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Major construction milestones coming up in Fillmore/
I-25 interchange replacement project

Aided by a giane crane, a SEMA Construction crew works to install a piling that will be used to support the abutments for the new south bridge in the Fillmore/I-25 interchange replacement project. Previously placed pilings are in the foreground. Photo looks south from the old bridge.
Westside Pioneer photo
       If the Fillmore/I-25 interchange project looks fairly busy now, just wait a few weeks.
       Construction is already starting on what will be the southerly of two new bridges, and by August cars could be driving on it, according to Ted Tjerandsen (pronounced CHAIR-and-sen) of project consultant Wilson & Company.
       Traffic impacts through the coming year will include several all-nighters when interstate traffic will be diverted to the off-/on-ramps to avoid being hit by falling demolition debris or fresh concrete. But full closures, either of Fillmore or I-25, are not anticipated.
       Recent preparation work for the south bridge has involved large cranes on either side of the freeway, driving in the pilings that the bridge abutments will rest on. Each piling goes down 41 feet to bedrock, Tjerandsen said.
       The $15.1 million project, scheduled for ultimate completion by the summer of 2016, will replace the existing interchange, built in 1959 when I-25 was first extended through Colorado Springs. The contractor is SEMA Construction.
       The end product will feature a bridge deck with a diverging diamond design (DDI), in which traffic
A view east from Fillmore Street, shows the interchange with new curbs for the southbound on-ramp farther away from the interchange and (in the background) the piling work (which is shown from a different angle above).
Westside Pioneer photo
on Fillmore will cross to opposite sides at either end of the interchange - a layout that the Colorado Department of Transportation considers safer because no turns cross in front of traffic.
       Other early activity, since the project started in early February, has included the start of work to relocate two on-ramp access points farther from the interchange - in conjunction with the DDI layout - and to greatly lenghten the southbound off-ramp and northbound on-ramp.
       Here are three upcoming project milestones (dates weather-dependent):
       - August, completion of the south bridge. When the Fillmore/I-25 project is finished, under the DDI design, the south bridge will carry the westbound traffic. However, during the project, when the south bridge opens, it will
SEMA Construction workers Lee Finch (left) and George Hernandez bolt in a temporary fence defining the current eastbound pedestrian walkway on the old Fillmore interchange bridge. They know it won't last - the bridge will be demolished in two stages later this year to make room for the new interchange
Westside Pioneer photo
temporarily handle the eastbound traffic while the old structure carries westbound, Tjerandsen said.
       - September, partial demolition of the old bridge. It will be literally sawed in half lengthwise. This is not as strange as it sounds. As the consultant explained it, the venerable structure was widened, probably in the 1970s. So the separation - using a “giant saw” that a crew will walk behind - can be made along the relatively narrow connections between them. Both structures, which are independently supported, will remain standing.
       "The severing will take place at the widened section to give us space to build the new bridge,” Tjerandsen said. But first, “we'll remove the northerly half (the part that was added).”
       The removal will be accomplished with heavy equipment, which will cut apart the old concrete and steel and “nibble” them into chunks, he said. The plan is to complete this work in one night, including hauling away the remains. This will also be one of the nights that freeway traffic will be diverted.
       - October, construction of the north bridge. This work will take place through the fall and into winter. Once it's done, the interchange will have a new bridge on either side of what left's of the original - at least until the old span is demolished with the same “nibbling” strategy as before, according to Tjerandsen.

Westside Pioneer article
(Posted 4/15/15; Transportation: Fillmore/I-25)

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