Bypass construction well underway


Pictured are crews working on the Southern Ohio Veterans Memorial Highway.

According to Bill Maddex, CEO of Portsmouth Gateway Group (PGG), construction of the Southern Ohio Veterans Memorial Highway is on time, on budget and well underway.

In its first Public, Private, Partnership (P3), the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) hired PGG to construct the Southern Ohio Veterans Memorial Highway. In 2015 ground was broken on the project, bringing decades of planning to reality.

Since the ground breaking crews and contractors have been working on the $429 million project, with a targeted completion date of December 2018.

When asked about how the overall project is going Maddex said, “It’s going well. It’s on schedule, within budget and we intend to keep it that way.”

He was quick to compliment the workers on the project and explained the project has yet to reach peak employment.

“We’re still in the ramp-up phase (of the project); we have not hit our peak employment. The entire on site workforce is about 175 now and we will peak at 400,” Maddex said.

The project is projects to reach peak employment, if not this summer then the following one.

“We’re happy with the quality of craftsman, that’s showing up for work,” Maddex said.

Most of the workforce comes from the trade unions, with the vast majority local.

Due to the vastness of the project money is spent in a variety of ways including, payroll, contractors, goods and services.

Maddex said there has roughly been $110 million spent of the $429 million construction budget. With 18-20 percent of construction complete.

PGG and contractors with the project have reached out to the community in a number of ways, with a goal of keeping information flowing.

“The community has been very supportive, it’s a good project and people recognize that,” Maddex said.

ODOT in conjunction with PGG have taken the project to social media, Facebook and Instagram accounts have been setup. Though those accounts pictures and information are shared.

Maddex said in the spring crews will begin construction of bridges.

“Come spring we’re going to have a substantial bridge building program. So far, we’ve been working on sedimentation control, drainage installation of culverts and some underground boring,” Maddex said. “This spring, you’ll really see the bridge program with pile-driving, foundations and you’ll begin to see some structures by the end of the summer.”

Once constructed the Southern Ohio Veterans Memorial Highway will be 17.3 miles, 4 lane divided, limited access highway.

In total the roadway will have 72 lane-miles. There will be five major interchanges with two partial interchanges. The roadway is anticipated to have an average daily traffic of up to 14,500 vehicles.

There will be an estimated 25 million cubic yards of excavation, to make way for the roadway. The tallest bridge on the highway will be over 124 feet, with culverts along the roadway as long as 900 feet and as deep as 190 feet.

As a part of the project all culverts on township and county roads affected by the project will be replaced over the course of the project. There will be 85 culverts equal to nearly five miles long.

In making room for the highway some blasting work will need to be done. There will be 400 semi-truck loads of explosives used, 260 miles of holes drilled for blasting.

There will be 4.5 million pounds of rebar used, 402,200 tons of asphalt and 24,520 cubic yards of concrete used.

The project is a 16-mile, limited access, four-lane highway that will bypass about 26 miles of U.S. 52 and U.S. 23 in Portsmouth. Once completed, ODOT estimates it will reduce travel time by 16 minutes compared to the alternative routes in the area.

After completion the Portsmouth Gateway Group will operate and maintain the roadway for 35 years.

For more information about the Portsmouth Gateway Group visit, www.pgg823.com.

Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 1933 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT

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