Cranes lift a steel tub girder into place.
The Lane Construction Corporation is more than half-way through its portion of work on the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority’s (OOCEA) SR 408 widening and improvements program. OOCEA’s $675 million initiative is designed to significantly reduce traffic congestion and improve mobility in the area. Specifically, more than 130,000 vehicles a day currently travel this stretch of SR 408/417, and volume is expected to increase to nearly 218,000 vehicles a day by 2025.
Lane started work in October 2010 on its part of the project, which includes the widening of SR 408 from six to eight lanes (four in each direction); the elimination of exit and entrance ramps at Valencia College Lane; and the construction of a new two-lane ramp from eastbound SR 408 to northbound SR 417. Additional project components include several structures: a 1,600-ft. (487 m) curved flyover bridge with steel tub girders; a 900-ft. (274 m) curved ramp bridge over an existing pond; a 180-ft. (55 m) single span ramp bridge; and two shorter bridges, to be widened. Lane also is adding more than 25 new mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) walls. Improvements will be made to the storm drainage system, along with new lighting and signage throughout.
The bridges are being built by approximately 140 Lane employees working an average of 10 hours a day, six days a week. As of January 2012, three of the bridges are completed and open to traffic, and deck pouring has started on the last bridge. The inside widening for SR 408 and SR 417 has been completed and the outside widening is underway. All substructures are completed and all the beams and tub girders have been set.
The Lane crew completed milestones in late 2011, including opening the nine-span bridge to traffic, a major east-west traffic shift and erection of 30 steel tub girder pieces across seven spans.
Lifting a 300-ft. (91 m) long, curved segment of steel 45 ft. (13 m) into the air using cranes is no simple task.
“During the process, the road had to be closed and the work had to be completed during a limited overnight timeframe,” said Geoff Scales, Lane’s project manager. “While each steel girder segment was up in the air, it had to be spliced to the previous segment using several hundred bolts.”
All of the bolts had to be aligned, inserted and tightened. Once that was done, the cranes could be released and the roadway re-opened.
“In some cases, perfect alignment was impossible, and improvisation, including temporary bracing and welding, was needed,” added Scales.
A traffic shift to move eastbound 408 into the temporarily widened westbound 408 lanes at Chickasaw Trail happened in January 2012, allowing a new portion of roadway to be completed. Other milestones include the completion of the barriers, pavement and deck grinding in order to open the 1,600-ft. flyover ramp bridge to traffic by March 2012. The project is scheduled for completion by December 2012.
“Dealing with traffic comes with the territory on a construction project like this,” commented Scales. “Challenges have included working over live traffic, limited lane/road closures, and restricted access to work areas due to the high volume of traffic.”
Lane is vigilant on maintenance of traffic. Concrete traffic barriers and barrels are mainly used as traffic control devices. During the major traffic switch, Lane employed several law enforcement officers to control traffic and ensure motorist safety.
Cranes used to lift the lighter tub girders include a Manitowoc 888, 230-ton (208 t) crane and a Manitowoc 999, 275-tons (249 t). For the heaviest lifts (300-ft. [91 m] long and 480,000 lbs. [217,724 kg]), two Manitowoc 2250 cranes were used, each with a weight capacity of 300 tons (272 t).
The equipment used on the MSE walls includes Caterpillar D3 bulldozers, Caterpillar 325 excavators and Volvo L70 loaders. In addition, the following equipment is being used on the job: Manitowoc 777 cranes; Volvo EW180, Volvo EC360B, Caterpillar 320, Komatsu PC308 and Hitachi 450 excavators; a John Deere 450J bulldozer; a Volvo L90E loader; an Ingersoll Rand SD70 roller; a manlift and a Holland Pump.
Several subcontractors are involved in the project. JVD Construction Inc. was contracted to complete curb/gutter, traffic railings and barrier walls. Amber Construction Co. erected all the steel including walls, bridge footing, bridge columns and bridge deck. Florida Industrial Electric installed all the lighting, fiber, trusses and cantilever signs. Orlando Paving Company was contracted for asphalt placement.
Founded by railroad engineer John S. Lane in 1890, Lane constructs bridges, highways, locks and dams and mass transit and airport systems in 20 states. In its 122-year history, Lane has never failed to complete a contract.
Lane also is involved in the public-private partnership (P3) arena. The company and its partners are currently constructing one of the largest P3 projects in the United States, the $1.5 billion Capital Beltway HOT Lanes in Northern Virginia.
Recently in Florida, Lane successfully repaved the Daytona International Speedway, rebuilt a SR 528 bridge in only 22 days (an emergency project) and completed the A. Max Brewer Bridge in Titusville, Fla.
For more information, visit www.LaneConstruct.com. CEG