tons (171,000 t) of gravel rock. Granite Construction is bringing in its own portable asphalt plant from another site and hauling the paver material out to the project.

Presuhn estimates Granite owns about 90 percent of the equipment they need and rents the rest from Cat or Komatsu dealerships and small local rental agencies.

“We have a huge equipment yard in north Salt Lake. Our equipment usually stays at the projects, but if something sits idle for long, it’s moved to other projects in other states,” said Presuhn.

Granite has rented rubber tire backhoes, construction forklifts, and a D6 dozer for this Provo I-15 project. “We rent based on the duration we’ll use it on the particular project,” he added.

This project is staying on track with the help of 22 subcontractors. The major subs include Utah Pacific Bridge (steel bridge girders); Basic Precast (concrete bridge girders); Build Inc. (pile driving); Concrete Products Inc. (permanent sound wall); Chatfield Construction (rebar); Alcon Electric (electrical); H.E. Davis and Sons (aggregates supply); Penhall (demolition); and RBI (landscaping).

Widening this stretch of I-15 was a priority based on a growing traffic volume in Utah County. Nestled in the Wasatch Mountains, Provo City, with an approximate population of 113,000, has been one of the fastest growing cities in the nation over the past two decades.

The project will be substantially complete by November 2001, including the reconstruction, widening, paving and ramp operations. Crews will return in the spring of 2002 and complete the final seal coat and landscaping.

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