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Hamm Digs Big on $37.5M Highway 169 Widening Project in Kansas

Tue April 30, 2002 - Midwest Edition
Richard Miller

In 1999, the Kansas legislature passed a highway plan resulting in increased funding for highway improvements. Included in this legislation was funding to widen U.S. 169 in Miami County. The funding for this project did not come soon enough. Between 1990 and 2000 this highly-traveled road has seen 698 wrecks, resulting in 301 injuries and 33 deaths.

On June 20, 2001, a $37.6-million contract was awarded to the Hamm Companies of Perry, KS. This 11.1-mi. (17.8 km) project will widen the existing two-lane roadway to a four-lane divided highway.

Hamm has brought in an assorted fleet of equipment to move both the rock and common material. The project calls for 730,830 cu. yds. (559,800 cu m) of rock to be moved. According to Ron Nadvornik, project engineer of the Hamm Companies, the rock required blasting, so Hamm used two Ingersoll-Rand CM-682 hydraulic rotary drills to prepare the holes for the explosives.

A pair of Cat 375 excavators loads the rock into a fleet of Cat 400D, 769 and Euclid R-35 and R-40 trucks. This arrangement allowed Hamm to move 6,000 cu. yds. (4,587.3 cu m) per day, despite the fact that 110,000 cu. yds. (84,101 cu m) of rock was transported across a busy four-lane road in Paola, KS.

Hamm brought in two Cat 657 and eight Cat 637 scrapers to move the 408,678 cu. yds. (312,457 cu m) of common material. On average, Hamm moved 10,000 cu. yds. (7,645 cu m) per day. This production has allowed Hamm to stay on schedule without having to work additional hours. According to Nadvornik, the only extra hours needed for excavation was last fall when the bridge headers were prepared so the bridge subcontractor could work throughout the winter.

Preparing the bridge headers presented additional challenges for Hamm. According to Nadvornik, wick drains were installed under the bridge headers, with deep cuts adjacent to the existing highway. Additionally, all headers had to settle out before any bridge contractor could proceed.

Part of the material on this project was shale. According to Michael Guthrie, engineering associate of the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT), “The state geotechnical unit for the state of Kansas has determined this shale does not meet the requirements to be treated as other rock. As a result, it has to be manipulated with water and equipment until it is the consistency of soil.”

The project also calls for Hamm to provide 515,724 cu. yds. (394,299 cu m) of contractor furnished material. Part of this will be used to cover the rock slopes on the fills.

APAC Kansas Inc., Wilkerson-Maxwell Division is the bridge subcontractor. The company’s $7.4-million contract includes the construction of seven new bridges and the rehabilitation of 12 structures on the existing highway.

The new bridges will include two continuous prestressed beam spans, three reinforced concrete haunched slab spans and two continuous composite steel beam spans. Approximately 14,172 cu. yds. (10,835 cu m) of silica fume overlay will be used to strengthen the bridge decks.

The Bryan-Ohlmeier Construction Co. Inc., of Paola, is installing box culverts. The company’s portion of the contract is $1.6 million.

James Cape and Sons Company is the concrete paving subcontractor. The new roadway will include 317,534 cu. yds. (248,772 cu m) of reinforced concrete. Rock for the concrete mix will come from the Hunt Midwest Crawford Quarry located east of the project. Holiday Sand will supply the sand.

Plans call for the concrete paving to begin in August 2002. Cape plans to use an Erie Strayer dual-drum batch plant, with an estimated production of 500 to 600 cu. yds. (368.3 to 459 cu m ) per day.

The existing lanes will be cold milled and overlaid with 135,215 tons (122.665 t) of bituminous material consisting of SM-19A, SR-19A and SR-19B bas and SM-9.5T of surface course. According to Nadvornik, this portion of the project will start in April 2003 and its completion will coincide with the opening of all four lanes in November 2003. APAC Kansas Inc., Reno Division, will handle this portion of the contract.

The roadway remains open while the project proceeds. This presents a special problem for all the contractors involved. According to Nadvornik, “The highway has a bad history of wrecks and trying to control the speed of the vehicles through our construction area is difficult and makes work along the roadway very dangerous.”

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