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McCarthy Crews Add Aggregate to Unstable Soil Near Interstate

Fri June 08, 2007 - Southeast Edition
Maybelle G. Cagle

Construction crews in Fulton County, Ga., are currently performing grading and drainage work on a $51.3 million project that involves 4.05 mi. (6.5 km) of reconstruction on I-85/SR 403.

Davenport, Iowa-based general contractor, McCarthy Improvement Company began the work Jan. 23. The notice to proceed had been issued by the Georgia Department of Transportation three days prior. The project’s estimated date of completion is March 31, 2007.

Crystal Paulk-Buchanan, a GDOT spokeswoman, said the project, which is on schedule, will consist of concrete lane replacement on I-85 from the Coweta County line to SR 74.

The project will improve one center lane and one outside lane in each direction along the existing six-lane highway. Additionally, the median will be paved and a permanent concrete median barrier will be added.

The contractor has a solid history in Georgia. McCarthy Improvement Company is a Georgia Pavement Smoothness Award winner (2002, Jackson County). With 110 years of concrete and asphalt paving experience to its credit, McCarthy works throughout the midwest and southeast.

Ron Sines, executive vice president of McCarthy, is overseeing the project and will stay in Georgia throughout the duration of the job.

This job is an extension of another I-85 job McCarthy is working on, bid last August. McCarthy has already saved the state millions of dollars in value engineering on that project. While the Fulton project hasn’t had such innovations yet, Sines said, “it’s too early to tell.”

Major clearing is complete and grading for the roadway has begun. Sines said that undercutting has been necessary to deal with unstable soil along with supplementing the soil with M10s (fine aggregate). This has impacted the project’s schedule and budget.

“There have been time and financial increases because of the soil conditions. I don’t think we can quantify how much additional time and money will be required at this point. We’re working with DOT to try to keep it at a minimal level,” Sines said.

He said the major challenge on the project is addressing construction activities with the heavy traffic flows to minimize disruption to the traveling public.

The project is near the cities of Palmetto and Fairburn and traffic is not expected to be re-routed during the work.

“Our highest priority is to provide the safest possible work zone for our workers, DOT workers and the traveling public,” Sines said.

McCarthy has hired 14 subcontractors on the project including: B&K Construction, Thomaston, Ga., grading; E.R. Snell, Snellville, Ga., asphalt & milling; Guthrie Construction, Tyrone, Ga., drainage; JTT Trucking, Conyers, Ga., hauling; Martin-Robbins Fence, Snellville, Ga., guardrail; TEC Erosion, Woodstock, Ga., silt fence; Wolverston and Associates, Duluth, Ga., surveyors; and Peek Pavement Marking, Columbus, Ga., striping.

There are approximately 50 workers involved with the project working 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

During the course of the project, a wide assortment of equipment will be used. Currently, equipment being used includes a Komatsu D39EX bulldozer, a Hyundai 450LC-7 trackhoe, a Komatsu GD 655 motorgrader, a Komatsu D61EX bulldozer and a Link-Belt 330LX trackhoe. The equipment is doing grading and related tasks. Additional equipment will be brought to the site as needed.

This project was one of the projects earmarked in $108 million allocated for road improvement projects announced in January by the GDOT.

“This is a major project because of the scope of work and the overall cost,” said Andy Casey, a GDOT project manager and liaison to the contractor.

According to Casey, the project is necessary because “the condition of the existing outside two lanes of I-85, which were constructed in the late 1960s, are in need of rehabilitation due to rapid deterioration. Since concrete has an approximate 30-year life cycle, which is now passed on this section of roadway, required maintenance and repairs are needed.”

McCarthy built the original lanes of this stretch of I-85 not being repaved. CEG

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