January 17, 2018
January 12, 2018
Despite wet conditions, we completed our work on US 175 in Texas seven months ahead of schedule.
US 175 in Henderson County, Texas is bigger, safer and open well ahead of schedule despite conditions that often worked against our crew, which numbered as many as 50 craft professionals at a time.
The county, located 35 miles west of Tyler, Texas, saw 115 inches of rain in 2016. Seventy of those inches came during the spring, when our team was working on critical portions of the job, including constructing several large cast-in-place box culverts and four bridges and excavating 800,000 cubic yards of dirt.
“The soil is sandy and prone to washing out,” said Area Manager Abel Ortiz. “It was just a messy job site. Lots of water. The crew did a good job of managing all that.”
Construction of the drainage box culverts was a challenge under the conditions and the earthwork operations suffered significant delays. We had an answer that kept the Texas Department of Transportation project on track.
“The team made up for most of the lost time by double-shifting the dirt work operations during the summer,” Abel said. “We had five dirt crews going around the clock. At one point, crews were moving 20,000 cubic yards of dirt per day.”
The work turned US 175 into a four-lane divided highway that bypasses the small town of Poynor. The old roadway had two lanes with no shoulders in a rolling hill area, making it extremely dangerous.
Work started in October 2015 and was completed in January 2018, seven months ahead of schedule.
“The crew was able to manage the adverse weather very well,” Abel said. “That kept the owner happy.”
December 15, 2017
Sundt Heavy Machinery Operator Jesse De Haro.
Heavy Machinery Operator Jesse De Haro has been with Sundt for more than 10 years, working on projects across the Southwest.
Last year, Jesse became one of dozens of Sundt craft professionals to earn NCCER-Plus Certification. The assessment is broken into two parts. Knowledge verification is a written test that assesses the employee’s knowledge of a subject matter within an area of expertise, such as pipefitting, industrial concrete or ironworking. The second part is the performance verification, a hands-on demonstration that measures the employee’s ability to perform skills in a particular area of expertise. Craft professionals carry the certification throughout their careers.
A Tucson native, Jesse is working at home on the Banner-UMC project. Previously, he was across town on our Ina/I-10 improvements.
What made you want to work for Sundt?
My dad connected me with the company and I really got close to a lot of guys. I felt like they were family. I still feel that way.
What has been your favorite project?
I’m kind of biased on that. My first job was the Fourth Avenue underpass. It couldn’t have been a better job as a 21-year-old. I got to work at home.
What’s the best part about your job?
Besides building cool things and saying I was a part of it, I like meeting good people when I go out of town. People who see this as a career. I’m open to teaching green guys who are willing to pick it up. I like to see people prosper and become part of the Sundt culture.
What are your hobbies?
I love to spend time with my young daughter. I collect DVDs and Blu-rays and try to work out when I’m not too tired.
Where do you get your best advice?
I turn to a lot of my superintendents … people I’ve worked for over time and built relationships with. They help me with work and personal things.
If you weren’t in the construction industry, what would you be doing?
Maybe a mechanic. It’s become more of a hobby. I really like what I do.
November 22, 2017
Sundt Preconstruction Manager Cade Rowley.
Cade Rowley has spent all 20 of his years in the construction industry with Sundt. Cade, the Preconstruction Manager for our Transportation Group, is a registered civil engineer, member of the Board of Directors for the Arizona Chapter of Associated General Contractors of America and AGC’s Board of Governors.
Cade holds a bachelor’s in Civil Engineering from Arizona State University.
What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?
Early in my career, I was on a very difficult project. I had the opportunity to leave Sundt and pursue a less stressful and less time-consuming career with the US Forest Service. Fortunately, I had a strong Project Manager as a mentor who assured me not all projects were the same. I took the risk to stay with Sundt and it played out well for me and my family.
What does a Preconstruction Manager do?
