Kibler Construction – US 15/Monocacy Boulevard Interchange

For decades, the U.S. highway system has been geared toward motor vehicle traffic, but recently changes in the way Americans think about their health and infrastructure planning have created more of a hybrid approach. In certain areas, pedestrians and bicyclists now also have the opportunity to make use of thoroughfares that in the past were exclusively the domain of cars and trucks, whether by design or by default. In Frederick County, Md., Maryland’s SHA, the City of Frederick and the county have teamed up to revamp one of its busiest and most important interchanges at US 15 and Monocacy Blvd. When the work on the interchange is completed, it not only will be able to handle the anticipated increase in motor vehicle traffic expected in the area, but also will provide greater and safer accessibility for pedestrians and bicyclists. Helping the city and county realize that goal is Kibler Construction, one of Maryland’s leading highway and street construction firms. 

The $63.8 million overall project includes a $31.6 million contractor construction budget and is expected to be completed by spring 2018. This will replace the at-grade crossing with a new bridge over US15. According to the Maryland Department of Transportation’s State Highway Administration (SHA), nearly 45,000 drivers pass through the interchange every day, and that number is expected to increase to nearly 60,000 by 2035. Additionally, as more residents choose to walk or bike to and from places, the revamped interchange will provide them with more access to major thoroughfares. 

The scope of the work involves widening and replacing the deck along the northbound and southbound US 15 bridges over Tuscarora Creek. This will accommodate acceleration and deceleration lanes for the interchange. The project also realigns Thomas Johnson Drive to create a T-intersection with Christophers Crossing as well as creating a cul-de-sac at Hayward Road and closing the median opening on US 15. According to the SHA, these changes will improve safety on the interchange by restricting U-turns and providing drivers with more room to enter or exit traffic. The US 15/Monocacy Boulevard project is one of three recent initiatives along the US 15 corridor. 

“The big reason for the whole overpass is to remove the at-grade intersection at Monocacy Boulevard, which has had a number of accidents over the years,” Kibler Construction Project Manager Victor Rodgers explains. 

Routine Work

Constructing the US 15/Monocacy Boulevard interchange has been a relatively typical project for Kibler Construction, which specializes in state highway projects including bridges and heavy highway construction. Rodgers says the key element that makes this project unique among the company’s portfolio is its size. “It’s a little bit bigger,” he says. “We tend to bid in the $10 million to $20 million range, and this one was [larger].”

Although the scope of the work is nothing the company hasn’t encountered before, Rodgers says Kibler Construction has encountered some challenges while performing the widening of the two bridges over Tuscarora Creek. 

“Those are a bit tricky because the existing steel and concrete decks are old,” he says. “That little bit of work is probably going to take as much time as building the larger Monocacy bridge.”

Rodgers says the widening of the two existing bridges is expected to be the most challenging aspect of the entire project, but he expects Kibler Construction’s depth of experience and expertise to carry it through the work successfully. 

“The key there is the sheeting and shoring, as well as an existing sewer line that we have to protect,” he says. 

The entire project involves a large import of dirt to provide the foundation for the new overpass, and along with the bridge portion of the work Rodgers says the company is very comfortable with its role on the US 15/Monocacy Boulevard interchange project. 

“That’s our forte, moving a lot of dirt and building bridges,” he says. “We’re very familiar with that type of structure, with that particular type of bridge.” 

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