Indiana is a hub for several major interstate highways that criss cross through the state and has been nicknamed the Crossroads of America. The state is home to more pass-through highways than any state in the US and its roads carry a high percentage of heavy trucks transporting goods.
However, carrying such heavy traffic loads has taken its toll on the existing infrastructure. According to the Indiana state government website, approximately US$30 billion needs to be invested in Indiana’s highways over the next 20 years. Nearly 90% of those dollars are dedicated to improving the condition of existing roads and bridges, boosting safety and drainage issues.
One of the interstates getting much-needed pavement replacement and new bridge superstructures is I-74. The concrete pavement rebuild includes a 13-mile section of I-74 in northern Ripley County, south-east Franklin County and south-west Decatur County. Milestone Contractors is leading the 30-month, $61 million reconstruction project.
To keep drivers safe and reduce roadway congestion on I-74, the project was broken up into three phases focusing on patching, shoulder strengthening, and widening and building crossovers for future traffic shifts.
Milestone Contractors began the 30-month portion of the reconstruction project with significant challenges. Workable hours, traffic and maintenance limited when the firm could be on the road to minimise traffic impact.
Operations focused on concrete pavement construction at the east and west end of the project limits. The traffic on I-74 was shifted to westbound lanes while full-depth pavement replacement was carried out in the eastbound lanes. One lane of traffic, separated by a concrete barrier wall, was maintained in each direction of the westbound side of the highway.
In the last year of construction, the contractor shifted all I-74 traffic to the rebuilt eastbound lanes, with one lane in each direction separated by a concrete barrier wall, while westbound lanes were constructed.
The dowel-pin drilling aspect of the project represented a major challenge. The limitations of the job challenged the company to have hundreds of holes drilled, prepped and ready before the pour crews came in, which meant they had to be off the road at a certain time.
In order to drill over 900 holes/eight-hour shift, Milestone Contractors used the A-4SCW four-gang self-propelled wireless drill and dust collection system from Minnich Manufacturing.
Terry Burris is general superintendent of concrete operations for Milestone Contractors and commented, “The speed of the drills got us in and out so we could move forward quickly. The safety aspect of the drills with the dust collection system is phenomenal. It makes it a lot easier on your workers when you aren’t fighting the dust.”
“One of the things we like to pride ourselves in is that we are probably one of the few contractors that have the dust collection system on all of our drills,” Friess added.
The contractor also found the service support provided by Minnich helped with its operations on the project. On its completion, the I-74 project was awarded American Concrete Pavement Association’s (ACPA) 2020 “Excellence in Concrete Pavements” silver award for rural divided highways.