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Granite Continues Work in Denali National Park

Granite crews work to construct a temporary route across an active landslide. (Photo courtesy of Business Wire)
Granite crews work to construct a temporary route across an active landslide. (Photo courtesy of Business Wire)
HEALY, AK — Granite has been awarded Options W.3A, W.3B, and W.4 for the Polychrome Area Improvements Construction Manager/General Contractor (CM/GC) project by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) in Denali National Park in Alaska. These construction options, with a combined value of $24,586,571, complete long-lead procurements, fabrication of the steel truss bridge, and construction engineering and fabrication of temporary works for a bridge launching system.

This combination of awards brings the total value of awarded options and modifications to $95,634,019 since preconstruction began in January 2023. The final package of work remaining to be negotiated, Option Y, includes supply of miscellaneous materials, erection of the bridge, construction of back walls and approaches, and installation of the thermosyphon system.

These recently awarded options provide for time-sensitive procurement of materials necessary for a fully productive 2024 construction season. Work planned for the 2024 season includes construction of the bridge abutments and temporary launching system, enabling bridge erection the following season in 2025.

“Using the CM/GC process and working closely with the FHWA, its design team, and the National Park Service (NPS) during preconstruction allowed Granite to fully analyze risk, generate efficient work plans, develop a detailed schedule, and, importantly, package the work to reduce overall schedule duration and cost. The result of our preconstruction effort is a well-choreographed approach to maximize the work we construct during the next three seasons,” said Group Project Executive, Todd Keller. The Polychrome Area Improvements project is scheduled to be completed by July 2026.

A major milestone achieved in the 2023 construction season was pioneering and construction of a temporary access route across the active landslide. Establishing this route was critical for mobilization of a 200-ton crawler crane for construction of the west abutment in 2024.

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“We are pleased we were able to construct this temporary route to a reasonably traversable condition as it allowed NPS maintenance crews and landholders access to the 45 miles of park road and private properties beyond the slide for the first time since 2021,” said Vice President of Regional Operations, Derek Betts.

The Polychrome Area Improvements project is at the Pretty Rocks Landslide which intersects Denali Park Road near its midpoint at Mile 45.4. The project scope includes construction of an approximately 475-foot-long single-span steel truss bridge to span the active landslide. Supporting the bridge and improving ground conditions is a combination of earthwork, micro piles, rock anchors, precast concrete abutments, and thermosyphons. Thermosyphons are part of a passive heat exchange system designed to prevent permafrost from thawing and creating instability.

The CM/GC project delivery method involves the contractor during the design and planning phases, offering a lower risk profile for both the contractor and the owner while increasing the overall value to taxpayers. This process is designed to promote collaboration and to solicit value-adding feedback from the contractor.

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