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Mon May 23, 2022 - Midwest Edition #11
In Wayne County, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is overseeing a reconstruction effort that will better serve area motorists when complete. The $31 million SR 83 major rehabilitation project includes the removal and replacement of all existing full-depth pavement, including subgrade stabilization, underdrains and drainage improvements.
"The existing concrete pavement had deteriorated to the point that it required replacement," said ODOT District 3 area engineer Eric Calvert. "We elected to replace it with asphalt pavement, due to cost and ease of maintenance.
"This section of SR 83 serves the people of Wooster as a north-south route around the central part of town to allow for quick access to U.S. 30. It allows truck traffic and through traffic on SR 83 to do the same."
Structural rehabilitation work includes bridge deck patching, concrete culvert repairs and waterproofing, as well as installing vandal protection fence on the SR 585 bridge over SR 83. Pavement markings will be replaced with recessed wet-reflective markings and raised pavement markings. New guardrail also will be installed.
"The SR 83 bypass road has been in service for 60 years, and it'll be amazing to restore a smooth road that will last another 60 years or longer. We also are testing a long-life asphalt pavement mix on this project that hopefully will last much longer than our typical pavements. This is a research project in cooperation with Ohio University and the ODOT Office of Pavement Engineering."
Construction began in spring 2022 and continues in phases.
"The project has started its summer 2023 work, which will reconstruct SR 83 from just north of SR 585 to the U.S. 30 interchange," said Calvert. "All ramps within these limits will be completely removed and replaced. Pending weather and material delays, the project will restore two lanes of traffic in both directions, prior to winter. The roadway surface course and minor grading may need to be completed in 2024."
Kokosing Construction serves as the general contractor for the design-build project, which is causing some delays for motorists.
"The project is currently closing the temporary cross-over from last season," said Calvert. "Crews are setting single lane closures with barrels to prepare for placing PCB [portable concrete barrier] for the first phase of construction this season.
"Also, crews will be completing temporary pavement repairs to provide a smoother road for traffic until traffic is shifted onto the newly built lanes later in the summer. There will be single lane closures for the season and various duration ramp closures to allow for complete removal and replacement of pavement. Traffic is maintained by barriers or portable concrete barrier wall."
To get traffic shifted into each construction phase, crews had to restore a smoother roadway prior to moving traffic into designated lanes for the construction season. The single lane closures would have been too difficult to maintain without preventative repairs to the existing roadway conditions.
According to Calvert, the importance of performing structural rehabilitation work can't be overstated.
"While we're working on the pavement and roadway, it's efficient and important to perform bridge maintenance, like patching, sealing and waterproofing to extend the life of our structures.
"It's an inexpensive option to utilize the resources and crews already present on a scheduled project. They can address any structural repairs needed without creating and funding two separate projects for the same area."
Regarding drainage repairs, the project will be slip lining one culvert using UV curing. Other culverts are removed and replaced or have minor outlet repairs.
"Overall, we are repairing and improving the current drainage system already in place. Improvements are not altering the current drainage flow in the area, only improving the structures within the system."
There is no major bridge work planned, only minor deck repairs. As for subgrade stabilization, crews are using 4-percent cement at a depth of 12 in. to stabilize the subgrade prior to topping with stone and asphalt. The project will use more than 5,600 tons of cement for stabilization.
Workers also are widening the shoulders on the SR 585 interchange ramps.
"The wider shoulders and increased distance from the edge of pavement to guardrail will increase the sight distance around the loop ramps at the SR 585 interchange," said Calvert. "It's a safety improvement."
In addition, the project changed the SR 83 northbound ramp to Cleveland Street from a two-lane exit to a one-lane exit.
"There was not enough traffic exiting on SR 3 to warrant a two-lane exit ramp, and the old two-lane exit ramp caused confusion for drivers in the past, with the right lane having to exit to SR 3," Calvert explained. "Now that it's a typical interchange where both lanes can stay on SR 83 and the SR 3 exit functions like a typical interchange, that configuration is more familiar to drivers."
Calvert noted that the roadway curvature on SR 83 northbound, south of the SR 3 interchange, is being slightly altered.
"The curvature is not being modified much, but the roadway alignment on SR 83 northbound was shifted to the left slightly to improve sight distance and move SR 83 further away from Little Apple Creek, which will better protect the roadway from any potential erosion from the creek."
As for unexpected issues, the global cement shortage added about a month to the project completion date.
"The project revised the schedule with the goal of restoring two lanes of traffic prior to winter 2023, and they were successful in reaching that goal."
The biggest challenges for crews involve lengthy work zones (about 4 mi. this season), with limited access to transport materials and equipment. The project is scheduled for long hours, multiple shifts and possibly weekend work.
"Weather also is a concern and is unpredictable. It can create a saturated subgrade which a solid roadway cannot be constructed on until the area is dry. All project work is weather-dependent and subject to change, and our project team always takes that into consideration when meeting project milestones and completing work in a timely manner."
Calvert said milestones will include completing every ramp closure within the closure durations and completing pavement each lane in both northbound and southbound directions.
Main equipment at the job site includes graders, dozers, tillers, rollers and pavers. Square feet of stabilized subgrade totals 1,955,898 sq. ft., with 43,296 cu. yds. of asphalt. There are 36,226 cu. yds. of 304 rock, totaling 79,522 cu. yds. of premium roadway material.
Said Calvert, "So far, this project has demonstrated a good partnership and working relationships between the city of Wooster, state of Ohio and Kokosing. We anticipate that continuing for the duration of the project.
"It's rewarding to provide safe and easy movement of people and goods from place to place by improving safety, taking care of what we have, making our system work better and enhancing capacity."
He added, "It's always satisfying to watch the old deteriorating pavement be completely removed and replaced with brand new, quality pavement. Any progress on a project is satisfying, because it's a step further into a safer, more reliable transportation system for the people of Ohio, specifically the people who live and visit Wooster. We take pride in making our system work better." CEG