Sunland’s First Bridge Spans I-10 in Avondale
“Don’t limit your challenges. Challenge your limits,” is a popular motivational quote. Sunland Asphalt & Construction, LLC (Sunland) recently took this saying to heart, completing the company's first bridge project in the West Valley.
The Fairway Drive Traffic Interchange was a $21 million project that bridged I-10 in Avondale. Work started in February 2019, and the historic project led by Kevin Fisher, Senior Project Manager, was completed in July 2020. With the Fairway Drive TI project, Sunland is now able to self-perform new facets of construction, such as retaining walls and concrete barriers.
“Many of our younger employees were able to learn from industry veterans on this project,” Fisher says. “It’s rewarding to see skills and knowledge passed down. Overall, the project elevated Sunland to a new level in the construction industry and opened the door to new projects previously inaccessible.”
The scope of work consisted of a traffic interchange, bridge across I-10 for the traffic interchange, and 0.2 miles of an arterial street along I-10 at Fairway Drive.
Sunland crews self-performed 41,000 square feet of retaining wall, over 12,500 linear-feet of concrete barrier, 97,700 cubic yards of over-excavation, 5,000 CY of roadway excavation, 20,800 CY of drainage excavation, 40,500 CY of wall foundation backfill with an additional 20,600 CY of special backfill material for the walls, 274,000 CY of borrow (in-place) and 9,500 CY of Class II aggregate base. There were also several thousand feet of storm drain pipe and reinforced concrete pipe that Sunland installed.
The bridge itself is a one-span bridge, and construction was relatively straightforward, according to Fisher. “As this was the first bridge Sunland built, we were closely monitored by the public and ADOT,” he says.
The project, however, was not without a few challenges. “Getting people, equipment, and materials in and out of the median proved difficult,” Fisher says. “It was only through consistent and effective communication that the team successfully maneuvered in and out safely and quickly.”
The Fairway Drive TI is located near Legacy Traditional School, and the project team worked closely with the school. “We were careful to coordinate traffic control around heavy school traffic in conjunction with construction,” Vince Smith, Project Superintendent says.
Another traffic challenge was working next to a busy freeway. The project team consisting of Sunland, ADOT, and Consulting Engineering, Inc (CEI) strove to keep the public informed of any changes to traffic patterns or closures and ensure every detail was planned so that there would be no delays to the public.
The project team formed good relationships with nearby farmers and other key stakeholders. “Communication was a top priority: An informed public is a viable resource,” Smith says. “We worked closely with residents to ensure access was maintained and addressed any concerns as quickly as possible.”
Most projects will experience pivotal challenges that can significantly hinder a project's success. The impact of such moments can be minimized and controlled if the team partners work together to address and resolve such issues. “ADOT, Sunland, and CEI worked through many challenging issues and together formed a partnership that proved to be very effective on the project,” Fisher says.