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Miller Pavers Iron Out Rough Spots on I-20

Sat October 21, 2000 - West Edition
Cathy Bell

The Energizer bunny has met his match on a 12-mile segment of Interstate Highway 20 in Arlington, TX. The project manager on the IH-20 barrier wall project reports the Miller slipform pavers just keep going and going. The contractor has used both the Miller M7500 and the M8800 slipform pavers.

“The two have done ten miles with very few breakdowns and nothing that couldn’t be repaired in an hour or two,” said Butch Harris, TxDOT project manager. As of mid-June, the project was 60 percent complete. In addition to constructing the cast-in-place concrete median wall, Champagne-Webber, contractor on the job, will fill cracks, holes and make other repairs to the original concrete paving before re-paving and re-striping.

Equipment breakdowns would be especially troublesome on this heavy traffic project. The four-lane divided highway runs through the heart of Arlington, TX, from the IH-820/IH-20 split to the Dallas County line. “We’re right in the middle of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex,” said Harris. Work began in October 1999.

The $10.1-million expenditure will accomplish two needed improvements to the roadway — installation of a barrier wall down the median and repaving to smooth out the road surface. The dependable performance of the Miller extruders allowed the project to get off to a good start, and the machines worked well for two different tasks — placing the base rip-rap for the wall and placing the wall itself.

“We used two different types of molds,” said Mike Villarreal, Champagne-Webber’s project engineer. The wall base work was finished early on and workers lack only 6,000 to 7,000 ft. (1,818 to 2,121 m) of wall to finish the barrier portion of the project.

“The highway is close to 25 years old and was in need of repair,” said Michael Peters, TxDOT public information officer. Villarreal said the barrier will make a tremendous difference in preventing crossover accidents. This section of IH-20 has been plagued with fatal accidents, one of which occurred only recently.

“The barrier will keep people going in the same direction and will prevent the head-ons. Drivers are screaming at us right now as far as traffic tie-ups, but the project is serving a good purpose,” said Villarreal.

Still, the high volume of traffic does place constraints on the type of repairs available. For instance, the project calls for asphalt paving because, as Harris explained, “There’s not enough time to take out the concrete and replace it.”

Repairs to the existing concrete pavement are already complete and Harris said he is “looking for volunteers” as the next phase — applying the Petcomat and asphalt overlay — begins. “It’s all we’ll be doing for the next three-and-a-half months, every night except Friday and Saturday.”

All told, the project encompasses 115 lane miles that would stretch from Ft. Worth to Wichita Falls if converted to a one-way road. Scheduled completion is fall 2000.

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