Contractors earn bonuses, discover new strategies, obtain award-winning concrete roads

Successful a roadbuilding contract usually comes all the way down to who has the bottom bid.

However attaining the sort of high quality, innovation and ingenuity it takes to turn into an trade standout requires rather more than the flexibility to shave prices.

In talking with a few of the winners of the 2019 Excellence in Concrete Pavements Awards, we discovered some frequent qualities contractors dropped at their initiatives that made them worthy of nationwide recognition. The awards, sponsored annually by the American Concrete Pavement Affiliation, are designed to encourage high quality and creativity throughout the trade.

For a few of the winners, these qualities additionally led to bonus cash on their initiatives and the event of innovate methods to satisfy tight deadlines, in addition to assist advance concrete paving strategies for future highway initiatives of their states and nationally.

With out fail, the entire paving firms stated that, finally, satisfaction of their work was the driving drive.

“We get this work by being the low bid,” says Craig Hughes, vice chairman of operations for award-winner Cedar Valley Company, “however we’ve received to construct it the most effective we are able to to garner the incentives we are able to as a result of it makes us extra aggressive within the subject. And it’s only a matter of ‘look, we’re right here to do it, let’s do it proper, let’s do it the most effective we are able to.’”


Preserving materials flowing

Ensuring it had sufficient materials to maintain its pavers working was a serious concern of Cedar Valley when it was employed as a subcontractor for the final section of the $75 million venture to finish the long-awaited U.S. Freeway 20 throughout northern Iowa.

The Iowa Division of Transportation required an accelerated time-frame. With 552,000 sq. yards of concrete for Cedar Valley to use and three contractors working in a small geographic space on the varied phases of the venture, the continual demand for materials was greater than producers might sustain with. Cedar Valley additionally was liable for 44 miles of alternate-bid concrete shoulders of 4 toes vast and 6 inches deep, in addition to 19 crossovers and 42 flip lanes.

“I feel each contractor on the hall over that interval of about three years ran out of supplies in some unspecified time in the future in time,” says Hughes.

The 47-year-old firm primarily based in Waterloo, Iowa, had accomplished a paving venture of greater than 1 million sq. yards two years earlier than and had additionally paved one other massive part of U.S. 20. So it knew what was in retailer if it didn’t begin lining up supplies nicely upfront – almost a 12 months forward of paving.

“A part of the issue we had was even the fabric producers didn’t fairly grasp the amount of fabric that might be wanted in such a brief time period,” Hughes says. “After many conferences with these of us, we decided we have to get all we are able to in a pile forward of time as a result of they’re going to expire. And that’s just about what occurred.”

So Cedar Valley started stockpiling concrete combination at a central combine plant on the venture website. There was just one predominant provider within the space, and it was getting its materials from three different sources to attempt to meet demand.

The corporate managed to build up 30,000 tons of fabric at one level.

“Even with all of the work we did forward of time – we by no means ran out of supplies – however we bumped into a fairly truthful slowdown due to an absence of supplies,” Hughes says, “and needed to change up the best way we had been constructing the job due to it.”

To cut back the fabric demand sufficient so producers might catch up, the corporate would pause its mainline paving on the midpoint annually and go to paving the aspect roads, shoulders, intersections and switch lanes. That allowed the corporate to rebuild its stockpiles but additionally maintain the venture on schedule. The impact of Iowa’s moist climate on the venture was additionally mitigated as a result of the corporate already had a paved part from the plant on website to the aspect work.

Not solely did Cedar Valley meet the schedule for the venture, it additionally racked up three bonuses: for pavement smoothness, thickness and blend high quality.

The stockpiling performed a task in these bonuses, particularly for the smoothness, Hughes says. That’s as a result of having gradual supply of supplies or working out of supplies hurts the combination high quality and prevents a steady paving circulation, which impacts smoothness.


Able to innovate

Cedar Valley prides itself on being on the forefront of pavement smoothness in Iowa. On this venture, it was concerned in two packages by the Federal Freeway Administration that can seemingly play a task in future roadbuilding within the state and the nation.

The corporate had obtained a GOMACO Smoothness Indicator by way of the FHWA’s tools mortgage program. The paver-mounted, sonar-based gadget offers real-time smoothness measurements.

“It tells you the way you’re doing proper behind the paver, so that you don’t have to attend a day for it to get arduous and run behind it with the profilographs,” Hughes says. “That was a terrific studying expertise for a few of the folks on our paving crews and actually for all of us.”

The corporate had additionally approached Iowa State College’s Nationwide Pavement Expertise Heart in regards to the venture.

“We approached them and stated, ‘You’re by no means going to have extra concrete paving occurring this near the college,’” Hughes says. “‘What can we do to be taught extra about it, since we’re proper in your yard?’”

So the FHWA arrange a cell unit on website for testing the sturdiness of concrete supplies on the venture, reminiscent of combination, cement and fly ash. A few of these assessments had been new to the state.

Hughes believes the corporate’s involvement within the testing additionally helped encourage its employees. “It confirmed our folks that there was a excessive diploma of curiosity in high quality from not simply us at Cedar Valley or the state of Iowa, that it was one thing that’s acknowledged nationally,” he says. “And I feel with the ability to have our folks see folks from FHWA on the market on the venture, watching how they had been doing issues and doing testing, it actually raised the visibility to our crews of simply how necessary that’s.”

