Dual-Bit Drill Simplifies Road Repair

Story by Mike Larson, Editor | September 28, 2010

Michels Paving, a division of Michels Corp., Brownsville, is part of the team working to reconstruct part of Hwy. 96 on the west side of Appleton. The section of roadway being repaired is part of Wisconsin Avenue near its intersection with U.S. Hwy. 41.

The project is for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT), and its general contractor is Northeast Asphalt, Inc. (NEA), Greenville.

NEA has subcontracted Michels Paving to take out and replace deteriorated sections of the existing concrete roadway.

As part of its work, Michels is milling from three-quarters of an inch to 1-1/4 inches of concrete off the surface of the entire length of road being repaired. That will permit the repaired concrete to be paved over with asphalt.

Michels is also adding sidewalks that meet ADA access requirements.

In all, Michels will replace about 2,500 cubic yards of concrete, according to Michels' Project Manager John Binder.

One of the project's challenges is doing the work with minimal disruption to traffic on Wisconsin Avenue, a major commercial street. To meet this requirement, Michels has done much of its work at night, when traffic volume is lowest.

A second challenge is meeting all of the contract's prescribed milestone deadlines, which carry a $2,000-per-hour penalty if they aren't met.

Smooth Process

Michels' smoothly operating team works a standardized process to make the patches go like clockwork. First a concrete cutter saws an outline around the area to be replaced.

Then a loader-backhoe equipped with a hydraulic breaker breaks up the concrete within the sawn boundaries before a hydraulic backhoe scoops the broken concrete into dump trucks. The dump trucks take the concrete to a processing plant, where it is crushed and recycled into road gravel.

When the hole has been cleaned out, Michels installs transfer dowels into the edges of the adjoining concrete slabs to help stabilize and transfer loads to the new slab that will be poured to fill the hole.

To work properly, explains Binder, the dowels are spaced 15 inches apart, with four dowels per wheel path. They must also be installed parallel and level.

Automatic Powered Drill Speeds Up Process

To drill the installation holes quickly and precisely, Michels is using a two-bitted E-Z Drill Model 210B-2.

In a minute or two, the unit's drills bore two perfectly spaced holes in the edge of the slab. In just a few placements, it completes the holes for all the dowels needed for the new slab.

The dowels are then glued in place with a two-part epoxy resin, and the site is ready for the concrete crew to prep the spot for pouring of the new slab.

Michels is currently on schedule to meet its completion deadline in August.