With the award of the $91 million dollar Southern Beltway 55-A1 contract for the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC), Independence Excavating (IX) has further cemented themselves as a powerhouse in the heavy/highway arena in the Greater Pittsburgh area. Simply put, the project, located in Robinson Township, Washington County, is a 3.7-mile 4-lane highway extension of SR 576. As it is now, SR 576 runs from the Pittsburgh International Airport to SR 22. This project, Section 55-A1, is the first of seven phases which will ultimately connect SR 22 to SR 79 in Canonsburg,Pennsylvania, a total length of over 12 miles not including the construction of a major interchange at SR 576 and SR 79. The 55-A1 project includes work on four state roads which could easily be considered significant projects in and of themselves. Each having specific traffic control guidelines which IX will follow to ensure the protection and safety of the traveling public in this area. This involves the reconstruction/realignment of SR 4009 (Candor Road), SR 4011 (Quicksilver Road) and SR 980 (Robinson Highway) as well as the construction of the new relocated SR 4010 (Beech Hollow Road). Some technical characteristics of the project include 5.3 million cubic yards of excavation, 20 new detention ponds, 48,000 feet of storm sewer, 10,000 feet of temporary/permanent waterline relocation, 40,000 feet of conduit for highway lighting/telecommunications, 74,000 feet of underdrain, 29,000 feet of guide rail, and 300,000 square yards of new concrete and asphalt pavement. Not to mention the numerous amount of items involved with the erosion and sedimentation control plan. On top of all
this, the project includes the construction of seven new bridges ranging from single span to triple span in size.
We find ourselves among elite contractors who have the ability to tackle a project of this magnitude. After a grueling bid process leaving estimators tired but not beaten, everyone in the IX family was rewarded with being read as the low bidder in early November, 2016. There was little time, however, to rest and relish in the victory. Immediately following the up-front paperwork required to lock in the bid, the management team dove into the technical and administrative aspects of the job. In anticipation of the contract award, commitments were made locking up major subcontractors and suppliers. The project was analyzed down to the finer details to develop a “battle plan” including one of the most meticulous and complex schedules ever devised by IX. Not long after the execution of the contract in early December, 2016, the massive fleet of equipment began its mobilization to the site. With the Commission and their construction managers, CDR Maguire, ready to go, IX broke ground on the Southern Beltway 55A-1 project with a full head of steam just after the New Year. As always, with winter in the Pittsburgh area, this was not without any struggles due to weather. However, the accelerator is to the floor now that the weather has broke and there are no plans to let up anytime soon; that is not until the job is done.
When that time comes, hopefully IX is in the midst of building another section of the Southern Beltway. Section 55-A2 is due to bid this summer and it would be mighty nice to ease the fleet and the team down the road to build another piece of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.