The Sundt Experience: August 2014
Girder Placements Mark Major Milestones in Sellwood Bridge Project
Motorists in Portland, Oregon have recently witnessed the exciting completion of two major milestones on the new Sellwood Bridge – a much-anticipated transportation construction project that will efficiently transport motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians across the Willamette River when it is complete in 2016.
During a two-day operation in May, Sundt and joint venture partner Slayden Construction set more than two dozen massive precast, pre-stressed concrete girders on the east end of the project to support the new approach structure for the future bridge. A similar operation was performed over two days in early July, when 17 concrete girders were installed on the west end approach. A third girder set operation on August 5 and 6 will add another 17 girders to the west end.
Each of the girders installed in July (and those awaiting installation in August) measures up to 110 feet in length and weighs approximately 37 tons. Installing the girders requires careful handling and precision planning because the project area is extremely narrow and surrounded by existing development and live traffic. The girders are fabricated at a concrete facility about 100 miles south of the project and then transported to the site via public roadways. In short, it’s the kind of complex operation that requires a bridge construction specialist like Sundt.
“Crane size, crane location, ground preparation, girder delivery proximity, and girder delivery sequence are investigated well in advance, and the crane positions and movements are planned to optimize the safety and efficiency of the girder installation operation,” said Sundt Senior Project Engineer Matt Fisher. “The delivery vehicles use a specialized trailer with remote-control rear-trailer steering that allows the driver to steer the rear of the trailer around obstacles and through difficult turns. This is especially useful when the girders travel through the old, narrow streets of Portland’s Sellwood District on approach to the Sellwood Bridge.”
Twenty-seven girders were placed on the east approach structure during the two-day operation in May. Each of the 20 girders erected between spans six through nine is approximately 105 feet long and weighs more than 37 tons. In addition, seven 70-foot-long slab girders (each weighing approximately 35 tons) were set over span 10. Thanks to a lot of advance planning, the temporary detour bridge was closed for just four days while the girders were delivered and moved into place.
Designed as a steel deck arch structure by T.Y. Lin International, the new Sellwood Bridge will complement its surroundings while providing ample space for all modes of travel. There will be two vehicle lanes in each direction on the west end, which narrow to one lane in each direction on the east end. In addition, it will have two six-foot-wide bike lanes and two 12-foot-wide sidewalks. The team is using a “shoofly” (detour) approach to complete the project, in which the old bridge deck and truss was lifted with hydraulic jacks and moved to one side, then placed on a set of temporary piers and connected to temporary approach spans so traffic can continue to use it while the new bridge is constructed.
Sundt is known for its innovative approaches to building bridges, in particular finding ways to minimize disruptions during construction. The West 7th Street Bridge in Fort Worth, Texas, the pedestrian bridge at San Diego International Airport, and the pedestrian bridge at Las Cruces High School in Las Cruces, New Mexico are just a few examples.
Marine Corps School Project Sundt’s Third For Owner
Sundt’s current project at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) New River in North Carolina (adjacent to Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, where Sundt recently built bachelor enlisted quarters) is its third project for the Marine Corps and the Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Mid-Atlantic. With joint venture partner United Builders Group, Sundt was selected to construct a replacement of the 50-year-old Delalio Elementary School to provide students and faculty with a much-needed, modern educational facility.
The $23.3 million design-bid-build project will be performed in two phases, starting with construction of the two-story, 66,400-square-foot school building. It will feature flexible and adaptable spaces including general purpose classrooms, an information center, state-of-the-art computer lab, special education classroom, counseling areas, administrative offices, a rooftop garden and more. All of the classrooms will be equipped with Wi-Fi and smart boards. Construction began in May and is scheduled for completion in June 2016. The project’s second phase – demolition of the old school and construction of a new parking lot – will be complete in May 2017.
“The new school is going to be a major improvement over what they have now,” said Sundt Project Manager Holly Horsak. “During a meeting with the faculty prior to the beginning of construction, one of the teachers asked if the new school will have hot water throughout the building. I think that speaks to the substandard conditions they’ve become accustomed to as the school has aged.”
The project is aiming for LEED Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. Its sustainable features include energy-efficient kitchen equipment and HVAC systems, plus the aforementioned rooftop garden to teach older children about growing food. The project architect is Woolpert Inc.
The UBG-Sundt field team spent two weeks installing 3,000 20-foot-deep wick drains to pull moisture from the soil beneath the building pad during the surcharge period. Settlement plates will be surveyed and monitored to record the subgrade settlement. After a 90- to 120-day earthen surcharge on the building pad is removed, 945 wooden piles will be driven into the subgrade to support the steel, structural stud and brick veneer building’s concrete foundations.
“This project requires these unusual steps to mitigate the effects of the wet, poor quality soil,” Horsak explained. “It’s challenging to schedule all of the pile-driving around school hours. We can’t do it while the kids are in school because of the noise and vibratory percussions, so we will have a limited window of time at the end of the school day to work before the evening noise ordinance takes effect. Efficiency will be key during this phase.”
Sundt is a leader in education construction and has completed many notable K-12 construction projects, including the Banta River Island Elementary and Middle School in Lathrop, California; Mary Belle McCorkle Academy of Excellence K-8 School in Tucson, Arizona; and the James P. Butler Elementary School in El Paso, Texas.
Clients Reaping Rewards From New Silicon Valley Office
Sundt was recently selected as the design-build contractor for its second major project in the San José market since opening an office there within the past few months. Sundt Vice President and Regional Director Teri Jones noted that the $100 million student housing construction project at San José State University comes on the heels of the company being awarded a $119 million contract to construct the Academic Core Project at Ohlone Community College in Fremont, California.
“Our physical presence in the community, plus Sundt’s significant experience with university housing construction projects – including residence halls at UC Davis, UC San Diego and San Diego State University – are an outstanding combination for our clients in the region.”
An interview with Jones about the opening of the San José office, and how it benefits Sundt’s clients, can be read here.
Campus Village Phase 2 is a 10-story concrete structure, designed by Solomon Cordwell Buenz, that will help the university meet the demand for on-campus housing with 850 beds, common study rooms, a lounge, multi-purpose room, recreation room and other support spaces. The fast-track project began in June 2014 and is scheduled for completion in the summer of 2016, in time for the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year.
The project’s challenges are familiar to anyone who’s ever worked on a busy college campus. Sundt Senior Project Manager Shawn Marty explains: “The site is extremely tight, with an Olympic-sized pool on one side and high-rise dorms on two of the other sides. We’ll have almost no room for deliveries or laydown, plus a lot of student traffic to manage around the site.”
Before work can begin on the building foundation, Sundt is removing and relocating utilities (steam and chilled water lines) that lie beneath the site.
“We have a lot to juggle all at once, plus multiple unknowns,” Marty added. “The site straddles a major utility corridor, but there aren’t good as-builts so we’re doing a lot of potholing to figure out what’s there and what to do about it.”
This is Sundt’s second project for San José State University. Nearby on the busy campus the company is also performing a $51 million renovation of the university’s historic Spartan Complex.
Sundt established a physical presence in the Bay area in November 2013. It currently has more than $400 million of construction underway in the Silicon Valley region, including projects at Ohlone Community College; California State University, East Bay; San Jose State University and the San Mateo County Correctional Facility.