Using only148 traffic lane-restriction days, a joint-venture contractor reconstructed 2.64 miles of six-lane
I-65 with14-in.-thick concrete pavement in downtown Indianapolis.
The team that built this high-quality concrete roadwork, with exceptional construction speed, was awarded the1997
National Quality Initiative (NQI) Achievement Award in November. The award went to the Indiana DOT (INDOT) and the
joint venture of Berns Construction Co., Indianapolis, and Weddle Bros. Construction Co. Inc., Bloomington, Ind.
This only is the second time the NQI has presented the award. Sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA),
American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials (AASHTO), and nine industry associations, the NQI
Steering Committee judged the reconstruction of I-65 the best from 34 submitted U.S. projects. The award was based
on a1,000-point scale for quality process and results, customer focus, teamwork, innovation and value, and long-term
"The contractors had an inner drive from their leadership that made the job more than complying with specifications,"
said Tom Warne, executive director of the Utah DOT and co-chair of the NQI Steering Committee. "Their constant internal
measurement and fine-tuning of the process of producing a high-quality end product set it apart from the other
excellent finalists. The contractors exceeded the expectations of the state in almost every case."
Project saves $2.8 million
The Berns/Waddle joint-venture bid the I-65 project for $19.6 million with a traffic lane restriction period of
163 days, which was 42 days sooner than the second low-bidder (20% faster) and 57 days faster than INDOT's maximum
time allowance of 220 days. This project was the first construction-cost plus time-cost contract (A+B) bid
INDOT valued the motorists' costs for lane restrictions at $20,000 a day, which became the daily penalty for
not meeting the restriction deadline as bid. Despite additional work that added six days of restriction time,
the team turned I-65 back to the motoring public in only148 days, saving $2.08 million in road cost and motorist
cost over the second bidder, said John A. Crone, Berns vice president.
Independent quality assurance testing of the concrete mix confirmed outstanding results with zero penalties.
Not a single batch was outside the specification limits. The average seven-day beam breaks were more than 750 psi,
which far exceeded the minimum requirement of 570 psi. In addition, 89% of the concrete pavement was eligible for a
smoothness bonus. The roadway also won the INDOT Concrete Pavement Smoothness Award for1997.
The165,000-sq-yd, plain concrete pavement project, completed Oct. 21,1996, runs from downtown Indianapolis at
Dr. Martin Luther King Drive to Kessler Boulevard, a shopping mall and office park area.
It is a 30-year-old, divided highway marking critical north-south access to downtown Indianapolis for more than
93,000 vehicles a day. The I-65 project is part of INDOT's $250 million, seven-year strategic plan that started
in1995 to reconstruct segments of five interstate highway routes and several other routes through Indianapolis.
The new concrete pavement should last another 30 years or more with minimal maintenance, Crone said.
Two hallmarks of the project were responsive partnerships and cost-effective solutions, which contributed to quality
and minimized construction delays. INDOT used its quality assurance program, which it had developed with the local and
national American Concrete Pavement Association seven years ago.
Early meetings with all affected groups and the use of the traffic management planning (TMP) process allowed INDOT
to determine detour routes and establish a successful traffic control plan. After construction, more than 85% of the
businesses polled in and around the project corridor said the information provided them before and during the project
was useful and accurate.
A cooperative effort by INDOT and the city allowed the concrete batch plant and recylced pavement crushing operation
to be within and next to the project right of way. This kept slower-moving construction trucks from merging in and
out of mainline traffic, reducing the potential for accidents. The old concrete pavement was crushed and recycled into
base materials, preserving landfill space by not having to waste usable material.
Weddle Bros. established separate schedules for widening and redecking nine bridge structures and building concrete
median barriers, and Berns determined concrete pavement construction between the bridges, including replacing ramps
at the King Drive and 38th Street interchanges.
The partners constantly updated these individual schedules and meshed them at weekly scheduling meetings. To help
keep the job on schedule, crews worked some double shifts and occasional Sundays.
"A solid working schedule was a major key to the success of the project," said Scott A. Sieboldt, vice president
and division manager at Weddle Bros.
Normally, items such as reinforcing steel arrive on the job site only to sit for a week or two awaiting sampling
and approval. By establishing milestone dates for usage, INDOT tested and approved items at the manufacturing
source to permit immediate installation on delivery.
Job-site ideas payoff
One of the most novel and successful job-site ideas resulted in changed plans for the concrete redecking of
the10-span White River Bridge, which originally required eight separate placements. To save time and produce
a uniform deck and smooth ride, the team developed an INDOT-approved plan to place the deck in a continuous pour.
"A bridge deck pour of this magnitude took a considerable amount of planning and teamwork to be successful," Sieboldt
said. Starting at 4:30 p.m. and later restricting a lane of I-65 during late-night hours, the team worked151Ú2 hours
with four large concrete pumps and two finishing machines to place1,620 cu yd of concrete with 22 ready-mixed concrete
trucks hauling162 loads of concrete.
"Teamwork and partnering were not just buzz words for the I-65 reconstruction project," Crone said. "They were
critical to the job's success. With everyone working as a team and focusing on common goals, the project proceeded
at a breathtaking pace. We built almost $1 million of work each week for 21 weeks." The team achieved almost100% of
its initial partnering goals, and INDOT, Berns, and Weddle Bros. continue to use the partnering concept on major
Founded in1992, The National Quality Initiative is a partnership that recognizes and promotes continuous quality
improvement within the highway industry. The NQI Achievement Award is an award periodically given to a project team
demonstrating teamwork, innovation, value, and customer satisfaction that results in a high-quality highway project.
The partnership's Steering Committee gave its first NQI Achievement Award to C.C. Mangum Inc. and the North Carolina
DOT in1995 (see North Carolina Highway Project Wins First Quality-Achievement Award, November1995, p18).
NQI industry associations include the American Concrete Pavement Association; American Consulting Engineers Council; American Public Works Association; American Road and Transportation Builders Association; Asphalt Institute; Associated General Contractors of America; National Asphalt Pavement Association; National Ready-Mixed Concrete Association; and National Stone Association. RB