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Mekis Works ’in Harmony’ With Jackson Township

Mon March 29, 2010 - Northeast Edition
Jennifer Rupp

Just a few short months after Harmony Junction made the news for the removal of 200-year-old blockages in the Connoquenessing Creek, the small town has garnered public interest again with the replacement of a prominent multi-girder bridge.

The Harmony Junction bridge project in Jackson Township (Butler County) is among the many American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) projects taking place in Pennsylvania. The bridge carries SR 3027 (Hartmann Rd.) over Connoquenessing Creek and the B&O Railroad. The two-lane six-span multi-girder steel bridge is located between the intersections of SR 68 and T-673 (Porters Cove Road).

The $4.9 million project began June 2009 with a flurry of public concern regarding traffic flow to the Seneca Valley School District for the upcoming school season. Len Keller, Jackson Township police chief, was mindful about the estimated 1,200 vehicles that travel to the intermediate, middle and high schools each day.

“There used to be two main entrances to the school. Now, there will be one,” Keller reported to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review in September 2009, in reference to the temporary closing of the bridge. This stretch of SR 3027 also is used to access the Seneca Landfill. Because of the traffic concerns, local officials are working closely with Mekis Construction, the prime contractor on the project.

“Traffic has been flowing better than anticipated, thanks to a lot of planning,” Keller said in February. “The problems and inconvenience have been kept to a minimum, and Mekis Construction has been very cooperative in these efforts.”

Mekis Construction has been in business for more than 60 years, with notable Western Pennsylvania projects such as Waldameer Amusement Park’s Ravine Flyer II rollercoaster in Erie, the Tower Road Bridge near Conneautville and the Wayne Street Viaduct in Butler.

There are a number of Pennsylvania-based subcontractors assisting on the project, including Shelly Drilling of Avonmore for drilling the caissons and Structural Services Inc. based in Bethlehem for setting the steel. IA Construction Corporation of Zelienople is providing paving services, Scottdale’s Penn Line Service Inc. is in charge of seeding and guiderails, and Beth’s Barricades, headquartered in Gibsonia, was hired for traffic control. Project inspection services are being provided by L. Robert Kimball & Associates Inc., of Ebensburg. To perform the excavation for the new 684-ft. (208 m) bridge, crews used a Komatsu 300 excavator, a Link-Belt 330 excavator with demolition hammers and a Komatsu dozer. Mekis rented a Caterpillar 400 rock truck from Mashuda Corporation, an earthmoving general contractor in Cranberry Township, Pa.

Two cranes are being used on the job — a Link-Belt LS-218 crawler crane and a Grove RT750E rough-terrain crane.

Centerline Boring Inc. of Harmony, Pa., was brought onboard for the replacement of a drain that runs under the railroad.

“The old 24-inch galvanized steel metal drain has started to crack,” said Steve Reed, project manager/superintendent of Mekis Construction. “Centerline is going to bore a 36-inch diameter half-inch thick steel casing.”

The length of the drain is 70 ft. (21.3 m) and Centerline has estimated that it will take two days for the boring and replacement.The project is currently under a scheduled two-month winter shutdown. Work will resume mid-March, with an overall completion date of June 10, 2010.

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