Traffic Returns To Normal On I-80
by Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT)
November 24, 2007
(Rock Springs) - Motorists in the Rock Springs area have much to be thankful for this year. The prime contractor, Upper Plains Contracting, Inc. and their subcontractors have completed phase one of a two year construction project for the Rock Springs Marginal Dewar Drive/Pilot Butte project.
At the Pilot Butte end of the project, this past season, 234,000 cubic yards (CY) or 30,000 dump truck loads of dirt were excavated from the Pilot Butte Interchange. The dirt was used for fill material for the eastbound ramps and the crossroad reconfiguration.
On mainline Interstate 80 and the eastbound on and off ramps at Dewar Drive and Pilot Butte, 35,000 CY of concrete was placed which is roughly equivalent to 4,300 cement mixer trucks. The old concrete, which is close to the same quantity as the new, was removed from the project and some of that was crushed and recycled as road base, which was a conservation of materials and a slight cost savings.
The nearly $46 million project is the single most expensive project the Wyoming Department of Transportation has let to date. The high cost of concrete pavement and the eight bridge structures are why the cost is so high. Although concrete pavement is more expensive, it was selected because it has a much longer life than asphalt, especially with the amount of truck traffic on the interstate.
With the increased truck traffic crossing the bridge at Exit 99, emergency repairs were required. Repairs entailed removing damaged portions of the bridge and replacing it with new concrete. The work was completed in just over two weeks, due to using a high-early (accelerated) concrete. High-early concrete gets its strength quicker by using special additives and additional cement, but these methods are not cost effective for larger volumes of repairs, such as the pavement on I-80. The bridge is scheduled for replacement in 2011.
The Wyoming Department of Transportation, UPCI and all of the subcontractors thank the traveling public for their patience during the 2007 construction phase. They will be finishing up minor work over the next few weeks before closing out this phase of the project. Contractors will return in the spring to begin phase two of the project, where the westbound lanes, four bridges and the Dewar Drive Interchange and crossroad will undergo reconstruction.
Now is a good time for local motorists to plan alternative routes to local destinations to avoid the Dewar Drive Interchange and the Dewar/Gateway/Sunset intersection to prevent driver frustration in the construction zone once the work begins in spring 2008. Suggested routes include using Exit 99, then the north or south service roads and the Gookin Bridge, to access businesses on Foothill Boulevard, Dewar Drive, Sunset Drive and Gateway Boulevard and avoid the construction area. Motorists can also use Exit 103, College Drive, to access Gateway Boulevard, Sunset Drive and the south side of Dewar Drive.