GOMACO World Index
GOMACO World 33.1 - February 2005

Paving Ontario's Busiest Highway

The 401 is a major highway that runs the length of Ontario, Canada, and is the main shipping route for trucks carrying goods between Canada and the United States. The traffic volume on the 401 is extremely high, and when the time came to replace a 6.5 mile (10.4 km) section of the highway, ministry officials decided to use concrete.

“This was an asphalt alternative project, but concrete won out over asphalt economically when the Ministry figured the life-cycle costs,” Rocky Coco, president of Coco Paving, said.

The Ministry of Transportation in Ontario (MTO) tendered the reconstruction of the 401 on May 6, 2004. The contract was awarded to Coco Paving, a contractor located in Windsor, Ontario, the end of that month and construction began on June 1.

“It was a very, very difficult time frame,” Coco said. “The first phase of the project, which is four miles (6.4 km), had to be completed by the end of 2004.”

Coco Paving already owned GOMACO equipment, but for the size of the project and the time frame in which it needed to be completed, they wanted a new paving train with new generation technology.

They purchased a new generation PS-2600 placer/spreader, a new generation GHP-2800 four-track paver with a front- and side-mounted bar inserter and an In-The-Pan Dowel Bar Inserter (IDBI), and a T/C-600 texture/cure machine. They also added a four-track Commander III to slipform the variable barrier on the contract.

Originally, Coco Paving wanted to slipform the highway’s three lanes in one pass. They quickly decided, because of project specifications and job-site logistics, it just wouldn’t be possible.

“When we tendered the project, we spent a lot of time looking at it to see if we could do a three-lane pour since the new highway will be three lanes in each direction,” Coco explained. “It would have been our preferred choice. However, haul routes, the large ditches on each side of the highway and not being able to drive on the subgrade... It was impossible. GOMACO’s technical staff helped us come up with a cross-section where we’d do two lanes in one pour and a single lane with a partially-paved shoulder in the second pour.”

Coco Paving is the prime contractor for the project and is handling all phases of it except for the bridge portions. Their responsibilities include building the open-graded drainage layer (OGDL).

“When we get our granular subgrade close, we put up our stringlines and use the same stringline to pretrim the grade with our 9500 and then place the OGDL, which is our underlying asphalt drainage layer,” Coco said.

The OGDL is made up of a .75 inch (19 mm) limestone rock that is coated with two percent asphalt cement. Coco’s asphalt paver lays the OGDL and rollers compact it.

According to project specifications, the OGDL cannot be driven on by anything but the paving train. Since concrete trucks couldn’t dump on the grade directly in front of the paver, Coco chose a PS-2600 placer/spreader.

Concrete is delivered to the job site by end-dump trucks. The ground man working next to the PS-2600 placer/spreader directs the concrete truck traffic and keeps production moving.

“The PS-2600 has been excellent,” Coco said. “The major thing with the placer/spreader is to have a good ground man. That’s a major point on it being a successful operating piece of equipment. You need a good ground man who can move the trucks in and out.”

The GHP-2800 paver, complete with a front-mounted bar inserter for the longitudinal joint, IDBI and a rear sidebar inserter, is slipforming the new roadway 10.25 inches (260 mm) thick. The width of the slab varies depending on the number of lanes they’re paving, either 23.8 feet (7.25 m) wide for two lanes or 14 feet (4.25 m) for the single lane.

Coco Paving had two different IDBIs built to accommodate the project’s two widths and tight deadline. With the dual-telescoping capability of the GHP-2800 paver, width changes were completed and Coco could resume paving in a matter of hours.

In the two lane configuration, slipforming 23.8 feet (7.25 m) wide, the IDBI is inserting 23 bars across the width of the slab. Slipforming 14 feet (4.25 m) wide, the IDBI inserts 12 bars. The bars are 1.25 inches (32 mm) in diameter and are placed 11.8 inches (300 mm) apart.

Joint spacings are random based on MTO specifications. The random spacings of 12, 14.8, 13 and 14.1 feet (3.7, 4.5, 4.0 and 4.3 m) are all programmed into and managed by the IDBI’s computer.

