The Emlenton Hill of State Route 0038 needed safety improvements
The geography of Pennsylvania presents challenges for roadway rehabilitation projects. One such challenge was SR 0038, connecting I-80 highway traffic to scenic Emlenton and surrounding Allegheny River communities. Extreme terrain, poor sightlines, narrow and winding roadways, drainage issues, steep grades, and active landslides presented significant safety concerns.
When the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation brought us in to improve safety, our creative solutions included a truck climbing lane, further cuts into the mountainside, and roadway widening supported by retaining walls. The structural analysis determined that soldier pile retaining walls with a cast-in-place concrete facing with tiebacks used on three walls of taller height would address the global stability of the mountainside.
Once in construction, our team improved constructability and provided cost savings by minimizing tiebacks and using timber lagging to temporarily support the wall backfill. SR 0038 was transformed by the creative engineering of a complex wall and betterment-type improvements. The mountainside roadway now provides a safer route for regional communities and all vehicular and bicycling traffic.
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