Careful Coordination

Sept. 29, 2016
Pennsylvania interstate project employs 22 retaining walls

About the author: Barbara Bogo is national marketing director for Oldcastle Precast. Bogo can be reached at [email protected] or 888.965.3227.

Above: Supplies and schedules had to be carefully coordinated throughout the installation process. 

Philadelphia’s Interstate 95 Corridor Reconstruction Project utilized more than 330,000 sq ft of the Neel Co.’s Pennsylvania Department of Transportation T-Wall retaining wall, supplied by Oldcastle Precast.

Ultimately, on separate contracts for I-95 sections CP1, CP2, GR2 and GR3, Oldcastle Precast manufactured and delivered approximately 220,000 sq ft of retaining wall units to construct 22 retaining walls. In addition, the company currently is delivering 110,000 sq ft of T-Wall for eight retaining walls on the I-95/I-276 Pennsylvania Turnpike Interchange project, now in construction.

Retaining Wall Technology

T-Wall is a modular precast concrete retaining wall system. It utilizes engineered self-anchoring bridge abutment and retaining wall units and is designed for walls up to 50 ft tall and engineered to handle up to Cooper E-90 freight train loads for railroad projects.

Used throughout Pennsylvania since 1988, the retaining wall system fits within tight construction limits, has easy installation, is cost-effective and offers a long-term service life.

Each precast concrete unit is 5 or 7.5 ft wide, up to 10 ft high and rectangular faced, and has an integral stem that extends into the retained earth. The stem length varies depending on the height of the wall and the wall loads. The walls are constructed by stacking the individual units in rows and columns, and then backfilling between the units. The units arrive at each construction site ready to place into the structures, and can be unloaded by equipment that is available on site for other purposes. 

Approximately 220,000 sq ft of retaining wall units were installed along the interstate. 

Project Challenges

“The production presented quite a few challenges on a project management end, ranging from the overall size of the projects, number of individual units needed, yard storage of finished product, and coordinating the proper manpower needed to maintain the commitments that were set forth,” said Mike Magalhaes, purchasing agent and production scheduler for Oldcastle Precast. 

According to Magalhaes, one of the biggest obstacles faced during this project was coordinating and scheduling production of each retaining wall’s components while also meeting demanding construction schedules.

"With all the varying piece types and long-range time frames, making the T-Wall units sequentially and managing the precast mold availability based on the customer’s needs was vital to the flow of the I-95 projects," he said.

Part of a Whole

The I-95 projects are part of the $350 million Pennsylvania I-95 Revive Initiative, a long-term, multi-phase infrastructure plan to improve and rebuild I-95, one of the most traveled highways on the East Coast. Five major projects to reconstruct I-95 between the I-676 and Cottman Avenue interchanges in Philadelphia are now in various stages of design or construction or have been completed, including active construction projects at the Girard Avenue, Betsy Ross Bridge/Aramingo Avenue and Cottman Avenue interchanges.

The general contractors for these projects are Tony Depaul and Son (I-95 Section CP1); WALSH Construction (I-95 Section CP2); James J. Anderson (I-95 Sections GR2 and GR3); and PKF-Mark III (I-276/I-95 Section D10). The Neel Co. designs and licenses the T-Wall retaining wall system.

“We are very pleased with the quality of the product and the service provided by Oldcastle Precast for the Neel Co. and our customers. Oldcastle Precast’s excellent customer service, on-time production and delivery have been instrumental in the success of these projects," said John Dallain, regional manager for the Neel Co.  

Each rectangular-faced precast concrete unit is either 5 or 7.5 ft wide and up to 10 ft high, and has an integral stem that extends into the retained earth.

About the Author

Barbara Bogo