Putting it to the test
Lanford had to remove approximately 11,000 tons of asphalt on the realignment project.
"We had to remove the full-depth of asphalt on the 12-foot-wide travel lanes and the adjacent shoulders," Soltis notes. "In some areas the roadway was 30-feet wide and we had to deal with grade issues leading to and from the old bridge structures."
The old southbound bridge approaches represented a bulk of the milling required on the project and Lanford's milling crew attacked the project by milling down the grade in one pass and then back up the grade in the second pass.
"We were able to load a truck in about a minute and a half with the MT-2000," Soltis says. "At times, we also ran the machine in tandem with our other milling machines during the two weeks we were working on the project."
For Lanford and Ingersoll Rand, the project provided an opportunity to test the new milling machine.
"We always welcome the opportunity to test new technology and I think Ingersoll Rand was interested in finding out what our operators thought of the machine. They (IR) were very interested in operator comfort and any improvement suggestions we had to offer," Soltis says. "They spent a lot of time talking to our operators during the two to three weeks we were testing the machine, and we felt the machine performed well as a medium-sized milling machine."
According to Jerry Brown, project manager for C.W. Hurt, removing the old pavement approaches was essential to accommodate lane expansion of the new approaches to the bridges, and also facilitate restoration in completing the project by July.
"With widening the new bridges to three travel lanes and adding a truck climbing lane, we did need some of the old right-of-way," Brown says. "But before we could build up the base to match the new elevation of the bridges, we had to have the old pavements removed. And the old right-of-way not used in the realignment has to be restored to natural vegetation. So, when this project is completed, you'll never be able to tell where the old bridges were located and where the old pavement approaches to the bridges were located."
So even on a full-depth demolition of a pavement to realign a roadway, milling machines play a vital preservation role. In the case of the I-81 Buffalo Creek Bridge project, the IR MT-2000 joined Lanford's milling fleet to not only remove an old pavement that will eventually be recycled into new HMA mixes, but also restore the land back to its natural state.