One contractor completing two Tollway projects is Curran Contracting, a fourth generation company located in Crystal Lake, IL. Currently, Curran Contracting has five operating asphalt plants located in Crystal Lake, DeKalb, McHenry, Lake Bluff and Grayslake, IL.
While warm mix continues to gain momentum in Illinois, Curran Contracting has completed several jobs using warm mix starting with its first project in 2008 and two projects in 2010. So far, Curran Contracting has continued business as usual with the required specification of WMA on Tollway projects. “We haven’t encountered any challenges yet with warm mix,” says John Lavallee, quality control manager at Curran Contracting. “We are using a chemical product for our warm mix, and plant modifications were minimal.”
Paving the Illinois Tollway
Curran Contracting bid and was awarded two Tollway projects for warm mix on I-88 on the Ronald Reagan Memorial Tollway , with a split at Annie Glidden Road located in DeKalb, IL. The two projects were bid separately, a day apart, with one project stretching 15 miles west while the other project stretched 23 miles east. Work began in April and will be completed in November, with a substantial completion date in October, when the majority of the work must be completed.
Due to the location of both projects, Curran Contracting joined teams with William Charles Construction, located in Loves Park, IL. By working together, Curran Contracting and William Charles were able to bid the project with a cost advantage over other competitors for the extensive project.
“Logistically, they have a plant on the west end of the job and we have a plant on the east end of the west job,” says Dan Curran, president of Curran Contracting. “On the east job, William Charles didn’t have a plant logistically close enough to produce the mix. William Charles is supplying 70 percent of the mix for the west job and we are each placing half of it. On the east job, we are producing all of the asphalt mix and we are each placing half of it.”
Curran Contracting used material from its DeKalb plant that was a Gencor 500-tph plant with four silos, three reclaimed asphalt pavement cold feed bins and six aggregate cold feed bins. Roughly 350,000 tons of WMA was produced for the two Tollway projects with 130,000 tons used on the west project and 220,000 tons used on the east project. Warm mix was used on the mainline and all of the shoulders. “The roadway was in fair condition, and it was patched every fall,” Curran says. “The shoulders were in much worse shape. We were doing more repair work on the shoulder than on the main line.”
Crews completed day and night work on the western and eastern projects with the majority of the work completed during the night allowing two lanes of traffic to be open during the day and one lane during the night beginning at 6:30 p.m. While crews were able to work on the western job both day and night, seven days a week, crews had to have their work on the eastern job completed by noon Thursday to open all lanes for weekend traffic.
The joint venture with William Charles resulted in a different schedule of production. “Many times the plant would supply asphalt for Curran Contracting crews during the night and William Charles crews during the day,” Curran says. “Or, William Charles crews would be supplied with material at night and Curran Contracting crews during the day. Our plant and William Charles plant could supply mainline stone matrix asphalt (SMA) mixes for only one paving crew at a time due to plant production limits for SMA. We could supply N70 and N50 warm mix for shoulders to two paving crews at the same time.”
During production, Curran Contracting was able to get close to 260-degree production temps and monitored the mix going into the silo without any clumping and few coating issues. There was also great success on the jobsite with densities staying where they had been running and a temperature drop of 10 degrees from plant to paver. Curran Contracting saw an average temp between 240-260 degrees before the initial paving.