As with any project, there are many interesting facts and tidbits of information that come up in various conversations and meetings. This project is no different, so we thought we would share that information with you on this page! Check back often as we will update this page frequently!
Control Joints Minimize Random Cracking: Cracks in concrete cannot be prevented entirely, but they can be controlled or minimized by properly designed control joints. Generally, concrete cracks because of shrinkage that occurs when the concrete dries and hardens. Additionally, differences in moisture and temperature can cause concrete to warp or curl. So, in an effort to reduce damage, the finished pavement will be cut approximately 3.75 inches deep every 15 feet along the roadway in "control joints," which force the bending or cracking of the concrete into one controlled location. Then, before the roadway sees any traffic, these joints are widened, cleaned, and sealed to prevent water and debris infiltration.
Concrete Texturing Improves Safety on WCR49: Texturing is a critical step in paving that improves safety by creating resistance so a vehicle maintains a good “grip” with its tires. After the concrete has been placed, the surface will need texturing to produce the desired appearance and friction. Texturing involves dragging a piece of burlap across the concrete directly behind the concrete paver to produce a uniform, gritty surface texture. Following hardening of the concrete, testing is performed to verify that the amount or depth of the texture meets project requirements.
Purple Dowel Bars: Concrete can expand or contract with changes in temperature, so pavements are divided into slabs to prevent uncontrolled cracking and to allow them to move independently. Dowel bars are smooth round bars which mainly serve as load transfer devices across concrete joints and are placed to allow movement to take place without affecting the integrity of the pavement. IHC is using epoxy coated dowel bars on Weld County Road 49. These bars have a specialized fusion bonded epoxy that coats the entire bar including the ends, providing superior corrosion resistance similar to stainless steel at a fraction of the cost and ensures the longevity of the roadway being constructed. This project is the first project in the region to utilize these specialized bars.
Temporary Batch Plant: The Weld County Road 49 Corridor project will require approximately 950,000 cubic yards of concrete. To save time and money, IHC set up a state-of-the-art concrete batching (or mixing) plant in close proximity to the construction site. Click our link, WCR 49 Corridor temporary batch plant, to see our time-lapse video showing the building of this temporary plant.
Concrete is a composite material made of water, aggregate (crushed stone and sand), cement and other ingredients. On the WCR 49 project, three different aggregate sizes will be used in the concrete, and a special chemical is added to the mix to slow the setting rate while retaining the workability of the concrete. This is necessary due to the length of the corridor and to ensure maximum strength of the finished roadway.
GPS Technology at Work on WCR 49: On WCR 49, IHC is using Global Positioning Systems (GPS) technology for surveying, grading and paving. For years, GPS technology has helped farm tractors apply just the right amount of fertilizer, ships navigate the high seas and airplanes stay on course. Applying the technology to road construction reduces costs, improves quality and increases safety.
Recycling Asphalt: On WCR 49, IHC will be removing all of the existing asphalt and recycling it as road base under the new concrete surface. Reusing more than 190 thousand tons of old asphalt is both cost effective and environmentally sustainable.
Sight Distance: Improving safety for the traveling public is one of the goals of the WCR 49 Corridor Project. One way safety is being improved is through creating better sight distance along the corridor. Sight distance is defined as the length of roadway visible to a driver. The further a driver can see down a roadway, the better a driver can react to a potential hazard or accident. In normal driving conditions, it takes a car traveling 65 miles per hour roughly 316 feet to stop safely - that is almost the length of a football field! Add rain or snow to the mix and drivers need even more time and distance to stop safely as wet surfaces reduce friction making it difficult for tires to grip the road and slow the vehicle down.
