Minnesota’s Twin Ports Interchange (TPI), where I-35, I-535 and U.S. 53 converge in Duluth, has a serious problem. This confusing, tangled mix of elevated roads known as the “Can of Worms” is notorious for treacherous blind merges and left exits that lead to crashes in the area.
In addition to geometric deficiencies, most of the infrastructure is approaching the end of its design and service life. This includes eight mainline bridges connected to I-35, the region’s central artery, which were built in 1969 and have required emergency repairs due to significant corrosion on the piling.
To address safety and structural concerns, as well as improve mobility for oversize freight traffic, the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) is reconstructing the TPI to bring it up to modern design standards. Stringless paving technology provided by Miller Formless has boosted productivity on this challenging project, which is scheduled to be completed in 2024.
Paving with Ease and Efficiency
Out of more than 230 projects on MnDOT’s docket for 2022, the Twin Ports Interchange rebuild represents one of the transportation agency’s most significant undertakings. Construction is being led by the joint venture team of Ames Construction and Kraemer North America. These companies have partnered together on multiple projects over the past three decades, including building the original I-35 structures in Duluth.
Subcontractor Northland Constructors of Duluth, Inc. (Northland Constructors) is using a Miller Formless M-1000 slipform paving machine to construct 16,500 linear feet of concrete curbs on the TPI project. Crews utilized a scab-on method to place B424 and D424 curbs atop the 7-to-8-inch pavement, and a conventional stringline setup to install B624 curbs.
While Northland Constructors has relied on its M-1000 on many other occasions, this is the company’s first experience utilizing a stringless paving approach. “We saw production increases on Day 1!” says Jon Carlson, a project manager at Northland Constructors.
He notes that the ease of working without stringline is a real game-changer for his team. “We can set up the paver and job site with just the machine operator, then we call in the pour crew to place the concrete,” he explains. “This allows us to start and finish the day’s work much faster and move on to other jobs, increasing daily productivity.”
Carlson estimates his company has saved thousands in labor costs on TPI improvements thanks to the M-1000, a popular paving system used on the recent 2022 Street Reconstruction Program in Woodstock, Illinois.
Cutting-Edge & Customer-Focused
In operation for more than half a century, Miller Formless provides slipform paving equipment on projects across the United States and abroad. In addition to time and cost savings that help keep construction teams on schedule and on budget, these cutting-edge products support quality workmanship by providing continuous, smooth and seamless concrete surfaces.
Sharing real-world strategies and offering hands-on training are also fundamental to great customer experiences at Miller Formless. Carlson’s personal insights shed further light: “The customer service experience has been wonderful. Ken Gaylord, a product specialist at Miller Formless, came into town and got our stringless setup dialed in for our first day of pouring. We’ll be sure to reach out in the future with any questions about processes or issues.”
From conventional paving to offset paving and even custom applications, the versatile M-1000 can do it all. Chat with one of our knowledgeable sales representatives to see how slipform paving can improve productivity on your next project.