Angelo Iafrate Construction Co. Moves Macomb with M-59 Rebuild
The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is investing $60 million in rebuilding M-59, Hall Road, in Macomb County, to make the road easier to travel with fewer potholes.
"The project is a full-depth reconstruction," Jim Petronski, Construction Engineer with MDOT. "The concrete has fallen apart and the joints have failed. We've had a lot of patches, and have been trying to maintain it for the last eight years."
M-59 was first designated in 1919 and has been widened and upgraded since. The last time it was rebuilt was about a quarter century ago. But it still has numerous potholes.
Connecting with the Community
The road is a trunk line, crossing the northern part of metropolitan Detroit. About 90,000 vehicles travel on eight-lane M-59 daily. MDOT talked with every business along the 3.8-mile route, describing the project and how it might affect access.
The 400 businesses include large stores, two malls, numerous mom-and-pop stores, and the Beaumont Medical Center. Officials also met with tenants of the malls. The contractor is required to maintain access. Most of the businesses have more than one driveway, and one will always stay open, Petronski says. Some businesses are offering discounts during the construction to keep people shopping at their establishments.
"This is our most densely populated business corridor in the state of Michigan," Petronski says. Petronski also has met with police and emergency responders.
The department has created a special website for the project to push information to the public and businesses. That includes real-time travel time on M-59 and surrounding roads. A system tied into the traffic signals picks up Bluetooth on drivers' phones or the car and follows the vehicle through each traffic device. Then it calculates how quickly the traffic is moving. While the department has tried to minimize delays, they do happen. MDOT also is using social media to keep information flowing to drivers and businesses.
The first phase, which began in March 2017, extends from east of M-53 to Canterbury Drive, and the second phase, scheduled to start in March 2018, runs from Canterbury Drive to Romeo Park. The second phase will lengthen approach lanes at crossovers on both sides of the road, as part of the department's Operational Safety and Improvement Plan.
MDOT will add sidewalk and sidewalk ramps if any are missing along the corridor, ensuring the entire section is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The department also is installing mast arms for the signals and decorative, stamped crosswalks at 10 intersections.
The federal government provided more than 80 percent of the funding with the rest of the money coming from the state and each of the five communities involved in the project. Sterling Heights, a city along the route, contributed slightly more than $1.1 million.
Working Through Traffic Concerns
Angelo Iafrate Construction Co., Warren, Michigan, received the contract for the project. Employee-owned Angelo Iafrate Construction has served the heavy civil market for more than 50 years. Those employees take pride in maintaining the company's reputation for innovation and excellence. It works in both the public and private sectors, primarily in highway and road construction, site development, and heavy civil work. Being employee owned, Angelo Iafrate values the people who work at the company and understands continued success is dependent on everyone providing good service and maintaining financial stability.
"The project has been a real challenge, working around 90,000 cars a day," says Greg Hooper, Senior Project Manager for Angelo Iafrate. "Maintaining the traffic required working around the traffic."
The team began by building a temporary widening into the median. Crews will then build the outside lanes and shoulders, and when complete, they will shift the traffic back. Three lanes of traffic will remain open during the construction. Work has taken place 24/7, even during the lingering winter weather.
Crews will take up the existing concrete pavement, crushing it and will use it for aggregate base for the new hot-mix asphalt road.
MDOT conducted a lifecycle cost analysis, which compared the present cost of rebuilding and future maintenance costs. The state requires a cost analysis when the expected cost of the pavement exceeds $1.5 million. That analysis found the asphalt was expected to be 11 percent cheaper, Petronski says.
The project includes some bridge work about one-tenth of a mile from the end of the project. The contractor will redo the approaches and joints on the two bridges, one eastbound and one westbound.
Constructing with GPS Technology
Angelo Iafrate will use GPS-equipped machinery for earthwork and grading with automated equipment. It uses Topcon and Trimble systems to save money and provide schedule benefits to its customers. The company developed a 3-D model for the project. "Most of our equipment fleet is outfitted with GPS," Hooper says.
The asphalt contractor is using 24-foot-wide asphalt paver with a transfer device and paving in echelon, so there will be fewer joints, avoiding issues with joint failure and water seeping in. "We will have a joint on the mainline at each edge of the left and right lanes and in between the center lanes," Petronski says. "Instead of five joints we will have three."
The department is producing 3-D as-builts for the utility work along the corridor for its records or for anyone who works on the corridor in the future. The department also is taking images of the aggregate and paving as work progresses.
"We have a model of the sewer and drainage work and how we plan to put it in," says Petronski. "Then as we install it, with GPS units, we are taking shots of each pipe. If we expose a utility we are taking shots on that utility. We can have in a 3-D world the utilities and where they are."
The first phase is scheduled for completion in October, well ahead of the holiday shopping season.
"We have a very good team on the project working with MDOT and its consultants," said Hooper.
Photos courtesy of Michigan Department of Transportation and Angelo Iafrate Construction Co.