While central Georgia commuters sleep each night, a crew of
construction workers is making nearly 40 miles of Georgia I-75 safer and
The award-winning APAC-Georgia Inc. Ballenger Paving
Division and its subcontractor, Costello Industries, Newington, Conn., are
working up to 14 hours a day, seven days a week, on two concrete rehabilitation
and replacement projects that stretch across four counties. The largest of the
two jobs (14 miles) spans Bibb, Crawford and Peach counties, while the other
(10 miles) is located in Monroe County. The crews started in July 2002 and were
expecting to finish by March 31, 2003. The weather and various other challenges
may push the completion date into 2004.
Costello Industries is renting the majority of their equipment--nearly
75%--from the Rental Service Corp. (RSC) store in Byron. Renting the equipment
helps the crew eliminate down time, said Rick Brockman, area manager for
Costello chose to rent most of its machinery for the I-75
resurfacing project because, due to the strict deadline and time frame
agreements of the job, the crew has a zero tolerance for down equipment.
Renting equipment saved them from worrying about maintenance by trusting that
RSC would swap out any equipment at any hour of the day or night.
Costello has a total of 64 items on rent, including: 12
light towers, three Conex 40-ft containers, two walk-behind rollers, six
loaders, two water trucks, two backhoes and a variety of other equipment--from
crushers and sweepers to excavators.
"Anything that involves heavy-duty concrete removal we
rent," said Brockman. "We're nomads. We have our crew travel to every
job. It's just not worth it taking the heavier equipment and mechanics to go
service an excavator when you have a rental dealer that's usually within 25
miles from the jobsite."
Each night, from 8 p.m. to 10 a.m., Costello Industries and
their subcontractor ABC Concrete Cutting of Atlanta uses the loaders, water
trucks, graders, skid steers and rollers to saw, remove 10-in. concrete slabs
and then get the base ready on a 20-mile stretch of I-75 just south of Macon.
APAC-Georgia pours concrete behind them, a technique many DOT personnel thought
could only be performed by the asphalt industry. They have been astonished to
learn that Costello and APAC also can replace everything they remove each
Even though the production varies each night, the concrete
pavement is open to the public every morning for rush hour. The crew is
required to have the center lane cleared by 6 a.m. and all three lanes open for
traffic by 10 a.m., otherwise they must pay the Georgia Department of
Transportation (GDOT) $5,000.
Besides the strict deadlines, the coordination between
various sites and functions of the two jobs also is a challenge, Brockman said.
While some of the crew is working on lane removal, others
are sawing joints. While one group works full time at a nearby crushing
operation, another crew works on concrete rehabilitation.
According to Brockman, all lane removal and replacements have
been completed. Joint sealing, concrete rehab and shoulder work is still in
Between the two projects, they employ eight different kinds
of concrete pavement rehabilitation practices in all:
* Saw and seal joints in new concrete pavement (Dow silicone
* Clean and reseal joints in existing concrete pavement (Dow
* Full-depth patching of jointed or continuously reinforced
* Partial-depth patching of concrete pavement; style="mso-spacerun: yes">
removal and demolition;
* Asphalt joint and crack sealing. Saw and seal new joints
in asphalt pavements;
* Bridge joint installation and deck repair, specifically
elastomeric concrete bridge joint systems; and
* Partial-depth patching of concrete bridge deck pavement.
The weather, however, hasn't been cooperating. After three
or four dry years, Georgia has felt the effects of El Nino--rain and colder
temperatures. Brockman said since last July crews have lost 209 work days due
to wet or cold conditions.
"Under Georgia traffic restrictions if your pavement is
wet you can't set up a closure," he said.
Another situation surfaced on the Monroe County job. Crews
discovered the existing road surface was built on top of a two-lane road which
was constructed without bond breakers. Correcting the problem has demanded more
After slabs have been identified by the Georgia DOT, core
samples are pulled to see if bonding did take place. If the slabs are bonded
then the contractor must deep saw 18 in. and pull out everything, pour back the
bottom lift, insert a bond breaker and then pour a top lift.
If the section isn't bonded crews cut it to 9 in. and remove
it. If it removes clean then they do normal rehab work. If it doesn't remove
clean it's treated as if it was orginally bonded.
"We have to go back and cut it to 18 in.,"
explained Brockman. "It has definitely affected us. We had orginally
planned to do the job with wheel loaders.
We had to go in there with excavators with slab-crab buckets
and backhoes with hydraulic hammers. We used the hydraulic hammers to come in
at the side, punch a hole at the joint between the two lifts and get the
slab-crab buckets in there and rip it up."
In it for the pavement
Costello Industries was founded originally as a road
building company more than half a century ago. It began diversifying its
activities into pavement maintenance long before many in the industry had even
heard of the concept.
In the early 1970s, Frank Costello saw the need for pavement
rehabilitation techniques and became one of the first New England firms to
apply slurry seal to prolong the life of existing asphalt pavements. He also
pioneered the use of milling machines, now a common sight on pavement projects.
Other innovations spearheaded by Costello include repairing
joints in roads and bridges, installing bridge deck waterproof membranes,
applying microsurfacing, sawing and sealing pavement overlays, pavement
management techniques and applying various geotextiles that prevent cracks in
substrate from reflecting up through asphalt overlays.
In the summer of 2001, Frank Costello hired Brockman to run
the Southern Division and they opened their College Park, Ga., office that
fall. Today Costello Industries employs more than 100 people between its two
offices and is a pre-qualified contractor in 36 states.
In addition to the equipment Costello Industries is renting
for the road resurfacing projects, the company also is renting equipment from
the local RSC store to move old concrete to their nearby crushing operation, where
another set of workers recycles concrete from the broken-down interstate into
graded aggregate base to use in the asphalt shoulders. After milling out the
old shoulders, the Atlanta Division of APAC-Georgia Inc. will be spreading the
GAB stone from Costello's crushing operation to bring the subgrade of the
interstate's shoulders to the proper thickness. Then APAC will place asphalt on