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UDOT Nears Completion of $685M Legacy Parkway

Tue June 10, 2008 - West Edition
Brenda Ruggiero

The construction of a 14-mi. (22.5 km) highway connecting Salt Lake City, Utah, with its suburbs on the northern end is nearing completion. In fact, some segments are currently ahead of schedule as the road known as the Legacy Parkway is prepared for a late September or early October opening. The project was reportedly 80 percent complete at press time.

Like most road projects, the Legacy Parkway was born out of a need. According to the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT), the state’s population is the fifth-fastest growing in the country.

“Legacy Parkway will help address these needs by reducing congestion on I-15 by an estimated 30 percent during rush hour,” according to UDOT. “The alternative route through northern Utah will benefit commuters, Utah residents, and visitors to the state, ultimately improving the overall quality of life.”

The $685 million parkway was designed as a four-lane highway to provide an alternate roadway between Salt Lake City and Kaysville in northern Utah. The state-funded project is reportedly the first of its kind in the United States, and includes several unique elements.

Designers sought to blur the boundary between the Parkway and the community. For example, it will include gateways to introduce motorists to the Parkway and the surrounding communities. In addition, it was designed as a meandering roadway instead of a fixed, straight freeway design. Unique landscaping is part of the project, and an unusual structural design features bridge monuments and barriers. Multi-use and equestrian trials also will parallel the roadway.

Project History

The history of this project can be traced back to the mid-1960s, when I-15 was completed. Leaders and planners in Davis County understood that there was a need for an alternative highway route. At the time, it was referred to as the “West Davis Highway.” However, in the late 1990s, it became known as the Legacy Parkway, and was the first element of an overall concept known as the Legacy Highway, extending from Brigham City to Nephi.

The Legacy Parkway Project also includes a unique mitigation project, the Legacy Nature Preserve. This involves 2,200 acres of land important to wildlife that have been purchased by UDOT to set aside and preserve forever. It is located on the southeastern shore of the Great Salt Lake. It helps prevent encroachment of future development into this portion of the Great Salt Lake ecosystem.

Overcoming Roadblocks

Work on the project began in January 2001. However, because of the threat of impending litigation, UDOT and its contractor Fluor Ames Kraemer (FAK), agreed to limit work to the northern part of the project until Aug. 1, 2001. Work moved forward more aggressively in August, but was stopped by an injunction from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver on Nov. 16, 2001. After several more roadblocks, an agreement was reached on Sept. 21, 2005. It settled the Legacy Parkway case outside of court, and was signed by Governor Jon M. Huntsman Jr., UDOT, the Sierra Club, and Utahns for Better Transportation.

Some provisions of the agreement include: an additional 125 acres of nature preserve near 500 South for future mitigation, a 55 mph speed limit, trucks with five or more axles or weighing more than 80,000 lbs. are prohibited except during emergencies. Quiet pavement also was required to reduce traffic noise.

Scope of the Project

Legacy Parkway will provide 56 new lane mi. (90 km), or 14 mi. with two lanes in each direction. More than 20,000 vehicles are expected to travel the parkway daily.

The road will include four interchanges. Locations are at I-215/2100 N. in North Salt Lake, 500 South in Woods Cross, Parrish Lane in Centerville, and at the U.S. 89/I-15 junction at Park Lane in Farmington.

A total of 16 new bridges are being constructed along the corridor, and two additional bridges are being extended to accommodate the parkway. They are located at State Street and Glovers Lane in Farmington. A total of 10 pedestrian trail bridges also will separate the trail system from traffic on the parkway.

The project is being completed concurrently in three segments by three separate contractors, and the total number of full-time workers totals approximately 600. As of March 2008, contractors had spent approximately 709,300 man hours on the project.

At its completion, more than 1,000 people, including designers, engineers, and construction workers, will have contributed to the project.

In March, it was reported that nearly 4.1 million tons (3.7 million t) of fill material had been used in the construction.

“That’s enough for almost 102,000 trucks, which, if lined next to each other would cover approximately 2,050 miles — equal to the distance between Salt Lake City and Washington, D.C.,” said Angela Linford, the project’s public information officer for UDOT.

The project had involved 75,000 cu. yd. (57,300 cu m) of concrete as of March, and more than 23.8 million lbs. (10.7 million kg) of steel had been used in the parkway’s structures, such as bridges. Nearly 500 mi. (800 km) of wick drains also had been installed, and 51 mi. (82 km) of steel piles were used in structures.

According to Nile Easton, UDOT’s senior public information officer, the project has been challenging to complete in the given time frame.

“There were a lot of issues with soil and stability problems since it’s a very wet area,” he said. “But we’ve worked with the contractors to come up with creative solutions.”