Hughes says concrete smoothness and a job nicely accomplished are sources of satisfaction for Cedar Valley, particularly with its involvement within the U.S. 20 venture, the completion of which represents a 60-year objective to attach 302 miles throughout the state.

“The folks that construct these items – them, their households, the folks they know – they know they constructed that work,” he says. “And when it’s smoother pavement, and you may inform you’re driving on one of many smoother pavements that Cedar Valley constructed versus a few of the different ones, a sure measure of satisfaction goes into it.”


Saving cash, time fixing harmful curve

Emery Sapp & Sons had a deadline of 110 calendar days to rebuild a harmful curve on Route 36 at its intersection with Route 33 in DeKalb County, Missouri.

For drivers touring left, the curve because it was initially constructed would trigger autos to lean to the precise, the alternative of what ought to happen.

“For years tractor trailers would flip over – on common about one to 2 a month,” says Donnie Stevenson, venture supervisor for Missouri-based Emery Sapp & Sons.

“We went in and never solely eliminated the pavement however regraded that complete part to vary the profile of the curve,” he says. The corporate additionally added flip lanes on the interchange.

Emery Sapp began the venture early in March with a objective of being completed earlier than summer time when an area racetrack attracts heavy site visitors. Throughout the second weekend of labor, a big snowstorm got here by way of the world, inflicting the corporate to reassess its choice to start out so early within the 12 months.

However the firm noticed a chance to avoid wasting money and time and provides the Missouri Division of Transportation a testing floor for a comparatively new course of for the state: utilizing asphalt milled onsite as a base for a concrete pavement.

Most roads in Missouri have solely a 4-inch overlay, which doesn’t go away a lot to mill off, Stevenson explains. “On this one, we discovered that between the overlays and the unique highway, there have been some areas the place the asphalt was as much as 12 inches thick. We had an enormous quantity of fabric.”

“Had we not used this materials, we might have needed to haul all these millings offsite to waste after which herald rock to exchange it,” Stevenson says. “As an alternative we milled it and stockpiled it onsite after which simply put it proper again down below the concrete.”

Since this isn’t a standard follow in Missouri, the MoDOT labored intently with Emery Sapp to develop a take a look at methodology to make sure correct compaction. Normal nuclear density testing usually carried out on base rock wouldn’t work on asphalt millings. As an alternative, they used a cone penetrometer. They decided a rolling sample of three passes with a 20-ton curler achieved the right compaction. They then wheel-rolled the floor with a loaded truck to confirm the right compaction had been achieved.

For rebuilding the curve, the corporate used Trimble GPS 3D machine management on its tools, from the dozers up. Stevenson says the corporate has been utilizing GPS management for about 15 years.

“We keep updated with our tools,” he says. “We run state-of-the-art equipment and all grade management. We make investments closely again into our fleet.”

It hauled in all of the dust utilizing 40-yard pans pulled by Cat 740 vans. The corporate modified the .75-mile curve’s horizontal and vertical alignments. It additionally put in 2,500 linear toes of storm drainage, in addition to new indicators and pavement markings. The corporate managed this whereas directing all site visitors to the foremost thoroughfare’s two eastbound lanes.

As a result of its choice to mill the prevailing asphalt, the corporate completed the venture in 88 days – 22 days forward of schedule. It additionally gained some bragging rights for the concrete trade.

“We’re a concrete paving firm and this was really a contract that was tied to 2 different contracts. These contracts had been massive asphalt overlay jobs,” he says. “It was sort of good to have our concrete paving venture smack in the course of two asphalt initiatives.”


Paving the best way to nationwide treasure

Mt. Rushmore is a well-liked vacation spot for 3 million folks a 12 months and an important financial engine for retailers in Fast Metropolis, South Dakota. So something that disrupts that circulation of commerce is sure to trigger an uproar. For a paving contractor, time is of the essence.

Properly conscious of that sentiment, Full Contracting Options of Fast Metropolis took on the venture of reconstructing the five-lane Mt. Rushmore Street, which had an asphalt overlay.

The largest impediment was coping with the native and vacationer site visitors, says Dave Buck, engineer/estimator for Full Contracting.

The venture concerned public outreach with weekly conferences letting the general public and retailers know each step of the best way. The corporate used a wide range of strategies to maintain site visitors flowing with as few disruptions as potential.

It persuaded the South Dakota Division of Transportation to permit it to mix a few of the venture’s 5 phases, quite than having to finish one section earlier than transferring to the following one. “They appreciated the concept,” Buck says. “So we mixed a few totally different phases and possibly saved 4 to 5 weeks of working time.”

Being a high-profile venture, DOT inspectors had been onsite every day. “Day by day we had two to a few inspectors watching over your shoulder each step of the best way,” he says. “And with the quantity of site visitors that might undergo there each day, each morning, we’d have our 5-minute security briefing with all the fellows simply to maintain of their minds to concentrate on their environment and site visitors and watch the place you’re strolling.”

The venture additionally had some particular options, together with ornamental, coloured and stamped medians; coloured and patterned retaining partitions; coloured and stamped sidewalks; and coloured ADA ramps at every intersection. The brand new concrete thoroughfare now has two northbound and southbound lanes in addition to devoted flip lanes at every intersection.

When it was accomplished, Full Contracting had completed forward of schedule.

“Total, our guys and our staff of subcontractors did an superior job,” Buck says. “We received some incentive for getting it accomplished early.”

There have been additionally no security incidents.

“It was a house run in my ebook,” he says.