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Hyperfix 65/70 35 Miles of Interstate Closes for Construction Repairs

The combined section of Interstate Highways 65 and 70 in Indianapolis was completely closed during Hyperfix. Although shutting down a section of Interstate is unusual, the strategy paid off with 35 miles of bridges and roadway repaired in less than 90 days.

George’s Concrete Pumping relied on its larger sized Putzmeister 42X and 46X boom pumps on the bridgework portion of Hyperfix – a major road construction repair project in Indianapolis that was completed in less than 90 days.

George’s Concrete Pumping used its Putzmeister 22Z-Meter pump for pouring slope walls during Hyperfix. With its Z-boom configuration, the unit could work in tight spaces, often with only 6 inches to spare when working under bridges.

Nick Fletcher, left, co-owner of George’s Concrete Pumping, supplied concrete boom pumps and operators, round the clock, with as little as two hours notice for the Hyperfix project. Jeff Datzman, right, bridge superintendent of Walsh Construction, was instrumental in coordinating the work during Hyperfix.

Hyperfix 65/70 35 Miles of Interstate Closes for Construction Repairs

STURTEVANT, Wis. (Oct. 20, 2003) – Every day, about 175,000 vehicles travel a stretch of highway in downtown Indianapolis where I-65 and I-70 join before the two interstate highways split to the north and south. Built more than 25 years ago, the heavily traveled roadway has been in need of emergency repair.

To complete the repairs and to make infrastructure improvements in as little time as possible, the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) instituted a round-the-clock scheduling system called Hyperfix in which the section of highway would be completely closed in both directions. The shutdown of such a heavily traveled highway is believed to be a first in the nation.

Instead of closing half a section of interstate at a time, as is the common practice, the roadway was closed completely to reduce motorists’ frustration with work-related lane closures, minimize the risk of accidents and speed up the pace of construction.

Walsh Construction of Chicago was the general contractor for the $30 million project, which would take a surprising 85 days to complete. Walsh’s responsibility included restoring and supporting 31 bridge decks, widening lanes and resurfacing 35 lane miles of deteriorated highway.

Jeff Datzman, bridge superintendent for Walsh Construction, said, “This job was all about scheduling. Most construction jobs are scheduled by the week; this one was scheduled by the hour. The brunt of the workload was getting all 31 bridges done in 55 days so paving machines could do their part.”

“As a result, about a dozen concrete pours a day were done simultaneously, making scheduling extremely difficult. We had so many different sub-contractors working together onsite that if one failed to keep up with the schedule, it literally threw the entire sequence off.”

Although all construction trades played an important role in Hyperfix, pumping concrete was a crucial factor, especially on the bridges. Walsh selected
George’s Concrete Pumping in Indianapolis because of a successful working relationship between the two companies on other bridgework projects during
the past four years.

According to Datzman, “Having worked with George’s before, we found their Putzmeister equipment very smooth and reliable, their pump operators highly competent and their service second to none. For this job, it was no different. They always bent over backwards to provide us exceptional service and we now have formed a type of camaraderie with them.”

Expertise was also important on this job, especially when dealing with air entrainment. Nick Fletcher, a co-owner of George’s, is well versed on the
topic and often conducts training programs on the subject. Fletcher said, “Although air entrainment is a major concern with all bridges, we monitored
it closely and nothing on this project was rejected because of it,” He added,
“It’s a true accomplishment especially when pumping bridges, paving,
and slope walls, while using several different mix designs.”

Fletcher, who spent a substantial amount of time onsite, added, “The most unique part of Hyperfix was seeing every road construction trade imaginable working 24 hours a day, seven days a week during the aggressive 90-day completion date. We literally were elbow to elbow.”

As initially agreed upon with the contractor, George’s provided equipment with only two hours notice no matter the time, or day of the week. Non-stop concrete pumping could last from two hours to 17 hours, depending on the ability of other trades to prepare work areas for pouring. Therefore, George’s dispatchers were challenged to meet the 24-7 requirements of the Hyperfix project and simultaneously schedule other jobs.

Every boom pump model in George’s fleet of Putzmeister units was used during the course of the Hyperfix project. Everything from the 22Z-Meter to the 46X-Meter was put to use, whether for bridgework, slope walls, approach slabs or road paving.

“One rarely if ever sees a pump used for road paving, but it was necessary on this project because of the access problems,” said George Knapp, also a co-owner of George’s. “The pumps performed brilliantly in handling the low slump, placing 14 inches of concrete on the interstate in several sections when dumping was impossible because of site congestion.”

The Putzmeister 42X- and 46X-Meter units handled the lion’s share of the work, easily keeping up with the accelerated pace. For the bulk of the project, the units averaged 80-100 yards pumped per hour while pumping a 21/2-3-inch slump. A significant portion of the bridgework was poured at night to avoid the sun’s heat, thereby protecting the concrete and giving crews more time to work with it.

For the slope walls, the Putzmeister 22Z-Meter proved ideal. Its versatile Z-boom configuration got into areas underneath bridges, often with only 6 inches to spare. The 22Z-Meter also did not need system, could operate in confined spaces and easily handled the low slump Indiana Class B mix, which is a lean mix that is difficult to pump.

More than 3,900 yards of concrete were pumped using concrete from the onsite batch plant. Approximately 6,000 additional yards were dumped.

“It was a huge coordination effort and timing was everything,” said Datzman, of Walsh Construction. “We selected contractors based on their equipment’s performance and reliability to get the job done efficiently. We also relied on the contractors to provide personnel and service 24-7. It was a huge commitment on everyone’s part to maintain tight schedules and meet the final deadline.”

Renee Fogleman, another co-owner of George’s said, “Everyone was
dreading Hyperfix because the repairs were so massive and commuters
were apprehensive about how their work days were going to be affected.
But in reality, it was very well organized and went according to plan.”

With a well-orchestrated media/information plan in place, drivers were informed regularly of rerouting traffic patterns around the city. Changing traffic patterns were posted on the project’s Web site. Special shuttles were used to assist people in entering and leaving downtown Indianapolis.

Hyperfix 65/70 was talked about like the weather. It was in the news daily with construction updates disseminated to the public. Even a song was written and released about Hyperfix.

Hyperfix proved to be the most efficient and cost-effective method to
complete the work because conventional construction would have taken
more than 250 days. With crews working non-stop, the project was completed within 85 days – only 62 of which were weekdays. The interstate reopened to traffic on Aug. 19, 2003, 30 days ahead of schedule.

Along with time, Hyperfix saved taxpayers the cost of an extended construction season and more than $1 million in wages and productivity calculated for each day that traditional construction would have added to the project. Roadway repairs completed under Hyperfix are projected to add another 15 years of service life to the combined stretch of I-65 and I-70.

The round-the-clock pace left construction crews exhausted, but proud
of their efforts. Datzman commented, “Although I hope not to see another
job like this anytime soon, I believe it will become a growing trend since
it was such a huge success.”

Owner: Indiana Department of Transportation
General contractor: Walsh Construction – Chicago
Pumping contractor: George’s Concrete Pumping – Indianapolis
Equipment: Putzmeister 22Z-Meter, 32-Meter, 36-Meter, 42X-Meter and 46X-Meter concrete boom pumps