Infrastructure goes under the knife

ROADS & BRIDGES takes a look at some of the major road construction projects in the U.S.

Bridges Article December 28, 2000
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Spaghetti Bowl

Location: I-15/US 95, Las Vegas

Cost: $92 million

Completion date: August 2000

Overview: Spaghetti Bowl project highlights include the building of 11 new bridges; the demolishing of two existing bridges; the placement of 648 precast bridge segments; the placing of 47 precast concrete bridge members; the building of 13.3-mile lanes of new 13-in. concrete travel lanes; and the building of five miles of new asphalt travel lanes.

Construction of Nevada’s first precast concrete segmental bridge is under way and will add four ramps to the I-15/US 95 interchange in Las Vegas. Three of the ramps are being built using span-by-span erection and one unit is being erected by balanced cantilever.

Las Vegas Beltway

Location: Las Vegas

Cost: Estimated at $1.5 billion

Completion date: 2003

Overview: This project is unique in that it is being financed exclusively by local tax dollars and also is being built by the Clark County Department of Public Works rather than a state or federal transportation agency.

Approximately 53 miles in length when completed, the beltway will consist of three connected segments: southern, western and northern, which together form a freeway loop around a major portion of the Las Vegas Valley. Each segment is comprised of individual projects or phases, which are opened to the motoring public upon completion.

Financing for the Las Vegas Beltway is generated from two primary resources—a 1%motor vehicle privilege tax and a tax on new residential, commercial and industrial development.

Chippenham Parkway Improvements

Location: Route 150,
Chesterfield County, Va.

Cost: $26.2 million

Completion date: June 2001

Overview: The contract calls for the widening of 4.5 miles of the Chippenham Parkway, Route 150, to six lanes. It involves the widening of the existing four-lane pavement to the inside and the construction of a median barrier throughout the project. The shoulders will be improved and new guardrail installed. Ten bridges are to be widened to accommodate the extra lanes.

Additionally, retaining walls and sound barrier walls will be built at various locations. The project is being coordinated with the Route 895 construction.

Pocahontas Parkway

Location: Route 895,
Richmond, Va.

Cost: $324 million

Completion date: December 2001

Overview: The first project implemented under Virginia’s Public-Private Transportation Act of 1995, connects the Pocahontas Parkway, Route 895, with the Chippenham Parkway at I-95 and I-295 south of the Richmond International Airport.

The 8.8-mile parkway will be a four-lane toll road that includes an interchange and a high-level bridge over the James River (see New Bridge Projects Span the Nation, November 1998, p 26).

A public-private partnership, special tax-free bonds were sold to finance the project and investors are to be repaid with money raised by a $1.50 toll.

The Lava Rocks Project

Location: US 93, Arizona

Cost: $10.2 million for first section
of a 15-year project

Completion date: Early 1999

Overview: The first project in a 15-year 100-mile widening program on US 93 between Wickenburg and I-40, is the widening of a 3.1-mile section of US 93 to a four-lane divided highway about midway between Wikieup and the Santa Maria River.

The contractor is moving 1.1 million cu yd of lava rock to create two southbound lanes west of the existing highway in addition to reconstructing the existing highway to provide two northbound lanes with more gentle curves.

Also, eight concrete box culverts are being built and eight metal pipe culverts are being installed to provide all-weather drainage for the wider highway. After the drainage installation is completed, a 6-in. thick subgrade covered by 5 in. of asphalt for both directions of travel, is scheduled.

ODOT Project 471-95

Location: I-75, Toledo, Ohio

Cost: $40 million

Completion date: Fall 1999

Overview: The upgrading of I-75 includes the addition of a third lane in both directions as well as rebuilding the intersection of I-280/I-75. This project includes 430,000 cu yd of embankment, 11 rebuilt mainline bridges, three new overpass bridges, 200,000 sq ft of noise barriers and 169,000 sq yd of concrete base pavement.

Three northbound structures and the associated grade and drain work will be completed by mid-summer to allow for paving, blacktop and miscellaneous items to be completed by this fall.

