KANSAS CITY, Mo., Dec. 1, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Design and construction crews are making room for more freight trucks on the Interstate 35 section of the Kansas Turnpike — one inch at a time.
South of Wichita, the Kansas Turnpike Authority is elevating 10 bridges that cross I-35 by anywhere from 12 inches to 15 inches each. That's to reach a practical clearance that meets most of the needs of the freight industry while also empowering business, streamlining maintenance needs and improving safety. "Increasing the height of the specific bridges that cross over the turnpike was identified as a way to aid freight movement on the turnpike and decrease commercial traffic on local roads and highways," says Steve Hewitt, CEO of the KTA. In April, the KTA hired Burns & McDonnell to handle engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) for lifting the 10 spans. The team is boosting clearances from as low as 14 feet, 6 inches, to a height of at least 15 feet, 9 inches. At least three bridge lifts will be completed this year, with the remainder to be finished in summer 2017. Turnpike officials say the EPC method allows more work to be done, faster, than otherwise could be accomplished using traditional contracting methods. The contract calls for the KTA to spend no more than $3.7 million, with the possibility for value-engineering savings to be returned back to the KTA or used to complete additional work. "This is a low-cost project with high value all around," says Rod Lacy, manager of the Highway Department at Burns & McDonnell. "Our subcontractors are providing excellent work while gaining valuable design-build experience. And the turnpike is getting a turnkey project, one that's efficient, saves time and provides value engineering — all while keeping everyone informed and engaged." On-site, hydraulic pumps do the heavy lifting — carefully pushing up to 578,000 pounds of steel girders and concrete deck higher, one inch at a time.