By Zoie Clift
A 9-mi. (14.5 km) bypass to west of the city of Sheridan is being built in Arkansas. When completed the route will be a four-lane divided highway anticipated to ease congestion along Highway 167.
The Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD) let the first contract for the job in April of 2008 to T.J. Lambrecht Construction Inc. of Joliet, Ill., for $8.6 million. T.J. Lambrecht is a large heavy, civil and earthmoving contractor.
Embankment and bridge structure work along the corridor is under way under the current contract. The work being done is the first phase of the project and should be completed in mid 2010. A second phase will provide base and surfacing and will be contracted in summer of the same year.
So far, rain has been the biggest challenge on the project.
“At this time, work is slow due to wet conditions,” said Ernie Westfall, AHTD District Two construction engineer. “Clearing and grubbing is ongoing but earthwork will not resume until the weather stabilizes.”
When T.J. Lambrecht is working at full production, there are approximately 35 workers, with subs also working. At this time, there is no shift work, but T.J. Lambrecht is considering it.
“This is a grading and structure job,” said Westfall. “Surfacing will be let in another contract. At-grade intersections will be built and utilized at this time. However, right of way for future interchanges has been acquired.”
There are four subcontractors on the job including Interstate Landscaping, Time Striping, Thomas Engineering and Kingridge Enterprises.
Equipment includes four Caterpillar D8T dozers, four Caterpillar D6T LGP dozers, two John Deere 450D excavators, one Caterpillar 825H compactor, four John Deere 9520 tractors, four John Deere 9630 tractors, four John Deere 9520 tractor 4X4 disc tractors, three John Deere scraper pans, three E-Ject Rear scraper pans, three E-Ject SC-17U scrapers, one Rome Disk and one 16-ft. (4.9 m) roller blade.
“All work at this time is at a new location so there is minimal impact [on traffic],” said Westfall. “Hauling across three intersecting highways will commence this summer and this will cause some delays in traffic.”
Several road and bridge improvement projects have been identified in the state by the Arkansas Highway Commission to benefit from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). The ARRA was passed in February by Congress and signed into law that same month by President Barack Obama.
Arkansas is receiving around $351.5 million for statewide road and bridge improvements. A list of 103 projects totaling $421 million was recently approved by the commission, including one project totaling $19 million that will involve the widening of approximately 5 mi. (8 km) of Highway 167 from the southern end of the planned Sheridan Bypass southward to north of the community of Millersville.
According to the AHTD, the project will involve widening the road to five lanes, including a center turn lane. The project will be bid in mid to late summer of this year and construction will probably start in the fall.
According to David Nilles, public information officer for the AHTD, there are other active projects on Highway 167, which run for 499 mi. (803 km) from Ash Flat to Abbeville, La. They are all separate projects but they are all on the same route.
Nilles said a job in Saline County, north of Sheridan, is widening Highway 167 to four lanes. The work extends from Interstate 530 to Highway 367 for about 4.5 mi. (7.2 km). Work began in fall of 2006 and will be completed in summer of 2009. The cost of the project was $10.2 million and the contractor is Lasiter Construction of Little Rock.
There is another major widening project on Highway 167 south of that project. The 7-mi. (11.3 km) project began at Ico and extended southward. It widened the roadway to four lanes. Construction began in the summer of 2004 and was completed June of last year. Cost of that project was $14.1 million and the contractor was Cranford Construction Company of North Little Rock.
Another project also is under way in Calhoun County that will widen the highway to four lanes. It extends from the Ouachita River to Bangs Slough. The length is 4 mi. (6.4 km) and the cost is $33 million. Robertson Contractors of Poplar Bluff, Mo., is the contractor and work should be completed in late 2009.
Construction also is taking place in Union County in the city of El Dorado. It will widen 167 to four lanes along a 2.5-mi. (4 km) stretch from Highway 82 northward to Highway 63. It is a $41.8 million project awarded to M.J. Lee Construction of Tulsa, Okla. Work began in fall of 2008 and will be completed in summer of 2011.
He mentioned that another job in Union County widened 167 to five lanes in the area of Junction City. The job was 1.5 mi. (2.4 km) from the northern edge of Junction City southward to the Louisiana state line. The job was awarded to White Brothers Inc. of Warren and the project is substantially completed. CEG