The streets of Porlamar, a city on Margarita Island in Venezuela, are filled with shops, restaurants and boutiques. That includes Juan Bautista Avenue, located in the heart of the city's tourist district.
The population of Porlamar soars from 85,000 in the offseason to 125,000 during the tourist season. The influx of visitors, and the traffic they bring, created the need for the reconstruction of Juan Bautista Avenue.
The redesign and building of the busy two-way street was a major undertaking. Two lanes were added in each direction. Also constructed was a two-way access road for vehicles making their way to the retail establishments. A pedestrian tunnel, to help shoppers navigate the busy street, was another project component.
The addition of the lanes made the road significantly wider. Therefore, removal or displacement of homes and stores on the edge of the existing road was required. Also relocated were light poles, billboards and service lines. Coordinating the efforts was DIRASPI Corp., a subsidiary of Grupo Aspite.
DIRASPI also handled the paving of the 13 km project that was completed in four sections. Three lifts of 5 cm each were placed. An M19 mix, with 25 mm (1") stones, was used.
Mix left the plant, about 25 km from the project, at a temperature of 150º C. Eliminating any possibility of segregation was on the mind of DIRASPI crews and its owner, Antonio Aspite, from the very beginning. "We don't have segregation problems because we work hard to prevent them," Aspite said. "We are careful to have the correct mix design coming from the plant, and fill the trucks properly at the plant. We also are careful about how the mix is placed in the hopper."
Trucks with capacities of 18, 22 and 24 tons delivered the mix. The asphalt then was transported to the paver by a material transfer vehicle. Joints were placed by having the 10-20B Extend-A-Mat screed work at a width 10 cm over the previous lift. That 10 cm received an additional 1 cm of material. "Once the asphalt was placed, we proceeded to compact the layer, first passing over the joint," Aspite said.
The paver, an AP1200, moved in first or second gear. "We paved at a width of 3 m to 6 m, and had intermediate sizes, too, based on the requirements along the way," Aspite said.
Working on breakdown compaction was a Cat® CB534D XW. It made two vibratory passes. A pneumatic compactor came next, and then a finishing rolling. The number of passes was adjusted based on the conditions.
Wider than most breakdown compactors, the CB534D XW added productivity to the job, Aspite said. "Absolutely it makes a difference," he said. "A compaction width of 2 m is more suited to the standard width of roads, so obviously it takes fewer passes to achieve compaction of the overall mat."
The options on the Cat roller also made a significant contribution, Aspite said. "The most valuable feature of the Cat vibratory compactors is the ability to work with variable amplitudes and frequencies," he said.
A Good Finish
The DIRASPI crew was able to meet all the logistical challenges—ranging from removing buildings to relocating power lines, to delivering and placing the mix.
"It was a project that required considerable planning," Aspite said. "There were many pieces of the puzzle to put together.
"But we were able to stay productive and keep the project on track. In the end it was a very successful job and we're proud of our work."
The smooth, durable surface of Juan Bautista Avenue will serve the island well for many years to come.
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