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Highway Work Zone - October 2009

West Texas Roads Getting Long-Needed Improvements

Roads across West Texas are rebuilt as Laredo’s Loop 480 moves forward and highways get improvements in Andrews, Fort Stockton.

Record Precipitation Doesn’t Rain on Lewisville Lake Toll Bridge Parade

Some final touches of work on the Lake Lewisville Toll Bridge were still underway when it opened Aug. 1.
Some final touches of work on the Lake Lewisville Toll Bridge were still underway when it opened Aug. 1.
(Photo: Courtesy NTTA.)

After three years of construction, the $900-million Lake Lewisville Toll Bridge opened Aug. 1. The project faced several challenges including major floods in the spring and summer of 2007 that shut down work for two months.

Construction of the toll bridge began in October 2006; however, work ceased for 100 days in 2007 due to record-breaking precipitation that caused the lake level to rise, Susan Slupecki, spokeswoman for North Texas Tollway Authority, told Texas Construction.

The Dallas/Fort Worth metropolitan area experienced its second wettest June on record with almost 11 in. of rainfall. In response, the NTTA offered the construction contractor an incentive to recover the lost time.

The bridge opened with an event that allowed pedestrians a chance to walk across the bridge.

The NTTA completed construction on the LLTB on the east-west Lewisville Lake Corridor, a 13.8-mi stretch of road connecting IH-35E to the Dallas North Tollway.

“The NTTA is responsible for the design, construction and operation of the approximately 2-mi section that includes the 1.7-mi Lewisville Lake Toll Bridge,” Slupecki says “The LLTB weekday traffic is expected to be 10,000 to 15,000 vehicles per day in 2009.”

However, when the corridor is scheduled to be complete in 2013, the estimated traffic is expected to be 30,300 - “keeping in mind these are 24-hour two-way volumes,” Slupecki adds.

“Now that the bridge is open to traffic, there is no question the LLTB will help reconnect the Lake Dallas community to the rest of Denton County, providing motorists with a significantly faster commute,” she says.

“We took a sample path from an origin near Lake Dallas and a destination near Little Elm and were able to determine that without the LLTB, the shortest path is approximately 21.5 mi,” she says. “With the LLTB, the shortest path is around 5.4 mi,” she adds. Time savings for this origin-destination pair could be 22-28 minutes, depending on the time of day of travel, she says. “It may or may not represent an average commute, but it demonstrates the undertaking of getting from one side of the lake to the other.”

The added connectivity/mobility, she says, has an unquantifiable value. It will likely change some trip ends - origins or destinations - that were previously precluded.

The bridge’s 360-ft signature arch structure is designed to give area residents, motorists and boaters an easily recognizable landmark in southern Denton County.

The weathering steel arch has a natural oxide coating that when fully mature is dense and relatively impervious to atmospheric corrosion, adding to the bridge’s durability. The weathering steel requires less maintenance, which could mean a future cost savings for upkeep, according to the NTTA.

The bridge also has a storm water filtering system that meets U.S. Army Corps of Engineers standards and targets the most contaminated water, or first flush, the result of the .25-in. of rain, the time when the pavement is the dirtiest with oil and debris. The storm water-filter system promotes water quality by preventing contaminants from entering thestorm water and drainage system, lakes and streams by catching and treating the water before it returns to the lake. The LLTB is the only bridge in North Texas with that type of built-in storm water system.

The uncoated concrete beams are designed to provide aesthetic appeal to motorists and are more environmentally friendly than coated concrete because they do not release volatile organic compounds. A financial impact is associated because coated concrete is more expensive to make and maintain. By using uncoated concrete, there can be an upfront cost savings as well as a long-term cost savings since money will not have to be spent on repairs, or revenue lost from closing the road to make them, Slupecki says.

The total LLTB project is budgeted at approximately $122 million with construction costs totaling $98 million. The project is currently under budget with an actual cost of $118 million. The entire 13.8-mi LLTB corridor project is estimated to cost $220 million.

Dallas-based PBS&J provided construction management services for the 1.7-mi toll bridge over Lewisville Lake, in conjunction with Keville Enterprises of Dallas, Rodriguez Transportation Group of Lake Dallas and STL Engineers of Dallas.

The LLTB features a lighted tied arch spanning 360 ft above the four-lane bridge. The arch is made of weathering structural steel, weighing 1,900 tons, over the reinforced concrete bridge deck and concrete foundation.

The NTTA worked with Denton County; TxDOT; the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; and the cities of Little Elm, Frisco, and Lake Dallas to develop the corridor.

Construction Begins on Laredo’s $26 Million State Loop 480

The third portion of what will eventually become part of the entire Eagle Pass Outer Loop began late summer with Laredo’s 5.6-mi-segment construction of State Loop 480.

