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NYS Thruway Exits 23 & 24


Overview

Rifenburg had to reconstruct the NYS thruway between exits 23 and 24 in Albany to increase traffic capacity. With a massive scope and quantities that speak volumes, it’s no surprise it was the largest in the history of the Albany Division of the NYS Thruway. Along with a great scope came a high profile. The roughly eight-mile project also involved a lot of preparation, which, along with drainage improvements, took up the first of its three designated years.

Challenge

In the first year of construction most work was being done at night, because during peak traffic hours lane closures were limited to short term. Nighttime work still involved reconstructing both shoulders with steady traffic passing by at high speeds. Year two traffic was rerouted from the southbound side to the northbound side so work could be completed on the southbound side, then conversely for the work on the northbound side. With multiple subcontractors also working and in limited space, scheduling became crucial for keeping steady progress. During construction some structural deficits were also noted on two bridges within the project area, and as a result some bridge repairs were added to the scope. A high water table itself was not uncommon to deal with, but its presence within this job posed a greater challenge: standing water on clay. The north end of the project involved working with mostly sand while the south end was mostly clay. It was where the two transitioned the team met the greatest issues.

Solution

The clay required specific care and involved equipment restrictions. Unable to use bulldozers, an excavator had to be used with modified buckets retrofitted with a blade. An additional modification involved affixing GPS systems on the excavators in order to achieve the proper grade.

Result

The team was able to add lanes to increase capacity and install drainage and noise barrier walls, on time and within budget and repair the bridges. Now more commuters can easily pass through the off ramps, which saves time and increases safety. In the end, everything was completed on time. We not only completed the large project in the scheduled time, but at the same time we had some obstacles to overcome and added work and were still able to deliver on time and within budget. All of the challenges were overcome by a dedicated and highly skilled team. The complete team is what made the project a success.

“All of the challenges were overcome by a dedicated and highly skilled team.”

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