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The Texas Transportation Commission designated the Southeast Connector project as part of the statewide Texas Clear Lanes initiative to address the state’s most congested bottlenecks. The Southeast Connector project will rebuild and widen 16 miles of I-20 and I-820 in the Fort Worth/Tarrant County area. With a cost of $1.6 billion, this project represents the most significant investment to date in transportation infrastructure in TxDOT’s Forth Worth District.
“This highly anticipated project will tie in the east and southeast parts of Tarrant County to the central part of the county while relieving congestion. It’s not only important for Tarrant County and Fort Worth, but also facilitates trade, increases safety, and improves efficiency for the entire Metroplex.” TxDOT
TxDOT selected the BGE team (including HVJ) as the General Engineering Consultant to support TxDOT in the procurement, implementation and maintenance oversight for the Design-Build project. BGE selected HVJ to provide geotechnical services, construction materials engineering, and pavement engineering services.
As part of the early construction process, BGE needed to develop Design-Build Specifications to outline specific requirements and ensure the project would meet its objectives. Design Build projects like this need detailed technical information to prepare competitive proposals using a clear, shared understanding of the requirements.
Our goal was to use our experience and testing services to estimate the minimum required pavement thickness and supporting layer strengths of the new mainlines to be incorporated into the Technical Provisions. These values would reduce ambiguity or conflicting pavement design requirements, allowing the teams to develop accurate project cost estimates.
HVJ collected Falling Weight Deflectometer (FWD) data at 72 test points based on 72 boring and coring field investigations and laboratory testing. We then analyzed this data using the MODULUS 7.0 software to estimate the existing in-situ subgrade soil stiffness for the Portland Cement Concrete (PCC) and Hot Mix Asphalt Concrete (HMAC) pavement thickness designs. We completed the PCC designs using the TxDOT CRCPME and FPS 21 software. Our project engineers have extensive experience with this technical approach, which saves time and money while optimizing the pavement design.
Our engineers used Equivalent Single Axle Wheel Loads (ESAL) to measure the effects of axle loads on the pavement. We used ESAL traffic design data correlated to 72 locations to determine the pavement designs for the main lanes (ML) and frontage roads (FR) for all three highways in both directions.
Our approach yielded a high degree of confidence, and the estimates were used for preparing the Geotechnical Section of the Technical Provisions. Our analysis found that a minimum of 10” of Continuously Reinforced Concrete Pavement (CRCP) would meet the requirements for a 30-year design life.
The Design-Build project was successfully bid and awarded by the Texas Highway Commission in 2021 to the South-Point Constructors, who provided the best value to TxDOT. Construction began in 2022 and is expected to be completed in 2027.
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