October 12, 2012
October 10, 2012
One of the 12 precast concrete arches that will form the sides of the reconstructed bridge. Each one is 163 feet long and weighs approximately 700,000 pounds.
Lifting a 700,000-pound concrete arch into an upright position and setting it aside safely on a busy construction site is no easy feat. Doing it twelve times – once for each arch that will form the sides of the reconstructed West 7th Street Bridge in Fort Worth, Texas – is officially hair-raising. That’s just one of the reasons Texas Area Manager Chris Cedar has a hard time sleeping at night. He’s overseeing Sundt’s $24.1 million project to reconstruct the 980-foot-long structure over the Trinity River, which will serve as a landmark gateway connecting the city’s downtown to its new cultural district.
The new bridge will feature two, 10-foot-wide pedestrian walkways and 12 precast concrete and stainless steel arches, which are being built by Sundt’s own concrete experts. Approximately 300,000 pounds of polished stainless steel within the arches and bridge superstructure will be illuminated at night with embedded lighting.
“Technically, this is a very challenging job,” Chris explained. “We cast the arches on site adjacent to the bridge, lying flat on their sides. Then we post-tension them and install the stainless steel rods that run from the top of the arch to the tie. Once they cure and get to 6,000 psi concrete strength, we rotate them up into the vertical position and slide them over into a storage area.”
Once all of the arches are complete (three have been made so far), they’ll be placed on both sides of the existing bridge at night. Then the old bridge will be closed and demolished and the new structure will be built in its place – in just 150 calendar days.
“Each arch takes about six weeks to complete, but the amount of time we spent planning the first one was enormous,” Chris added. “We spent a lot of time preparing and doing construction engineering up front so that everything went smoothly.”
September 14, 2012
One of the Infantry Moving (IM) targets at DAGIR. The long target in the foreground will eventually have rail attached to it, enabling a pop-up target to move back and forth. The six targets in the back will also be equipped with pop-up targets for small arms fire practice.
Sundt is nearing completion of the U.S. military’s first fully computerized target practice range at Fort Bliss Army Post, Texas, a high-profile project called DAGIR, which stands for Digital Air-Ground Integration Range. The $31.6 million heavy civil project, which will wrap up prior to Thanksgiving, included construction of 23 miles of tank trails, installation of 200 pre-cast concrete targets, and construction of six support buildings. The facility will be used to train U.S. soldiers and the armies of several U.S. allies for combat missions on the ground and from the air.
“This is a premier facility that will become a model for other such digital ranges around the country,” said Sundt Area Manager Fred Stone. “It’s high-tech, high-security, fast-tracked – you name it, it’s challenging. Sundt has an excellent track record of performing well under all of these conditions for the federal government, including at Fort Bliss, which factored into our being awarded the job.”
What makes the range unique is the fact that the targets are controlled digitally, which allows for the creation of unlimited combat scenarios. Sensors in the targets and the vehicles gather information that then becomes part of the review and feedback process. After soldiers complete a simulated mission on the range, they return to the After Action Review (AAR) building to view a recording and debrief with their superiors.
The 200 pre-cast concrete targets at DAGIR required approximately 11,000 concrete blocks, all of which were made by Sundt’s Concrete Division.
Sundt’s ability to self-perform all of the concrete work played an instrumental role in helping the team manage the tight schedule. Nearly 11,000 concrete blocks, each measuring 2x2x6 feet, were cast using an efficient assembly line approach that boosted productivity rates by more than 30 percent over what was originally projected.
The project’s location posed another challenge. It sits within a large parcel of undeveloped land that was used for target practice leading up to and during World War II. Because of its remote location and relatively open air space, it’s ideal for training missions, with one catch: an unknown amount of live ordinance is still scattered throughout the area. Even though the project site itself was cleared prior to Sundt’s arrival, the situation adds an additional layer of security that has affected the team’s daily operations.
“We have a very limited workspace that requires a lot of careful planning. You can’t just wander around out there,” said Stone. “If anyone deviates outside of the project boundaries, and lives to tell about it, they’ll be escorted off the base immediately. We have had to be very careful about respecting security measures – for our own safety as well as to protect the sensitive nature of what occurs there.”