Besides stress out on bid day, I manage all estimating and preconstruction work in our four Transportation Group offices (Tempe, Arizona; Irving, Texas; San Antonio and Salt Lake City). Manage the budgeting and buyout process for all transportation projects. Review and execute subcontract agreements and purchase-order agreements for all Transportation Group work. Collaborate with Preconstruction Managers from Industrial, Building and Concrete to enhance self-perform opportunities across all groups.
What’s unique about preconstruction for transportation work?
Every project we look at is unique due to site conditions and the environment we are working in. The cost of the work varies greatly due to the geology of the earthwork, site conditions such as working in traffic or in the open, existing underground utilities, weather, etc. We also do a lot of design-bid-build commonly referred to as hard-bid work. In many cases we only have three to four weeks to review hundreds of pages of plans and specifications and provide a price that we are financially committed to.
Dog person or cat person?
Definitely a dog person! My wife even had to leave her cat with her parents when we got married.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?
No success can compensate for failure in the home. What we do at work is very important and gives us the ability to support our families and the ones we care about, but we have limited time with our children before they grow up. I encourage everyone who works with me to make time for their families. A happy home life usually leads to a more productive work life.
Seen any good movies lately?
I really enjoyed the movie “Only the Brave” about the Granite Mountain Hotshot Crew.
November 13, 2017
Sundt’s Transportation Group is turning the two-lane roadway into a four-lane divided highway in Central Arizona.
It’s a smart way to build a road.
Sundt is using Intelligent Compaction (IC) for the first time on our Thousand Trails Road improvements for the Arizona Department of Transportation. IC is the compaction of road materials such as soils, aggregate bases or asphalt pavement materials, using vibratory rollers equipped with an integrated measurement system, an onboard computer reporting system and global positioning system-based mapping.
Compaction is necessary to attain high quality and uniformity of pavement materials, ensuring longer-lasting performance.
“Using IC on the project gives us the ability to monitor compaction efforts in real time and let us know when it has obtained the required compaction on the aggregate base course (what’s under the surface layer) as well as the asphalt,” said Senior Project Manager Eric Weston.
Our Transportation Group is turning the two-lane roadway into a four-lane divided highway in Central Arizona between Camp Verde and Cottonwood. The job site is about 20 miles from the award-winning Cordes Junction project we completed in 2013.
The project team will replace the barrier on an existing bridge for future westbound lanes, construct a new bridge for future eastbound lanes and build a new multi-modal pathway. The work consists of seven roundabouts, earthwork, aggregate base, asphaltic concrete pavement, bridge construction, drainage improvements, curb and gutter, sidewalk and other related work.
“The biggest challenge so far has been dealing with traffic on State Road 260,” Eric said. “During the day, SR260 is very busy with local as well as vacation traffic to Cottonwood and Sedona.”
An installed bat box sits under the new Ina Road bridge waiting for its occupants.
At our Interstate 10/Ina Road project near Tucson, some of Sundt’s constituents have wings and enjoy nestling under an old bridge. They wedge themselves into one-inch crevices to roost between the bridge’s beams. When they leave their homes in the evenings to hunt, they draw people from across the region to watch their night flight.
Our work to widen the interstate involves taking down and replacing the Ina Road bridge where Mexican free-tailed bats spend much of the year. It’s their hangout.
Each box has a one-inch crevice the bats use to enter their homes.
Arizona Game and Fish officials estimate about 1,000 bats spend the winter there instead of relocating to Mexico and 25,000 stick around Southern Arizona in the summer. Fortunately, the project team and Arizona Game and Fish Department have devised a plan to make sure the bats aren’t homeless.
The new bridge, which sits next to the old one, has seven bat boxes that replicate the conditions under which the mammals have been living. Each of the boxes has one-inch openings for the bats to crawl into. The boxes provide cooler conditions in the summer and warmer in the winter that bats like.
The old bridge will be coming down early next year and the team is spending time now making sure the bats find their new home. When the winged creatures take off at night, crews are sealing the areas where they have been resting. The construction team has been spraying bat urine on the boxes to draw the residents to their new homes.
Now that’s dedication, proving we’ll do whatever it takes to make clients happy, including those whose nightly foraging has become an enjoyable ritual for Tucson-area spectators.