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Yet Another Basic Paving Project…

Thu October 23, 2008 - Southeast Edition
Angela B. Hurni

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has awarded a $14.7 million contract to Basic Construction Company to widen a segment of Jefferson Avenue (Route 143) from just north of Buchanan Drive for approximately 1 mi. (1.6 km) to Kings Ridge Drive in Newport News, Va.

Work on the project, which also includes other improvements, began in August 2007, and the contractor has just surpassed the 50 percent completion point.

Newport News, Va.-based Basic Construction will widen the section of Jefferson Avenue from four undivided lanes to six divided lanes. When finished, Jefferson Avenue will have three lanes in each direction. Additionally, there will be improvements to ease congestion at the intersections of Richneck Road and Green Grove Lane. The contract also includes grading, asphalt paving, drainage work, and replacing traffic signals.

Kevin Morello, Basic Construction’s project manager, explained, “The project is essentially a road widening and underground storm drainage project with new traffic signalization and business entrance improvements.”

The improvements located near the adjacent businesses have been a challenging aspect of the job. For the most part, the businesses have daytime operations, so the contractor must maintain navigable entrances.

“They run 9 to 5, so we have to maintain access during the day,” Morello said. Less often, crews have to work at night to stay on schedule.

Presently, according to Morello, “The storm drainage work is 100 percent complete, and we are currently 95 percent complete with construction of the northbound lanes of Jefferson Avenue between Buchanan Drive and Kings Ridge Drive.”

Basic Construction has a large fleet of equipment accessible for any task on the job. Basic produces asphalt at its plant in Newport News. It has dump trucks pick up the asphalt from the plant and deliver it to the site. For paving, the company uses Blaw Knox pavers, including a Blaw Knox PF3200 asphalt paver.

Also on hand are several John Deere 595 rubber-tired excavators, wheel loaders made by Komatsu and Caterpillar and Caterpillar motorgraders as well. For utility work, employees operate small backhoes made by John Deere or JCB.

Basic Construction completed most tasks on the project itself but used a subcontractor for the new box culvert and improvement of an existing box culvert. S.A. Seaman Concrete Construction Inc., Williamsburg, Va., constructed the new concrete box culvert, a double 6- by 8-ft. (180 by 240 cm) chamber, underneath Jefferson Avenue. Seaman also extended an existing box culvert to accommodate the widened road. Morello said Seaman rented a Terex crane for work on the culverts.

Electrical work for the new street signalization also will be completed by a subcontractor. Each of the project’s three intersections will be getting a new signalization system.

The road work portion of the project will be completed by November 2009, said Thomas Druhot, VDOT’s Peninsula area construction engineer, and the remaining landscaping will be finished by March 2010. Landscapers wanted extra time during the November to March planting season.

Once finished, the widening project is intended to reduce travel delays by adding an additional lane in each direction on Jefferson Avenue. Also, capacity and traffic flow will increase, and multiple intersections will see improvements. The project is currently on time and on budget. CEG

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