September 12, 2012
The Sellwood Bridge project in Portland, Ore. The photo shows a view of the new location for the relocated truss (detour) bridge, looking east. Most of the structural steel for the new bridge columns has been constructed in the Willamette River. The bridge is scheduled to be moved early next year.
Sundt utilizes a variety of delivery methods to build projects for our diverse group of public and private sector clients. One of these – Construction Manager General Contractor, or CMGC – is particularly good at bringing team members together early in order to maximize teamwork. Early collaboration means better outcomes for clients and end users.
“CMGC is a highly collaborative process involving the owner, contractor and designer,” said Sundt Senior Vice President Jeff Williamson. “Early contractor involvement optimizes the design, which ultimately significantly reduces or eliminates future changes. The same process can be utilized to effectively manage schedule and environmental issues.”
Sundt and joint venture partner Slayden Construction are currently using CMGC on the reconstruction of the 2,000-foot-long Sellwood Bridge in Portland, Ore. The $160 million project involves moving the existing bridge deck and truss aside with hydraulic jacks, 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.
“This project is incredibly complex and would no doubt be much more difficult using a traditional design-bid-build approach,” said Steve Schmitt, Heavy Civil Area Manager for Sundt. “One of the owner’s goals is to maintain traffic in the corridor during the reconstruction of the bridge and the adjacent traffic interchange. The design team and Slayden/Sundt each had ideas on how this would work with respect to the phasing of traffic, minimizing the construction footprint, and also minimizing the cost of temporary pavement or detours.
“The project is especially confined, as it is sandwiched between the Willamette River, a cemetery and challenging topography. In the collaborative environment fostered by CMGC, we were able to develop a plan that maximizes the production efficiency, maintains traffic, and limits the need for temporary pavement. In short: CMGC is playing a major role in helping us deliver a better product to the bridge’s end users.”
August 8, 2012
The project includes the installation of more than 25,000 linear feet of storm drain, varying from 24 to 54 inches in diameter. The crew in the photo is placing slurry backfill over one of the 24-inch pipe runs.
Near El Paso, Texas, Sundt is improving a heavily utilized stretch of the Loop 375 Transmountain Road from Exit 6 on Interstate 10 to east of the Franklin Mountain Park entrance, bringing much-needed traffic relief to the area. The $61 million project involves widening approximately 3.5 miles of Transmountain Road from two to four lanes (with frontage roads), construction of four grade-separated intersections, hiking and biking trails, and exit and entrance ramps. The project also includes direct connectors from Loop 375 west to I-10 east and I-10 west to Loop 375 east.
Sundt Area Manager Fred Stone calls the project “a great fit for Sundt” because it makes use of our extensive heavy civil construction portfolio and our experience on projects that combine excavation, bridges and concrete work.
The project broke ground last February and is scheduled for completion in the spring of 2014. This is the second project recently awarded to Sundt by the Texas Department of Transportation. In June 2011, we were selected for the $24.1 million reconstruction of Fort Worth’s West Seventh Street Bridge.
Sundt’s work in Texas spans more than four decades and totals approximately $1 billion.
An image from the animated VDC model of Sundt's Sellwood Bridge project in Portland, Ore. The model shows the entire construction sequence and then pauses to demonstrate how traffic flows through the site.
BIM is to vertical construction as VDC is to horizontal construction. If this sounds more like an SAT question to you than a cutting-edge way to build better heavy civil construction projects, read on.
Virtual design and construction (VDC) can transform the construction of horizontal infrastructure projects like highways and bridges. Sundt has become an expert in the use of VDC and the many advantages it offers clients: better communication, fewer change orders and requests for information, the elimination of rework, increased productivity and quality, shortened schedules, creation of computerized as-built drawings and specifications, and – most importantly – reduced costs.
Want to know more? Eric Cylwik and Kevin Dwyer, two Sundt employees who have become leading experts on VDC, have authored an article on the subject that was posted today on the website of ENR magazine. You can find it here.