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.”
Our work on the Comal County Jail in Texas will take place over three phases.
The ceremonial groundbreaking shovels have been put away and construction has started on the $62 million Comal County Jail in New Braunfels, Texas. The project, on which we are serving as construction manager, will take place over three phases.
Phase 1: The 155,000-square-foot county jail will be constructed, containing 589 beds, a booking area with temporary holding cells, a detention administration area and visitation spaces for attorneys and families.
Phase 2: After completion of the jail and relocation of inmates, the interior of the existing jail will be demolished and renovated into new space for the Sheriff’s Office.
Phase 3: After relocation of the Sheriff’s Offices, the existing office will be demolished and renovated into approximately 68,000 square feet of administrative space.
The facility will accommodate 408 men and 124 women, with options including a range of custody levels — separate, single, double occupancy, quad cells and open dorms. Supervision will include a second-level control room overlooking housing pods and exercise yards.
Housing units will have natural light, outdoor recreation and on-unit treatment and programs. The facility also will have a medical and mental-health infirmary with inpatient and mental-health crisis beds, administration space, magistrate functions, visitation areas, a commissary, kitchen and laundry support.
Our team is on site and is beginning installation of storm-water controls, earthwork and utilities. We’re still in the preconstruction phase developing the remainder of the packages for the second Guaranteed Maximum Price that includes major trades including concrete, steel, mechanical, electrical and plumbing.
Sundt Field Superintendent Frank Islas delivers Sundt’s $25,000 check to the Houston Red Cross.
In response to destruction caused by Hurricane Harvey across eastern and southern Texas, Sundt Construction is donating $75,000 to be divided among Red Cross chapters in Corpus Christi, Houston and San Antonio.
The support will go toward shelter, food, water and clothing for those forced out of their homes by this epic storm. Sundt Field Superintendent Frank Islas made the $25,000 check presentation to the Houston Red Cross on Friday. The other two checks will be delivered next week.
Texas is home to hundreds of our employee-owners. We have offices in El Paso, Fort Worth, Irving and San Antonio.
Harvey made landfall on Aug. 25 near Rockport, Texas as a Category 4 hurricane with winds of 130 mph. Impacted areas measured rainfall totals that ranged from 20 inches to 50 inches. The resulting floods inundated hundreds of thousands of homes, displaced more than 30,000 people, and prompted more than 17,000 rescues. Seventy people in the U.S. were killed by the storm.
Project Manager Wes Hawkins, right, and the team take a flood victim to safety.
After Hurricane Harvey made a second landfall along the Texas coast this past Tuesday, three members of the Sundt team working on the State Highway 31 project in Corsicana, Texas knew it was time to take action.
“We were close to the storm but were only affected on the outside edge,” said Project Manager Josh Bunting. “We saw on the news that the local sheriffs were asking for help.”
Josh teamed with another Project Manager, Wes Hawkins, and Field Superintendent David Gallaway to represent the Corsicana team by making a nearly seven-hour drive to the Beaumont area to help those in need. They took Josh and David’s Ford trucks and David’s brother’s fishing boat.
The men were on their way to Houston but diverted farther northeast when they heard about flooding in Beaumont, near where the storm made landfall in Port Arthur.
“We tried to get in five different ways,” Josh said. “Every way we went there was water.”
Flood waters were running higher than 5 feet in some areas.
They ended up in the nearby community of Vidor, where they used the boat to rescue five people. They also saw devastation they could hardly imagine.
“You see it on TV and it doesn’t put it in perspective,” said Josh, who has worked in Texas for 7 years. “There was water halfway up the windows of houses, tons of flooded cars, churches and schools. People’s belongings were floating in the water.”
The water was so deep – Josh estimated 5 to 6 feet in many areas – that the three men drove the boat to the front door of the first person they helped.
“He had one plastic tub with his belongings in it,” Josh said. “The destruction was unbelievable. There’s just no fixing that.”
Everyone on our Corsicana crew wanted to go along but many had to stay behind to stay up to date on the project. The three who went were part of an armada of concerned people from across the region.
“There were a lot of people out there trying to get people out of their houses,” Josh said. “It was a big area. Even the couple of roads we went up and down was a small percentage of the people who needed help.”
One of the people the team rescued had a family member pick him up near Mauriceville, where the team dropped him off. The others went with volunteers to a church serving as a shelter in Buna. They all had one thing in common: gratitude for the Corsicana crew.
“They were pretty shocked,” Josh said. “One guy didn’t have a phone and didn’t know what had happened the past couple of days. He just knew his house was full of water. They were happy. They couldn’t believe it.”
There are many ways to help victims of the storm. Click here for a few suggestions.
Drones are being used more and more often on construction sites these days and Sundt’s projects are no exception. Much of our drone work is happening in California and Texas, including the CPS Energy Headquarters in San Antonio. In this video, Senior Virtual Construction Engineer Jonathan Ammon explains how the technology is being used to provide client value on the project.