Zachry Construction Corp.’s Grand Prairie office will be responsible for constructing the segment at a cost of $26.2 million. The project, with limits from FM 1021 to U.S. 57, calls for the construction of a non-freeway facility consisting of grading, hot-mix asphaltic concrete pavement, flex-base materials, treatment to subgrade, bridges and drainage structures, pavement markings, illumination and signals. The project is 5.670 mi. in length.

Project development started in the late 1990s with three segments making up the Eagle Pass Outer Loop, which will extend from international bridge II to U.S. 277 North. The first segment is from FM 1021 to U.S. 57. Future segments will be from international bridge II to FM 1021, and the other, from U.S. 57 to U.S. 277N. It is funded by TxDOT’s Proposition 14.

TxDOT Rebuilding State Highway 115 Through Andrews

With work slated for completion by January, Reece Albert Inc. of Midland-San Angelo is working the $4-million rebuilding to repair Broadway, affecting 1.5 mi of that street’s portion of State Highway 115 from the SH 176-SH 115 West split to the traffic light at 7th Street East in Andrews.

The work includes construction of curb and gutter, placing ADA ramps to accommodate pedestrians with disabilities, a full rehabilitation of the roadway, and placing a concrete intersection at Broadway and Main. The time allotted for the project is 160 working days.

Rebuilding of 8-Mi Stretch of U.S. 285 in Pecos County Under Way

Work began recently on a $1.5-million stimulus project in Pecos County to rebuild 8 mi. of U.S. 385 south of Fort Stockton. The project will include strengthening the underlying base structure of the section of highway with cement prior to placing a pair of surface treatments to help it stand up to the demand of the region’s heavy oilfield traffic.

The section is to be rebuilt in 2.6-mi sections beginning near the southern crest of the big hill 9 mi. south of Fort Stockton and continues for 8 mi. south.

El Paso-based C&C Road Construction, which is currently building passing lanes on U.S. 67 southwest of Fort Stockton, bid $1.5 million for the U.S. 385 rehab job - 38% under the $2.4-million estimate.

Concrete Culverts at Sand Bend, 4-Mile Draw Get New Slabs

Work is expected to wrap up this month on the Texas Department of Transportation repairs on two aging bridge class box culverts north of Pecos on U.S. 285. The highway serves as a main trucking route from New Mexico south to the Rio Grande.

TxDOT is placing new concrete slabs on both structures, which were built in 1932 and widened in 1959.

The contractor is Midland-San Angelo construction firm Reece Albert Inc., which won the job with a low bid of $751,314.61 about 45% below the engineer’s estimate.

The large concrete box culverts at Sand Bend and 4-Mile Draw, which are two water courses that are usually dry, are on U.S. 285 between the SH 302 intersection and Farm to Market Road 652 at Orla.

Both box culverts have been limited to vehicles carrying 11,000 lbs. per single and tandem axle or less since August of 2008. The load limit restriction will remain in effect during the repair work.

Central Texas Roadways Get Annual Facelift, Seal-Coating

More than a dozen roadways in seven counties in the Waco area have received needed repairs by the Texas Department of Transportation.

More than 130 mi of Farm-to-Market, State and U.S. roadways were seal-coated over the summer. The seal coating is designed to increase the life and safety of the roadway surface by acting as a type of waterproofing, as well as protecting the roadway from harsh weather.

Newman & Keng Paving Co. Inc. of Giddings worked on the $6.5-million project.

Sam Houston Tollway Ramps Get Upgrades

The Harris County Toll Road Authority began construction of improvements to the Westheimer and Bellaire entrance and exit ramps on the Sam Houston Tollway South with a targeted completion date of May.

The improvements will consist of widening the existing EZ TAG lane and adding an additional full-service lane to provide a total of three lanes for the Westheimer entrance and exit ramps. The Bellaire southbound entrance ramp will be converted from the existing two narrow lanes to a wider single EZ TAG-only lane.

The lanes at the northbound exit ramp to Bellaire will be widened to improve safety for drivers. Construction impacts at all four locations are expected to be minimal for the traveling public.

Parker Rd Bridge Demolition Closes U.S. 75 Overnight for Four Days

Demolition of the Parker Road bridge at U.S. 75 closed down the interstate for four nights in late summer in Collin County. TxDOT says all work was cleaned up and moved out of the way before the rush hour traffic each morning on Central Expressway.

To accomplish this, TxDOT and Houston-based W.W. Webber LLC demolition crews tore down most of the concrete pavement of the old Parker Road bridge over southbound U.S. 75 mainlanes. The remainder of that section, including pavement and support beams, were removed another evening.

Crews completed the demolition over four nights.

The work is part of a $20-million construction project to convert the U.S. 75 and Parker Road interchange from a standard, grade-separated bridge to a single-point urban interchange .

The estimated project completion is fall 2010.


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