October 17, 2012
June 20, 2012
An aerial view of the Santa Teresa Rail Facility project site, which is located on a 2,200-acre parcel of desert near the U.S./Mexico border.
Trains can travel hundreds of miles at a stretch, but occasionally they need to refuel, swap containers, and undergo maintenance. Sundt is building one such facility for Union Pacific that will serve as an important point for the movement of goods along the 800-mile Sunset Route from Los Angeles to El Paso. Called the Santa Teresa Rail Facility, it is located on a 2,200-acre parcel of desert in New Mexico about two miles north of the U.S./Mexico border. The nearest sizeable city is El Paso, Texas, about 10 miles to the east.
The $400 million, state-of-the-art rail facility will incorporate fueling areas, crew change buildings, an intermodal block swap/switching yard and an intermodal ramp. Our $172 million heavy civil contract is for the project’s second phase, which involves constructing 26 buildings, installing a number of underground utilities (water, electric and sewer), concrete paving, and constructing the fuel facility and connecting it to a new fuel line. The team’s first and most significant construction milestone is the completion of the fuel facility by December 31, 2013.
“The fuel facility portion of the project is fairly complex because of the amount of mechanical piping involved,” said Sundt Project Manager Eric Weston. “We’re self-performing the majority of that work, which amounts to about $18 million of our overall contract. Sundt’s own crews are also performing the concrete paving – a package worth about $14 million.”
The project is scheduled for completion in 2014.
June 11, 2012
Fort Bliss’s new machine gun target practice range is digitally controlled so that new combat scenarios can be created, generating nearly unlimited training opportunities. The concrete targets are located on the semicircles pictured above.
At Fort Bliss Army Post in El Paso, Texas, Sundt is building a target range – its third practice facility at Fort Bliss – designed specifically for machine gun training. The $7.5 million Automated Multipurpose Machine Gun Range project began in early January 2012 and is expected to be completed on January 29, 2013.
It sits on a 200-acre site that includes the range itself, a range operations and control area, classroom building, ammunition breakdown building, bleacher enclosure, range operations and storage building, operations tower, latrine, covered mess, and building information systems. Supporting facilities include electric service, paving, storm drainage, site improvements and information systems.
Sundt’s ability to self-perform all of the concrete work is playing an instrumental role in helping the team control the project’s quality and tight schedule. They created the foundations for the buildings and are manufacturing 120 concrete blocks, each measuring 2x2x6 feet, using an efficient assembly line approach.
One of the project’s biggest challenges is staying within the designated work areas, which were cleared of unexploded ordinances prior to Sundt’s arrival. (Much of Fort Bliss was used as a bombing practice range during World War II; it still includes many live bombs that restrict where construction crews can operate.) Another challenge is the limited source of water that dictates the team’s production rates.
February 15, 2012
Sundt placed approximately 440 cubic yards of concrete per hour during the eight-hour concrete pour for the new Joint Courts Complex in downtown Tucson last Friday night.
You never know what’s happening while you’re asleep. As most of us were snug in our beds last Friday night, 70 concrete trucks were steadily rolling down Interstate-10 into downtown Tucson, Ariz., dumping load after load of concrete at one of Sundt’s jobsites. From midnight until shortly after eight o’clock the next morning, the trucks took turns unloading more than 3,500 cubic yards of material for the foundation of the new Pima County/City of Tucson Joint Courts Complex, being built at the corner of Toole and Stone Avenues. A crew of twenty-two laborers and foreman from Sundt (and an equal number of testing agents and flagging personnel at street level), spent the wee hours of Saturday morning finishing the 330 truckloads of concrete as the sun rose over nearby high-rises. See the three-minute time lapse video here: http://tiny.cc/ehcrfw
That was just “Act 1.” The second half of the 24,000-square-foot foundation will be placed in a similar overnight operation on June 29.
Why so much concrete for a seven-story building? The site’s soil is exceptionally sandy, which makes it difficult (and costly) to construct a traditional foundation formed around caissons drilled deep into the ground. Instead, the team has opted to create a “compensating mat slab” foundation 25 feet below grade to support the weight of the building. Spanning just over an acre, the five-foot-thick slab will require a total of 7,300 cubic yards of concrete – necessitating two of the largest concrete placements in Tucson’s recent history.
It took two concrete batch plants – one on Tucson’s far northwest side and one in the nearby community of Vail – to make and supply enough concrete for the placement last weekend. By performing the operation at night, the team was able to manage and/or avoid a number of headaches, such as:
- Traffic delays. Concrete should be placed within 90 minutes of being mixed. After that, it begins to harden and can’t be placed correctly. That means getting the trucks from the batch plants to the site had to be quick and efficient. Sundt developed the best delivery routes weeks in advance and worked with City of Tucson traffic engineers to adjust the traffic signals on several streets entering downtown from I-10.
- Heat. The ideal temperature for placing concrete (again, so that it doesn’t set prematurely) is 70 degrees Fahrenheit – that’s hard to achieve even at night during the summer in Tucson. To help lower the concrete’s temperature, it was mixed with chilled water at the batch plant and cooled with water spray bars on the concrete trucks while in transit.
January 25, 2012
A view of the pedestrian bridge at Fountainhead Office Plaza, which spans 12 acres and includes nearly half a million square feet of leasable office space
Fountainhead Office Plaza, recently completed by Sundt in metro Phoenix, is an inspiring success story for these difficult economic times. As commercial building was at a virtual standstill throughout the Phoenix area, the Fountainhead project drew attention for its ambitious scope that included a large amount of premium, leasable office space. The project is 100 percent leased by a single tenant – the University of Phoenix – for 20 years.
Sundt’s contract included demolition of three existing buildings and associated parking areas, reconfiguration of a lake, the construction of one 10-story building and one six-story building totaling 493,661 square feet, and an above-grade parking structure that accommodates 2,084 vehicles. Sundt also performed the project’s tenant improvements.
Our team faced a number of challenges such as asbestos abatement in the existing buildings before they were demolished, an aggressive schedule, and having to reconfigure the existing lake to make room for the building pads. The project included approximately 30,000 cubic yards of concrete work, which was performed by Sundt’s own crews.
Chamisa Village will accommodate 282 students when it is complete this winter.
Some higher education projects go beyond the expected, like Sundt’s current work for New Mexico State University (NMSU) in Las Cruces. This winter, we’ll wrap up phase two of Chamisa Village, a student housing project for NMSU that is seeking LEED Gold for Homes certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, making it the first Gold-certified multi-unit university building in the state.
Sundt’s $22 million Construction Manager at Risk contract includes construction of four new three-story buildings along with associated site development and utilities. We’re also performing all of the project’s concrete work with our own crews. To achieve its high level of sustainability, the team is using environmentally preferred wood materials and efficient framing to reduce waste.