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New Interchange Over SR85 in Gila Bend

Thu June 30, 2011 - West Edition
Jennifer Rupp

Crews work to build the roadway embankment for Detour “B,” using a Cat 140 grader and a Cat 815 compactor.
Crews work to build the roadway embankment for Detour “B,” using a Cat 140 grader and a Cat 815 compactor.
Crews work to build the roadway embankment for Detour “B,” using a Cat 140 grader and a Cat 815 compactor. A Cat 740 articulated truck and a Cat 815 compactor work the site near the new retaining walls for the SR 85 alignment.

The State Route 85 safety and enhancement project in Gila Bend, Ariz., consists of demolishing the SR-85 and Business Route 8 (B-8) interchange in front of the ADOT yard, constructing a new elevated intersection at State Route 85 (Pima Street) and Business 8, and constructing a wider bridge over the Union Pacific Railroad. This $13.5 million state and federally- funded project is just over one mile long. The project is scheduled to be completed by late 2012.

The project is headed up by Haydon Building Corp of Phoenix. Haydon is performing earthwork, grading, structural concrete work, bridge work and the construction of six box culverts.

“We’re running on schedule with no delays,” said Scott Jones, Haydon project manager. Jones noted that during the first few months of work, a little over five acres of land was roped off to separate the work zone from an archeological site until all artifacts were collected and mapped. The area is now clear for construction activities.

Logan Simpson Design Inc. of Tempe was contracted to survey the area. Their process included the writing and reviewing of a treatment plan, excavation and recording of surface collections, and a geomorphic analysis of the land. During this “testing phase,” only surface remains were found, which meant that no further analysis of the land was necessary before construction of the road could begin.

Among the findings were ceramics and lithics, which were determined to be from the Hohokam and Patayan traditions. The lithic findings included quartz and rhyolite, commonly used for making expedient tools.

The subcontractors on the project include Combs Construction Company Inc. of Phoenix for asphalt, CMC Rebar of Mesa, and Kimbrell Electric Inc., based in Glendale. Striping will be done by the Phoenix branch of Roadsafe Traffic Systems Inc. and traffic control is being supplied by National Barricade Company of Phoenix.

With SR 85 being a major highway for motorists traveling from Phoenix to Rocky Point and San Diego, construction has been limited to four, 10-hour shifts, Monday through Thursday.

Haydon is using two Cat 140 motorgraders, a Cat 966 loader and a 60-ton Link-Belt rough terrain crane. It rented five Cat 740 articulated trucks and a Cat 815 compactor from Empire Machinery, headquartered in Mesa. It also rented a Cat 385 track hoe from Red Mountain Machinery in Phoenix.

During excavation, 61,000 cu. yds. (46,640 cu m) of material is going from cut areas to fill areas. In addition, 188,000 cu. yds. (143,745 cu m) of earthwork will be imported from a borrowed source adjacent to the worksite, bringing roadway fills to finish grade.

For more information, visit the project Web site at


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