After more than 10 months of mostly nighttime work, the rehabilitation of a heavily traveled 12.9-mi. (20.7 km) section of Interstate 40 around Raleigh is coming to a close in the coming days.
Drivers on the Capital Beltline from Exit 289 (Wade Avenue) to Exit 301 (the I-40/I-440 split) will soon find that all lanes of the freeway will be free of traffic barrels and lane closures once again.
Work began last October on the $8.5 million project to replace 11 damaged concrete slabs, all more than 20 years old, as well as to put down a new layer of concrete preservative and an asphalt top layer, according to Mark Luther, the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s assistant engineer on the project.
NCDOT awarded the contract for the project to S.T. Wooten Corp. of Wilson, N.C., one of the Southeast’s leading paving and grading firms.
During the course of the project, Wooten worked to lay down a new layer of asphalt on a portion of the roadway and installed new asphalt rumble strips on the shoulders. On the concrete portions of the road, another firm, Applied Polymerics of Mount Airy, N.C., was contracted to seal all cracks greater than a quarter-inch width using Fibercrete, a high strength concrete reinforced with special fibers.
With that done, another company, E.J. Breneman of West Lawn, Pa., was brought in specifically to put down Novachip, an ultra-thin 2- to 4-in. (5 to 10 cm) bonded fiber reinforced concrete overlay. Breneman applied the ultra-thin using a Midland Nova paver.
“That piece of equipment has a spray bar and just prior to the asphalt being spread behind the paver it sprays a polymer modified emulsified asphalt,” Luther explained. “That seals off the existing concrete and makes it impermeable to any water, so once the water moves down through the ultra-thin, it slides off the concrete and drains off the shoulder.”
Luther added that two steel-wheeled Dynapac rollers were also used to spread flat the ultra-thin.
Wooten used a Link-Belt crane in its slab replacement. For the asphalt shoulder strengthening, the firm used a BG 730 widener, a Marini milling machine to remove the old asphalt shoulders and Hypac C760C and Cat C434D rollers. Asphalt paving on the project was done using a Cat AP-1055 paver, Roadtec RX700 and CMI PR500C milling machines and a Volvo DD118HF roller.
At the project’s peak, more than 30 workers were on site, said Reade Dawson, the project manager for Wooten. He characterized the work as generally problem free, with the only challenge being that more cracks were found in the existing concrete than his firm and the DOT originally thought. That meant that more time is being spent on applying the Fibercrete, which he said is taking them right up to the deadline.
Luther agreed and said that even though the projected completion date is Aug. 31, work might not actually be finished until a week or so later.
He, too, thought the project went smoothly and noted that no weather delays slowed the work. Luther said the project was started a little later than originally scheduled in order to avoid the high traffic of last fall’s North Carolina State Fair.
“We had restrictions set up in the contract where there were various holidays that we could not work on,” he said. “If we were out there and the traffic was quite heavy, we could tell Wooten that they needed to get out of the road. In addition, we checked the schedules at Carter-Finley Stadium and at the RBC Center to see what events they had going on and advised the contractor what nights it was best not to work.”
Lane closures occurred each night from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. Monday through Sunday. While those lane closures were in effect, at least one lane in each direction remained open at all times.
Still, even with all lanes open during the day, heavy traffic and worker safety remained a concern, Dawson said. To counter that, Stay Alert Safety Services, of Kernersville, N.C., was brought in to handle the lane closures.
“Due to the extensive traffic on this project, we felt that it was better to have a subcontractor that was totally responsible for traffic control,” Dawson explained. “They set up the traffic barrels and have done an outstanding job managing the traffic flow.” EG