Ranchero Interchange to be finished by year’s end
Officials say project delay will be shorter than expected
HESPERIA • Transportation officials said Wednesday they expect to complete the Ranchero Interchange Project by the end of the year — a surprising announcement after a fire was expected to delay the project several months.
San Bernardino Associated Governments, the region’s transportation planning authority, made the announcement following a conference of project participants.
“SANBAG, city of Hesperia, Caltrans and our contractors have been diligently working to develop a plan to complete construction of the Ranchero Road Interchange Project,” SANBAG spokesman Tim Watkins wrote in an email. “Based on the preliminary results of inspections and testing, the contractor plans to complete all work on the project by the end of the year.”
Original estimates, prior to a May 5 fire and collapse of the bridge over Interstate 15, projected construction would be completed by mid-October. But when the bridge burned, officials said they expected a delay of six to eight months.
“Construction crews will be doubled in some cases to help increase productivity and reduce the overall construction window for the project,” Watkins said.
Materials have been arriving on site over the past week and crews will begin replacing the falsework — the wooden temporary bridge support structure — for constructing the bridge portion of the interchange, he said.
Other tests on the columns and abutment are ongoing, Watkins said, but can be conducted alongside the initial stages of the falsework placement.
I-beams are getting particular attention for potential reuse. Based on the preliminary test results, some have been identified for straightening.
After straightening, they will be retested for compliance with engineering safety standards, Watkins said. He said this procedure will help expedite availability of critical materials and the reconstruction activity.
The construction contract calls for SANBAG to pay about $31.7 million to Security Paving Co. Inc. for completion of the project, Watkins said, and the contractor is working to meet its obligations.
“There’s been no realized loss (of money) until the project is completed, from our standpoint,” Watkins said. He added that the contractor will have to determine any monetary loss and the means for recouping it, depending on the results of investigations and involving insurance.
Near-term lane and freeway closures are being identified and will be announced publicly when approved. Closures will be performed at night and staged in a manner to create the least amount of impact possible to the motoring public, SANBAG said.
The interchange bridge, which was days away from receiving its cement pour, burned after a spark from a steelworker’s torch ignited the wooden falsework. Portions of the structure collapsed onto the freeway, and most of the remaining bridge had to be torn down to safely reopen I-15.
The fire caused $6 million to $8 million in damage, according to preliminary estimates.
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The article was taken from the Victor Valley Daily Press 760-241-4411
Grant Klokeid · Top Commenter · California State University, Fullerton