ATLANTA - As work continues on the I-85 rebuild, Georgia Department of Transportation Director of Construction Marc Mastronardi provided a status update for the project, which Georgia DOT has committed to completing and opening to traffic on or before June 15.
“This afternoon the contractor is completing the last cap pour. Twenty beams will be installed by midnight tonight on two of the project’s six spans. These will be set on those spans in the furthest northern location in both directions,” Mastronardi said. “And by Tuesday, when the last cap forms are removed, the entire substructure - which provides support for the beams and the deck - will be complete.
Caps are placed on top of columns and underneath bridge beams. The bridge deck spans are the individual decks resting on those caps, he explained.
Some work will require a closure of Piedmont Road at I-85 from 9am on April 25 until 9am on April 26.
In addition, GDOT is moving ahead with an adjacent resurfacing of 6.6 miles of I-85 from I-75/SR 401 to Clairmont Road, including the collector-distributor lanes.
“Georgia DOT recognizes the inconveniences faced by motorists due to the closing of the I-85 at Piedmont Road area,” Commissioner Russell R. McMurry, P.E. said. “We have carefully thought this through and determined that getting a jump on this essential resurfacing is an opportunity to limit the public’s stress and inconvenience, while also using our time and resources sensibly.”
The $22.9 million resurfacing project has been on hold while Georgia DOT determined a suitable strategy to efficiently get the project done while minimizing public inconvenience. The low bid joint contract was awarded to C.W. Matthews Contracting Co., Inc. and E.R. Snell Contractor, Inc.
Each will focus their efforts on a single direction, reducing the timeframes that work will affect motorists. The anticipated completion date is February 28, 2018.
Outside the existing closed roadway, there will be no daytime lane closures on weekdays due to the resurfacing. Night work is expected to start on Thursday, April 20 northbound, and Sunday, April 23 southbound.
While typical similar projects often use a pair of 150-ton cranes, for efficiency and time savings, an 800-ton crane – one of the largest around – is being used to set all the spans for I-85. The advantage of the larger crane is its reach; it can be set up once and place decks for several spans without having to be relocated.
To date 530 cubic yards of concrete have been poured and 9.5 tons of steel have been placed. The next steps are survey work to finish deck elevations and the deck work itself. Construction will then progress south to set the remaining spans.
“A fair amount of very complex work has been completed and I am excited about the pace of the work,” Mastronardi said. “To ensure safety standards, we have four inspectors per shift onsite. We are working continuously to re-open this critical corridor and continue to ask for motorists to plan ahead, seek alternate commute options, and to be patient when they are behind the wheel. Opening the roadway is our number one priority.”
The federal government has committed to providing $10 million in aid and to easing some federal regulations to expedite the reconstruction.