There’s a lot of progress to report on the Northwest Extension, the 3.2-mile, $162 million expansion of Phoenix’s light rail system. The Sundt/Stacy and Witbeck team is performing the last stretch of roadway widening and maintaining the schedule in spite of recent heavy rains. Track installation is ongoing and the structural steel has been set for the Dunlap and Glendale stations. Construction of the Park & Ride lot, which began earlier this month with utility work, is expected to be complete in September. Roadway widening is expected to be complete mid-summer. Track placement should finish up in late summer or early fall.
We’re pleased to announce that Grant Larson has joined us as a preconstruction project manager in our Tempe office. He comes to Sundt with more than 16 years of experience managing high profile civil and transportation construction projects throughout Arizona, Nevada and Utah including complex freeways, bridges, roadways, concrete structures and asphalt pavement. He was on Engineering News-Record (ENR) Southwest’s 2012 “Top 20 Under 40” list of 20 individuals under the age of 40 who represent the “Best-of-the-Best” in their construction and design firms by giving back to their industry and communities. We recently asked Grant a few questions to get to know him better:
What brought you to Sundt?
I’m a native Arizonan and a fifth generation road builder, so I have always been well aware of Sundt’s reputation as a quality contractor. It is the quality of the people here, however, that has most impressed me. The opportunity to pursue larger and more complex projects combined with the benefits of an ESOP were the deciding factors.
Are you really a fifth generation road-builder? That’s an amazing legacy!
Mons Larson emigrated from Sweden to America in 1859, built a hand cart for his family’s belongings, and pulled it all the way to Salt Lake City. He eventually led a group of pioneers and blazed a trail through the treacherous Hole in the Rock near Lake Powell on his way to settle Snowflake, Arizona. Each subsequent generation has spent their professional careers improving the infrastructure and transportation systems throughout the state. Heavy-civil construction has treated my family very well and it is such a great feeling to be in a career that has such an obvious and permanent impact on the quality of life of our communities.
What are your responsibilities in your new position?
I help manage risk for the company during the design and estimate phase of projects by providing oversight and leadership to the preconstruction team.
Which project(s) are you currently working on?
I am currently assigned to the $1.8 billion ADOT Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway P3 project. This is the single largest project in the history of ADOT and will be a landmark project for Sundt. It consists of 22 miles of new freeway with 77 bridges.
What’s new in the world of roadway construction?
With public agencies struggling to come up with transportation funds, Public Private Partnerships (P3s) will take a more prominent role in procuring work.
How do you like to spend your free time?
I have four children with one more due in May, so any spare time I have is usually spent helping with homework, coaching basketball, going to soccer games and dance recitals. I do, however, really enjoy lifting weights about four times per week to blow off some stress and stay in shape.
What’s the best movie you saw recently?
I really enjoyed the movie “Unbroken.” I love World War II history and this movie shows the struggles and trials that our veterans had to endure to preserve our freedom. The main character’s resolve to forgive his captors even after incomprehensible suffering really impacted me.
Do you have a favorite quote or saying that motivates or inspires you?
“The home is the first and most effective place to learn the lessons of life: truth, honor, virtue, self control, the value of education, honest work, and the purpose and privilege of life. Nothing can take the place of home in rearing and teaching children, and no other success can compensate for failure in the home.” – David O. McKay
What would you be doing if you weren’t working in construction?
Honestly, I cannot imagine not being involved in construction. I started as an apprentice carpenter when I was 15 years old on the Loop 101/202 bridges and have been able to be a part of projects all over Arizona, Nevada, and Utah. All of my summers leading up to college were spent on either asphalt, dirt, or structures crews. There is no better feeling than being able to drive across the state and show your kids everything you’ve built. I think it’s pretty neat but I’m pretty sure my kids just roll their eyes and tune me out now.
Where would you most like to travel?
I would love to return to Buenos Aires, Argentina. I lived there for two years and would love to take my wife to meet many of the dear friends that I haven’t seen in nearly 20 years.
In San Antonio last Saturday, Interstate 10 (I-10) was closed for just five hours while Sundt installed the longest precast, pre-stressed concrete bridge girders in the history of the Texas Department of Transportation – and then traffic was flowing smoothly again. The operation was part of Sundt’s $6.1 million transportation construction project on I-10 at Ralph Fair Road, in which our team of expert builders is planning and constructing a new overpass to expand the existing FM 3351 bridge to accommodate growing traffic volumes.
The nine 164-foot-long girders were transported approximately 40 miles to the site from the precast concrete plant and then installed with two hydraulic cranes in less than two hours. The girders form part of the backbone of the new overpass, which is expected to be complete and open to traffic next spring. Another 17 girders will be installed in the coming months.
“Everyone from Sundt, from supervision to craft employees, helped get this challenging task accomplished safely, and with minimal effects on motorists,” said Sundt Senior Project Manager Gustavo J. Anguiano. “Our team held many meetings with the owner, subcontractors and beam supplier to plan and walk through every aspect of the activities beforehand so that things went smoothly.”
Good news for residents of San Antonio: the city’s Hausman Road Improvement Project is nearing the end of the first phase of construction. This portion of the job is mainly focused on utility work, temporary pavement construction and channel excavation. Crews began constructing a detour earlier this month to allow traffic to be switched onto the new pavement in the middle of October. What’s next? The team will begin constructing the storm drain and the first of five bridges while work progresses on utilities.
The project is the City of San Antonio’s first design-build transportation construction project. Whereas the traditional design-bid-build process separates design and construction, design-build provides a single point of responsibility for an entire project, providing significant cost and time savings and bringing more value to the owner.
Hausman Road is a two-lane roadway that connects two major highways: Loop 1604 and Interstate 10. Sundt is widening the 3.4-mile stretch between the highways to four lanes, plus a center turn lane, and constructing five new bridges. Also included in the contract are managing the extensive utility relocations; earthwork; construction of retaining walls; sidewalks, hike and bike trails; storm sewer; archeological and historic survey; environmental analysis and permitting; geotechnical work; right-of-way services and acquisitions; and public outreach.
The improved roadway is scheduled to be open in late 2015.
There are approximately two months remaining in the project to repair the runway at the Minot, North Dakota, Air Force Base. To date, Sundt crews have completed approximately 44 percent of the concrete paving on this transportation construction project.
The main portion of the runway is 14.5 inches thick, widening to 18 inches thick on the outer five feet. It’s also 8,900 feet long, requiring 41,400 cubic yards of concrete and 35,650 tons of asphalt.
Once the runway paving is complete, we will groove and stripe it. Finally, we will convert the taxiway back to its intended use. For the project’s duration it was converted to function as an emergency runway.