Segment by segment, Maryland’s Intercounty Connector (ICC) is taking shape. Once complete, it will link existing and proposed development areas between the I-270/I-370 and I-95/US 1 corridors within central and eastern Montgomery County and northwestern Prince George’s County with a state-of-the-art, multi-modal east-west highway that limits access and accommodates the movement of passengers and goods.
The full dollar amount for the entire 18.5-mi. (29.7 km) project is $2.55 billion. There are a total of four separate contracts, with each section being built by a different joint venture team consisting of national and local firms.
The project begins at I-370 in the Gaithersburg area of Montgomery County, Md. Currently, it ends at I-95 in Prince George’s County and is on schedule.
“Soon, the Maryland State Highway Administration will issue a Request for Proposals for the fourth and final section that will be built from I-95 east to Virginia Manor Road, with an option to continue east to U.S. 1,” said Ray Feldman, community outreach coordinator and media relations manager of the ICC project.
The first segment, or Contract A, opened to traffic on Feb. 23, 2011. The next segment, which includes Contracts B and C, is scheduled to open later this year or in early 2012. No dates have yet been set for the final segment, which will include Contracts D and E.
“We would say the major challenges [with this project] can be divided into five major categories,” Feldman said.
The first of those challenges is that the ICC is the first mega design-build project in Maryland highway history. In addition, extensive public involvement efforts are required, and a high level of quality must be maintained throughout all aspects of the project. Finally, the project involves a level of environmental sensitivity and compliance, as well as the coordination of various agencies.
Feldman reported that it is anticipated that the ICC will employ more than 3,600 people in 2011, with nearly 200 contractors and subcontractors on the job.
Contract A was under the direction of Intercounty Constructors, a joint venture of Granite Construction Company, Corman Construction Inc., and G.A. & F.C. Wagman Inc. This first segment of the ICC extends from I-270/I-370 to approximately 600 ft. east of Maryland 97 in Montgomery County.
This portion of the project consisted of approximately 7.2 mi. (11.6 km) of new, controlled access six-lane tolled roadway. There are three interchanges, which include I-370/MD355, I-370/Shady Grove Metro Access Road, and ICC/MD 97.
The contract included mainline, ramps and cross roads pavement, utility relocations, bridges, retaining walls, noise walls, earth berms, drainage facilities, landscaping, signing, signals, lighting, pavement markings, tolling infrastructure, maintenance of traffic, intelligent transportation devices, public relations support and environmental compliance.
This portion of the project involved 56,850 cu. yds. (43,465 cu m) of concrete; 383 steel piles; 35 drilled shafts; 3.58 mi. (5.7 km) of noise barriers; 15 roadway cross culverts with 10 large diameter round or elliptical structures to accommodate deer and small mammals; 2.4 million cu. yds. (1.8 million cu m) of supporting embankment; 54,230 linear ft. (16,529 m) of drainage pipe networks; 610,000 tons (553,383 t) of graded aggregate base (GAB) for mainlines ramps, side roads, and detours; 516,000 tons (468,107 t) of asphalt; 130,000 linear ft. (39,624 m) of ITS conduit and fiber; and 270,000 landscape plantings.
There were six new steel girder bridges, six new pre-stressed concrete girder bridges and one 300-ft. (91.4 m) quadruple concrete arch supported bridge.
Contract B is under the direction of MD200 Constructors, a joint venture of Kiewit Southern Co., G.A. & F.C. Wagman Inc. and Corman Construction Inc. It involves approximately 6.9 mi. (11 km) of the ICC just east of Georgia Avenue (MD 97) to west of Columbia Pike (U.S. 29).
This section reportedly crosses some of the most sensitive environmental areas of the entire project. To assist with environmental compliance and environmental quality control efforts, MD200 Constructors has employed Greenman-Pedersen, Inc., a recognized and respected leader in the environmental community.
As of April 15, the Contract B project was reportedly 73 percent complete, and open to traffic acceptance is expected by late 2011 or early 2012.
Weather has been a major factor with this contract, according to Joy Jensen, contract spokesperson. Overall wet conditions have resulted in a tight construction schedule, and major new construction is being done through existing urban/suburban community areas. In addition, Contract B contains the most environmentally sensitive areas of the project.
Jensen reported that the project’s environmental emphasis has been addressed through a variety of measures, including the use of infiltration trenches or recharge trenches, sand filters, grass swales, and underground storage detention facilities to mitigate thermal impacts to the brown trout fish population. In addition, culverts have been designed and built for fish passage, amphibian passage, and small mammal passage.
More than 500 turtles have been safely relocated outside the project area, and temporary bridges have been built over sensitive streams to accommodate both earth moving equipment and cranes.
Major bridges, which are being built on the Northwest Branch, Good Hope and Point Branch, include 650,000 sq. ft. (60,387 sq m) of deck. Materials include 17 million lbs. (7.7 million kg) of rebar, 344 concrete girders, 12 million lbs. (5.4 million kg) of structural steel, and 80,000 cu. yds. (61,164 cu m) of concrete.
