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Route 150 Benner Pike Project Wraps up Early

Fri November 16, 2007 - Northeast Edition
Jennifer Rupp

Glenn O. Hawbaker Inc. headed up a two-year road-widening project in State College, Pa., and finished ahead of schedule.

The Benner Pike (Route 150) /Shiloh Road expansion project in Centre County was designed to relieve traffic congestion in the corridor between the Nittany Mall Shopping Center and Barnes & Noble Booksellers.

The job included roadway widening, drainage work, a turning lane at Rishel Hill Road, and paving. Additionally, new and updated signals were installed along Route 150 and at the 150/Shiloh Road intersection near the Nittany Mall. Flaggers were in place to control traffic at driveway and traffic signal locations within the work zone.

The $5.9 million project began in July 2006. Despite the planned winter recess from December 2006 to March 2007, the project was completed mid-September, three and a half months ahead of schedule.

“We worked very aggressively during the spring [of this year], putting in 50 to 60 hours per week,” said Dave Brown, Glen O. Hawbaker field supervisor. “We had an average of 20 workers on the job, with up to 40 workers during the paving portions. Everything is complete at this time except the signals and sign work.” Hawbaker worked on excavation, utilities, drainage and paving.

“We used Gradalls and small Cat backhoes for most of the work,” said Brown. “We also used an NPK hoe ram and a Cat 330 track hoe for excavation, and a Cat PM-565 milling machine for widening.”

Workers moved out approximately 19,600 cu. yds. (15,000 cu m) of earth, most of which was recycled by Hawbaker for the Bellefonte end embankment. By re-engineering PennDOT’s original plans and flattening the slopes to a 3-to-1 ratio, Hawbaker saved PennDOT approximately $215,000.

“PennDOT would have needed excavation, guide rails and traffic control for that section, which now meets RC standards,” said Denny Eisenhauer, project manager of PennDOT.

Subcontractor Tel-Power Inc. of Hollidaysburg, Pa., is currently 80 percent complete with the signal work. Strongstown B&K Enterprises of Strongstown, Pa., subcontracted for sign work, also is nearly finished with its portion of the project.

In 2006, Benner Pike from Shiloh Road to Rockview State Prison was widened from two to three lanes, with the addition of a center turning lane. All of the work on the 2-mi. (3.2 km) stretch including utilities, drainage and guide rails were completed, with the exception of the wearing course.

The 2007 portion of the project focused on the Y at the Nittany Mall area. The pattern was reconfigured so that motorists heading eastbound could easily change lanes for either Bellefonte or Pleasant Gap when they reached the Y. Benner Pike was widened to five lanes in the mall corridor, which extended the current five-lane highway from State College to Shiloh Road.

Brown said the only challenge they experienced on the job was caused by inaccurate utility maps. “The existing gas lines were not located correctly on the plans. They were directly in the path of the trenches that we were digging.”

Hawbaker and PennDOT rectified the error and work continued without much of a delay. CEG

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