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I-10 Freeway Marks 70 Year Anniversary

Wed August 30, 2017 - West Edition #18
Construction Equipment Guide

Before I-10 construction in January 1946.
(Caltrans photo)
Before I-10 construction in January 1946. (Caltrans photo)
Before I-10 construction in January 1946.
(Caltrans photo) Looking east after construction in April 1947.
(Caltrans photo) Concrete batching plant, July 1946.
(Caltrans photo) Finishing concrete, August 1946.
(Caltrans photo) Finishing concrete, August 1946.
(Caltrans photo) Aug. 18 marked this section of I-10 freeway’s remarkable 70-year journey — and signaled its vital link to the past, present and future.
(Garrett Larson photo)

It's not every day that a highway is the reason for a major celebration, but for a section of Interstate 10 (I-10), between Ontario and San Bernardino, a celebration on Aug. 18 marked this freeway's remarkable 70-year journey — and signaled its vital link to the past, present and future.

State legislators, leadership of the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), and construction industry leaders gathered to commemorate the 70-year anniversary of the concrete pavement freeway, which is both a vital link to business, commerce and personal mobility in the region, and crucial key to the provision of goods and services nationwide.

Dignitaries included the Hon. Jim Frazier, assembly member (11th district); the Hon. Eloise Gomez-Reyes, assembly member (47th district); the Hon. Marc Steinorth, assembly member (40th district); John Bulinski, Caltrans district 8 director; and Allen Hamblen, president/CEO of CalPortland Company and 2017 chairman of the Portland Cement Association board of directors.

California State's Formal Recognition

In recognition of this pavement's longevity, the California Senate and State Assembly recognized the freeway with a formal proclamation, calling attention to the pavement's longevity and remarkable service.

In addition to carrying some 270,000 vehicles per day, this section of I-10 also carries more trucks with heavier payloads than ever before, the proclamation notes. The proclamation also recognizes the freeway for its “sustainability and resiliency to the forces of nature and man.”

“The 70-year pavement life of these sections of I-10 is the mission that Caltrans will continue to provide a safe, sustainable, integrated and efficient transportation system to enhance California's economy and livability,” said Bulinski.

“Manufacturing and distributing cement and other building materials provides us with the opportunity to see the results of the great potential that exists in the built environment,” Hamblen said.

“When we apply science, technology and artistry, and add equal measures of sustainable construction practices, almost anything imagined is possible. It is in that spirit today that I express my hearty congratulations to Caltrans, CalPortland, Matich Corporation, Griffith Company, and the State of California. This section of highway is not only a testament of the durability and sustainability of quality concrete construction, it also is a reminder of how we must design and construct resilient projects that will withstand the impacts of increased use and an increasingly demanding environment,” said Hamblen.

About This Section of Interstate 10

When the original U.S. Route 70-99 was planned in 1945 and built in 1947, Caltrans officials likely never envisioned that it would still be carrying traffic 50 years longer than the 20-years for which it was designed.

“By any standard, 70 years is a remarkable period of time for any pavement to last, but considering that it is 8 inches thick — about 50 to 75 percent thinner than most freeway pavements — and that it carries about 180,000 more vehicles per day than the 90,000 it carried less than 25 years ago, it is an exceptional example of pavement longevity,” said Tom Tietz, executive director of the California Nevada Cement Association.

Tietz served as master of ceremony of the event.

In addition to the many features and benefits of this section of I-10, the pavement was also the first in the nation to employ a restoration method called “diamond grinding.” Diamond grinding removes surface bumps and other irregularities, restoring the pavement almost to its new condition.

First used as part of a restoration and expansion project on this section of freeway in 1967, diamond grinding has become a time-tested, reliable, durable and cost-effective alternative to resurfacing or reconstruction.

The event, held at the Ontario Airport Hotel and Conference Center, was co-hosted by CalPortland, Caltrans Region 8, California Nevada Cement Association, Southwest Concrete Pavement Association,with additional support from the American Concrete Pavement Association and Portland Cement Association.

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