Giving a big project the slip

Jan. 30, 2015

Aging culverts across the United States are failing at an alarming rate. The cost and inconvenience of digging out and replacing these systems is often unrealistic. In Kansas, the Department of Transportation (KDOT) and Johnson County embarked on a multimillion-dollar highway improvement project that included repairing and replacing two culvert/storm sewers.

The Gateway Interchange Project had been in the works for more than five years. It’s a $285 million project to rework a critical hub of road southwest of Kansas City. KDOT and Johnson County hired HDR Engineering, Inc., Kiewit Infrastructure Co., Clarkson Construction Company, and George Butler Associates, Inc. to take on the Gateway Interchange Project. Together, the companies formed Gateway Interchange Constructors, or GIC, working in tandem to complete the project.

An important part of the project

On top of replacing and repairing 10 miles of roadway, along with multiple bridges, the GIC and project manager Bryan Wilkerson also needed to find a reliable and cost-effective way to deal with the old culverts. While the culverts were a small part of the overall project, their impending failure could have overwhelming impact to drivers in that area. Due to the large scope of the project, digging up and replacing the existing culverts and storm sewers would have created a costly time delay and lengthy road closures. The project was on a strict timeline and tight budget. Looking for a better solution, GIC turned to Snap-Tite. Clarkson Construction had previously worked with Snap-Tite, and once again enlisted their help to design a plan to rehabilitate two long concrete box culverts/storm sewers under the highway.

A better service life

The first culvert was 665 ft in length. That included 505 ft of an existing 6 x 6-ft concrete box. The box reduced down to 5 x 5-ft for the remaining 150 ft. The contractor started by pushing the 150 ft of Snap-Tite through the smaller portion. Then, using a fabricated reducer fitting to connect the 63-in. Snap-Tite, continued pushing the pipe the entire length of the existing structure. The second structure was 1,000 ft of 5 x 5-ft concrete. The pipe was pushed completely through the length of that structure.

The Snap-Tite Culvert Lining system actually outperformed the concrete and corrugated metal it rehabilitated. Lightweight, flexible, and durable, HDPE has an indefinite service life.

Positive results

By slip-lining long lengths of the existing concrete box culvert storm sewers, Snap-Tite was able to save the contractor valuable time and money. Wilkerson said, “This solution provided us with a very high level of expertise when designing around the problem of how to manage and fix the drainage in the box culverts under an interstate highway that maintains very heavy traffic. Rehabilitating the culverts by inserting Snap-Tite saved us thousands of dollars as well as several weeks of excavation, and we were able to keep all lanes of traffic open.”

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