In less than three years, general contractor Shelly and Sands, Inc., of Mansfield, Ohio, is completely rebuilding 3.8 miles of the four-lane highway, including four pairs of mainline structures, multiple ramps, and work on side roads.
To achieve the aggressive schedule, Shelly and Sands submitted a value engineering change proposal (VECP) to modify phasing and traffic flow. ODOT approved the proposal for last year’s work and is looking at approving a similar change for the 2022 construction season.
“Safety-wise, quality-wise, and time-wise, the change was a huge benefit to the project,” Labaki said.
ODOT funded the rehabilitation project with 80 percent federal dollars and 20 percent state dollars. Originally constructed beginning in 1956, U.S. 30’s deteriorating concrete base under the asphalt pavement had required ongoing repairs, with multiple structures nearing the end of their lifespan.
In addition to reconstructing the highway with full-depth asphalt, the project removes and replaces four mainline bridges, each with separate concrete structures for westbound and eastbound traffic. Another, newer mainline bridge will have minor maintenance. The contractor will also remove a structure that crosses a private driveway and build fill.
For the ramps in the corridor, crews will remove one set; construct another set between existing ramps, which will be removed; and add improvements on additional ramps, as well as merge lanes. On top of all that, the contractor will construct a median barrier, widen shoulders, add corridor lighting, and replace right-of-way fencing. Side road work includes construction of a new cul-de-sac, realignment of Longview Avenue and Ohio 545, and reconstruction of Wise Avenue and Ohio 39.
In 2020, Shelly and Sands performed maintenance of traffic (MOT) work to prepare for reconstruction of the westbound side of the road in 2021 and the eastbound side in 2022. The project will reach substantial completion in fall 2022. If some of the smaller, weather-dependent items can’t be finished this construction season, the contract allows for final completion in spring 2023.
“Originally, the contract required maintaining two lanes of traffic in each direction throughout the length of the project,” Labaki said. “With the change, we reduced traffic to one lane in each direction for about half of the project, pushing all the traffic onto the eastbound lanes. That allowed the contractor to work on one full side of the project.”
ODOT had planned to break last year’s work into three major MOT phases. With acceptance of the VECP, “We eliminated multiple phase shifts and gained some time,” Labaki said. “Some of the shifts would’ve taken a week to get all the portable concrete barrier walls and safety features moved.”
According to Ryan Porter, Project Manager for Shelly and Sands, “The way it was proposed was a very aggressive schedule, and we probably wouldn’t be where we are today if we didn’t change it. The money savings up front from materials, production, and time totaled $750,000, which we split with ODOT.”
The change also provides a better product, Porter said. “Instead of the road having three cold joints from doing it in three phases, in a lot of areas it was done full width so we didn’t have the cold joints.”
The new plan also took traffic off the westbound structures so they could be built full width, instead of having two major portions and a closure pour that could create grading problems and potential issues for long-term maintenance, Labaki said.
As a safety benefit, “We eliminated the need for trucks to pull in and out of the work zone from live traffic,” he added. “We also reduced confusion for the traveling public. In the original contract, every two to three months we would’ve changed the traffic patterns, which ramps were open, and detour routes. The proposal allowed us to get into a stable condition early in the season.”
For the upcoming reconstruction of eastbound U.S. 30, Shelly and Sands submitted another proposal to adjust phasing similar to last year.
“We initially only did it for one season because we wanted to see how it worked out before we accepted it for this upcoming season,” Labaki said. “We’re in the approval process and anticipate that occurring for the 2022 season.”
To complete the extensive rehabilitation in the short timeframe, Porter and his superintendents typically coordinate 10 crews working simultaneously throughout the corridor. Some come from subcontractors, but the majority work for Shelly and Sands.
“We’re a union contractor, so we’ve been going to the Union Hall quite a bit for this project,” Porter said.
“As we’re trying to build those structures full width, only 2 inches separate the eastbound and westbound structures,” Labaki said. “Workers are really close to traffic with tight working spaces toward the centerline of the road, and there’s just not a lot of room for error.”
Sometimes there isn’t enough room for the work without temporary road closures. For instance, as crews rebuilt the westbound structures last year, “When we were driving sheeting, we were hanging out over the eastbound lanes,” Porter said.
To keep everyone safe, Shelly and Sands occasionally shut down a lane of traffic on the eastbound structure with a nighttime closure or rolling roadblock.
Space constraints also affected a rock cut on the east end of the project. “In pre-bid questionnaires, a lot of contractors wanted to drill and blast in that area, but we didn’t allow that due to close proximity to some structures and residents,” Labaki said.
Instead, Shelly and Sands used a hoe ram to break off 10,000 cubic yards of material, extending the existing cut to a 1:1 slope.
“It was sandstone, so it broke down really well and ended up being perfect fill material,” Labaki said.
- Owner – Ohio Department of Transportation; Jeff Labaki and Megan Feller, Project Engineers
- General Contractor – Shelly and Sands, Inc., Mansfield, Ohio; Ryan Porter, Project Manager; Chad Speedy, Bridge Superintendent; Joe Brokaw, Construction Superintendent
Photos courtesy of the Ohio Department of Transportation