H & S Construction used a new Roadtec RX-900 - a 950-hp cold planer with a standard machine width of 9 feet and a working weight of about 95,800 pounds, to mill a 12’ 6” wide swath down both sides of the centerline of a deteriorating U.S. Rte. 182 near Patterson, LA in the fall of 2007.
The job called for removing and recycling approximately 32,000 square yards of crumbling old asphalt from the roadway and then placing 7,700 tons of Superpave hot mix asphalt. The new rehabilitated Rte. 182 now has two 12-foot-wide travel lanes plus two six-foot-wide shoulders of binder and top mix asphalt.
LADOTD Project Engineer Chris J. Lissard says “the challenges were everywhere, caused primarily by the old 20-foot-wide, two-lane road itself and the need to maintain at least one lane of open traffic at all times. There simply were just too many small businesses, residences and through-traffic to totally shut down the road.”
The Lafayette, LA.-based contractor had a $1.1-million contract with a 60-day completion with the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (LADOTD). The work called for H & S to mill, resurface and, in some areas, widen a 2.1-mile long section of Rte. 182, preferably before the Christmas holiday.
To cope with the quandaries posed by the various challenges, the contractor brought in a full equipment spread led by the new Roadtec RX-900 milling machine and a Roadtec RX-400. The RX-900 was milling 12.5 feet wide on the old mainline; the RX-400 was working on the shoulders.
The roadway was originally built and designated Rte. 90 in the 1930s as a state-of-the-art concrete road. At that time, the road followed the twisting course of the Bayou Teche with two 9-foot-wide lanes to meet the traffic needs of the day. When it was replaced with the new divided U.S. Rte 90, the old road was partially modified, upgraded and redesignated. Over the years, in belated attempts to keep pace with traffic demands some patching and partial overlays were made.
At the time of rehabilitating Rte. 182 in the middle of December, it was an unusual 80 degrees F, traffic was heavy, and Christmas shoppers were out in force. It was also nearing the end of the sugar cane harvest season and the massive, heavy cane trucks were moving their wide, seemingly endless loads, to the processing mills. On top of every thing else, it was intermittingly raining. This turned some sections of the cane sprinkled road into an extremely slippery surface.
Before beginning the milling operation, the contractor’s crew set out traffic delineating safety cones well ahead of the day’s proposed work zones. Flagmen were also placed out ahead of and behind the Roadtec RX-900 and moved along with it. Once milling started, pilot cars convoyed vehicles through the work areas.
The first 4,200 feet of the project, (the west end) consisted only of a 20-foot-wide roadway. The remainder of the road had been previously widened to include two 12-foot-wide, non-divided lanes and partial shoulders on both sides. The old 20-foot-wide road was milled full width in two passes, and widened to two 12-foot-wide non-divided lanes. A total paving overlay was added including new shoulders.
To expedite the project timeline the contractor stockpiled the milled material as it was removed at selected local onsite areas. This, according to Vice President Shannon Elliot, was done to reduce the number and cost of leased trucks rather than hauling it immediately back to the contractor’s plant sites for recycling. An onsite loader rehandled this at a later date when the asphalt hauling trucks normally would have been making the return trips empty.
“We are entitled to retain 75 percent of the millings we recover. The LADOTD retains the other 25 percent and will use their share for highway maintenance,” says Elliot.
“It’s no secret that we often spend as much time on logistical planning as we do on pursuing the jobs,” he says. “Even then, our team must remain flexible at all times in order to cope with those unanticipated situations. Weather is normally no problem when milling with our Roadtec milling machines.