Independence Excavating, Inc. secured the contract for a mass excavation project on State Route 9 in Charles Town, West Virginia, approximately 40 miles outside Washington D.C.
The contract was with the West Virginia Division of Highways and included 2.3 million cubic yards of earthwork, a 415 ft. bridge, and associated drainage and erosion control for an approximate 2-mile stretch of a four lane road. Our scope of work included all dirt moving and preparing the grade for future packages including the paving contract, as well as a 1,200 ft. steel bridge to span the Shenandoah River and eventually carry Route 9 to the border with the State of Virginia.
Independence mobilized with erosion control, 120 acres of mass clearing and 300,000 CY of blasting work leading the charge over the area. The main cut on the project was approximately 140 ft. deep through Snyder Hill located on the west side of the Shenandoah River. By double shifting the work, Independence crews completed 90 percent of the earthwork a full year ahead of the contractual deadline in a 21-month project.
As an environmental restriction, we had an intricate schedule for 1,300 ft. of the project to work without disturbing the habitat of an American Bald Eagle nest. The eagle was regularly seen watching over our operations from his nest just outside the project limits. Also, a historic hydro-electric dam on the river and high-voltage line crossings at several locations on the project added to the complexity in planning our work. These concerns, as well as the overall protection of the Shenandoah River Watershed and the historical significance of the area added to the challenge and the success of this project.
Additionally, with our bridge sub-contractor Ahern and Associates (South Charleston, WV) the project team proceeded with a value engineering proposal to replace the 415 ft. precast concrete bridge with a precast arch-span. The arch culvert will be 293 ft. long in the valley of a 90 ft. fill to convey the existing two-lane County Road 27 beneath the highway.
From working around the spring rains, as well as managing the soil-material that varies from clay and silt to sandstone and hard limestone, the success of this project ultimately brought the West Virginia Route 9 corridor right to the bank of the Shenandoah River for the Division of Highways.
Charles Town, West Virginia
New highway and bridge construction while preserving the natural habitat for the American Bald eagle