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Louisville-Southern Indiana Ohio River Bridges Projects Employ Scores of Contractors

One of the largest construction jobs currently under way in the United States is expected to total approximately $2.5 billion.

Wed July 02, 2014 - Midwest Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

As one of the largest construction jobs currently under way in the United States, the combined Louisville-Southern Indiana Ohio River Bridges projects are employing scores of contractors, each contributing their unique skills toward overcoming the many challenging aspects encountered on the job.

The projects, primarily consisting of two river crossings connecting Kentucky and Indiana involving the participation of both states, are designed to improve safety and traffic conditions and promote economic development in the area. Kentucky is responsible for the Downtown Crossing and Indiana is responsible for the East End Crossing. The cost of the projects is expected to total approximately $2.5 billion and will be the largest transportation project ever constructed between the two states.

Construction on the Downtown Crossing began in the summer of 2013 and is scheduled for completion in late 2016. The bridge project involves the construction of six I-65 northbound lanes and the rehabilitation of the Kennedy Bridge’s six I-65 southbound lanes. As well as the bridges themselves, the job includes roadway and bridge approaches along with a reconfiguration of Spaghetti Junction, where I-64, I-65 & I-71 merge in Louisville.

Under review and the subject of heated debate for nearly 30 years, the East End Crossing will connect Louisville’s East End with Utica, Ind. The conflict resulted out of concerns regarding the proximity of the project to Louisville’s Drumanard Estate, listed in the National Register of Historic Places, as well as homeowners whose properties would be negatively impacted. As designed, the crossing will feature a cable-stayed bridge accessed on the Kentucky side via a 2,000 ft. (619 m) tunnel under Louisville’s historic areas.

In essence, the entire East End Crossing project hinged on the tunnel. Recognized for its expertise in drilling and blasting, local Louisville contractor HTA Enterprises was called in for site development work on the tunnel approach. Founded in 1986, HTA Enterprises Incorporated is a minority-owned and operated business. The company, headed by owners, Harold E. Valentine (president) and Nancy Cole-Allen (vice-president) started out performing QC testing, utilities and site development but in 1991 began specializing in drilling and blasting work.

For the East End Crossing project, HTA was tasked with removing 1.2 million yd. of limestone to clear the way for the tunnel and bridge approaches on both the Kentucky and Indiana sides. The Kentucky side required an 82 ft. (25 m) tunnel face. Most of the rock will be reused on the job.

Given the logistics, the company faced two primary challenges on the job site; first, traffic, and second, the unique operating requirements as a consequence of the site location. Because of the historical structure and residential area in which they were working, imposed vibration and blasting limitations have significantly impacted production. According to HTA Enterprises’s Nancy Cole-Allen, the special technical provisions on the job are 75 percent more stringent than industry standards. In lieu of pre-splitting on walls, the company used a line drilling technique with drill spacing of 15 in. (38 cm) apart. Vibration was also held to .2 in. (.5 cm) per second as opposed to the standard .5 in. (1.27 cm) per second. Cole-Allen was joined by her daughter, Project Manager Kristie Allen in enthusiastically endorsing the use of Furukawa Rock Drills, supplied by Louisville based Construction Machinery Company, for the job.

The company is using five Furukawa HCR1500 rock drills on the Kentucky side and two Furukawa HCR 1500 rock drills and two HCR900 rock drills on the Indiana side of the project. Cole-Allen said that HTA Enterprises has been running Furukawa rock drills since they came out in the early 1990s, finding them to be the most versatile and reliable rock drills available. She said that they’re great production drills and extremely user friendly. HTA owns one Furukawa rock drill with more than 10,000 hours that is still in operation, added Cole-Allen.

Kristie Allen added that the company’s operators appreciate the cab space, which creates a comfortable work environment thus maximizing worker productivity on the job. Both Nancy Cole-Allen and Kristie Allen are impressed with that fact that Furukawa engineers were interested enough in learning about their business and how they might improve their drills that they’ve visited with the company on job sites for a firsthand look at their drills in action.

HTA Enterprises’s relationship with the people at Construction Machinery Company (CMC) goes back to the eighties and Cole-Allen feels that their relationship is like a partnership, adding that the service and support they’ve provided over the years has been outstanding. Cole-Allen is confident that with Gerald Fox on board, her company has one of the best mechanics in the region. She added that CMC’s mechanic, Eddie Streirer as every bit Fox’s match, and the two work exceptionally well together. Much of the company’s growth and ongoing success is attributed to a winning combination of the right tools operated and serviced by the right people, Cole-Allen added.

Construction Machinery Company is a full service dealer with locations in Louisville, Carrollton, and Owensboro, Ky. The company provides sales of both new and used equipment, service, parts and rentals serving Kentucky’s construction, utilities, mining and farming markets.

As well as Furukawa rock drills, CMC is an authorized dealer for Link-Belt, Kawasaki, Terex-Finlay, Midland, Yanmar, McClanahan, Terrasource, Joy Global, Superior brooms, Allied, Dynapac, Hydroram and JLG/Skytrak.

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