Indiana “Major Moves” US Highway 31 Project

By Tom Morris, Hydraulic Press Brick Company

Project Type: Geotechnical Fill and MSE Wall Backfill

Project Location: US 31 and 156th Street Intersection, Carmel/Westfield, Indiana (North of Downtown Indianapolis)

Highways or Waterways Associated with Project: US Highway 31 and 156th Street

Owner: US Government/Federal Highway Administration – Maintained by INDOT

Engineer/Designer: INDOT

Lightweight Aggregate Supplier: Hydraulic Press Brick Company – Haydite Lightweight Aggregate

Quantity of LWA in Project: 34,000 cubic yards of 1/2” x No 4 Rotary Kiln Expanded Shale Lightweight Aggregate

The Indiana “Major Moves” project consisted of constructing three new lanes along southbound US Highway 31 in Carmel/Westfield, Indiana. This portion of the project called for the new southbound lane and existing lanes of US 31 to run up and over the 156th (MSE wall construction) street intersection. Buried gas pipelines running under the intersection required the new design to use lightweight aggregate to reduce the additional vertical load on the pipelines. The Westfield stretch of US 31 is now three lanes in each direction between 146th Street and SR 32.

Approximately 33 feet below the intersection, under the existing but newly redesigned northbound lane, Panhandle Eastern Pipeline Company has existing gas lines that run diagonally (NE to SE direction) across US 31. The existing soil was removed and replaced with expanded shale lightweight aggregate to alleviate increased load issues due to the new construction design. Aggregate deliveries (15 to 20 truckloads per day at 23 to 25 tons each) tracked simultaneously with the MSE wall construction. The lightweight aggregate was placed and compacted in 12” lifts using an excavator and a small rubber track dozer. Vibratory plate compactors (20 HP) were also used along the walls where the excavator could not manage. The project used approximately 34,000 cubic yards of lightweight aggregate to back fill the north and southbound lanes, which included the area on top of the buried gas pipelines. The project started in April of 2013 and completed in October of the same year.

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