Clearing and grubbing: One of the first tasks underway on the corridor is the process of clearing and grubbing, which will be performed on approximately 200 acres along WCR 49. Clearing and grubbing removes existing vegetation and obstructions from the work area in preparation for dirt work. The two-step process starts with clearing, which removes brush, grass, weeds, downed trees and other materials. Followed by grubbing, which uses a root rake to remove any underground obstructions such as stumps, roots, buried logs and other debris
Stringless Paving System: When paving the WCR 49 Corridor, construction crews will use the stringless concrete paving method to reduce construction costs and decrease traffic delays. The stringless process uses a GPS device that guides the paver and controls the concrete quantity, pavement depth and surface alignment. In the past, paving required placing a string-line on one or both sides of the road, which was costly, time-consuming and error-prone.
Recycled steel: The WCR 49 Corridor Project will use nearly 3 million pounds of concrete reinforcing steel also known as rebar. The rebar is manufactured from 98%-100% recycled scrap steel sourced within the United States. Scrap steel is melted in an electric arc furnace until it reaches approximately 3,000°F. The molten steel is treated, cooled and milled into dowels and tie-bars, which are then coated to prevent corrosion.
Public Works wins award: As you may remember, in 2015, Public Works won two Excellence in Concrete Pavement Awards from the American Concrete Paving Association (ACPA) for the WCR 49 and 22 Intersection Safety Improvement Project. Now, Public Works can add another Excellence in Concrete Pavement Award to their list for the Weld County Parkway! In March, the Colorado/Wyoming Chapter of the ACPA named the Parkway the Best Portland Cement Concrete County Roads Project. Click here to read more.
Cross-Drainage: Did you know when a stream crosses the alignment of a road the water must be allowed to move from one side of the road to the other without going over the road surface? A common method to relieve this issue is installing culverts. Culverts can be used as both cross-drains for ditch relief and to pass water under a road at natural drainage and stream crossings. The cross-drainage capacity on the WCR 49 Corridor will be greatly improved as increasing the number of culverts will help eliminate areas where water currently collects or runs over the surface of the road, such as south of WCR 44. Although culverts will provide assistance, a flood event may cause water to flow across the roadway.
We want to hear from you: Do you have questions about the construction process or have you ever wondered why a certain procedure takes place? If so, submit your construction-related questions by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling the WCR 49 Corridor Project Information Line at 970-573-6800. Your questions will be answered by members of the Design-Build Team and may also be featured on a Did You Know!
Surveying: Did you know early American surveyors navigated the Rocky Mountains to forge the route for the Transcontinental Railroad? It was their determination and expertise that helped transportation in the United States develop to where it is today. For the WCR 49 Corridor Project, surveying is very important as it defines boundaries between public and private land as well as ensures the county does not acquire more land than what is needed for construction and makes sure the road is constructed in the proper location.
Give us a call: In order to provide the most up-to-date information, Weld County and Interstate Highway Construction have set up a 24 hour a day, seven days a week WCR 49 Corridor Project Information Line! The information line will provide construction updates and corridor information and can also be used to contact the Design-Build team with corridor-related questions or concerns. Residents and the traveling public can call the information line at 970-573-6800 at any time.
Utility Locates: During the utility relocation process, approximately 587,000 linear feet of lines will be moved including communication, oil and gas, electricity and water lines. Before utility relocation occurs, a special type of spray paint is used to mark the lines on the ground to show construction workers the general surface alignment (not depth) as not to damage them during excavation. Yellow paint indicates oil and gas lines, orange represents communication lines, red represents electric lines and blue indicates water lines.
We’re moving dirt – a lot of dirt: Dirt is very important to widening a road as it provides the basic support and foundation for the entire roadway. In order to make the safety improvements on the corridor possible, construction crews need to move a lot of dirt - nearly 680,000 cubic yards of dirt. That is enough to fill Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium one and a quarter times! In the construction industry, the process of moving dirt is called excavation and embankment.
Keeping it local: Did you know a significant portion of the WCR 49 Corridor construction team are Weld County residents? In addition, multiple subcontractors and suppliers associated with the project are located within Weld County. This means that as much as $40 million of costs associated with the construction of the corridor will go back into the local economy!
