In the wake of Hurricane Katrina's devastating blow to New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, just getting back on your feet would be a monumental accomplishment for any business in this shattered part of the country, but to do so in order to successfully execute a major highway reconstruction project is simply remarkable. Well that's exactly what Barriere Construction Co. did this year when the asphalt producer/contractor pulled together all its resources to complete a $24.2 million, 227,000-ton asphalt overlay project of New Orleans' vital Interstate 10 infrastructure.
The 6.62-mile I-10 project is located in Slidell, LA east of Lake Pontchartrain from the northern end of the Twin Span Bridge to the French Branch Bridge. Interstate 10 is a vital six-lane highway that serves as a major evacuation route for the Greater New Orleans area. The project was designed to be completed in four phases to allow the traveling public to continue using the interstate with minimum disruption to daily and emergency evacuation use. Since work was scheduled to take place during the hurricane season, and other major infrastructure projects were scheduled to overlap in this area, Barriere designed innovative and aggressive scheduling solutions to minimize interruption should an evacuation be ordered, as well as to reduce interference with the other scheduled construction projects.
Phase I included rehabilitating the eastbound and westbound right shoulders in preparation to detour traffic for Phase II. The work required the removal of 76,000 square yards of surface and stabilized base material utilizing two milling machines working in tandem to increase production and achieve the correct slope and depth with minimal grading behind the operation, installing 35,600 linear feet of a shoulder under-drain system, installing 76,000 square yard of 4.25-inch asphalt base (Barriere proposed changing the stone base to asphalt to avoid disruption from stone base suppliers, and the DOT approved the change), and then placing 18,000 tons of Superpave asphalt. That work then allowed traffic to be detoured to the right travel lane and shoulder lane in preparation for Phase II.
Phase II consisted of widening the inside shoulder from 4 to 10 feet to accommodate traffic detours during Phase III. Reconstructing the inside shoulder included removing 39,000 square yards of surface and stabilized base material, and then placing 64,000 square yards of 4.25-inch asphalt base.
Once the shoulder work was completed, Barriere subcontracted Resonat Machines Inc. (RMI) to rubblize the three concrete travel lanes. The left travel lane and half of the center travel lane were rubblized then overlaid with 64,200 tons of a Superpave Level 3 binder course.
With traffic then redirected to the left portion of the roadway, Barriere then began Phase III, with RMI rubblizing the right travel lane and the remaining center travel lane. Once completed, paving crews then placed 47,600 tons of a Superpave Level 3 (1-inch aggregate) binder course, which was used as a leveling course, over the rubblized base.
Phase IV consisted of installing two 2-inch lifts of Superpave (97,000 tons) over the entire eastbound and westbound travel lanes as well as the expanded shoulder lanes. A Superpave Level 3 binder course with a PG 76-22M was used on the travel lanes, and topped with a Superpave Level 3F (3/4-in. aggregate) wearing course containing PG 76-22M. On the inside and outside shoulders Superpave Level 1 (1-in. aggregate) binder course and Superpave Level 1 (1/2-in. aggregate) wearing course with PG 70-22M were used.
Aggressive schedule from the beginning
The Louisiana Department of Transportation required a project scope of work and contract time (A+B value) bid on the project, valuing early completion at $15,000 per day with maximum early completion incentive capped at $600,000. The state also estimated the contract value at $20 million with a maximum allowable number of 510 calendar days to complete the project.