May 8, 2012
April 18, 2012
More than half of the William Beaumont Army Medical Center infrastructure project is being performed by Sundt's own crews.
When Sundt Project Manager Greg Clark said his crew will excavate a million yards of soil at a jobsite at Fort Bliss Army Post in El Paso, Texas, some people thought he was kidding. A million yards is a LOT of material, even for a major heavy civil project like this one, in which Sundt is performing all of the infrastructure and site development for the future William Beaumont Army Medical Center.
But then Greg corrected himself – it’s actually 1.3 million yards of excavated material – and it became clear that he was serious. The massive excavation effort will allow the team to safely install a new sewer line up to 48 feet deep, beneath a large layer of sandy soil.
“The top 15 feet of the site is good quality soil, but below that it’s really sandy – just like beach sand,” Greg said. “That’s a problem when you’re trying to dig down deep because the sand runs at a two-to-one slope. It constantly runs as you dig; you can’t put a trench box in it. For various reasons, the client didn’t want to install a lift station (a value engineering idea that would have reduced the excavation depth significantly), so the only safe solution is to open up the whole area with scrapers. We will end up digging out and replacing 1.3 million yards of material to build a trench for an 18-inch sewer line.”
Sundt’s ability to dig through problems and focus on solutions is just one reason our clients choose us.
April 9, 2012
An aerial view of the new Cordes Lake Bridge over I-17 showing the recent installation of the precast concrete girders.
Sundt and joint venture partner Vastco, Inc., are reconstructing Arizona’s busy Cordes Junction traffic interchange at Interstate 17 (I-17) and State Route 69 (SR 69), about 65 miles north of downtown Phoenix. The 50-year-old interchange is used by approximately 40,000 vehicles per day, most of which are just passing through on their way to smaller towns in northern Arizona.
In order to alleviate congestion and improve safety, the Heavy Civil project will:
- create two separate interchanges: one that has a high-speed off-ramp from northbound I-17 to northbound SR 69 for through traffic, and a diamond interchange that has a system of on- and off-ramps designed for slower, local traffic;
- realign, widen and pave several local streets associated with the interchange;
- construct seven new bridges, including one of Sundt’s specialties: a post-tensioned, cast-in-place concrete structure that will be the most challenging aspect of the project. In order to avoid road closures, it will be built over live traffic on I-17. Vastco/Sundt’s expertise with this kind of road and bridge construction is a major reason the team was chosen for the job.
The $51 million, Construction Manager at Risk project will be complete in the summer of 2013.
March 9, 2012
BIM model of how the shoofly will move the existing roadway during construction of the new bridge
It’s not every day that you get to see an innovative bridge construction project in action. But thanks to a live construction cam recently installed at the Sellwood Bridge in Portland, Ore., that’s exactly what you can do. Sundt and joint venture partner Slayden Construction recently teamed up on the $160 million reconstruction of the aging structure using an innovative ‘shoofly’ method that is faster, safer and less expensive than what was originally called for in the project’s Environmental Impact Statement. The approach will shorten the project schedule by approximately one year and reduce the cost by $5 to $10 million.
The 86-year-old Sellwood Bridge stretches 2,000 feet across the Willamette River. Rather than rebuilding it in sections and shifting traffic back and forth between the old structure and newly completed segments, the team will create a ”shoofly” (detour) bridge to keep traffic flowing throughout the project. The approach involves lifting the old bridge deck and truss with hydraulic jacks and moving it to one side, then placing it on a set of temporary piers and connecting it to temporary approach spans so that traffic can continue to use it while the new bridge is constructed.
March 7, 2012
Sundt and a joint venture partner recently expanded the Loop 101 High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes in Phoenix, Ariz.
You don’t have to be a traffic engineer or city planner to know that our country’s transportation system is in desperate need of help. Consider this statement from a recent white paper produced by the Bureau of National Affairs: “As of 2006, more than half of total vehicle miles traveled on the federal highway system occurred on roads that were not in good condition. More than one quarter of the nation’s bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.”
Making the problem worse is the fact that new infrastructure projects haven’t kept up with demand. According to the same white paper, between 1980 and 2006, vehicle travel miles increased by 97 percent for automobiles and 106 percent for trucks. But in the past 30 years the total number of highway lane miles grew only 4.4 percent.
The situation – some say a crisis – is especially worrisome for businesses because the harder it is for them to transport goods and services, the costlier it becomes. A higher cost of doing business translates to lower profitability and less money for hiring employees, which inhibits the economic recovery. Simply put: deteriorating infrastructure is a danger to public safety, harmful for the environment (think of all those vehicles idling in congested traffic because there aren’t enough roads), and bad for our nation’s economy in more ways than one.
Many experts, including the leadership of Sundt, agree that now is the time for bold action to turn the situation around.
“Initially, the federal government needs to pass a long-term transportation bill that is at or above the current funding levels. A five-year plan would give the states the stability they need to move forward with construction projects,” says Jeff Williamson, senior vice president and manager of Sundt’s Civil Division. “Ultimately, broad-based public awareness and education need to occur to create the will for a major investment in our infrastructure if this nation is to remain competitive in a global economy.”
Sundt’s crews are excavating for the drainage structures that will be incorporated into the new C-130 parking apron. Grading work, also for the apron, is shown on the right.
Sundt’s current work at Cannon Air Force Base near Clovis, N.M., is a great example of why experience matters. The $23 million heavy civil project involves building a new parking apron and taxiway for the C-130 gunship aircraft – plus extensive drainage facilities – in just 365 calendar days. As if that weren’t challenging enough, the site is in close proximity to an active runway and “arm / de-arm pad” where arriving planes are armed and de-armed with live ammunition – operations that necessarily take priority over construction and can bring the team’s activities to a halt. There are also five other contractors on site to work around and coordinate with.
“One of the main reasons Sundt was selected for the job is our experience performing military airfield paving and similar work for the federal government,” explains Project Manager Dominic Mascia. “There are about 55 pages of specifications for the concrete paving alone – covering batching and placing the concrete to the quality checks which include thickness, smoothness, strength, etc. It takes a lot to get a quality end product, which not every contractor understands. Poor quality work can lead to early and unscheduled maintenance and other more serious problems that can be both expensive and dangerous. We also have a lot of experience working in high-security military environments.”
Sundt’s ability to perform more than half of the project with its own crews offers another advantage. “We’re self-performing the earthwork, the installation of the underground utilities (storm drain and water line), the box culverts and other drainage structures, and the concrete paving,” Mascia continued. “Quality is the ultimate goal. Experience, plus self-performing a large part of the work, is a proven way to reach it.”