Motorists at one of Georgia’s busiest intersections will enjoy welcome relief from congestion when Rogers Bridge Company and its parent company, Shepherd Construction Company, complete a $19.2-million bridge-building project on Paces Ferry Road in October 2002.
“The new bridge will make a huge difference to motorists on that side of Atlanta,” said Cecil Pearce, president of Rogers Bridge Company. “The old bridge had two through lanes in each direction and one turn lane. When completed, the new bridge will have six through lanes, three left turn lanes on the westbound side, and two left turn lanes on the east bound side. That will greatly increase the capacity that the bridge can handle.”
The new bridge also will have 6-ft. (1.8 m) wide sidewalks on each side. When completed, the new structure will measure 156 ft. (47.5 m) wide and 602 ft. (183 m) long.
Work on the project began early in 2001, when Shepherd Construction began grading for roadway modifications and moving earth adjacent to the existing bridge so that Rogers Bridge Company would have room to bring in the heavy equipment. The companies scheduled the bridge work in three stages.
The first stage encompassed the construction of a new bridge adjacent to the existing span, moving utilities that ran beneath the old bridge to the new bridge, and shifting traffic onto the new structure. The second stage encompassed the demolition of the old bridge. The third and final stage involved building another new span to replace the old bridge and provide the remaining traffic lanes called for in the plans.
“Our first work of any significance started in the latter part of April 2001,” Pearce said. “The first thing we did was provide shoring to allow Shepherd to excavate back to their reinforced earth wall.”
McKinney Drilling, of Atlanta, then moved in to drill pilot holes for the first abutment pilings. Each of the abutments required 27 pilings.
When McKinney Drilling completed this work, Shepherd Construction poured the first footing for the reinforced earth wall. As that went on, the Rogers Bridge team began work on the intermediate bents, which were built on spread footings. Rogers continued working there until Shepherd completed the wall.
“We returned and poured the caps on the abutments,” Pearce said. “At the same time, Shepherd tore out the existing median barrier wall in the center of I-285 and set a new barrier wall, so we could move into the bent three area in the median of I-285 to do the stage one of bent three.”
The next phase of the project involved setting prestress beams that would support the deck of the first new bridge. Standard Concrete Products, of Austell, GA, supplied the prestress beams, which were delivered by Starrette Specialized Trucking, of Augusta.
“The prestress beams utilized in this project are some of the longest that have ever been erected in Georgia,” Pearce said. “Each beam weighed in excess of 64 tons.”
To minimize the impact on traffic, Rogers Bridge Company had to set the beams over I-285 at night during the weekend. Project Superintendent Don Rogers and his crew relied primarily on a Manitowoc 222 and a Link-Belt LS 238H to hoist the beams into position. Rogers Bridge Company obtained its Manitowoc crane from Southeastern Crane and its Link-Belt crane from Owsley Equipment Company.
Rogers Bridge Company utilized several additional Link-Belt cranes to assist in other aspects of the bridge-building process. These included an HTC 1050, an HC-138, and three LS-138H models. Rogers Bridge Company also used equipment such as two Caterpillar 931B track loaders, two Kobelco SK200 excavators, a Caterpillar D3 bulldozer, a Dresser TD-8H bulldozer, and Grove manlifts. The company purchases its Caterpillar equipment from Yancey Brothers in Atlanta, and obtains its Kobelco machinery from Burch-Lowe Inc.
When workers finally got all of the beams positioned for the first new bridge, Rogers Bridge Company began its normal superstructure process, installing protective platforms and overhanging metal decking. Crews then poured the new bridge decks using Bidwell screeds. In all, the superstructure of the first new bridge required 3,655 cu. yds. (2,794 cu m) of concrete, which was supplied by Blue Circle.
As work on the bridge deck progressed, Shepherd worked on paving new lanes leading to the first new bridge, in preparation to shift traffic onto the structure. As soon as Rogers Bridge Company completed the deck, utility companies also moved in to relocate lines that ran beneath the old bridge.
“The utilities that ran under the old bridge included two banks of 12 telephone conduits, a bank of 12 Georgia Power conduits, a gas main, and a 400 millimeter water line,” Pearce said.
