If you drive along the 3.5-mile stretch of the Loop 375 Transmountain West Road that Sundt is reconstructing outside of El Paso, Texas, you may notice something beautiful. The artwork on the concrete columns that will eventually support the heavy civil project’s six new bridges is intricately textured and detailed. What you might not consider are the many months of skilled work and precision that went into implementing that artistic vision.
Thirty full-time Sundt concrete craft workers and four superintendents spent approximately five months making the 108 cast-in-place bridge columns. A significant portion of their time was dedicated to getting the columns’ textured design, or “rustication pattern,” just right.
That’s because there is a mere 1/8-inch tolerance on the detailed design, meaning that an exceptionally high level of precision was required while setting the concrete forms. To complicate matters, the Transmountain area is hilly, which means that the columns vary dramatically in height as dictated by the undulating terrain. Getting near-perfect results on dozens of columns of unique heights essentially meant that each one was a custom job.
“Maintaining quality of the rustication pattern was very tough,” explained Sundt Concrete General Superintendent Kent (Jay) Anderson. “There’s a 16-inch smooth spot between the top of every column and the bottom of the pier cap. That had to be maintained on every column, so every time we had a column of a different height, we had to change the rustication. Essentially, it meant that every column was unique.”
One of the biggest challenges in construction is balancing design expectations with the realities and limitations of actual construction. Sundt is able to achieve a high degree of success in both areas because of its vast concrete construction experience, skilled employees, and ability to control quality through self-perform work.
Sundt’s concrete construction expertise is being utilized on a major commercial building project in El Paso, Texas, known as The Fountains at Farah. The new retail center – named after a closed garment factory that once occupied the site – will include up to 80 tenants, plus a two-level, cast-in-place, post-tensioned concrete parking structure, which is being built by Sundt.
A large and growing part of Sundt’s concrete construction work is performing as a subcontractor for other general contractors on their construction projects. That’s the case with The Fountains at Farah parking structure, which Sundt is building as a subcontractor to the project’s general contractor, EMJ Construction. The contract value is $13.5 million.
Our self-perform concrete crews will use approximately 26,000 cubic yards of concrete to build the parking structure, which includes 367,000 square feet of ground-floor parking space, 84,000 square feet of under-deck retail space and 22,000 square feet of sidewalk. A 473,000-square-foot concrete deck supported by post-tensioned concrete beams will provide additional parking and retail space on the second level.
“Our onsite supervision staff has years of experience with post-tensioned concrete,” said Sundt Project Manager Mike Ravy. “We’re also bringing a number of innovative techniques and materials to this project such as concrete designed to achieve tendon stressing strength in just three days, early entry saw cutting equipment for cutting the slab-on-grade control joints to minimize cracking, fibermesh in the slab-on-grade mix to minimize cracking and eliminate steel reinforcing, and state-of-the-art engineering software to create the formwork drawings.”
Sundt began construction of The Fountains at Farah parking structure in August 2012 and will complete it this April.
Although they may look like giant snow angels or cookie cutters, the figures above are actually concrete casting beds that are being used to make 12-foot-tall statues in the shape of school children. The eight figures – four boys and four girls – will be erected later this month in front of the Socorro Independent School District K-8 Combo School Number 5 in El Paso, Texas.
The concrete tilt panel sculptures will require careful handling with a crane to lift and set them in place at the new school’s entrance. Each is six inches thick and takes several days to pour, finish and cure. Approximately 40 cubic yards of concrete are being used.
The Socorro Independent School District K-8 Combo School Number 5 – a $35 million K-12 school construction project being built by Sundt – will accommodate 2,200 students on a 36-acre campus when it is complete this summer.
Weight loss experts say you shouldn’t equate food with love – but in some cases, the comparison couldn’t be more appropriate. Sundt employees working at eight different federal, heavy civil and K-12 school construction projects in El Paso, Texas, showed their caring for the community by participating in a holiday food drive that netted more than 600 pounds of donated edibles (valued at approximately $3,000). The donations were given to two area nonprofit organizations that provide assistance to individuals and families in need: Reynolds Home in El Paso and Families and Youth Inc., in Anthony, N.M.