Kent County, MI

U.S. 131 Concrete Overlay– West River Drive to 10 Mile Road, Kent County

This project was the final link in MDOT‘s investment to make improvements on U.S. 131 from Ann Street in Grand Rapids to 17 Mile Road in Cedar Springs. Work began on this corridor back in 2000 and was completed with this project in 2008. The U.S. 131 corridor north of Grand Rapids has experienced tremendous growth and traffic volumes have followed that growth.

A constraint in building this project was the bridge over 6 Mile Road on southbound U.S. 131. The bridge is narrow and was not able to handle conventional construction traffic configurations. This project utilized MDOT’s split/merge traffic plan which enabled two lanes of traffic to be maintained in each direction. This traffic plan eliminated the need to widen the bridge over 6 Mile or limit traffic to one lane, saving considerable costs in both construction and user delays. Under the split/merge traffic plan, three lanes of traffic were maintained on one roadbed, two lanes in one direction and one in the other, separated by temporary concrete barrier wall. The side under construction had one lane of traffic for local use and access to the opened ramps. Traffic was separated from the work zone by construction barrels. Several different signage techniques were used in the first year and will help in the standardization of lead-in signage for future projects utilizing the split/merge method of traffic control.

Considerable concern and effort were made to correct the old roadway’s parabolic surface, superelevation and crown cross slope bringing it up to current standards. All while maintaining a minimum of 6.5″ of concrete overlay thickness. Preliminary cross sections were taken and meetings held between MDOT and contractors to review and adjust the finished grades.

This unbonded concrete overlay will greatly extend the life of the roadway and improve ride quality. The enhancements made in ramp alignments and acceleration/deceleration lanes will promote safety and improve traffic flow.

Premiere Concrete Admixtures supplied the project with ConAir® 260, an air entrainment specially designed for the paving market. In recent years many air entrainments have been inconsistent resulting in higher and higher dosages with constant adjusting. It had been very difficult for pavers to be able to accurately estimate usage for the projects, before the introduction of ConAir® 260. ConAir® 260 averages a dosage range of 1.0 – 1.8 oz per cwt. consistently whether the mix is straight cement, or whether supplementary cementitious materials are added. In addition Ajax Paving selected Optiflo® 500 for their low range water reducing and set control needs from 2 – 4 oz/cwt.

Optiflo® Plus was utilized for superior finish and accelerated set enhancement for situations that required early strengths and quicker set times. Whether it was a storm in the forecast or hand work Optiflo® Plus allowed Ajax to optimize production.

Contractor: Ajax Paving Industries
Engineer: Michigan Department of Transportation
Owner: Michigan Department of Transportation