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Hardy Toll Road Upgrades Thru '07


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Hardy Toll Road getting upgrades

Improvements include repaving, widening of route

By LAURA ISENSEE

Chronicle Correspondent

A $22 million project to upgrade the Hardy Toll Road is scheduled for completion in June 2007.

Ron Krafka, director of construction programs division with the Harris County Toll Road Authority, said the project, which began last November, has two major parts.

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Hardy Toll Road getting upgrades

Improvements include repaving, widening of route

By LAURA ISENSEE

Chronicle Correspondent

A $22 million project to upgrade the Hardy Toll Road is scheduled for completion in June 2007.

Ron Krafka, director of construction programs division with the Harris County Toll Road Authority, said the project, which began last November, has two major parts.

full story

That is nice. It would be nicer if they finally extend it to downtown !! Thanks for the link.

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This is great. When ever I'm in town I have to go to Conroe a lot. Over the years I've seen Hardy turn to krap. I was wondering what the toll money was going to it, sure wasn't going to maintenance. The work that was done here and there didn't last long. I was starting to take 45 to and fro, yeah it was a bit more crowded but I didn't have to play dodge the pothole.

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Over the years I've seen Hardy turn to krap.

Much of the Hardy Toll Road was built with defective concrete. You can readily see where the transitions occur from defective concrete to properly-built concrete. The defective concrete afflicts a large percentage of the tollways and some freeways built in the mid-1980s. A section of the Sam Houston Tollway from the Westpark Tollway to Bissonnet was severely afflicted and is being rebuilt right now. The Southwest Freeway from Beechnut to Westpark is also afflicted, but it has been patched and should last another 5-10 years (the pavement was built in 1992). Concrete pavement should last at least 30 years in excellent condition.

Most of the defective pavement was built by H.B. Zachry. They used river gravel instead of limestone in the concrete. Specifications allowed them to make the substitution, so Zachry did and what we got was crap. After the work on the Hardy and Sam Houston Tollways is complete, there will be only a few instances remaining of the defective concrete, including the section of the Southwest Freeway and some freeway frontage roads.

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hey maxconcrete,

isn't there superior road material available, rather than the concrete we use now. i read somewhere that there are roads in europe that are being built to last for 50 or 100 years. roads that will not suffer the kind of damage that our highways suffer. are you familiar with these materials or techniques?

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Speaking of long-lasting concrete, wasn't the Katy Freeway from downtown to 610 built in 1968? It's in excellent condition for its age. Other freeways that old, e.g. I-10 East, are starting to look outdated.

An ironic result of the Hardy downtown extension will be reduced traffic on Eastex. That is already the fastest corridor in town; there will practically be no congestion after the Hardy folks are taken off.

Edited by desirous
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Much of the Hardy Toll Road was built with defective concrete. You can readily see where the transitions occur from defective concrete to properly-built concrete. The defective concrete afflicts a large percentage of the tollways and some freeways built in the mid-1980s. A section of the Sam Houston Tollway from the Westpark Tollway to Bissonnet was severely afflicted and is being rebuilt right now. The Southwest Freeway from Beechnut to Westpark is also afflicted, but it has been patched and should last another 5-10 years (the pavement was built in 1992). Concrete pavement should last at least 30 years in excellent condition.

Most of the defective pavement was built by H.B. Zachry. They used river gravel instead of limestone in the concrete. Specifications allowed them to make the substitution, so Zachry did and what we got was crap.

Thanks for the info Max , that explains a lot. It's been looking bad for a while, I did notice the work being done last time I was there a couple months ago

hey maxconcrete,

isn't there superior road material available, rather than the concrete we use now. i read somewhere that there are roads in europe that are being built to last for 50 or 100 years. roads that will not suffer the kind of damage that our highways suffer. are you familiar with these materials or techniques?

I think I heard something similar, but not just Europe I think other parts of the U.S. have come a long way to making roads last longer, maybe Maxconcrete can enlighten us :)

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Speaking of long-lasting concrete, wasn't the Katy Freeway from downtown to 610 built in 1968? It's in excellent condition for its age. Other freeways that old, e.g. I-10 East, are starting to look outdated.

Yes, the Katy Freeway from downtown to 610 was opened in 1968, but the concrete is new. The original pavement was deteriorating in the 1990s, and it was torn out and totally replaced with new concrete in a project that was completed around 2000.

In response to the other post, Europe does use higher-quality pavement which lasts much longer. They also use better and thicker base materials which contributes to the longevity of the pavement. Of course, you have to be willing to pay more up front when you build the freeway and this is generally not an option in the United States due to constrained budgets. The American version of the higher quality pavement is called Superpave and it has been used in a few places in the United States. In terms of Houston and Texas, good quality concrete is still probably the best value for highway construction. The key is to make sure the concrete quality is good, not the defective crap we received in the 1980s. The good news for Houston since the 1990s is that most freeways have been built by Williams Brothers construction and the quality of their concrete is very good.

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Much of the Hardy Toll Road was built with defective concrete. You can readily see where the transitions occur from defective concrete to properly-built concrete. The defective concrete afflicts a large percentage of the tollways and some freeways built in the mid-1980s. A section of the Sam Houston Tollway from the Westpark Tollway to Bissonnet was severely afflicted and is being rebuilt right now. The Southwest Freeway from Beechnut to Westpark is also afflicted, but it has been patched and should last another 5-10 years (the pavement was built in 1992). Concrete pavement should last at least 30 years in excellent condition.

Most of the defective pavement was built by H.B. Zachry. They used river gravel instead of limestone in the concrete. Specifications allowed them to make the substitution, so Zachry did and what we got was crap. After the work on the Hardy and Sam Houston Tollways is complete, there will be only a few instances remaining of the defective concrete, including the section of the Southwest Freeway and some freeway frontage roads.

Is H.B. Zachry being held accountable. I guess he followed the specs so I assume not.

I am sure you have answered this before, but how are you so knowledgeable on this subject. I have been away from the board for months. Thanks

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Is H.B. Zachry being held accountable. I guess he followed the specs so I assume not.

The specifications allowed river gravel, so they were not in violation. However, Zachry should have known better, as other contractors in the period did not use river gravel since it provides an inferior product.

I am sure you have answered this before, but how are you so knowledgeable on this subject.

www.HoustonFreeways.com

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Hey MaxConcrete -

Does Harris County/TxDOT factor at all the noise generate by the various freeway surfaces into deciding what surface to use (and of course the elevation)? Or is that one of these "This is Texas; go to hell" questions? And what are the best surfaces for noise reduction? I remember reading on this forum about a recycled tire surface being tested in AZ and San Antonio that supposedly reduced freeway noise for 80%.

I've noticed the new sections of I-10 are very loud; I feel for the folks that live within a mile of the freeway. Also, since the completion of some of the new sections of the West Loop, the freeway noise level in Memorial Park is up considerably.

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That defective concrete is also the reason a section of Beltway 8 between Greenspoint and IAH was rebuilt in the 1990s when it was just over a decade old.

At least the newly resurfaced lanes of the Hardy seem to be a really high quality job. The similar resurfacing that was done on some sections of the West Sam Houston Tollway/Beltway 8 Frontage Road about five years ago is awful -- it's very rough. The new Hardy lanes seem to ride very smoothly and are a huge improvement over the crumbling pavement that was there before.

Not to get totally off topic, but this week I was working up in Minneapolis. When it comes to bad pavement on freeways, that city takes the prize. I have never seen such badly maintained pavement on major freeways and streets anywhere. Our defective 1980s concrete is nothing compared to the gaping holes their drivers have to dodge.

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