“It’s amazing because we have people who really aren’t computer orientated and they’ve picked it up just fine,” Coco said. “The screens are very user-friendly and it’s not intimidating equipment. Once you understand it, its functions and what it’s trying to do, it’s not difficult equipment to operate.”

The IDBI is performing well and has been a huge time saver on a project with a tight deadline. Coco’s crew has also enjoyed the labor it’s saved them.

“Once our crew saw they didn’t have to put baskets down anymore, they were elated,” Coco said. “I don’t think anyone wanted to nail or lug baskets around and the IDBI has worked out fantastic.

“Plus, with the labor costs to nail those baskets down, we felt the IDBI would pay itself off over the length of the contract.”

Ministry officials wanted to ensure that the IDBI was placing the bars at the proper depth and alignment. They did a full, two-lane cut through and removal of a section of the new highway and were impressed with what they found.

“We did a full cut through where we cut the bars in half so we could look at both faces,” Coco explained. “We were right on and the consolidation around the bars was fantastic. The matrix of the aggregate around the bars was very good. You couldn’t tell that the bars had been inserted.”

A GOMACO T/C-600 texture/cure machine follows behind the paver applying a horizontal tine.

In Ontario, bonus incentive is paid out differently than in the United States. Three separate factors are taken into consideration, not just surface smoothness.

“A third is the thickness, a third is the strength and a third is the rideability,” Coco said. “They grade us on all three of those, combine them and that’s how they determine what we’re paid. We’ve had very good success and our ride has been really good.”

The barrier wall has also been a successful venture for Coco Paving. It’s amazing that out of all the challenges Coco faced on this project, the barrier wall was the one that worried him the most. The wall, at its tallest, reaches six feet (1.8 m) high without any steel reinforcing.

“My biggest concern was getting the barrier wall to stand up,” Coco said. “The wall is variable in height up to 2.5 feet (0.8 m) in some areas. I think the most challenging part of the project was how we were going to get that concrete to sit up there six feet (1.8 m) high. I shouldn’t have worried. The Commander III did an excellent job.”

The first phase of Coco Paving’s project on the 401 has been a success. They completed the first 4 miles (6.4 km) of the project on schedule and are looking forward to completing the remaining 2.5 miles (4 km) next year before moving on to other projects.

“All of the equipment has performed excellent,” Coco said. “We can’t say enough about GOMACO and their technical support. Everyone that has come up here and worked with our people has been absolutely fantastic. They were very accommodating and answered any questions we had. We’ve just had excellent support from GOMACO.” In Ontario, bonus incentive is paid out differently than in the United States. Three factors are taken into consideration, not just surface smoothness.

“A third is the thickness, a third is the strength and a third is the rideability,” Coco said. “They grade us on all three of those, combine them and that’s how they determine what we’re paid. We’ve had very good success and our ride has been really good.”

The barrier wall has also been a successful venture for Coco Paving. It’s amazing that out of all the challenges Coco faced on this project, the barrier wall was the one that worried him the most. The wall, at its tallest, reaches six feet (1.8 m) high without any steel reinforcing.

“My biggest concern was getting the barrier wall to stand up,” Coco said. “The wall is variable in height up to 2.5 feet (0.8 m) in some areas. I think the most challenging part of the project was how we were going to get that concrete to sit up there six feet (1.8 m) high.”

The first phase of Coco Paving’s project on the 401 has been a success. They completed the first 4 miles (6.4 km) of the project ahead of schedule and are looking forward to completing the remaining 2.5 miles (4 km) next year before moving on to other projects.

“All of the equipment has performed excellent,” Coco said. “We just can’t say enough about GOMACO and their technical support. Everyone that has come up here and worked with our people has been absolutely fantastic. They were very accommodating and answered any questions we had. We’ve just had excellent support from GOMACO.”

 

Video Clip: Highway Paving, GHP-2800 With IDBI
(41.9 MB, 13 minutes long)
Windows Media Video (.wmv)
requires Windows Media Player

 

 

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GOMACO World Index

Continue Reading GOMACO World Vol. 33, No. 1

 

 


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