Jensen noted that drilled caissons have been used instead of spread foots, which significantly reduced the environmental impacts to floodplains (an 84-in. [213 cm] diameter hole vs. a 25 by 25 ft. [7.6 by 7.6 m] spread footing with dewatering below the stream spring lines).
“There was a huge redesign in fall 2008 based upon design experience on ICC-Contract A along with other past jobs,” she said. “We performed two in place tests with O-cells for determining strengths of rock sockets to optimize design.”
In addition, Jensen noted that there was a major schedule savings from buying casing up front to reduce drilling risk.
“We saved lots of time on this operation with a tremie (underwater) concrete placement vs. dry hole placement and addressed concerns overall about quality and documentation of actual conditions,” she said. “There was also huge success in field operations getting all casings and rebar cages within one-inch tolerance on horizontal location. We developed a non-contact rebar cage splice during design to eliminate conflicts between caissons and columns.”
Through innovative design, the bridge and roadway footprint were reduced, and as a result, crews were able to save 1.3 acres of wetlands, 1,995 linear ft. of streams, 1.9 acres of ponds, 15 acres of forests, 169 specimen trees and 55 acres of parkland.
Contract C is under the direction of ICC Constructors (IC3), A Joint Venture.
It involves construction on approximately 4 mi. (6.4 km) of the ICC from west of U.S. 29 to east of I-95 and approximately 2 mi. (3.2 km) of Collector-Distributor roadway along I-95, including two complex interchanges at U.S. 29 and I-95. This contract is the second of five that will create the 18.8-mi. (30.2 km) ICC, which will connect the I-270/I-370 corridor in Montgomery County to the I-95/US1 corridor in Prince George’s County.
Principal participants and members of IC3 are: Shirley Contracting Company, LLC; Clark Construction Group LLC; Atkinson Construction Company LLC; Facchina Construction Company Inc.; and Trumbull Corporation. The team’s lead design firm, providing overall project design coordination and management, is Dewberry & Davis, LLC.
Contract C includes the construction of approximately 4 mi. of a new six-lane ICC highway from just west of U.S. 29 (Columbia Pike) to just east of I-95. As part of this contract, improvements will be made to 1.3 mi. (2 km) of U.S.-29 and 1.9 mi. (3 km) of I-95 auxiliary lane and collector-distributor lanes on I-95 between MD 212 (Powder Mill Road) and Van Dusen Road will be constructed. Contract C also includes new interchanges at U.S. 29, Briggs Chaney Road and I-95.
The work will generally consist of mainline, interchange construction, ramps and cross roads pavement, utility relocations, bridges, retaining walls, noise walls, earth berms, drainage facilities, landscaping, signing, signals, lighting, pavement markings, tolling infrastructure, maintenance of traffic, intelligent transportation devices, public relations support and environmental compliance.
More than 15 percent of the ICC’s estimated cost, or $370 million, is dedicated to environmental programs.
“Symbolizing the ICC project’s commitment to the environment are initiatives that go beyond merely meeting requirements to actually correcting certain environmental problems — unrelated to the highway — that otherwise would remain unaddressed,” the project’s Web site stated. “These include 63 environmental stewardship projects that will address environmental stresses caused by past development in the area. Many environmental mitigation and stewardship projects, all of which are located in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties, have been combined into approximately 50 design-bid-build contracts, which have an estimated value of over $97 million.”
In planning the highway, SHA went to great lengths to create a comprehensive set of avoidance, minimization, and mitigation measures to protect the environment. One example is that many of the bridges over parks and streams will be longer than normal to lessen the amount of environmental impact on the areas and to allow greater clearance for wildlife and vegetation. In addition, in many cases, the path of the roadway will be lowered into the ground near existing communities to reduce noise and visual impacts.
Environmental plans include the following:
• Nearly 74,000 linear ft. (22,555 m) of stream restoration in Northwest Branch, Indian Creek and the Paint Branch and Upper Paint Branch watersheds.
• 1,500 linear ft. of fish passage work, which will remove or bridge blockages, thus enabling fish to reach prime upstream spawning areas.
• More than 58 acres (23 ha) of new wetlands at seven major sites. The restoration of wetlands adjacent to Northwest Branch was completed this fall.
• Approximately 4,300 acres (1,740 ha) of water quality and stormwater management improvements, including state-of-the-art stormwater controls and 16 stormwater-management sites, in each of the major watersheds.
• A total of 21 projects, totaling 620 acres (251 ha), aimed at improving water quality, protecting brown trout and other environmental conditions in the Upper Paint Branch watershed.
• A total of 44 bridges and culverts (in addition to the bridges at major stream crossings) to provide safe passage for deer and small mammals.
• More than 700 acres (283 ha) of reforested land to create new forest habitat.
• More than 775 acres (314 ha) of new parkland to mitigate the approximately 88 acres (36 ha) that will be used for the ICC. One park project was completed in late summer 2006: a new soccer field for the Wheaton Boys and Girls Club has replaced a field that was prone to flooding.
• An extensive program of landscaping, retaining walls and sound barriers to make the ICC less noticeable, helping it fit better within the fabric of adjacent communities.
• More than 11 mi. (17.7 km) of bike trails — a centerpiece of the extensive community and cultural resource program, which also includes historic property preservation. CEG
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