"With so much going on in Atlanta, we needed a quick-fix surfacing job, so we put together a microsurfacing contact," said Ron Collins, Georgia state materials engineer. "We had a pavement that had an open-graded friction course placed on it several years ago and it was starting to ravel [see Open-Graded Friction Courses: A View From the Wet Coast, September 1996, p 34]. But we didn't have much time. We needed an application we could put down in a hurry that would stand up under interstate traffic. We chose microsurfacing."
The contract included 105,000 sq yd of scratch course followed by 430,000 sq yd of microsurfacing-a total of 535,000 sq yd.
Although the state owns its own conventional slurry seal equipment, Collins said the Georgia DOT had not used a lot of microsurfacing before this project was begun. "It was demonstrated for us in the early 1990s on an interstate test section. We were pleased with the test sections, and we developed a microsurfacing specification, but for various reasons we just didn't get to implement it. Then this project came up, and it seemed like the best choice."
The job was funded by both state and federal monies.
The work added a new friction course on five-and-a-half miles of Atlanta's outer loop near Hartsfield Airport. This section of Ip;285 is a three- or five-lane, high-speed thoroughfare that links the airport with Ip;75 and Ip;85 and carries an average daily traffic count of 110,000 vehicles a day, including 10% truck traffic.
There was one thing about the job site that the Slurry Pavers crew quickly noticed. "It was right in front of the state asphalt laboratory," joked Phil Tarsovich, Slurry Pavers vice president. "So it seemed like we had about 87 inspectors out there every day. But they were really great people to work with. They were extremely interested in everything that was going on, and this included DOT staffers in every department-from the central laboratory to the field inspectors. Lots of Georgia people were vitally involved in this project. And everybody seemed to get along amazingly well; there was a true sense of partnering."
Any paving contracts involving busy interstate highways, especially in urban areas, are high-pressure jobs, but this contract carried several additional stipulations that could cause any paving crew to sweat-with or without Georgia's 90p;deg heat and high humidity. "The contract was physically a huge document. It looked like a Bible," Tarsovich said.
The most worrisome requirement was that all work had to be completed by July 5. If unfinished on that date, the project would automatically be shut down until mid-August when the Olympics crowd had departed. During this shutdown period the contractor would be fined $1,800 per day.
"That was a pretty strong incentive right there," said Tarsovich.
"Part of the uniqueness of this job was its dramatic start," he said. "The contract was bid at 10 a.m. and awarded at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, May 17. Permanent construction signs went up on Monday the 20th, and by Wednesday we had our equipment at the job site."
The Slurry Pavers headquarters near Richmond, Va., is an eight- to 10-hour drive from Atlanta, Tarsovich said, but the company was fortunate to have a crew available in North Carolina that could hurry to Atlanta.
The contract restricted the crew to working on only ramps and outside lanes from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Any double-lane closures had to be done at night or on weekends.
"We did as much as possible during the weekdays and then gambled on good weekend weather, which basically allowed us to work from dawn to dusk on weekends and get a considerable amount of work done," said Tarsovich. "We were lucky to only lose part of one weekend day to weather."
While the weather was conducive to paving, the traffic was something else. "It was horrible," said Tarsovich. "As soon as we closed a lane traffic would instantly come to a crawl. This stretch of highway was where two interstate systems intersected-where the airport fed into Ip;285-and traffic was just unbelievable." The company doubled its traffic-control staff to meet the demands, with a total of eight traffic-control employees on the job. The contract specified that all traffic-control devices and personnel had to be off the site by 4 p.m. each weekday or the contractor faced stiff penalties.
The job used an ISSA Type III mix (the same gradation is categorized as Type II by the Georgia DOT) with emulsion from Koch Materials' nearby Conley, Ga., plant. The stone came from the Vulcan Materials quarry. The product was placed with a Bergkamp continuous-run paver supplied by three Flow-Boy and four tandem-mounted feeder trucks.
The job included 105,000 sq yd of leveling that averaged 24 lb or more per sq yd, said Tarsovich. The overlay averaged 22 to 24 lb per sq yd. Striping was subcontracted to Peek Pavement Marking.
Amazingly, the job was completed with time to spare. Work ended on June 24, well before the July 5 deadline.
"It was completed much quicker than we anticipated," said Georgia DOT's Collins. "Everything came together well, and we were fortunate to have such a cooperative contractor. The section looks great-it looks like a hot-mix application. The markings show up well, and now that it's over, the public is very pleased."
The Georgia DOT also is pleased. In a letter to Slurry Pavers, Tony Alston, Georgia DOT's field bituminous construction engineer, praised Hodges and his crews and said, "Given all of the circumstances surrounding setting up the quantities, letting the contract to bid, and deadline paving, and the excellent job you performed, we are glad you were awarded the project. Everything went unbelievably smooth . . ."