Interstate 15 is Utah’s most traveled roadway and an essential long-haul route for North American commerce. Of its 1,433 roadway miles, 401 are in the state of Utah and 13 have been the focus of UDOT’s “Lane Gain” project in 2016.
The $41 million dollar construction contract — which required 26 miles of new highway lane and shoulder, widening of eight bridge structures and correlating utility work — was awarded to Geneva Rock Products in December 2015. Work on the project began in March and was completed in November.
According to UDOT, the project is the answer to multiple traffic studies that suggest a steady influx in transport along I-15 in northern Utah. The 13-mile stretch of roadway is still considered rural, but exists as the desired route to busier, industrial communities spanning from Ogden to Provo.
“A growing number of transport trucks pass through mile marker 349 to 362 each day,” said Nathan Schellenberg, vice president of construction for Geneva Rock Products.
“The state is wisely investing in expanding this portion of I-15 before it becomes overwhelmed. A move that helps commuters, businesses and, in general, our economy.”
A STEADY STREAM
To maintain the flow of traffic during construction, crews worked with the Utah Highway Patrol (UHP) seven days a week to coordinate movement through work areas.
“Creating a safe environment for our crews and the traveling public is a top priority,” says Daniel Bird, project manager. “UHP helped us ensure safe conditions throughout the duration of the work, resulting in zero incidents leading to fatalities — an expectation we have on all Geneva Rock projects.”
Coordination with Port of Entry was also vital in ensuring trucks were able to move in and out of their facility and move freely through construction.
Barrier placement was a unique challenge on this road construction project. Typically, if a new barrier is being built, it will be placed at the conclusion of the project after the new lane has been constructed. Because this project plan included designs for a unique drainage system between the new inside lane and the center median barrier, the barrier had to be placed on the subgrade before the new lane could be paved. This project design meant crews were required to work in half the space.
“Right off the bat, our work zone was challenged due to
the placement of the barrier,” says Mike Westbroek, project manager. “It took awhile for us to plan how we would maneuver work in the tightened configuration. Once we figured out how to route trucks and move equipment through the work zone, things rolled ahead.”
Planning was key to the project as a whole. Bird credits the project staying on — and often ahead of — schedule to weeks of what he calls pre-game planning.
“Twenty-six lane miles of work in one summer is aggressive,” Bird says. “We knew one hiccup could derail the timeline, so we scripted out the project down to every day and every task. Weeks of detailed planning resulted in an extremely smooth project execution.”
Better yet, the project was completed nearly a month ahead of the anticipated end date, a construction announcement everyone was happy about.