Graves Road / I-275 Interchange – Design-Build

Palmer Engineering is serving as the Lead Design Consultant on the Design-Build Team (DBT) for the on-going project to rebuild Graves Road from KY-20 to KY-237 and construct a new Double Crossover Diamond (DCD) Interchange for I-275. The Eaton Asphalt DBT was awarded the selection by KYTC District 6 in August 2019. The project includes improvements to KY 20 and KY 237 to accommodate current and projected traffic. The DBT employed innovative design, environmental, utility coordination, right of way, and construction measures to fast-track project development to meet the goal of opening the DCD interchange to traffic by October 31, 2020, barely one year after award.

The Eaton DBT elected to change the KYTC-supplied preliminary interchange design consisting of a rural diamond interchange to a DCD interchange design. After the DBT was awarded the project, Palmer worked with KYTC and FHWA to receive approvals for the addendum to the Interchange Justification Study (IJS) and re-evaluation of the environmental document based on the modified Area of Potential Effect (APE). Palmer is providing roadway, structural, and traffic signal design services for widening Graves Road to a five-lane urban typical section, adding auxilary lanes along I-275, adding a left turn lane on KY-20, and reconstructing the KY-237 roundabout The fast-tracked design of the structure by Palmer enabled the accelerated construction of the new bridge over I-275, crucial to opening the interchange in Fall 2020.

Palmer coordinated closely with all affected utility companies to significantly minimize the impacts to utilities and to estimate the cost of utility relocations for the contractor to bid and construct the project. The DBT responsibility for the utility relocation costs, agreements and permits was unprecedented and required that Palmer Engineering create master agreements between Eaton Asphalt and each utility owner to facilitate the design and relocation of the utility adjustments in phases through Project Relocation Delivery Orders (PRDO’s). Palmer is responsible for designing the relocation plans for all water and sewer lines in the project area, the design of the underground conduit system for Duke Energy Electric and a new 42” jack and bore under I-275 for Duke, Owen Electric, Cincinnati Bell, and Spectrum.

Project management of the right-of-way process has been critical to enabling the DBT to construct the project in buildable units. Palmer prioritized the individual parcels in each unit and aggressively completed the appraisals to accelerate the acquisition of the key parcels to allow the contractor to begin relocating utilities and constructing relocated Williams Road and Graves Road. The project involved 65 parcels, including 20 parcels and 9 relocations within the interchange priority section from south of I-275 to Worldwide Blvd. A Right-of-Way property owners’ meeting was held with the property owners impacted by the project to introduce the right-of-way team and collect information for future contact. Our team has also had to overcome the challenges of acquiring right-of-way during the Covid-19 pandemic with limitations on face-to-face meetings with property owners and the closure of the courthouses. To date, Buildable Units 1-4 have been cleared to allow for the construction of the interchange between I-275 and Worldwide Blvd., and the acquisition of property is on-schedule.

The project remains on schedule to open the new Graves Road interchange to traffic by October 31, 2020 with a connection to Worldwide Blvd., and for construction to be completed by August 1, 2022.