On the Right Track: $55M SR 347 Expansion Over UPRR

Work Progresses on Marsh Station Project

Wed May 04, 2011 - West Edition
Jennifer Rupp


FNF Construction Inc. of Tempe, Ariz., used concrete molds to achieve the intricate designs on the bridge.
FNF Construction Inc. of Tempe, Ariz., used concrete molds to achieve the intricate designs on the bridge.

The I-10 Marsh Station project is located between mileposts 289 and 292. The project encompassed the construction of a new traffic interchange that can accommodate most commercial truck traffic, the extension of Marsh Station Road and drainage improvements. The project also includes realigning approximately 3 mi. (4.8 km) of the Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR) line to the north side of I-10. The $10 million endeavor was made possible by American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds, which, in 2009, appropriated $27.5 billion for U.S. highway and bridge projects.

Work on the interchange began in November of 2009. The interchange was opened to traffic Dec. 20, 2010. As the new ramps opened, the old interchange closed. Additional work, such as painting and landscaping, were finalized in February 2011. The old Marsh Station Bridge was removed on April 8th. FNF Construction Inc. of Tempe, Ariz., was the prime contractor. They were in charge of grading and hauling of material, paving the new ramps and mainline I-10, and construction of the new bridge. FNF has been in business since 1984, working mainly in heavy-highway construction and general engineering work.

Subcontractors include Fierro Utility Construction Services Inc. of Phoenix; Hunter Guardrail & Fence Inc. of Glendale; Pacific Coast Steel, also of Glendale; Revegetation Services DBA East Valley Golf of Higley; Royden Construction Co. of Phoenix, and Temcon Concrete Construction Co. of Tempe. Excavation included 1 million cu. yds. (801,312 cu m) of balanced earthwork was for the new Marsh Station TI/road and UPRR rail-road tracks.

The UPRR bridge required 702 cu. yds. (537 cu m) of concrete, and the Marsh Station bridge used 937 cu. yds. (716.8 cu m) of concrete for construction. Approximately 16,407 tons (14,881 t) of asphalt was used for the new Marsh Station TI and road.

The Benefits

• The new Marsh Station traffic interchange has been constructed to accommodate trucks with a clearance of 16.5 ft. (5 m) Currently, trucks over 15 ft. must use State Routes 83, 82 and 90 as a detour off I-10. The 67-mi.(107.8 km) detour goes through the town of Sonoita. The detour is costly and time consuming for trucks along this important interstate route, and the cost of the detour gets passed on to the consumer. The project will enable efficient travel, and save money for the consumer through trucking cost reductions.

• State Route 83 is a winding and hilly two-lane highway, and the many large trucks using the detour back up traffic as they slowly maneuver along this roadway, frustrating drivers along this scenic route. The project will enhance safety for many drivers and allow those traveling along scenic SR 83 to enjoy the drive.

• ADOT constructed a level bed for a new railroad alignment that will run north of I-10 and used the excavated earth in constructing the new traffic interchange. This was a cost-effective way to use materials wisely.

• The Union Pacific Railroad will remove the old railroad bridge in late 2011, once the new railroad is constructed. When both old bridges are removed, over-height trucks will be able to safely pass through the new traffic interchange, and they will no longer need to use the detour.

Aesthetic Treatments

• Joe Salazar, ADOT landscape project manager and landscape architect, designed the artwork found on the traffic interchange. The colorful artwork reflects the riparian area surrounding the interchange. Water patterns/ripples are represented on the bridge piers and barriers.

• A water bird, representative of water bird motifs found on ancient pottery in the area, can be found on the wing walls of the bridge. The artist’s personal interpretation of the bird, with its head and beak held downward, symbolizes the riparian area as the bird appears to be perhaps diving into water for fish.

• A tan and southwestern brick palette on the artwork blends with the area’s environment.

• Hundreds of cactuses were removed from the site and placed in a nursery nearby. The cactuses were replanted in the project area. Irrigation will be used for two years to re-establish the vegetation.

“There were a few minor delays on the project for transplanting plants, holiday traveling lane restrictions and lead-base paint removal on the bridge. Rain and wind also set us back a couple of days, but the crews are caught up at this time,” said Jeremy Moore, ADOT resident engineer.

The project will conclude later this year with the demolition of the old UPRR bridge. CEG