Segment 1

Segment 1 runs from the south interchange at I-215 to just north of 500 South in Woods Cross, and is being handled by A & W Highway Contractors, a consortium that includes Ames Construction Inc. and Wadsworth Bros. Construction. Currently, contractors are casting the retaining walls in place and installing signs, guard rail, and fencing.

This segment involves more than 6 mi. (9.6 km) of concrete and asphalt roadway work, including sign structures and MSE walls. There are seven major traffic bridges, one pedestrian bridge over the parkway, two canal structures, three bridges over pedestrian trails, one pedestrian bridge over the canal, and various multi-use pedestrian trails. In addition, the segment includes ATMS work, landscaping and nature preserve work.

According to Jim Schaefer, project manager with Ames Construction, one challenge with this segment has been scheduling constraints for wildlife nesting periods through major areas of the project.

Major subcontractors include Wadsworth Brothers Construction Company, Staker Paving, Unlimited Steel, Hidden Peak Electric, Intermountain Plantings, Singleton Fence and Harper Concrete.

The project used Cat D6 and D8 dozers, Cat 14 motorgraders, Cat 330, 345, and 303 backhoes, and Cat 980, 966, IT-62, and IT-38 loaders. Cranes included a Grove RT750 and Kobelco 250 and 160.

Segment 2

Segment 2 involves the section just north of 500 South in Woods Cross to just south of Glover Lane in Farmington. The contract was awarded to Ames Construction Inc., Currently, contractors are installing borrow, granular borrow, and untreated base course. Crews also are working on a tunnel just south of Parrish Lane. Other work includes installing stone veneer, working on the major monuments, and working on the abutments at the 1250 West Bridge.

This segment includes 5.6 mi. (9 km) of new highway and trail system, two vehicular bridges, two pedestrian bridges, five timber boardwalks, two pedestrian tunnels, two areas of Geofoam fill, and the re-alignment of the DS & B concrete canal.

Tim Berget, Segment 2 project manager for Ames Construction Inc., noted that one of the challenges with his job has been the stabilization of the north third of the project due to the existing subgrade conditions. It has proved difficult to construct a major parkway through a wetland, and has taken an effort to minimize the impact to the surrounding wildlife and environment, according to Berget.

This section of the project has involved 424,817 tons (38,500 t) of surcharge, and 214,700 cu. yd. (164,100 cu m) of surcharge has been removed. Berm embankment included 206,500 cu. yd. (157,900 cu m), and there was 56,900 ft. (17,300 m) of silt fence.

Major subcontractors include Wadsworth Brothers, Staker Paving & Aggregates, Scott Anderson Trucking, Hidden Peak Electric, Intermountain Plantings, Amcor and SSL Inc.

Segment 3

Segment 3 includes the span just south of Glover Lane in Farmington to the tie-ins to I-15, U.S. 89, and Park Lane in Farmington. It is the northern-most segment of the parkway. The work is being completed by Clyde-Geneva Constructors.

On this segment, crews have closed Glover Lane through the fall of 2008 to excavate and extend the bridge over the top of the new Legacy Parkway. In addition, workers are forming and pouring decks and erecting girders on the structures that will tie the Parkway to I-15 and U.S. 89. Piles also are being driven for the pedestrian bridge at Glover Lane.

According to Shane Albrecht, project engineer and deputy project manager with Clyde Geneva Constructors, the biggest challenge in Segment 3 continues to be the schedule.

“The scope of work was large enough that significant time was required just to plan the work before much could happen,” he said. “The total time from bid date to substantial completion was only 22 months. Considering that eight months of the 22 were winter months, the effective construction time was closer to 14 months.”

Another challenge involved the cross street bridges at State Street and Glovers Lane. Constraints required that they be constructed consecutively instead of simultaneously, and both bridges originally required 130 days for settlement of embankment.

The segment includes eight multi-span bridges and approximately 3 mi. (4.8 km) of new roadway.

To date, crews for Segment 3 have constructed four multi-span bridges to completion, and another four are under construction. They have moved 155,000 cu. yd. (118,500 cu m) of road excavation, placed 550,000 tons (498,950 t) of borrow, embanked 420,000 tons (381,000) of fill, loaded embankments with 463,000 tons (420,000 t) of surcharge (and subsequently moved it), installed 276,000 ft. (84,100 m) of vertical wick drain, driven 90,000 ft. (27,400 m) of steel piling, laid 20,000 ft. (6,090 m) of pipe, installed 60,000 tons (54,400 t) of road base, and paved 30,000 tons (27,200 t) of hot mix asphalt paving.

A variety of equipment has been used, including cranes, dozers, graders, rollers, scrapers, track-hoes, dump trucks, pavers and haul trucks.

Major subcontractors that contributed to the segment include Cache Valley Electric, Fibertel, Ralph Smith Trucking, Scott Anderson Trucking, Build Inc., Intermountain Plantings, Olsen-Beal, Stanly Consultants, BT. Gallegos and Chafield Construction. CEG

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