Webber Begins First Project in the Lufkin District
LUFKIN, TX The U.S. 59/LP 287 Interchange is a Webber project located in Lufkin, Texas (two hours Northeast of Houston). This is the first project for Webber in the Lufkin District and is a keyway for the expansion of the South Texas Region into this new market area of East Texas.
The WSA project was originally awarded in June of 2012 in the amount of $52 million and the project team mobilized in September 2012. The scope of the project consists of building five new bridges of all different sizes, 8 new retaining walls, over 1 million cubic yards of earthwork, one large detention pond, as well as new concrete paving, asphalt paving, drainage structures, signage, signals, striping, illumination, and over 40 acres of new ROW.
One significant challenge that all projects face is resource availability. This is the largest construction project that the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) Lufkin district has encountered to date and is different in nature than the majority of the highway construction work in the area. Because this project is located two hours from the nearest big city, obtaining resources for this project is a great challenge to overcome. The project team builds accurate work plans and four week look ahead schedules that are used to anticipate needs for key resources such as personnel, equipment and materials, as well as setting goals for production with the crews on each task to meet or exceed.
An issue specific to this project was a 16 hour time frame for the removal of an existing rail road bridge and the installation of 240 feet of ballasted rail road tracks. Webber, Union Pacific Rail Road, and TxDOT began meeting to discuss this critical event 5 months in advance. Constant communication and planning between the UPRR and Webber management was a key to ensuring all aspects came together for a successful replacement. It was because of the team's use of planning and communication that Webber was able to beat the granted 16 hour time frame and complete the work in 14 hours.
Another issue specific to this project is phasing in the traffic control plan for the project. The U.S. 59/LP 287 interchange in Lufkin is a major traffic artery for the general public. The original traffic control plans show the project to be built in 15 steps to impact traffic the least amount possible. So far the team has been successful in combining the first eight steps into five and is in the process of submitting a plan to combine the final seven steps into four. The team is constantly looking for opportunities to create very productive areas of work as well as less traffic movements for the general public.