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TxDOT Oversees Lubbock Passage Project

Fri March 08, 2013 - West Edition
Brenda Ruggiero

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is currently overseeing a major project to improve the Quaker/Erskine interchange on northwest Loop 289 in Lubbock. The Loop will be widened from Slide Road to 1 mi. (1.6 km) east of Quaker Avenue, from a four-lane divided facility to a six-lane freeway facility.

In addition, the Loop bridges will be rebuilt to span over Quaker Avenue and Erskine, and the frontage roads also will be rebuilt. Erskine will be extended under the Loop 289 bridge to connect with Texas Tech Parkway.

The contract was awarded last summer to Haydon Building Corp., Phoenix, Ariz., for $2.6 million. Work began on Sept. 24, 2012, and is on schedule for completion in the spring of 2015. Funding is from a combination of both state and local sources. The city of Lubbock is contributing $3.655 million to the project, and the balance is funded with Proposition 12 money from the state of Texas.

Greg Clark serves as Haydon’s project manager. The contract calls for the widening of an existing freeway facility, consisting of grading, flexible base, cement stabilized base, continuously reinforced concrete pavement, asphaltic concrete pavement, drainage structures, and bridge structures, according to Clark.

“The most challenging aspect of the Northwest Passage Project is implementing the separate phases in an efficient manner that will cause the least amount of disruption to the traveling public and provide a safe worksite for all of the contractors involved in the project,” said Will Barnett, Lubbock area engineer for the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT).

“The jobsite is located around several medical centers and a major university, all of which generate a steady volume of traffic. The overpasses, as well as the drainage structures, and at-grade intersections (Quaker and Erskine avenues) will have to be completed in multiple phases within the confines of a limited work zone.”

From a design standpoint, Barnett said that traffic control was a challenge.

“Designers had to phase the at-grade intersection work so traffic would always have at least one lane in each direction,” he said. “They also had to move the main lane traffic to one side, which required temporary retaining walls to be designed.”

Barnett also added that the skew angles for each roadway required the bents and columns for the bridge to have different angles. Each bent rotated slightly from the Erskine skew angle to the Quaker skew angle.

“The bridge is located in a large triangle between Quaker and Erskine,” he said. “TxDOT had to span the area between Erskine and Quaker with one bridge due to the limited amount of room between the roadways. It was more economical to span this area with a bridge instead of filling it with embankment and retaining walls. This created a large open area that we will landscape using a combination of natural vegetation and hard design elements such as block retaining walls.”

In addition, a culvert outfall had substantial erosion.

“Over the years TxDOT maintenance crews have fixed it with concrete blocks and other materials to try to stop the erosion,” Barnett said. “We decided to fix this problem using a gabion mattress. For the rocks in the baskets, we decided to reuse the old concrete from the bridge. Our contractor will reshape the outfall, place wire baskets, and fill them with the concrete rubble generated from project demolition. This recycles materials that would end up in the landfill otherwise.”

Barnett said that the concrete for the continuously reinforced concrete pavement is designed using an Optimized Aggregate Gradation. This method reduces the material cost of the concrete by reducing the overall cement content.

“We are using HPC (high performance concrete) mix designs for bridge components,” Barnett said. “This includes substitution of fly ash and silica fume and incorporation of fillibrated fibers. These methods reduce the use of Portland cement, improve long term durability, and mitigate shrinkage cracking.”

Barnett added that as of the beginning of January, the project had not yet reached the “new construction” phase. So far, contractors had paved detours, made traffic switches, and began demo work. Ultimately, the project will construct over 10 lane mi. (16 km) of roadway and include 85,014 cu. yd. (64,998 cu m) of excavation, 52,314 cu. yd. (39,997 cu m) of embankment, 9,529 tons (8,644 t) of asphaltic concrete pavement, and 36,026 cu. yds. (27,544 cu m) of continuously reinforced concrete pavement.

Major subcontractors for the project include Willis Electric, Abilene, Tex., for overhead electrical, fiber optic for ITS, and roadway signs; Mica, Inc., Ft. Worth, Tex., second tier sub to Willis Electric for large overhead guide signs; Artex Electric, Lubbock, Tex., second tier sub to Willis Electric for underground electrical and electrical foundations; WW Drilling, Houston, Tex., for bridge structure drill shafts; West Texas Paving, Lubbock, for hot mix asphaltic concrete pavement; North Texas Rebar, Ft. Worth, for rod busters (steel tiers); Floyd Trucking, Lubbock; Trucking Barricades Unlimited, Lubbock, for traffic control; and T.H.M., Ft. Worth, for final striping and raised reflective pavement markers.

Major equipment used includes a Caterpillar 330 DL excavator, a Caterpillar 950 loader, a Caterpillar 140H blade, and a Link-Belt RTC-8060 (60 ton [54.4 t]) crane.

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