Two Aging Bridges Removed, Replaced in Frederick County

Fri June 12, 2009 - Northeast Edition
Brenda Ruggiero

Two aging bridges in Frederick County, Md. are currently undergoing a replacement project led by the Maryland State Highway Administration (MSHA).

The bridges involve I-270 (Eisenhower Memorial Highway) over Doctor Perry Road, and carry more than 82,000 motorists per day. They will be replaced by a single bridge that will accommodate the future widening of I-270.

The contract was awarded to Francis O. Day Inc., Rockville, under the direction of Kip Gwenn. The replacement will cost $8,048,000, according to Geoffrey McCammon of MDSHA. He noted that $5,846,000 will come from federal aid, and the remaining $2,202,000 will come from the state transportation trust fund.

Work began on Dec. 8, 2008, and is anticipated to be complete by the fall of 2009, if weather permits. Initially, the project was slightly behind schedule because of the holidays and inclement weather, but currently it is back on track.

As part of the bridge project, Doctor Perry Road also will be lowered to provide increased clearance for the I-270 bridge.

According to Gwenn, the overall job is divided into four phases. The first phase involved reconstructing the existing shoulders to enable them to carry the traffic, which was then shifted to the outsides, both northbound and southbound.

Phase two involves the construction of a temporary roadway in the median and a temporary roadway. Phase three will complete the outsides of the bridge and the reconstruction of Doctor Perry Road, and Phase four will consist of constructing a small environmental dry swale and removing the temporary roadway.

The project’s location has created a challenge for contractors.

“The bridges are located along I-270, one of the most heavily traveled roads in the area,” McCammon said. “It is a main commuter route to Washington, D.C., and northern Virginia, and construction of this project cannot impact traffic along I-270.”

Gwenn also noted that the route is a major artery, but said that besides traffic, there is not a lot of room for workers, which total 40 to 50 people at peak times.

“It’s a tightly constricted area,” Gwenn said. “We can’t go off the limits of the project, and there’s not much space. You have to keep your elbows against yourself when you’re working — that’s the general feeling. Since there are lane closures, there’s also a time limit, so it’s a tough one. This is a tough job.”

A total of approximately 40,000 cu. yds. (30,582 cu m) of dirt will be moved during the project, according to Gwenn. Approximately 4,000 cu. yds. (3,058 cu m) will be reused, and the rest will be hauled offsite to an approved site as permitted under an erosion sediment permit.

The equipment list for the project includes Volvo 330 excavators, Caterpillar 963 and 950 loaders, a 60-ton (54 t) American crane for the piles, and a Grove 120-ton (109 t) all-terrain hydraulic crane to set the structural steel. The crew also is using tandem dump trucks, asphalt pavers and track hoes.

Major subcontractors include DRM Associates Inc., Manchester, for sheer studs; County Communications Corp., Mayo, for electrical work; Phoenix Concrete Cutting Inc., College Park, for saw cutting; Genesis Steel Service, Baltimore, for erecting structural steel; Collinson Inc., Glenmoore, Pa., for guardrail and permanent signs; Chesapeake Watershed Solutions LLC, Ashton, for E & S control; Paul J. Rach Inc., Baltimore, for the concrete barrier curb walk apron; CHS Traffic Control Services, Frederick, for MOT; Long Fence Company Inc., Ijamsville, for fencing; Denison Landscaping Inc., Fort Washington, for landscaping/topsoil; and Olympus Painting Contractors Inc., Tarpon Springs, Fla., for painting structural steel.

Francis O. Day Inc. has been in business for more than 60 years and specializes in asphalt, although the company does other types of construction jobs as well. Notable projects include the Arundel Mills Mall, numerous bridges on I-270, widening and improvements on Route 560, improvements for the FDA at White Oak, and the Milestone Project, which was a large private job for South Charles Realty.

Gwenn noted that although the economy has been hit and miss, the company is “pretty busy right now. As for next year, we don’t know. The forecast is not great, but you do what you have to do to adjust. We’re very flexible, and have been doing some different things. You do what you have to do.” CEG

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