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Archive for Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Crews pour concrete deck for new Kansas Turnpike bridge

Some of the biggest work about to begin

Stacy Taylor, of Mahaska, an employee of United Contractors, stretches out on a “work bridge” to smooth out a divot in fresh concrete atop a much larger span: one that will carry Kansas Turnpike traffic over North Third Street in North Lawrence. Workers installed the new bridge’s concrete deck Wednesday, part of an ongoing $130 million project to replace several bridges and make other improvements along the turnpike in Lawrence.

Stacy Taylor, of Mahaska, an employee of United Contractors, stretches out on a “work bridge” to smooth out a divot in fresh concrete atop a much larger span: one that will carry Kansas Turnpike traffic over North Third Street in North Lawrence. Workers installed the new bridge’s concrete deck Wednesday, part of an ongoing $130 million project to replace several bridges and make other improvements along the turnpike in Lawrence.

April 22, 2009

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Turnpike bridge construction going smoothly

Crews started pouring concrete on a Kansas Turnpike bridge on Wednesday. Enlarge video

Numbers set in concrete

Penny’s Concrete, Lawrence, is supplying concrete for new Kansas Turnpike bridges through Lawrence.

Some numbers:

• 430: cubic yards of concrete supplied Wednesday for the new bridge over North Third Street, enough to weigh 830 tons — the same as 69 Lawrence transit buses.

• 2,405: cubic yards already in place to support a new Kansas River bridge. Together, the concrete poured for piers and shafts weighs 4,642 tons, or the equivalent of 385 city transit buses.

• Seven: depth, in inches, of each bridge deck. Each deck will support an additional layer of “high-density” concrete — measuring 1.5 inches thick — as a driving surface.

Crews poured the concrete deck Wednesday for a new Kansas Turnpike bridge over North Third Street in North Lawrence, and its driving surface is expected to be applied early next month.

Still to come is the main course — all 4,000 cubic yards of it, to be dumped from 400 concrete trucks — crossing the Kansas River.

“That’ll begin in three or four weeks,” said Rex Fleming, project engineer for the Kansas Turnpike. “We need to get it in.”

The work is part of the turnpike’s ongoing $130 million project to replace, rebuild and otherwise overhaul the bulk of a stretch of Interstate 70 as it passes through Lawrence.

The bridge crossing North Third is one of several structures going up to handle increasing levels of traffic, loads that show no sign of slowing down.

“The project’s roughly the same price of what they built the whole turnpike for originally,” Fleming said. “It’s big.”

Some of the biggest work is about to begin.

In three or four weeks, Fleming said, Iowa-based United Contractors and Lawrence-based Penny’s Concrete will start pouring the deck for the first of two new river bridges. Each of the bridges will be three lanes wide, with shoulders on each side.

While the initial river bridge ultimately will be used to carry traffic headed west, its first job will be to handle all turnpike traffic — two lanes in each direction — beginning in September or October. That’s so that the existing bridges can dismantled, and a new bridge for eastbound traffic can be built in their place.

“We expect to switch the traffic over this fall,” Fleming said.

The entire project is scheduled to be finished by the end of 2011.

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