Contractor's Choice Awards
Silver Medal Winner - Asphalt Milling Machines
Wirtgen W 2200/12
A big cold mill with a full-lane cutter drum was helping a contractor meet tight deadlines for reconstruction of U.S. 165 as a four-lane highway in central Louisiana last season.
The project is part of Louisiana’s TIMED (Transportation Infrastructure Model for Economic Development) Program, which is the single largest transportation program in state history.
Created by legislative act, the $5 billion improvement program includes widening 536 miles of state highways to four lanes on 11 project corridors, widening or new construction on three major bridges and improvements to both the Port of New Orleans and Louis Armstrong International Airport, all on accelerated schedules. Projects are funded by a 4-cent gas tax established in 1989, and in effect until all TIMED projects are complete. A series of bond sales is helping accelerate construction.
The program will enhance economic development in Louisiana as well as improve its north-south routes to ease evacuation in case of a major hurricane.
Gilchrist Construction Co., Alexandria, La., is active in the state’s complete TIMED Program projects—including clearing, grubbing, excavation, stabilization, embankments, bridges and asphalt or concrete pavements—and was executing its projects on or ahead of time, and under budget.
For demolition of the existing U.S. 165 pavement in advance of complete reconstruction on the right-of-way, Gilchrist’s W 2200/12 cold mill with full-lane, 12.5-ft drum was removing existing pavement. The reconstruction of U.S. 165, a 173-mile stretch that will cost $925 million, involves four-lane reconstruction of a two-lane highway on new alignment.
“I can mill 2 in. thick and carry a good profile, running at 50 to 60 ft per minute,” said Jeffery Ponthier, Gilchrist milling foreman. “The full-lane drum eliminates passes, so I don’t have to make quite so many passes, depending on the roadway.”
But for the U.S. 165 work, Ponthier was cutting 8 to 9 in., at 10 to 15 fpm, removing asphalt in advance of percussive cracking of the concrete under-pavement. “I could go faster, but I don’t want to wear out my teeth so quick,” he said, adding Gilchrist uses Rhino teeth.
Unlike northern-tier states, Gilchrist does not have a winter down period in which it can do equipment overhauls. “We stay busy the year around,” Ponthier said. “They will go in for maintenance a couple of days here, a couple of days there, and that will take care of everything that’s not done in the field.”