The $1.725-billion Interstate-15 CORE project in Utah County – the largest and most expensive highway job in the Beehive State’s history – officially kicked off at the end of March at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi.
The mammoth design-build project is being built by a four-firm consortium called Provo River Constructors and could not have come about at a better time for the local construction industry, which has been struggling for nearly two years.
The project will widen I-15 by two lanes in each direction, extend the freeway express lane from University Parkway to Spanish Fork and revamp 10 interchanges. The result is expected to meet or exceed travel demands through Utah County – annually one of the Top 10 fastest-growing counties in the state – through the year 2030 using a 40-year concrete pavement design.
The four PRC team members are Wadsworth Bros. Construction of Draper, Utah; Fluor Corp. of Aliso Viejo, Calif.; Ames Construction of Salt Lake City; and Ralph L. Wadsworth Construction of Draper.
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, who was born and raised in nearby American Fork, and local construction officials and business delegates who attended the kickoff hailed the project as something sorely needed by contractors and designers, Utah County’s transportation system and the traveling public.
“It means economic development that will create jobs,” Herbert says. “We can’t have economic prosperity if we don’t have a decent infrastructure, and that starts with roads. Our business community has been loud and clear in saying we need good transportation capabilities in the state if we’re going to improve the economy and create long-term jobs.”
Rich Thorn, president/CEO of the Associated General Contractors of Utah, agrees: “The I-15 CORE project will not only have a significant impact on the construction industry and our members who are building it, but also on the entire community,” he says. “It couldn’t happen at a better time in regards to Utah’s construction industry with unemployment hitting some all-time highs. Once the project is done, the traveling public will look back and say any inconvenience was well worth it.”
Schedule & Scope
Guy Wadsworth, president of Wadsworth Bros. Construction, says the project will be challenging, “because we have an aggressive schedule and need to maintain three lanes open in each direction during daytime and heavy traffic hours.”
In all, more than 30 design and construction firms will participate in some aspect of the project, which extends from Lehi at the north end to Spanish Fork at the south. PRC’s proposal of a December 2012 completion date was attractive to the Utah Dept. of Transportation in that it shaves nearly two years off the original estimated schedule.
More than 60 new bridge structures, all but eight of which will be precast concrete, will be built. “The bridge work is pretty straightforward, but it’s the schedule that’s brutal,” says Wayne Bowden, area II manager and deputy construction manager for Ralph L. Wadsworth Construction. Four or five of the structures will be ABC (accelerated bridge construction), he adds.
Carlos Bruceras, deputy director of the Utah Dept. of Transportation, says it will be important to manage traffic safely and minimize inconvenience. “We want to get in and get out as quickly as possible while doing a quality job,” he says. “It’s about quality of the product, the schedule and how we manage traffic.
Ames Construction Co. Inc.
Ralph L. Wadsworth Construction Co. Inc.
Wadsworth Bros. Construction Co. Inc.
Fluor/HDR Global Design Consultants LLC
Michael Baker Jr. Inc.
Jacobs Engineering Group Inc.
H.W. Lochner Inc.
Kleinfelder West Inc. Intermountain GeoEnvironmental Services
CRS Consulting Engineers Inc.
Raba-Kistner Consultants Inc.
TransCore IP Ltd.
Stillwell & Associates, PLLC
Applied Research Associates Inc.
Fehr & Peers Transportation Consultants
CME Transportation Group