PENETRON - PENETRON Helps Conquer Mountains and Groundwater in West Virginia | PENETRON Media Releases

December 5, 2013

PENETRON Helps Conquer Mountains and Groundwater in West Virginia

The recent opening of the Gateway Connector Highway in West Virginia has opened the city of Fairmont to the state’s vibrant “high tech corridor” and ended its historic isolation. PENETRON crystalline waterproofing technology ensures the new highway stays open.

The Gateway Connector is a 1.5-mile, four-lane, divided access highway that connects Fairmont, WV, to the Interstate 79 highway. Fairmont has been long known for its rich history of coal mining and river transportation to the steel mills and factories of Pittsburgh and in the Ohio River Valley. An overland route for the city was long neglected, choking off development over the years. The new Gateway Connector provides a critical link between historic downtown Fairmont and West Virginia’s new “High Tech Corridor,” home to the world’s largest cluster of biometric and identity security firms.

Groundwater Challenge Delays Project

Design and construction of the Gateway Connector project had an over 25-year history and was implemented in several phases. Construction began in 2002, with the final stage completed only recently. One reason for the delay was the discovery of pockets of aggressive groundwater conditions, including acidic mine drainage from nearby coal mines, by the Virginia Department of Highways.

To address these concerns, the West Virginia Division of Highways worked closely with PENETRON and Central Builder, the concrete supplier, to develop various concrete mixes and run trials to confirm the efficacy of PENETRON ADMIX in order to find an optimal concrete design. Ultimately, the project design engineers specified PENETRON ADMIX to protect the final stage of the new infrastructure under construction. These specifications called for PENETRON ADMIX to be used in the storm water collection facilities, including the inlet curtains, interconnecting vaults, and the collection pipe’s critical lining.

Protecting Concrete From Within

“Essentially, the PENETRON ADMIX now protects the concrete from the inside out through a crystalline lattice that permanently seals hairline cracks over the lifetime of the concrete,” explains Chris Chen, Director of The PENETRON Group. “The structure of the Gateway Connector is now fully protected from water penetration, freeze thaw damage, and aggressive waterborne contaminants.”

The PENETRON crystalline waterproofing technology provided a critical component of the project by protecting the “core” of the Gateway Connector: the cast-in-place connection vaults, precast risers, precast inlets, and shotcrete-placed pipe linings that extend up to 25 feet below the level of the finished traffic surface.

"We’re very pleased to have had the opportunity to work with the West Virginia Division of Highways to find a solution," adds Chen. "The ability of PENETRON ADMIX to increase concrete durability and protect against aggressive acidic conditions, salt damage and corrosion will help the Gateway Connector structure live up to or exceed the intended design life cycle. In the long run, this will also contribute to reduced maintenance costs."

Gateway Connector

The cast in place connection vaults, precast riser sections, and gunnite placed pipe linings form the core of the new highway with elevations extending 25 feet below the traffic surface.

Gateway Connector

The new four-lane highway crosses mountainous West Virginia terrain to connect historic Fairmont with the state’s “High Tech Corridor.”

Gateway Connector

Pockets of aggressive groundwater from underground coal mines were discovered after completion of the elevated bridge superstructure.

Gateway Connector

PENETRON ADMIX protection was placed on the underground storm water piping as a shotcrete application on the new pipe’s flow lines.

The PENETRON Group is a leading manufacturer of specialty construction products for concrete waterproofing, concrete repairs and floor preparation systems. The Group operates through a global network, offering support to the design and construction community through its regional offices, representatives and distribution channels.

For more information on PENETRON waterproofing solutions, please visit,, email, or contact the Corporate Relations Department at 631-941-9700.

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