Shoppers of the Prime Outlets in Grove City, Pa., and area residents will soon enjoy more traffic lanes and easier access to their favorite stores.
The Route 208 at I-79 project was designed to accomplish three primary purposes: realignment of the intersection of Route 258/Prime Outlet Mall Drive to improve traffic flow and decrease congestion on Route 208 and I-79; widening of Route 208 to help accommodate future development; and improvement of usage characteristics of the I-79 ramps.
The $17.9 million project began in November 2005 and is scheduled to be completed in September of this year.
The project consists of widening and reconstruction of approximately 1.25 mi. (2 km) of Route 208, starting just west of the Grove City Airport entrance and ending east of Route 258 (Old Butler Pike).
The completed project will have three lanes (including a center turning lane) from Veterans Road, widening out to six lanes in front of the Prime Outlets Mall and across the bridge over I-79; five lanes from Country Fair to Boot Box, then four lanes narrowing down to two lanes on the east side of the intersection with Old Butler Pike/Route 258.
Swank Associated Companies Inc. is the prime contractor responsible for earthwork, drainage, concrete on the roadways, replacement of the concrete bridge and retaining wall. The existing three-lane bridge over I-79 is being replaced with a new six-lane bridge, which will be built in two sections in order to maintain traffic during the construction.
The I-79 on and off ramps will be lengthened and widened to reduce congestion. Garrett Drive will be reconstructed from the Kwik Fill Station to Sheetz and a new concrete retaining wall will be constructed in front of the Kwik Fill. McKinney Drilling Company of Delmont, Pa., was subcontracted to drill the caissons for the retaining wall and bridge.
“The rainy summer put the project behind about a week,” said Pennsylvania Department of Transportation [PennDOT] Project Engineer Reggie Jannetti. “Other than that, we’re on schedule and traffic flowed smoothly through the holiday shopping season at the Outlets.”
The Outlets Drive connection to Route 208 will be realigned across from relocated Garrett Drive. The Connector Road, from Route 208 to Sheetz, also will be improved. New traffic signals will be installed at all existing signal locations by Bruce-Merrilees Electric Company of New Castle, Pa.
The construction team also includes Vik-Kel Corporation of Ruffsdale, Pa., contracted to do the pipe cleaning; IA Construction Company of Zelienople, Pa., in charge of asphalt paving; Plum Contracting Inc. of Plum, Pa., for sewer lines and water; and Alvarez Inc. of Finleyville, Pa., is setting the beams for the bridge.
To start the project, in accordance with the Federal Highway Administration’s NEPA (National Environmental Protection Act) regulations, PennDOT authorized a team of consultants to conduct preliminary engineering and environmental assessment (EA) activities to determine how best to resolve these identified problems and to accommodate additional growth-related traffic.
In addition, several focus group meetings were held with Springfield and Pine Township officials and with owners of businesses located along Route 208 in the vicinity of the I-79 interchange. One-on-one interviews were held periodically with local representatives to discuss new developments being considered for the project area.
Erosion and sediment pollution control measures were implemented to significantly reduce soil erosion and the movement of eroded soil during construction. These measures included the use of silt barrier fences, gravel filters, rock construction entrances, sediment filter bags, temporary cofferdams, seeding, hay and straw mulch, erosion control mats and erosion control mulch blankets.
To date, 50,000 cu. yds. (38,227 cu m) of earth have been moved and another 40,000 cu. yds. (30,582 cu m) will follow by the completion of the project.
“We were able to use a portion of that dirt,” said Jannetti, “and also hauled in 16,000 cubic yards of dirt and rock mixture to build a fill on the south side of Route 208.”
Eric Griffith of IA Construction Company estimated that 67,000 tons (60,782 t) of asphalt will be used during paving.
“We’ve poured about 8,500 cubic yards of concrete thus far for the retaining wall and bridge,” said Andrew Swank of Swank Associated Companies. “We’ve also used 25,000 tons of 2A, 30,000 tons of number 1 stone and 16,000 cubic yards of common borrow excavation.”
Swank used its own Caterpillar D250s for hauling dirt; Komatsu PC 300 excavators for loading dirt; a Bidwell 5000 and 3600 for paving; and a Komatsu grader, Cat D6 dozer and a Komatsu EX65 for earthwork/gradework.
In addition, Swank rented a Terex TA30 from Anderson Equipment of Bridgeville, Pa., for hauling dirt; a crusher from Murrysville Machinery of Irwin, Pa., for the reinforced slope wall; and 150-ton and 300-ton (136 and 272 t) cranes from All Crane Rental of West Elizabeth, Pa., for setting beams.
According to PennDOT, approximately 30 to 40 workers were on site throughout the summer months working one shift 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. During the winter months there are approximately six to 12 crew members on the job.
The retaining wall, southern bridge and concrete box culvert were completed in 2006. The northern bridge will wrap up the project in September of this year.
For more information, visit www.208at79.info. CEG