KANSAS CITY, Missouri — An innovative bridge-raising project that helped the Kansas Turnpike Authority (KTA) save millions while minimizing traffic disruptions along I-35/KTA in Kansas has won an Engineering Excellence Award from the Kansas Chapter of the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC).
Burns & McDonnell used an engineer-procure-construct (EPC) delivery method — a first for a transportation project in Kansas — to raise 11 overpass bridges crossing I-35/KTA in Sedgwick and Sumner counties by as much as 15 inches. The higher clearances allow more over-height vehicles to use the turnpike instead of being rerouted to other roadways. The project was completed 10 months ahead of schedule.
As the bridges were lifted, turnpike customers were able to proceed with minimal traffic restrictions and no complete road closures at construction zones. An integrated EPC project team from Burns & McDonnell developed a plan that allowed each bridge to be quickly and safely lifted into its final position in one day, including installation of traffic controls on the roads leading to the bridges, scaffolding and appropriate safety devices.
For each bridge, construction crews utilized hydraulic jacks to slowly lift nearly 300 tons of concrete and steel bridge spans to the specified heights, where they were then placed on new bearings and secured on concrete piers. Then, bridge approaches at both ends were regraded, new guardrails installed and new road signs posted. The technique avoided the need for new rights of way, easements or utility relocations, greatly reducing expenses and accelerating project schedules from weeks to days.
“This was the first time KTA utilized an alternative delivery method to complete a project,” says David E. Jacobson, PE, director of engineering for KTA. “The EPC delivery of this project exceeded our expectations in terms of staff augmentation, delivery schedule and cost savings. More importantly, the collaborative planning and innovative construction methods minimized disruption to our customers traveling on the turnpike.”
The project is part of a 10-year, $1.2 billion capital investment program that will enable the KTA to make a range of improvements to the turnpike. The bridge-raising project was identified as a priority in 2016 as part of the long-term needs study. It emerged as a priority because of its potential to add more revenue to the KTA due to increased toll revenue from more truck traffic that will no longer need to be rerouted.
Burns & McDonnell served as EPC contractor and worked with several key subcontractors during various portions of the project. The KTA awarded the project to Burns & McDonnell in 2016 on the basis of its qualifications and proposal to stay within strict budget limits, accelerate the project schedule and return any savings to the KTA.
About Burns & McDonnell
Burns & McDonnell is a family of companies made up of 7,000 engineers, architects, construction professionals, scientists, consultants and entrepreneurs with offices across the country and throughout the world. We strive to create amazing success for our clients and amazing careers for our employee-owners. Burns & McDonnell is 100 percent employee-owned and is proud to be on Fortune’s 2018 list of 100 Best Companies to Work For.