Central Artery/Tunnel Project

Location: Boston

Cost: $10.8 billion

Completion date: 2004

Overview: Altogether, the Central Artery/ Tunnel Project (CA/T) is building 161 lane miles of highway in a 7.5-mile corridor, about half of which is underground, in addition to four major highway interchanges.

I-90, the Massachusetts Turnpike, is being extended from its current terminus south of downtown Boston through a tunnel beneath South Boston and Boston Harbor to Logan Airport. The first link in this new connection, the four-lane Ted Williams Tunnel under the harbor, was finished in December 1995.

When completed, the underground Central Artery will carry about 245,000 vehicles a day by 2010, with the Ted Williams Tunnel carrying about 94,000 vehicles a day.

Additionally, two bridges are being built to span the Charles River. The larger of the two bridges, a 10-lane cable-stayed bridge, will be the widest ever built and the first to use an asymmetrical design (see New Bridge Projects Span the Nation, November 1998, p 26).

Mission I-55

Location: I-55, Chicago

Cost: $567 million

Completion date: 2001

Overview: Scheduled to be completed in two phases, Mission I-55 on Chicago’s Stevenson Expressway includes substantial road and bridge repairs, 13 new retaining walls, a modernization of traffic surveillance and road lighting as well as landscaping and other aesthetic improvements.

Phase I started in February and will run through October, while Phase II will begin in February 2000 and continue through 2001.

Springfield Interchange

Location: I-95, Springfield, Va.

Cost: $90.3 million for Phases II & III

Completion date: N/A

Overview: One of the busiest interchanges on the East Coast, Virginia’s Springfield Interchange is scheduled to be reconstructed beginning this month. Phases II and III of the eight-phase, $350 million construction project, will incorporate the rebuilding of the I-95 interchange at Route 644, the construction of 14 new bridges and the widening of roads in the vicinity of the interchange.

I-40/I-17 Traffic Interchange

Location: I-40/I-17, Flagstaff, Ariz.

Cost: $12.7 million for the first phase of a two-phase project

Completion date: Fall 1999

Overview: The first phase of the project, reconstructing the southwest quadrant of the interchange, will be completed in the fall of 1999, followed by a $24.5 million contract to finish the interchange in 2001.

The entire project transforms the interchange from four small clover-leafs within a tight diamond to a large diamond-shaped interchange with two high-level freeway-to-freeway ramps plus two clover leaf ramps, doubling the size of the existing ramps.

Pueblo Transportation
Improvements Project

Location: I-25, Pueblo, Colo.

Cost: $63 million

Completion date: Fall 2001

Overview: The Pueblo Transportation Improvements Project is a series of four related projects designed to improve safety and traffic congestion at the I-25 interchange at US 50 and SH 47.

The four individual projects: SH 47 at Dillion Drive (under construction); I-25/29th Street (under construction); US 50 west (scheduled to begin mid-1999); and I-25/US 50/SH 47 interchange (scheduled to begin spring 2000), include improvements at and around the interchange.

Project improvements include increasing the distance between intersections to improve traffic flow and avoid backups; synchronization of traffic lights; construction of acceleration/deceleration and turn lanes at important intersections; improving the local roadway network; reconfiguring intersections; widening critical portions of I-25, US 50 and SH 47; replacing aging bridges; expanding the bike and pedestrian path network; and improving drainage.

I-15 Reconstruction

Location: I-15, Salt Lake City

Cost: $1.59 billion

Completion date: October 2001

Overview: The reconstruction of approximately 16.5 miles of the I-15 freeway involves every bridge, interchange and stretch of pavement, all of which are being removed and replaced.

Upon completion, I-15 will have an HOV lane as the innermost lane in each direction, four mixed-flow lanes in each direction and an auxiliary lane for traffic entering or exiting the freeway, on the outside edge.

Most of the major interchanges are being changed from their current “diamond” interchange configuration to single point urban interchanges allowing about 300more traffic flow than a diamond interchange.

Additionally, new sound walls with a mountain motif and improved landscaping are being installed for I-15.

The new freeway’s lifespan is expected to be twice that of the old freeway. Mainline I-15 is expected to have a lifespan of 50 years and the bridges built as part of the reconstruction have an expected lifespan of 75 years.

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