Vail Pass Project Receives National Award

January 19, 2012 - Northwestern Colorado/CDOT Region 3 - Award recognizes quality construction of recently completed project.

EAGLE/SUMMIT COUNTIES — The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), contractor American Civil Constructors, Inc. (ACC), and subcontractor LaFarge have won a National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA) “Quality in Construction” (QIC) award for the resurfacing and safety improvement project completed last October on Vail Pass. The award will be formally presented to representatives from each organization at a ceremony in Palm Desert, California next week.

“To say we’re honored is an understatement,” said Project Engineer Damian Leyba. “NAPA awards are extremely difficult to win, and we are elated to receive such prestigious recognition for our work.”

NAPA is a national organization founded in 1955 that represents the interests and performance of asphalt pavement material producers and paving contractors to Congress, government agencies, and other national trade organizations. The QIC award recognizes projects that meet strict asphalt paving guidelines, including stringent technical and environmental specifications.

Starting last June, CDOT began pavement repairs and resurfacing on a 10-mile stretch of west side of Vail Pass between mile marker (MM) 180 and MM 190 in both eastbound and westbound lanes. Due to an uncommonly wet spring in 2011, the pass in need of numerous surface repairs, so CDOT contracted ACC to mill and pave the highway. As part of their work, ACC exceeded minimum requirements for asphalt composition, and paved the highway with dense asphalt materials that were milled together to create an uncommonly smooth surface grade. The special mix required extra attention on the front end of the project, but the end result is clearly visible.

“Although we are delighted about the award, we are also thankful for the partnership with ACC. The smoothness and quality of the roadway are exceptional thanks to the products they chose to use,” Leyba added. “The roadway will have a much longer lifespan, which will save CDOT money over time by preventing extra maintenance operations. We know the project had its hiccups, but we are proud to show the community the finished product.”

In addition to the resurfacing that took place on Vail Pass, safety improvements were made from MM 170 near the Minturn Exit to MM 190 at the Vail Pass Summit. Within the work zone, bridge joints were fixed, guardrail and barriers were replaced, drainage improvements were made, and Intelligent Transportation Systems were installed, including electronic variable message signs and traffic sensors. Work for the project was completed last October.

All CDOT contracts offer incentives and disincentives for material quality and smoothness as part of each paving project as a way to meet goals for longevity and durability of Colorado’s highways. When contractors meet goals laid out by the incentives plans, roadways will last longer, require less upkeep, and create less wear and tear on motorists’ vehicles. Both materials and smoothness are tested continually throughout projects, and contractors who consistently meet pre-specified targets are rewarded with up to 6 percent the value of the material. Those who continually do not meet targets are served with disincentives, and can be held responsible for replacing the materials at their own expense. ACC repeatedly met the goal targets for both smoothness and materials on the Vail Pass project, which means they qualified for an incentive on this particular project.

The $9.5 million project received $2.8 million for safety improvement features from Colorado Funding Advancements for Surface Treatment and Economic Recovery (FASTER) funds. These funds were set aside by the Colorado General Assembly to repair deficient bridges and make safety improvements to Colorado’s key corridors.

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