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KTA Widens Kan. Turnpike With Explosives

Mon February 26, 2007 - Midwest Edition
Richard Miller

The Kansas Turnpike is a 236-mi. (380 km) toll road entirely within the state of Kansas. The turnpike runs northeasterly from the Oklahoma border to the western fringes of the Kansas City metropolitan area.

Kansas Turnpike Authority (KTA), headquartered in Wichita, Kan., estimated that 120,000 drivers use the turnpike each day.

The original turnpike was built between 1954 and 1956, predating the Interstate highway network. Today the entire route is included in the Interstate highway system carrying four different interstate designations.

The I-70 portion of the turnpike travels from the eastern terminus to Topeka. The KTA has determined the traffic counts have increased more than twice the counts for the entire turnpike. As a result, in late 2002, KTA authorized the final engineering and subsequent construction project to widen I-70 between the East Topeka (milepost 183) and the Lecompton (milepost 197) toll plazas, adding a driving lane in each direction.

“KTA contracted with the HNTB Corporation in Kansas City, Missouri, who determined the Kansas River Bridge in Lawrence, Kansas, would reach the end of its useful life in 2012,” David Jacobson, KTA chief engineer, said.

As a result, the KTA also approved the preliminary design necessary to have a replacement bridge constructed by that time.

“Replacement of this bridge, together with the interchange improvements at Plaza 202 and 204 is scheduled to begin in 2009 at an estimated cost of $131.9 million,” Jacobson said.

The Lecompton project was awarded to Hamm Companies Inc. in Perry, Kan., for $53.9 million on Jan. 3, 2005.

The 12.9 mi. (21.5 km) project included the construction of three steel-span girder bridges. Jacobson stated all three structures are mainline bridges varying in width from 55 ft. 7 in. to 68 ft. 8 in (16.9 to 20.9 m).

All overhead bridges were constructed in 2004 to accommodate this widening project. A. M. Cohron and Sons Inc. of Atlantic, Iowa, was the bridge subcontractor for this project.

Exca approximately 1.1 million cu. yds. (878,576 cu m) of unclassified excavation. The excavation’s 544,828 cu. yds. (416,551 cu m) was used for compaction requirements. Jacobson stated a portion of the excavation involved the removal of rock ledges requiring blasting. More than 40 blasts were set off to loosen the rock for excavation.

The KTA, Kansas Highway Patrol and Hamm worked collectively to conduct rolling roadblocks in order to assure the safety of the turnpike customers while the blasting activity was taking place.

The pavement was prepped with a 10-in. (25.4 cm) granular sub-base (AB-3). The drainage course included 4 in. (10.16 cm) of BM-2 asphalt base course. The pavement base was 10 in. (25.4 cm) in thickness topped by 2 in. (5.08 cm) of BM-1KTA pavement surface course.

In total, the entire project called for 560,421 tons (569,414 t) of asphalt pavement. Hamm performed the asphalt work by placing its mix plant on the site of a former service plaza.

Hamm’s large equipment roster included 10 Caterpillar scrapers, (eight 657’s and two 627’s), two Caterpillar excavators (385 and 375) and a variety of 13 Volvo, Caterpillar and John Deere articulated trucks.

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