You have questions, we have answers: On December 9 and December 16, the Weld County Department of Public Works hosted open house meetings in Hudson and Kersey. Residents met members from the Design-Build team and asked many questions regarding the Design-Build process, property accesses, construction and maintenance of the WCR 49 Corridor. In order to share the questions and answers with the public, Public Works has created a FAQs section on their web page.
Project Timeline: In order to complete the 20-mile corridor project with the least amount of lane closures and delays, Interstate Highway Constructors (IHC) will divide the construction into three segments. The first segment will start at I-76 to WCR 30 and is anticipated to be completed in 2016. Construction crews will then work on the second segment from WCR 30 to WCR 44, which also has a 2016 completion date. Finally, the corridor project will finish in 2017 with construction from WCR 44 to US 34. However, throughout the construction process you may see utility relocation in different areas along the entire corridor.
Design-Build: Earlier this month, the WCR 49 Design-Build Team, including Weld County, Interstate Highway Constructors (IHC) and all the project sub-contractors attended a Partnering Workshop to discuss the plans for the Corridor Project. The Corridor is the county's first-ever road project using the Design-Build method, and to date, 16 different companies are involved in the construction process.
What’s in our right-of-way: Federal and State law allows public utility companies who provide a service for multiple customers to run equipment and place facilities within Weld County’s road right-of-way. More than 20 utility providers have equipment within the county's road right-of-way on the WCR 49 Corridor including but not limited to power companies, water companies, telephone companies and fiber optic lines.
How much concrete will be used: In order to pave the WCR 49 Corridor, 845,000 square yards of concrete will be used. That is enough concrete to pave 175 football fields 11-inches deep!
Road striping: There will be enough paint striping on the WCR 49 Corridor to vertically stripe the Empire State building 85 times! Not only is road striping important to provide guidance and safety to drivers but also to assist with nighttime visibility. Road striping contains mini reflective glass beads inside the paint, and when headlights shine on the striping it causes the glass beads to reflect the light.
That’s a lot of dirt: The WCR 49 Corridor Project will require more than 250,000 truckloads of dirt. The dirt will be used to fill in locations where the road will need to be raised to fix sight-distance issues, adjust driveway entrances and create roadside ditches.
The cost of road construction: Combined, the estimated cost for the WCR 49 Parkway and the Corridor is approximately $150 million. The projects are being paid for by the county in cash, and no debt will be incurred or additional taxes imposed on the residents of Weld County to build these roads. Weld County takes pride in being financially responsible, which is why we are proud to be a debt free county!
Truck traffic: Trucks account for approximately 30-55% of the traffic throughout the WCR 49 Corridor. This equates to 5,000-7,500 tractor trailer trips on average a day! The widening of the road from two lanes to four lanes plus a center turn lane will better accommodate this traffic and provide a safer driving corridor for the traveling public.
Concrete award: The Weld County Department of Public Works recently won the Excellence in Concrete Pavement Award for county roads from the Colorado/Wyoming Chapter of the American Concrete Paving Association (ACPA). Public Works received the award for their Weld County Road 49 and 22 improvement project which involved widening the roadway, adding turn lanes and paving with concrete for approximately one mile at the intersection.
Soil survey: Weld County contracted Rocky Mountain Group, Inc., to conduct geotechnical soil surveys along the project corridor. The surveys provide important data to ensure proper design and safety of the roadway foundations and roadway structures. Soil classifications were completed on December 31, 2014. Final calculations and reports were completed on March 6, 2015.
LIDAR: The county surveyed the full 20 miles of the WCR 49 Corridor using a method known as LIDAR. This process analyzes reflected light from a laser to measure distance. The county received the survey information in December 2014, and assembled the data to be used in the roadway design. The LIDAR survey method was chosen to expedite the survey work and limit intrusion on to private properties along the corridor.