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Well-Traveled Portion of I-95 Undergoes Critical Widening

Mile-long backups may become a thing of the past for this critical portion of I-95.

Wed May 01, 2013 - Southeast Edition
Peter Hildebrandt

Florida’s critical eastern highway artery Interstate 95 depends on easy access and flow at all interchanges to ensure compression-wave traffic jams are kept to a minimum. I-95 at Florida State Road 9 was especially in great need of widening on a fairly extensive stretch from the Saint Lucie – Indian River County Line all the way to State Road 60. Data and studies done by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) show that this road needed widening and that the infrastructure had deteriorated enough over time that this work was an important project to get started on.

The total length of this stretch under construction is 6.84 mi. (11 km). The project started on Sept. 29, 2011 and is estimated to be completed in early 2014. The de Moya Group in Miami is the main contractor on this job.

Work on this project will involve adding one general purpose lane in each direction in the existing median throughout and milling and resurfacing of the existing pavement; removal and replacement of the existing bridges at I-95 over 4th Street and Citrus Road, 90th Avenue, and State Road 60 and Osceola Boulevard; construction of noise barrier walls adjacent to the Department of Corrections Housing, Indian River Aerodrome and Lakewood Village neighborhoods; upgrade of the entire interchange at State Road 60 and Osceola Boulevard including ramp reconstruction, signalization upgrades, and minor widening and new lighting throughout the corridor.

There are a number of other projects being worked on at the same time in this highway corridor.

Leware Construction Company is a subcontractor doing the bridge construction on this project. It is removing and replacing the bridges along this stretch of I-95. This is a full reconstruction project done mainly to add lanes for additional traffic capacity in this area.

The FDOT does all its own bridge and highway inspections as well as traffic studies and determines how much traffic is able to flow along the roadways. It also studies the life of the various structures such as the bridges all along the route.

Currently there is one primary contractor and seven subcontractors on this job. FDOT expects to add a few more contractors for components to be constructed in later phases, such as lighting, signalization and signing. Cardno TBE is the construction, engineering and inspection (CEI) firm that was selected to oversee the project, in conjunction with FDOT. So far, construction is right on schedule; challenges with the work have been kept to a minimum and the anticipated construction completion date of spring 2014, should be achieved, weather permitting.

A wide range of equipment is being used on this project. With three bridges being demolished and reconstructed along with reconstruction of the SR60 interchange, there are a number of cranes on site. Leware Construction is FDOT’s bridge subcontractor and it exclusively utilizes American Crawler Cranes maintained by its in-house staff.

The Florida Department of Transportation also has APE single action pile hammers for 24-in. pre-stressed concrete piles and vibratory hammers for sheet pile. It has utilized cranes rigged with auger cast pile equipment for construction of the sound wall foundations by Ebsary foundations. For roadway construction, FDOT has utilized a reclaimer for taking out the existing shoulders and will be utilizing a CMI machine to trim the base rock. Various Terex and John Deere earth movers along with John Deere and Komatsu track hoes, front end loaders and dozers are also being used on the project.

The de Moya design-build team produced several innovative solutions including such features as master plan alignments for 4th Street/ 90th Avenue affording Indian River County to build the future corridor expansions at a reasonable cost. The realignment at 90th Avenue allows for the reduction of the bridge length and the skew presented in the request for proposal (RFP) Concept Plans.

This job also features modified mainline median widths through the reconstruction segments of the mainline at 4th Street, 90th Avenue and SR 60 to reduce/eliminate throw-away work. The modified alignment simplified construction and maintenance of traffic (MOT) as well as re-designed ramps at SR 60 to facilitate construction and reduce MOT phases, embankment, walls, and construction duration without requiring any ramp closures.

The main contractor also developed cross slope correction algorithmic program with Geopak that optimized use of over build and readily identified trouble areas along the travel lanes and shoulders. The de Moya Team was able to cut the proposed contract time nearly in half, reducing the project duration from 1,600 days to 850 days. The majority of the equipment on this highway project is owned by the contractor or subcontractor performing the work, according to FDOT.

As with many other interstate highway projects, this public project is federally funded through the FDOT work program and the estimated cost of construction is $54.4 million dollars.

Size-wise, this development will require approximately 350,000 cu. yds. (267,594 cu m) of embankment material to construct about 300,000 sq. yds. (250,838 cu sq m) of new pavement requiring stabilized sub-grade, base and asphalt. The bridges will all be constructed on 24-in. pre-stressed concrete pile foundations with Florida I-Beams and concrete decks.

The de Moya Group Inc., a highway and bridge construction company specializing in complex major infrastructure projects in Florida, started up in 1986. Armando and Alisa de Moya together with brothers Alvaro (Al) and Jorge Juan and other family members invested in the de Moya Group.

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