Mosser Takes on Railroad Grade Project in Mansfield

Thu April 10, 2008 - Midwest Edition
Linda J. Hutchinson

Mosser Construction Inc. of Fremont, Ohio, began work to build a railroad grade separation in Mansfield, Ohio, on July 10, 2006. The project, funded through former Gov. Bob Taft’s program set up in 2001, is scheduled for completion in July 2008.

“This project is one of the funded Railroad Grade Separations. We are building a $6.4 million grade separation over the Norfolk Southern railroad tracks,” said Rusty Parker, project manager of Mosser.

“The main sewer pipe for the wastewater treatment plant for the city of Mansfield, a 72-inch concrete pipe, runs right through the job. The pipe is old. Design [for the overpass] has catered around that pipe,” Parker said.

According to an Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) District 3 press release, this “project [is] on South Illinois Avenue [CR-424], north of Oak Street. The project includes the construction of an overpass over the Norfolk Southern railroad tracks. The project also includes the realignment of Oak Street to the new South Illinois Avenue grade. The overpass is expected to reopen in June.”

Because of the weight issue and to pour pier pilings over the pipe, lightweight fill was used for the first time in Ohio.

Durafill, produced by Plymouth Foam Inc., a lightweight Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) geofoam in 8- by 4- by 3-ft. (2.4 by 1.2 by 0.9 m) sections “was installed like Legos,” said Parker. “It was a very interesting use of a product. Then the whole thing was wrapped in visqueen [poly sheeting] as a vapor barrier. Durafill is like styrofoam, very lightweight but strong.”

The project included constructing a temporary road and railroad crossing, placement of 90,000 cu. yd. (686,800 cu m) of embankment, placing 1,291 cu. yd. (987 cu m) of lightweight fill — an ODOT first for roadway use — building a mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) wall, and constructing a new 363 ft.-long (110 m) bridge on 2 piers built using pre-stressed concrete beams. Also included were new water and storm conduits, and 14,000 cu. yd. (10,700 cu m) of soft soil undercuts.

A temporary road was constructed to support traffic “while the muck was removed for the new embankment,” Parker said. Mosser also installed new drainage on Oak Street, a side street to South Illinois Avenue.

A base for the Durafill, built using rock and an MSE wall made of concrete panels, holds back an embankment of dirt and had to be built specifically to stabilize the sanitary sewer drain. This had “nothing to do with building the bridge,” said Parker.

To prepare the base for the Durafill, tall pipes were installed and used for measuring the settlement platforms that are on top of the existing 72-in. (182 cm) sanitary sewer pipe which feeds the waste water treatment plant. Then 16-in. (40 cm) tube pilings were installed to use as piers built over the sewer pipe.

According to Parker, “we’re in the final stages — pouring the bridge deck. To install the bridge beams across the sanitary sewer with our trucks, it had to support 65 tons. We’re now running traffic over it. Oak Street is open to traffic.”

“Durafill EPS geofoam is a lightweight cellular plastic foam used in block or board form for a wide range of geotechnical applications. Durafill is often used in place of natural fill on building or road construction projects where soft soil exists. Its weight-to-strength load bearing characteristics are uniquely effective in reducing the weight burden on underlying soil without sacrificing compressive strength,” according to a company brochure.

“The density of Durafill ranges from 1 to 2 percent of the density of soil and rock, making it a superior, ultra lightweight fill material that significantly reduces the stress on underlying subgrades. The lighter load reduces settlements and increases stability against bearing and slope failures,” according to the brochure.

Richland Engineering Ltd., is the architect for the project.

Mosser, one of the oldest construction companies in Ohio, has been recognized for excellence by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) and has received numerous awards from the Associated General Contractors of Ohio.

Mosser is the only contractor in Ohio to receive both the national “Build America Award” and the “Excellence in Partnering Award.”

For more information, visit

For more information on Durafill, visit CEG

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