Berns Reconstructs Indiana 267

Story by Tom Hale | September 28, 2010

In central Indiana, final touches are being made to Indiana 267, a vital north-south highway artery in the Indianapolis suburb of Plainfield. After 1-1/2 years of construction, Berns Construction Co. Inc., Indianapolis, has wrapped up major work on the $18-million project. The project featured the placement of approximately 80,000 cubic yards of concrete on a 3-mile stretch of S.R. 267 from 1.08 miles south of Interstate 70 to U.S. 40.

Reconstruction of S.R. 267 marks the first complete replacement of the four-lane highway since it was built almost 40 years ago, according to the Indiana Department of Transportation. "The new highway was constructed with concrete 11-3/4 inches thick," says Berns Project Manager Jake West.

Newly reconstructed S.R. 267 is an attractive gateway to Plainfield from I-70, offering a smoother roadway for motorists, extended turning lanes at intersections, a new pedestrian tunnel under S.R. 267 to enhance Plainfield's trail system eastward, and new bridge and drainage structures.

"During the project, we did a bridge deck overlay on Clarks Creek Bridge and we added five, three-sided box culverts," notes West, a 15-year construction veteran.

Rebuilding The Highway

Reconstruction on the northbound lanes of S.R. 267 began in April 2006, and that work was completed by December. At that time, construction began on the two new southbound lanes and traffic was switched to the new northbound lanes.

During a mid-June visit by Construction Digest, Berns Construction was performing final mainline paving near the intersection of I-70 and Hadley Road. Paving Foreman Jeff Dahlke supervised the 1,400-yard placement operation, which featured a spreader operated by Ed Moore and a paver operated by Jeff Catt. Concrete for the operation was supplied from Berns' batch plant set up on Reeves Road.

Meeting Challenges

Berns Construction faced many challenges during the project. "The biggest challenge was moving dirt and putting in the three-sided box culverts at the same time," says West. "Also, weather was a factor during the winter and spring."

"Last year was a very wet year — not so much in sheer volume of rain, but in the frequency," states Berns Construction President John Crone. "It seemed to rain every two or three days the entire year."

He adds, "Our construction team, led by Jake at the job site and extending to our General Superintendent Keith Mullens, did a great job coordinating our work with the side street closures of the many ongoing jobs which the town of Plainfield had in progress in the immediate vicinity of our work (including construction of a new high school scheduled to open in the fall)."

The S.R. 267 project, which included the recycling of 46,000 tons of concrete, required extensive coordination and cooperation among INDOT, Berns Construction and Plainfield officials. With thousands of vehicles traveling the highway each day, construction operations affected traffic flow — especially at the intersections of several major cross streets.

Partnering played a key role in the project. "Coordination meetings with Plainfield officials, designers, INDOT, and project managers from the adjoining jobs took place every month for the entire job," notes Crone. "This helped to prevent potential bottlenecks and to keep the local public informed about what was going on and what to expect concerning road closures. Many thanks should also go to the local commuters for their patience during the entire project. Their reward is a completed road system that should move traffic much better in that area and accommodate the large percentage of trucks that are prevalent due to the mass amount of warehouses between S.R. 267 and the Indianapolis airport. The new four-laned S.R. 267 should last for many years."

Berns Construction was assisted on the project by chief subcontractors James H. Drew Corp. — electrical/signals, Rieth-Riley Construction Co. Inc. — asphalt pavement, and American Contracting & Services — box culverts.

Berns Building New I-74 Interchange

Several miles north of Plainfield — in Brownsburg, Berns Construction is tackling another major project. The contractor received a $17.4-million contract from INDOT to construct a new interchange at Interstate 74 and Ronald Reagan Parkway.

This project, now in its initial stage, includes a diamond interchange 2.8 miles east of S.R. 267. It will also include a bridge over I-74, and construction of the Ronald Reagan Parkway from Connector Roadway to County Road 600 North (56th Street). Construction of a connector road from Ronald Reagan Parkway to U.S. 136 is also included in the project.

The I-74 project, scheduled for completion in September 2008, is part of ongoing efforts to extend the Ronald Reagan Parkway from I-70 in Plainfield to I-74 in Brownsburg.