After nearly five decades spent battling rising water levels in the southwest, Wisconsin Department of Transportation opted to turn to precast concrete to replace an existing 3-cell culvert and steel pipe arch flood control system that was installed near Milwaukee in 1964.
The need for a stormwater system along the Honey Creek watershed arose from the fact that present storm drains installed had proven inadequate, noted an April 1964 newspaper article. Years later that remains true, as WisDOT replaced the system to minimize the many challenges it poses for the state.
The replacement 4-cell design diverts water under I-94 and through the Wisconsin State Fair Grounds from Honey Creek and bordering residential areas. WisDOT contractors chose to use precast concrete, rather than an original cast-in-place design, due to the tight project deadline and harsh winter weather.
“The project had tight time constraints and interim completion dates to complete the work prior to the Wisconsin State Fair at the beginning of August,” said Mike Burns, P.E., project manager for WisDOT. “There was a very limited duration to shut down interchange ramps and local roads, which presented a challenge to complete the designed cast-in-place box. The contractor chose to use precast sections to complete the project and reopen roadways within the given time constraints.”
Wieser Concrete’s Plant in Portage, Wisconsin, manufactured the twin-cell box culverts. Vice President Mark Wieser said in order to speed production, six pallets and two sets of forms were used, allowing pouring to happen three times a day. To meet the project deadline, pouring began in January and the production process concluded in June. In addition, Wieser installed a new hot water system, utilizing a large insulated precast tank to heat the aggregates and batch plant water during the coldest winter on record. This system helped meet design strengths prior to moving the box culverts from the plant.
The pieces weigh 60,000 lbs, have two interior open areas with 12 ft of span and 10 ft of rise each, and were poured using a self-consolidating concrete mix design that exceeded the 6,000 psi requirements.
“We poured 504 twin-cell sections for the project and about six pieces per day,” said Wieser. “The speed of the production and installation of the precast was something the state needed for this job, especially with the project starting in the middle of winter.”
The culverts were transported on flatbed trailers to the job site. Special permits had to be obtained from the city to allow the company to travel on the main interstates, which played a big role in the success of the project, he said. WisDOT started installation in February and set about 25-30 sections per day. The length of the 4-cell culvert project runs 1,250 ft long and was installed smoothly and on-time.
Wieser is currently using the twin-cell box culvert forms made by Wieser Form Fabrication for two other projects. The forms are adjustable and can form any box culvert size starting as small as 4 ft by 5 ft.
Raymond Miller says
I am interested in finding an option to the usual “bridge” construction over a creek that runs through my property. Replacing planks on a regular basis is inconvenient and costly, not to mention the labor involved. Since I am now retired I would like to find a more permanent solution to the bridge problem. I am looking for guidance and direction in this endeavor. My present bridge is approx. 54′ long covering the width of the creek on my property. At the suggestion of a friend, I want to investigate this as a way to solve the problem once and for all. Thank you,
Sara Geer says
Thank you for the comment Raymond. I recommend you visit our “Find Precast & Supplies” section of the website to search for a precast manufacturer near your location. If interested to search for a precast producer who manufactures box culverts, you can click here for a list. If you have any technical questions about your project, I can also direct those to our technical services engineers for a response. Thank you.
John Wealthy says
What options are available for a twin culvert (each one being 3m x 3m) crossing under a 10m wide river? What is a typical design detail?
Sara Geer says
Thank you for the comment John. NPCA does not manufacture precast concrete products, but we represent many precast manufacturers who do. You can visit precast.org/find to find a precaster that manufactures box culvert near your location. All our members are happy to answer your questions and help you with your project. If you have anymore questions, please let me know
Kelvin Page says
I’m interested in a under ground basement / storm shelter, about 600 sq ft. Kelvin Page @ [email protected]
Kirk Stelsel says
Thank you for the comment. You can find NPCA members based on product type and location at https://precast.org/find.