Granite, NV5 Crews rebuilt Belle Terrace: CEG



The $ 41 million project is part of the multi-phased Centennial Corridor Interchange, an important section of routes in Central California.

It’s not often that creativity and construction are seen in the same sentence, but contractors, utilities and the city of Bakersfield, Calif., Are working together to use creativity and sweat to handle more than 80 changes to original plans. and successfully complete Belle Terrace Operational Improvements Project with no citation or claim.

The $ 41 million project is part of the multi-phased Centennial Corridor Interchange, an important section of routes in central California. Improvements to SR 58 and SR 99 include the replacement of two bridges. The work will allow to increase the volume of traffic and reduce congestion.

The project began in fall 2018 and was completed in March 2021.

“Our working relationship has remained strong even as additional factors have the potential to flood our ability to deliver a high-quality project safely and efficiently,” said Bobby Pentorali, civil engineering manager of NV5, construction manager of city ​​of Bakersfield. “Our honest working relationships have allowed us to manage what seems like a tremendous effort at times. The Granite team has consistently demonstrated an honest and positive culture from start to close. The project is a great success, and we are all proud of what we have delivered for our client and the community. “

During the project workers removed the reinforced concrete and steel of the original Belle Terrace Bridge in just two nights. The equipment used had an impact equivalent to 70,000 1-lb. hammer for demolition. Demolition and removal of the current bridge was carried out on SR 99. The freeway had to be closed and active traffic deviated by the five hour window on two consecutive nights. One of the many “surprises” of the project occurred when workers spotted asbestos conduits on the current bridge, which was originally built in 1963. The construction team had to remove concrete segments and conduits containing asbestos. by cutting the deck.

The construction team relied heavily on Caterpillar equipment during the demolition and excavation stages of the project. The team deployed Cat 320, 336 and 349 excavators, CatD6N with Trimble earthworks and Cat 140M3 motor grader. The team also used the Link-Belt RTC8080 crane as well as other equipment during the bridge and retaining wall construction sequences.

The SR 99 was built on an ancient river and carried to a lowered trench in central Bakersfield. The project called for widening the freeway by approximately 100 feet and making a retaining wall. The wall nail, the retaining wall structure, is 3,400 linear ft. long, and over 30 ft. long. the height. It used a six, 5-ft. high vertical lifts of sequenced construction to be built from top to bottom.

The ground nail and retaining walls hold dirt, rocks and soil in place, preventing them from falling on the freeway. The construction method for the ground nail wall consists of drilling holes angled downward from the horizontal, up to a 5-ft. vertically dug the ground face into the ground, then insert the steel rods and grout, tension with a large nut and washer in the holes. It is important to build a “nail” to support the wall.

This economical method is quickly broken down like sandy soil that needs to be secured. The loose, sandy soil will not stand upright enough to complete the five -foot layer. Granite Construction spoke with the owner’s engineer and construction team to determine the repair. The solution began with workers digging a 2-ft.-wide trench, more than 30 ft. Long. the depth, then placing the slurry which when cured will keep the materials in the ground vertically while making the elevators. Approximately 6,000 nails were inserted into the supported ground while the wall was being constructed. Each nail was drilled 20-to-30 ft. Long. so deep. The nails, when tensioned, resist the vertical pressure of the ground.

This creative fix takes nine months to complete the 3,400-ft. walls and required before new freeway construction can begin. “When problems like this arise, the team maintains a mindset to try to find the best solutions,” Bassett said. “When we see problems, we try to bring them out early and work as a team to fix them.”

Once the nail wall to the ground was complete, the construction team could make provisions for the expansion of SR 99. Unfortunately, other barriers also hindered construction. A front road along the state route presented new problems.

“As we started digging, we discovered oil lines, water lines and other lines that were out of nowhere,” Bassett said. “There are also storm drain lines running in the nearby detention basin. Storm drain lines need to be removed for construction and a pumping system and a temporary basin will be built for the city until construction is completed.”

During the excavation, the team also discovered other surprises including objects such as a 30-ft.-long chunk of 4-ft. Concrete. thick. Throughout the project, Granite emphasized measures that are good for the environment. This surprise is no exception. Workers simply fed the concrete chunks to a crusher located in the area that crushed concrete from the demolished bridges and used as an aggregate base for the new asphalt and concrete pavement for both SR 58 and 99.

More Surprises

With most of the major problems gone, workers can focus their energies on the two bridges that are at the heart of the project. The connector bridge for the two freeways will need to be built at a new location. The three-span bridge requires new height to meet modern traffic conditions and a new location to accommodate the interchange. The overhead clearance reaches 18 to 19 feet. The Granite team recognized that this part of the project had fewer overlapping issues and decided to start this part of the project earlier than necessary, which shaved months off the schedule.

The planned relocation of utilities often conflicts with construction. This can be a serious problem when utility lines are located where bridge abutments are needed. Moving storm drains is another challenge. One of the solutions was the construction team that built the abutment bridge but initially left the wing walls. This allowed utility lines to be temporarily rerouted with wing walls installed later when the final lines were laid. Also, AT&T moved some of its fiber optics upstairs to avoid construction disruption.

Since many of the problem issues are out of the way, Granite workers can address the paving, crust and butter of many Granite projects. Prior to the interchange work, SR 58 was completed at SR 99, forcing motorists to travel over surface streets to reach I-5, a major north-south traffic connection for the West Coast. The completed roadwork will allow commuters and truckers to have smoother, faster traffic flow on the new Centennial Corridor and Westside Parkway. These are important transportation corridors.

Workers used approximately 11,000 tons of Type A hot-mix asphalt for road repairs. The team used 4,300 cu. yds. of continuous reinforced concrete pavement for the expansion of SR 99 and nearly 10,000 cu. yds. of structural concrete for bridges and retaining walls. The workers used another 760 cu. yds. of concrete for the construction of sidewalks, sidewalks and gutters.

The teams incorporated Six Sigma Continuous Improvement as they built the final element of the project-a cast-in-place concrete retaining wall with an architectural finish resembling a decorative rock formation.

“Each architectural form set is 100 feet long with 19 different sections that need to be installed to complete the face,” Bassett said. “It involves a lot of repetitive moves and we tried to think if there was a better way to do it,” Bassett said. A simple solution is to convert equipment such as drills, skill saws, nail guns and caulking guns to battery power. This means fewer power lines and less chance for workers to mess with each other. Also, lighter equipment means workers can install more elements faster. It has greatly improved our productivity. “

At the end of the work, a new normal emerged in this central California city. “It was gratifying to see the project completed and see the bridge open again,” Bassett said.

“The bridges bring a lot of local traffic, pedestrians, school children and local business activity. We were able to listen openly about the problems and worked with the city to find solutions.”

Darryl Ebel, Granite area manager, was pleased with the safety record at this complex project. “We emphasized safety to our team and to the various partners. It took two and a half years to complete the job, about 115,000 man hours. We were able to do it without lost time injuries or citations. in the environment. ” CEG


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