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Waters Construction Paves Six Miles of I-91 in Windsor, Conn.

Thu November 17, 2011 - Northeast Edition
Jay Adams

Fifty years ago, the conventional way to preserve pavement over bridges was to make it thicker.

Now, a major highway artery is having its pavement rehabilitated by using the newest and best methods possible by being as thin as can be.

Waters Construction Company of Bridgeport, Conn. is completing the final phase of a $6.23 million project over a 6 mi. (9.7 km) stretch of I-91 from north of Exit 36 (Route 178) to Exit 44 (Route 5) in Windsor, Conn.

According to the ConnDOT, the project consists of micro-milling of bridge decks, repairs to rutted sections of pavement, and replacement of catch basin structures, median barriers and bridge joints.

The entire section of I-91 will then be overlaid with a thin surface treatment known as Ultra-thin bonded HMA which is one of several pavement preservation strategies used by the DOT to extend the service life of the existing highway system.

The project was awarded after bid submissions to Waters Construction in June.

Several sub-contractors are working under the auspices of general contractor Waters. They include:

• Ultra-thin overlay laydown — Palmer Paving

• Asphaltic Plug Joints – Santoro

• Crack fill — Costello Industries

• Milling — Black & Boucher

• Line Striping — Safety Markings

Work began on July 18 and is scheduled to be finished by Thanksgiving, according to John Ford, a project manager at Waters.

When the project is complete, more than 550,000 sq. yds. (459,870 sq m) of Ultra-thin overlay will be put down.

Ultra-Thin Overlay

“The project involves the preservation of pavements by use of an Ultra-thin overlay system,” said Ford. “The project includes six miles of I-91 northbound, and six miles of I-91 southbound, including HOV lanes and all on and off ramps. Prior to placing the Ultra-thin overlay, the existing roadway was repaired in areas where the existing pavement had cracked; and where the existing pavements had started to deteriorate.”

“In the split road areas — mostly evident at the lane line joints — cracks were cleaned and filled with asphaltic crack fill sealants,” Ford added. “In areas of pavement degradation, the existing pavement was milled and patched with new HMA. Prior to starting the repair work, the areas were inspected and marked out. This effort took all of two weeks to perform at night,” said Ford. “The project also includes replacement of more than 4,000 linear feet of asphaltic plug joints [expansion joints], as well as removal and replacement of existing catch basin tops.”

According to Ford, by this method, the life of the pavement surface will be extended by about 10 years.

Despite the horrible recent weather conditions, including Hurricane Irene, which blew through New York City, adjacent Connecticut, Rhode Island and half of New England through Vermont, and subsequent days of deluges that followed Irene, Waters Construction Company still plans to finish the job by their scheduled completion date.?

“The project is on schedule, even after the incredible amount of rain that has hit this area over the last three months. On the average, we lost at least one night and sometimes three nights a week due to rain,” said Ford. “The project [also] is on budget.”

Ford added that, on this type of project, crew sizes fluctuate weekly, sometimes daily, with the only constant being the traffic pattern crew.

“In any one night, there are typically three to four different sub-contractors working on both sides of the highway. Coordinating these crews and sign patterns has proven to be the most critical component to successfully completing the work,” said Ford.

Paving Every Highway

Waters Construction Co. has rehabilitated pavement for ConnDOT for years.

“We have worked on I-95, I-84, I-91, Route. 8, Route. 15, Route. 9, Route. 7 and many secondary roads,” said Ford. “Our primary work has been hot bituminous overlays, following removal of the existing surface via milling. In a couple of projects, we also rehabilitated the underlying concrete pavement by removing the failed concrete and replacing it with high early strength concrete.”

Now in its 51st year of business, Waters Construction Company employs about 90 people. The company offers many services, but specializes in environmental remediation, general contracting/CM, mass transit, asphalt and concrete paving.

When asked about the company’s top eight projects over the last decade or so, Ford placed them in this order:

• East Bridgeport, Conn. Rail Yard: $18 million — a full reconstruction of a railyard including environmental, track and electrical work

• Rte. 84 Manchester, Conn.: $7 million — concrete pavement rehabilitation on I-84

• Hamden Bus Maintenance Facility: $8 million — environmental remediation and site and utility construction for a $70 million mass transit maintenance facility

• Resurfacing Interstate 95 through Greenwich, Conn.: $2 million — Fast track resurfacing of I-95

• Pulse Point Bus station: $2.5 million — Construction of bus station for the Norwalk Transit Authority

• Drainage Improvement Town of Stratford, Conn.: $4 million — Very difficult box culvert installation, both parallel and under Metro North commuter rail line.

These projects are a world away for a company incorporated more than 50 years ago and prior to which, existed first as a small driveway contractor in the early 1950s.

There is nothing they haven’t paved or repaved, using the best new methods offered by their industry’s technology.

“In 50 years, we have accumulated an enormous amount of experience, retained that experience by having long-term [sometimes multi-generational] relationships with our employees and leveraged that experience to produce a company that does exceptional work, on time and at highly competitive prices,” added Ford.

Of its many employees, the company has lauded the loyalty and longevity of Steve Murphy, superintendent, 30 years; Robert Poletto, superintendent, 31 years; Ray Dezara, master mechanic, 30 years; Al Swanson, superintendent, 20 years; John McBrairty, paver operator, 32 years; Tim Leo, driver, 31 years; Charles Tourtillotte, controller/CFO, 14 years; and Tim Dexter, operator/foreman, 26 years, among others.

Waters Construction Company Inc. is headquartered at 300 Bostwick Ave., Bridgeport, Conn.

For more information, visit CEG

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