Jeff Humphrey

Feeding the Beast

Jeff Humphrey, Media Manager, 509.625.6308

Saturday, July 2, 2022 at 8 a.m.

It’s a piece of equipment that typically lays down airport runways and interstates.

But, you’ll find something called a slip-form paver working the Thor-Freya couplet, as the City of Spokane turns to concrete to make our busier streets last longer.

“So we’re at tens of thousands of vehicles a day and many of them heavy vehicles. This roadway gets a tremendous amount of use and abuse and concrete is a stronger, superior product to asphalt,” explained Kyle Twohig, Director of Engineering Services, City of Spokane.

Unlike most grind and overlay projects, this $9 million rebuild went deep. Crews are pouring the new concrete over a reconditioned roadbed to help prevent cracks in the future.

“And we need it to hold up for as long as possible because, when we do disrupt this corridor, it has a tremendous impact on this community and, the ability to move freight. So, we’d like to do this once and be done for a long time,” stressed Twohig

Construction is impacting commuters and nearby Thor-Freya businesses but, there is light at the end of this drive-time tunnel.

“This slip-form paver has the ability to pave a tremendous amount of concrete in one day. As long as we keep the mud flowing, this thing can pave a huge swath of arterial roadway here, just in a single afternoon, emphasized Twohig.

The slip form paver also vibrates to help consolidate the wet concrete to make the new streets more durable.

The hardest part of the job is keeping the “mud” moving. A parade of dump trucks have to deliver a hundred cubic yards of concrete every hour. 

“You have to feed this beast. The machine needs a consistent supply of concrete. And, for speed and efficiency, it does not come out the back of a standard concrete truck. We’re actually using dump trucks, that can pull in front of the concrete paver, drop an entire ten-yard load, and be off and running and in that circuit again,” Twohig said of the project’s logistics.

And so, with the help of this rolling road factory, crews are able to keep the project on-time and within budget.

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