AASHTO Journal, 21 December 2012
The Utah County I-15 Corridor Expansion Project (commonly known as the I-15 CORE project) was completed last week by the Utah Department of Transportation, coming in $260 million under budget and standing as the fastest billion dollar highway project ever completed in the country.
In order to prepare for future growth and allow for economic development growth in the State of Utah, UDOT began work on its I-15 CORE project. The project, which reconstructed 24 miles of north-south freeway from Lehi to Spanish Fork in the central portion of the state, began in early 2010 with design and pre-construction, while actual construction began in the spring. The work included widening the freeway by two lanes in each direction and the replacement of the original asphalt with new 40-year concrete pavement. Additionally, 63 bridges and 10 freeway interchanges were rebuilt or replaced as part of the project. The cost of the project, originally budgeted at $1.725 billion, was funded entirely through the state. The bond used to fund the project was approved by the governor and state lawmakers back in March 2009.
“We worked closely with Provo River Constructors to employ innovation at an unprecedented level to ensure we delivered this project in record breaking time and under budget,” said I-15 CORE Project Director Todd Jensen in a statement. “We used the same innovative techniques to minimize the usual delays associated with construction projects.”
Those innovative techniques included some to keep traffic moving throughout the construction of the highway. While workers had projects that extended “around the clock,” most lane and exit work (up to 90 percent) was done during overnight hours to majorly reduce traffic delays. Inventive traffic patterns such as lane shifts and splits were also employed to keep as much of the roadway open as possible, all while making sure workers were safe.
Due to the efficiency of UDOT and its contractors, the project was completed in less than three years, making the I-15 CORE project the fastest billion dollar highway project built in the U.S. Completing the project quickly also allowed UDOT to come in $260 million under schedule, saving lots of taxpayer dollars.