A bridge replacement project for the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission is well on its way in Pennsylvania’s Allegheny County.
The overall project involves the replacement of an existing three-span steel girder bridge with a new two-span pre-stressed concrete PA bulb tee bridge over the Pennsylvania Turnpike, the replacement of a dual metal arch culvert with a new dual precast concrete box culvert, and the reconstruction of Thorn Hill Road between Brush Creek Road and State Route 19.
The contract was awarded to Joseph B. Fay Company of Pittsburgh, Pa., under the direction of Keith Moatz, vice president of operations. The full dollar amount is $6,363,407. Notice to proceed was given on Nov. 6, 2014, and project completion is set for Oct. 30, 2015. Detour dates for the area run from March 16, 2015, to Sept. 25, 2015.
“This challenging project requires us to work an aggressive schedule to complete the work before a firm completion date of Sept. 25, 2015,” said Brian Westrom, project manager. “Fay faces road user damages if the road is not opened to traffic by that date. Two structures, a two-span bridge over the Turnpike and a dual precast concrete box culvert under Thorn Hill Road, are in close proximity to each other on the project, requiring a high level of coordination between the work on each, in order for both crews to operate at the same time. Without significant coordination between personnel, access to one of the structures could be cut off. Additionally, weather conditions are always a challenge on box culvert projects.”
Westrom reported that one of the unique and beneficial aspects of the project is that Fay is able to completely detour the heavily traveled road for the construction of the project.
“The majority of the bridge and roadway projects in today’s market are completed in phases, and phased construction adds numerous concerns and scheduling conflicts,” he said. “Another unique aspect is the coordination required with the involvement of different agencies. The project owner is the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, and they are providing the funding and the inspection work. However, while the Commission will retain ownership of the bridge situated over the Turnpike upon completion of the project, the remaining work under this contract will be turned over to Allegheny County. This adds an extra level of approval for the project.”
Project work to date includes the set-up of traffic control devices on the Pennsylvania Turnpike for lane closures and the detour route for Thorn Hill Road. During nighttime lane closures, crews installed temporary underdeck and overhang protection shields on the structure, allowing them to begin bridge demolition operations on the first day of the road’s closure.
Demolition crews removed all of the existing bridge deck and bridge beams on the end spans of the bridge in preparation of Plan X on the night of March 28. Plan X is the implementation of a detour plan, allowing the Pennsylvania Turnpike to be closed between the Cranberry Interchange and the Butler Interchange to safely remove the existing bridge beams that spanned over the Turnpike.
“Fay was successful in removing all nine beams and one pier during the four-hour closure,” said Matt Kravets, project manager. “In the week following the Plan X detour, all substructure removal was completed. Reinforced concrete removal was completed using excavators equipped with hydraulic hammers. All demolition activities associated with the bridge were completed on April 2.”
Kravets noted that in upcoming weeks, demolition crews will continue to remove the substructure of the existing bridge. The pile driving operations and the excavation required to remove existing culvert and build the new culvert will then begin. Operations on the new bridge, new culvert, and roadway will continue throughout this construction season. Another Plan X closure on the Turnpike will be implemented during the summer in order to erect the new concrete bridge beams.
The overall project will include 18,659 cu. yds. (14,266 cu m) of excavation, 1,264 cu. yds. (966 cu m) of concrete, 1,613 cu. yds. (1,233 cu m) of flowable backfill, 155,982 lbs. (70,752 kg) of rebar, 2,972 linear ft. (906 m) of piling, 92 ft. (28 m) of precast dual box culvert, 170 ft. (52 m) of precast concrete beams, and 5,837 tons (5,295 t) of asphalt.
Major DBE subcontractors on the project include Beth’s Barricades, On Call Flagging Inc., Sanders Construction Co. Inc., and Steel Core Construction Inc.
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