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Missouri DOT Loops I-270 With $37M Reconstruction Project

Sat March 04, 2000 - Midwest Edition
Megan Nichols

St. Louis motorists are witnessing dramatic changes at the intersection of I-270 and Manchester Road. The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) is making improvements totaling approximately $37 million. Ultimately, the project will improve the interchange from a series of ramps and a stoplight to an efficient ramp system without traffic lights.

When construction is complete, existing Manchester Road will carry eastbound traffic only. Westbound lanes will be north of the Des Peres Cinema. The project will reconfigure the current diamond interchange to an efficient loop system projected to relieve congestion.

Making Progress

The project has been divided into three phases: relocate Des Peres Road ($12.9 million), construct the I-270 Interchange and relocate Manchester Road to the new Des Peres Road ($9.4 million), and relocate Manchester Road from the new Des Peres Road to Barrett Station Road ($13.7).

According to Chris Sutton, MoDOT public affairs specialist, phase one construction is complete with the new Des Peres Road open for traffic. Phases two and three are in progress. The total project will be complete by the summer of 2001.

Tom Montes de Oca is the project manager, coordinating the multi-faceted bridge, highway, and civil construction project. Bob Orange, design engineer, and John Grana, the resident engineer who oversees construction, work closely with Montes de Oca. For the MoDOT team, project sequencing is important.

Pace Construction Co. recently finished the $8.2- million bridge over I-270 (for the new westbound lanes on Manchester Road). Construction of the westbound overpass piers is finished, and all girders have been erected. Work on pouring the bridge surface and painting the structural steel has concluded, and traffic will be shifted onto the new westbound bridge by mid to late 2000.

The western portion of the I-270 and Manchester Road interchange was completed by Vernaci Construction. The contract was awarded for $3.4 million. The new portions include a southbound I-270 exit ramp onto Manchester Road as well as the new westbound Manchester Road loop ramp onto Interstate 270.

Construction of the eastern portion of the I-270 and Manchester Road interchange (the second half of phase two), as well as the new westbound lanes for Manchester Road from Des Peres Road to Barrett Station Road was awarded to Kozeny-Wagner Inc. for $ 15.4 million.

Partnering for Results: MoDOT and Kozeny-Wagner Inc.

MoDOT and Kozeny-Wagner entered into a formal partnering agreement for this portion of the project. “We start with a one day workshop with an outside facilitator,” said Grana. “First, it establishes relationships from the top down to people on the site who are doing the work on a day to day basis. Second, it identifies rocks in the road, and third, we establish goals for MoDOT and the contractor — what we want to see happen. MoDOT and the contractors share ideas."

Communication has been key to successful execution of the partnering contract. “We have weekly meetings every Friday morning on the site to go over issues of the week. Communication becomes day-to-day with those on the site. It keeps people working out here and people not working out here abreast of what’s going on,” Grana explained.

A crew of approximately 15 to 20 is advancing toward the goal of getting Westbound 100 complete by mid to late summer 2000. This will enable crews to start work on the existing Manchester Bridge — doing a total deck replacement and retrofitting the existing bridge and adding a new substructure. During the summer, at the peak of construction, 35 to 40 crew members will be on site.

Earthwork is ongoing with crews moving rock, installing drainage, and constructing a retaining wall. Equipment in the field includes dozers, scrapers and trackhoes.

“The biggest challenge has been finding rock where we didn’t show any. This was a dirt project that turned into a rock project. Kozeny took on getting rid of the waste with minimal expense,” Grana said.

Value engineering, said Patrick Kozeny, vice president, Kozeny-Wagner, is the key to the company’s ability to effectively address changing site conditions. With the value engineering system, both the contractor and client/owner develop a joint plan to minimize costs.

According to Kozeny, the unforeseen design issues changed how materials would be moved. In addition to 2.28 million cubic meters (300,000 cu. yds.) of dirt moved by scraper, approximately 45,600 cubic meters (60,000 cu. yds.) of rock were removed after the blasting and chipping process.

Budrovich is partnering with Kozeny-Wagner on the earthwork. Kolb Grading is doing the blasting; Gerstner Electric is installing highway lighting and traffic signals; D & S is completing highway signage; and Pace Construction is handling the asphalt.

The design calls for Superpave asphalt, a new technology that MoDOT is using. “It has quality control, quality assurance in the manufacturing of the mix. We used to be more dependent on lay-down procedures, but now we work closely with the manufacturer.

“Even the depth of the pour has changed, and the superpave lasts longer than conventional asphalt,” Grana explained.

The end result will improve road conditions and, more important, traffic flow. According to Grana, the new interchange will free congestion from I-270. Also, the route has the added distinction and importance of being the only thoroughfare into or out of St. Louis that does not have any major river crossing.

All contracts for the project have now been let. As Kozeny-Wagner proceeds with work on the final phases of the I-270 and Manchester Road interchange, the contractor is also undertaking four other MoDOT projects: I-44 sound walls in St. Louis County, Bellefontaine Road Bridge, I-44 at Highway 50, and I-44 at Highway 185. CEG


Anticipating and

Fulfilling Construction Needs: Kozeny-Wagner

Kozeny-Wagner operates two divisions: civil/highway division and commercial division.

Serving the St. Louis metropolitan area since 1965, Kozeny-Wagner is a general contractor, construction manager and design-builder.

The company has identified growth areas, particularly in the fields of wireless communication construction and industrial/warehouse construction. Since the mid 1980s, Kozeny-Wagner has been a leader in the construction of wireless communication cell sites.

In today’s rapidly changing industrial market, Kozeny-Wagner’s construction experience includes a variety of distribution centers, storage warehouses, and plant facilities. A sampling of clients includes Anheuser-Busch, General Motors, Chrysler Corporation and Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District.

Commercial/retail construction clients include many notable St. Louis landmarks such as the National Park Service — Gateway Arch (World Odyssey Theater), Lambert St. Louis International Airport, St. Louis Zoological Park and Ralston Purina.

From its start, Kozeny-Wagner has managed and/or implemented bridge, highway and civil construction projects. A professional and diversified management team allows the company to meet civil construction needs of both public and private clients. KozenyWagner’s experience includes transportation, environmental, airport/aviation and power resource projects, bridges, roadways, concrete structure, earthwork operations, retaining and sound walls, storm/sanitary/water infrastructure and general site development.

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