The joint-venture Iowa team of Peterson Contractors Inc., Reinbeck, and Reilly Construction Co. Inc., Ossian, established one goal in late September when it started rebuilding Interstate 680 near Crescent: get the flooded highway repaired and reopened as quickly as possible. The contractor's $19.2-million contract came with a $2 million bonus if all four lanes of the 2.56-mile segment were open by Nov. 20. The team finished the job in 33 days, well ahead of the owner's Dec. 23 deadline.

"Everybody went to work," said Cork Peterson, Peterson vice president. "Everybody had a common goal, and that was to get the motoring public back on this interstate as soon as possible."

The contractor had a master plan in place, but field managers also were empowered with authority to make adjustments on the fly, Peterson said.

Though the new interstate follows the same path as the old one, crews changed the center-line grades so both sides are now at the same elevation. They also filled in the median first and used it as a haul road, so work could proceed on each side.

Aggregate from local quarries went into the base rock layer, but some of the concrete stone came from South Dakota, transported by rail to Sioux City, then trucked down to the site. On many days there were more than 100 supply trucks on the road, Peterson said.

"Reilly recycled in excess of 100,000 tons of existing pavement to generate 46,000 cubic yards in 15 days," Peterson noted.

Manatt's Inc., Brooklyn, Iowa, the concrete supplier, brought in a batch plant that produced 400 cu yd hourly.

Peterson credits the people on the job and good weather for the quick turnaround. "We had everybody's support to get it done," he said. "And there was no traffic—that's a big deal."

Taming Missouri ‘Beast’

Leavenworth Excavating and Equipment Co. Inc., the Leavenworth, Kan., contractor known as Lexeco, also had a pair of challenges to meet—quickly—as this year's record floodwaters receded.