Work Speeds Ahead on Replacing Century-Old Bridges With Tunnel

Iowa Company Receives Sheldon G. Hayes Award

Sat May 05, 2007 - Midwest Edition
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The National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA) has announced that Des Moines Asphalt & Paving Co. of Des Moines, Iowa, has won the 2006 Sheldon G. Hayes Award for excellence in construction of an asphalt pavement. The company received the award on Feb. 20, 2007, at the Association’s 52nd Annual Meeting in San Francisco, Calif.

Des Moines Asphalt & Paving Co.’s winning project was the widening of a 3-mi. (4.8 km) stretch of I-234 in the city of Des Moines.

The project area ran from the western end of the 8th Street Bridge to the east end of a bridge over I-35, an area that frustrated rush-hour commuters with its constant backups.

Des Moines Asphalt & Paving Co. added one lane to both sides of the road, making it three lanes in each direction. In some sections around exits it added a fourth auxiliary lane as well. Finally, it overlaid all sections to create a smooth pavement.

The existing V-ditch in the center of the roadway posed one of the greatest challenges. Des Moines Asphalt & Paving Co. crews had to tear out the 50-ft. (15 m) wide grass median and construct a storm sewer, concrete barrier and concrete median in its place.

“We had a 16 to 20 foot wide hole on each side of that median, which made it very tough and tight to get in and out of the area,” said Greg Kinser, the company’s vice president and operations manager.

Crews worked under traffic, often during evening and weekend hours to minimize the disruption to motorists.

’We were not allowed to have less than two lanes of traffic open,” Kinser added.

The project required a total of 143,911 tons (130,554 t) of hot-mix asphalt (HMA), designed to stand up to 30 million ESALs (equivalent single axle loads).

“One feature of this project that we’re very proud of is the consistent, high quality mix that we had throughout,” said Kinser.

Using a shuttle buggy helped keep the pavement smooth during laydown, earning Des Moines Asphalt & Paving Co. an incentive bonus.

“We’ve got some very talented people and some good equipment,” Kinser said. “We like to think that we all do a good job of paying attention to the quality details. We believe this project showcases the vital benefits of HMA: rapid construction and a longlasting, smooth, safe, quiet ride, all at a cost substantially below engineers’ estimates.”

Finalists

• Norris Asphalt Paving, of Ottumwa, Iowa, was recognized for its work on a 12-mi. (19 km) stretch of Iowa Highway One in Van Buren County, Iowa.

The job required paving gently rolling hills in the countryside and steeper grades and sharper corners in urban areas. Work included milling 1.5 in. (3.8 cm) of the existing two-lane road, widening the road 4 ft. (1.2 m) on each side so it would meet Iowa Department of Transportation’s (DOT) new road safety standards, then overlaying the entire pavement.

All scheduling had to be coordinated around the one major bridge rehab in the project. Bridge work included a new deck and new cast-in-place barrier rails.

The project required the use of 67,919 tons (61,615 t) of Superpave hot-mix asphalt (HMA).

“One of the things that was exceptional about this project was the mix properties,” said Brady Meldrem, president of Norris Asphalt Paving Co.

“The volumetrics of the asphalt that went down were very consistent — voids and densities and oil content. This made the placement of the mix go very smoothly. We also used a shuttle buggy on the project. Any time you have continuous paving, you have a much more uniform and smooth surface.”

• E & B Paving of Anderson, Ind., was recognized for the complete reconstruction of a 2.8-mi. (4.5 km) section of I-465, the Indianapolis Beltway, a five-year warranty job.

Working as a subcontractor for Wash Construction of Illinois, E & B Paving crews removed the road’s asphalt overlay as well as an original concrete pavement. They widened the three-lane road to four lanes in both the northbound and southbound directions, and added more lanes at major exits. The use of a material transfer vehicle during paving helped the company’s crews create a smoother pavement.

E & B Paving placed a total of 342,845 tons (311,024 t) of hot-mix asphalt on the road during the project.

Scheduling was tight, and all mixes had to be placed between April and Oct. 1.

E & B Paving had bid and geared up for round-the-clock operations but found that it needed such intensive efforts only late in the project.

“In September and early October, we had three or four paving crews out there working 24/7,” said the company’s Regulatory Director Steve Henderson.

“There was a real crunch at the end, trying to get all the ramps and all the mainline paving completed.”

The road opened to traffic on schedule.

Although the company has done some warranty jobs before, they didn’t resemble this one, Henderson added.

“The other projects weren’t on the same scale, and it’s the first time we’ve warranted a project for five years,”

The Sheldon G. Hayes Award winner is determined through a two-year process. Highway pavement projects using more than 50,000 tons (45,359 t) of HMA are eligible for consideration.

Initially, they must win a Quality in Construction (QIC) Award, which is determined by numerical scores given by pavement engineers at the National Center for Asphalt Technology (NCAT) on the basis of how well the contractor met the specifications and achieved density on the finished pavement. All the pavements that meet a benchmark figure are given the QIC award.

The year after a project wins a QIC Award, it may be considered for the Sheldon G. Hayes Award. The top-ranked projects from each year are tested for smoothness, then visually inspected by an independent pavement consultant with many years of experience in the industry.

This year, the evaluators praised the contestants for high-quality construction practices resulting in smooth, safe, and durable pavements .

For more information, visit www.hotmix.org.