Concrete pavers improve major highway upgrade
First publishedon www.WorldHighways.com
Brazil's BR-101 highway stretches some 4,000km from the north to the south of the country and runs through 12 states, while its rehabilitation is vital to the country's economy
In Brazil, concrete pavers from Wirtgen are being used to improve sections of the BR-101 highway as well as to construct concrete safety barriers. The use of these machines is of note as it is the first time concrete paving has been used on a federal road in Brazil. The 1st Army Engineering Division of the Brazilian Army is carrying out three of the eight North Eastern sections, as the construction work had to be speeded up project because the road is deemed crucial to the country's economy. Two Wirtgen SP850 pavers are working on the US$850 million upgrade to the 400km long North Eastern stretch of the BR-101 highway, where traffic loads are particularly heavy. This section of the highway links five major ports, while it is also a main route for the transport of sugar cane, a major industry in the area. To maximise productivity for the pavers, concrete is being as close to the working area as possible and transported using a fleet of mixer trucks. The sometimes tricky weather conditions in the North East of Brazil mean that a curing compound has to be applied to the concrete immediately after the texture has been produced and a Wirtgen TCM950 texture curing machine is also being used on the project. Meanwhile to maximise safety on the highway, barriers are being installed using a number of the smaller Wirtgen SP250 slipformers. The Brazilian Army bought the concrete paving equipment from Wirtgen and its construction crews had to undergo additional training so as to use the machines effectively. So far around 50% of the upgrade to the Northern stretch of the BR-101 highway, which runs through the states of Rio Grande Norte, Paraíba and Pernambuco, has been completed. A further 350km of the Southern section of the highway is being upgraded as the road was originally built 30 years ago and it is no longer able to cope with the traffic volumes of up to 15,000 vehicles/day.