The Hoback Jct – Jackson Snake River South Section project, was a three-year highway reconstruction project, built at the height of the COVID 19 pandemic. It remains one of the largest individual highway projects awarded by the Wyoming Department of Transportation.
The project was characterized by highly technical and extensive heavy-civil work beginning with removal and replacement of the existing 625-foot span, two lane, highway bridge, 50 feet above the flowing Snake River. Additional project technical work included constructing post tensioned concrete and gabion retaining walls, soil nail walls, public walking/biking paths, wildlife crossings, mass excavation, full depth reclamation, installation of RCP, CMP stormwater pipe culverts, extensive erosion control measures, and a multitude of associated miscellaneous tasks.
Bridge construction was especially challenging due to the project’s proximity to the Snake River. Employees and subcontractors were constantly working in or near flowing water while constructing crane pads, excavating spread footings for bridge bents and preparing all required areas for constructing bridge foundation, substructure and superstructure. Steep slopes increased the degree of difficulty when constructing bridge abutments and when constructing haul/access roads for cranes and other heavy equipment from the existing road grade down steep Snake River banks.
Additionally challenging was the construction of the Bear River slide. This highly technical slide mitigation design required difficult excavation in weathered to very weathered shale. A minimum 75 feet of excavation was necessary to begin slide mitigation efforts. Multiple structures and engineered features such as underdrains, drilled shaft foundations, reinforced steel, mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) retaining walls, soil nail walls, combined to stabilize this volatile section of highway.