A small army of subcontractors assisted in relocating these utilities. Each of these companies brought in an array of equipment to complete their work. For example, Jan R. Smith of Norcross had the responsibility of relocating water lines in the construction area. The equipment fleet the company brought to the table included two Case 9030 excavators, a John Deere 544GTC loader and a Kobelco excavator.
After relocating the utilities and shifting traffic onto the new bridge, Rogers Bridge Company and Shepherd Construction called on Penhall Company to tackle the demolition of the old bridge. The Penhall team began by sawing the deck into segments using 65-hp (48 kW) flat saws. The company then pulled up deck sections and removed girders using a 240-ton (218 t) Grove hydraulic crane.
The Penhall crew also utilized a variety of other machinery to help break up the concrete structure and remove demolition debris. This equipment included two Caterpillar 245 excavators, a Caterpillar 325 excavator, a Caterpillar IT38 loader, and a Caterpillar 416 high rim.
“The Penhall Company took down the entire bridge over a period of two weekends,” Pearce said. “That was an impressive feat.”
“The demolition work went pretty smoothly,” said Kevin Sheridan, project manager of the Penhall Company. “On Friday and Saturday night, we diverted traffic over the ramps and worked from midnight until 8 a.m. the following morning.”
After demolishing the original bridge, Shepherd Construction and Rogers Bridge Company repeated the process they had utilized in building the first new bridge to erect the second new span. By the time they finished, Rogers Bridge Company had set 84 of the massive prestress beams.
As the new bridges took shape, Shepherd Construction also worked on widening and relocating the on-ramps and off-ramps that connect Paces Ferry Road with I-285. During that portion of the project, workers moved more than 134,000 cu. yds. (102,450 cu m) of earth and put down more than 57,000 megagrams of asphalt.
“We shifted the ramps away from the traffic lanes on I-285,” said Don Mayo, project manager of Shepherd Construction Company. “One of the biggest challenges during that part of the project was traffic control. As we did the work, we still had the same number of vehicles coming up the ramp each day. So we had one crew assigned exclusively to traffic control on the project.”
Shepherd Construction and Rogers Bridge Company also utilized the services of a broad range of subcontractors and suppliers while completing the bridge and ramp work. In addition to Jan R. Smith, the subcontractors on the job included Blye, Blye & Pittman, which did the majority of the flat concrete work and slope paving. J. Martin & Sons served as the grassing contractor on the project, planting seed and mulching to help prevent erosion. Key Curb installed more than 12,500 linear ft. (3,810 m) of curb and gutter and 4,600 sq. yds. (3,846 sq m) of sidewalk for the project. MC Inc. erected the noise wall between the new ramps and neighboring apartments. Blount Sanford built concrete barrier walls. Brooks-Berry & Haney installed traffic signals at the reconstructed intersections. Martin Robbins erected fences and guard rails, and Mastec did all the signs.
Rogers Bridge and Shepherd Construction also worked with an impressive array of suppliers. In addition to Blue Circle and Standard Concrete Products, Anatek furnished and installed the major superstructure reinforcing steel and the metal decking. Skyline Steel supplied the steel H-piles. Hughes Supply provided miscellaneous supplies, utility hangars and PVC deck drain.
Pearce also complimented local law enforcement officers for their assistance in controlling the heavy volume of traffic through the Paces Ferry Road intersection and on I-285. In addition, he said that Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) personnel also contributed greatly to the success of the project.
“Mark Weatherby, the GDOT area engineer for the Marietta office, and Donzell Mitchell, the GDOT project manager, had a great deal to do with the success and smoothness of the operation,” Pearce said. “Donzell held regular meetings with the contractors, subcontractors and utilities to identify any conflicts that might occur and resolve them before they became a problem.
“Donzell held a meeting each week early in the project and scaled back to a meeting every two weeks as the work progressed,” he added. “James Harry also did an excellent job of coordinating a lot of the utility work and minimizing conflicts, which benefited everyone.”
According to Pearce, “If the weather holds and work continues to progress as it has, we should easily be able to finish the work by the target completion date of Oct. 31, 2002.”
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