I-95 Article


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Article describing the engineering and construction management on a mega-road project.

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I-95 Article

  1. 1. Touring The i-95 express Toll lane projecT in Maryland SepteMBer 2010 By Marta J. Mills, marketing editor, Baltimore It’s often easy to be lulled into a kind Artistry aside, these bridge structures of complacency traveling on our have an expected life of up to 80 interstate road system. To appreciate years without significant repairs, this feat of engineering, it helps to while carrying as many as 200,000 see the interstate closeup—outside cars per day. This project was the walls of a vehicle—led by an the result of a study done by the experienced tour guide. Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) to provide congestion Six Baltimore marketers were recently treated to a unique view of one of the largest surface transportation projects on the East Coast. Construction manager and senior associate Gradon Tobery showed them some of the more remarkable aspects of the Section 100 reconstruction of Interstate 95 from the I-95/I-895 split in Baltimore, 10 miles north to the I-95/MD 43 interchange. This mega project involves the reconstruction of the existing 4-lane freeway and construction of a 2-lane express toll road northbound and southbound to reduce traffic congestion. The centerpiece of the reconstruction is the I-95/I-695 relief to the I-95 corridor northeast A view from below the complex interchange dubbed “the spaghetti of Baltimore. The project design road geometry of the new bowl” because of its complex featured a facility that would I-95/I-695 interchange. road geometry. The interchange is meter traffic during peak periods, impressive to drive with its skyways allowing drivers to pay a toll to move and gently curving stacked decks, but through this segment of I-95 more from the ground, one can really sense efficiently. STV became involved in the magnitude of its engineering. 2004, providing general engineering The overlapping skyways—some of consultant services for this $1.4 which rise 110 feet—amid a forest billion project—all of which is of mammoth cement columns, make funded with non-federal monies. the project appear like a massive open-air cathedral. Gradon divided the 10-mile highway project into 11 construction Dialogue 1
  2. 2. contracts. One of the central tasks Another major challenge in a mega was to redesign the I-95/I-695 project like this was coordinating interchange, eliminating the braided with dozens of subcontractors while portion of I-95 and removing the left staying on schedule and within exit and entrance. This allowed for budget. Gradon is proud that he future expansion and the inclusion has kept the work on schedule of express toll lanes while improving and currently under-budget. But traffic flow through the interchange perhaps he is most proud of the and adjacent roadways. Construction project’s safety record with no major of this interchange involved 12 new accidents or fatalities. bridge structures, four of which were elevated ramp structures roughly The project’s success has been 2,500 feet in length; five noise barrier recognized within the industry systems; and the replacement of two with awards from The American existing bridges. Concrete Institute for its concrete construction, one on the I-95/I- The express toll lanes, in the two 895 interchange reconstruction center lanes of the interstate, give and another for the I-95/I-695 drivers a choice of paying a toll to interchange reconstruction. The travel in the faster lanes or stay in project also garnered Mid-Atlantic the free outer lanes. Rather than Construction Magazine’s Best of toll booths, the express lanes use 2007 Award for quality construction electronic tolling which collect tolls of the Cowenton Boulevard and via devices mounted on an overhead Joppa Road I-95 overpass. gantry that reads a transponder in a driver’s window. The toll lanes are designed to improve traffic flow and will be an important revenue source -All photographs taken by Darlene for the MDTA. Sommers, marketing, Baltimore. Six members of Baltimore’s marketing group were recently given a tour of the I-95 express toll lane project. Pictured from left are contract administrator for the project Steven Brown, Jennifer Johnson-Surniak, Marta Mills, Anna Denbow, construction manager Gradon Tobery, Matt Conrad, and behind Matt, Amy Morrison. Dialogue 2