Ohio Drivers Get a Little Elbow Room From I-70 Project

Wed September 01, 2004 - Midwest Edition
Brenda Ruggiero

Crews in Madison County, OH, are currently hard at work on a major widening and reconstruction project involving Interstate 70.

The 14-mi. (22.5 km) project stretches from U.S. 42 in Madison County to SR 54 near Springfield in Clark County, and will cost $55 million. The project is under the direction of the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT).

The contract calls for resurfacing, using the old pavement as a foundation; adding a third lane in each direction; deck repair; replacement or widening of 13 bridges; and repairing and repaving eight ramps along the project corridor.

Work began in July on the eastbound lanes, and this stage will continue through next summer. Crews will maintain two lanes of traffic at all times.

Once the eastbound work has been completed, work will begin on the westbound lanes. The entire project is scheduled for completion by September 30, 2006.

The prime contractor for the project is Kokosing Construction Company Inc., with Mike Koelbl serving as the project superintendent. At peak employment, 80 to 100 people will be assigned to the job.

According to ODOT, this particular section of I-70 was built in the late 1960s. The years have brought deteriorating pavement conditions, and projected traffic volumes point to a need for additional lanes.

“I-70 is one of our state’s most heavily traveled interstates,” explained Jack R. Marchbanks, ODOT District 6 deputy director. “It is imperative that these repairs are made. However, we recognize the need to reduce congestion and ease driver stress during major projects such as this whenever possible.”

At this stage, crews are working during the nighttime hours to avoid heavy traffic times.

Bruce R. Ward, District Executive Officer for ODOT, noted that one of the challenges with this job is that construction needs to be done while maintaining two lanes of traffic in each direction.

“Two lanes of eastbound traffic have been shifted into the right lane and shoulder from SR 54 in Clark County to SR 56 in Madison County,” Ward said.

“Also, various single lane closures are taking place Sundays through Thursdays during the nighttime hours of 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. to prepare the section from SR 56 to U.S. 42 to maintain two lanes of traffic while the reconstruction and widening are under way. This phase will continue through late August or early September,” he added.

Ward explained that project bidding included the ability for the contractor to do an alternate proposal for asphalt or concrete rather than ODOT specifying one or the other in the scope of the project.

Kokosing’s bid included asphalt. The contractor was also allowed to design a maintenance-of-traffic plan with ODOT approval rather than it being indicated in the plans.

The project will involve 218,000 cu. yds. (166,673 cu m) of sub-soil removal, 298,000 cu. yds. (227,837 cu m) of soil used for embankment and 391,000 cu. yds. (298,941 cu m) of asphalt for reconstruction of the existing two lanes and construction of the new third lane.

Major subcontractors include The Barbour Company in Lebanon, OH, for raised pavement markers; M.H. Corbin Inc. in Plain City, OH, for changeable message signs; A & A Safety Inc. in Amelia, OH, for maintenance of traffic; Armstrong Steel Erectors in Newark, OH, for reinforcing steel; Eaton Construction Co. in Circleville, OH, for pavement sawing; American Native Construction & Supply Co. Inc. in Parma, OH, for sealing of concrete surfaces/structural steel painting; Forest Construction Company in Scottdale, PA, for seeding and mulching; Lake Erie Construction Company in Norwalk, OH, for guardrail/fencing; M.P. Dory Company in Columbus, OH, for signage/supports; W.G. Fairfield Co. in Canton, OH, for lighting; Concrete Cutting & Breaking Inc. in Columbus for structure removal; Capitol Tunneling Inc. in Columbus for conduit boring; Parks Drilling Company in Dublin, OH, for the noise barrier; Safety Grooving & Grinding in Napoleon, OH, for grooving concrete surfaces; Coady Construction Inc. in Columbus, for rumble strips; and Kneisel Construction Inc. in Cincinnati, OH, for pavement marking.

Major equipment used on the job includes a Midland aggregate spreader, a John Deere backhoe, a Hybek static asphalt roller, a Kenworth water truck, a Blaw-Knox asphalt paver spreader box, a BE 228 trackhoe, a Hybek vibrating asphalt roller, a Komatsu loader and a Roscoe power road broom.

Ward explained that larger earthmoving equipment will be used as the project progresses into reconstruction and lane addition. Much of the heavy roadwork is scheduled for next construction season.