As construction projects become more complex, collaboration has become the key to success in the industry. Sundt and Cannon Builders in Idaho have partnered together on two significant highway projects: the ITD I-86 & I-15 System Interchange Reconstruction in Pocatello (fondly nicknamed “the Flying Y”), and the ITD I-15 Fort Hall Interchange. Joint-venture projects like these allow builders to pool their resources and expertise, and each party brings their unique strengths to the table to make for a more well-rounded project team. The renovations and additions to these interchanges will improve traffic flow as population growth increases in Idaho.
Building Critical Roadway Infrastructure in Idaho
Sundt and Cannon are working with the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) for the Flying Y and Fort Hall interchange projects. Both project sites overlap with tribal lands belonging to the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes in Pocatello and Fort Hall, so the team is also working alongside Tribal stakeholders to mitigate disruption to the community, as well as to recruit Tribe members for employment opportunities.
The I-86 & I-15 System Interchange Reconstruction in Pocatello will improve the safety, efficiency and mobility of traffic between I-86 and I-15. The aging bridges built in the 1960s will be demolished and replaced with bigger, more structurally reinforced bridges. There will also be bike lanes and sidewalks added in various areas for pedestrians.
The I-15 Fort Hall Interchange, located on Exit 80 of the Interstate 15 highway, was constructed in 1958 and needs renovations. Sundt/Cannon will demolish the old interchange structure and build a new precast bridge structure with two lanes in either direction. Additionally, the project will construct longer and wider interchange ramps and a six-foot shoulder for safer pedestrian and bicycle crossing. This project adds two new reinforced concrete box culverts to transmit water as well as improved lighting, landscape, irrigation and cattle guard additions.
Building a Partnership
Cannon Builders is a family-owned business founded in 1976 in Blackfoot, Idaho. They have deep roots in the area and bring vast expertise in pile driving work and building structures, specifically bridge construction and repair, which is instrumental in both projects. In addition to their local expertise, Cannon has its own precast shop, which allows the team to precast many of the concrete components, including walls, pier columns, pier caps, and box culverts. They also self-perform polyester polymer overlays.
“Our team meshes really well with the people at Cannon,” said Sundt Area Manager Jasen Bennie. “They’re extremely skilled and qualified builders, and their knowledge and reputation in the area are invaluable for Sundt. Cannon complements our strengths and steps up in areas that Sundt does not specialize in.”
Sundt and Cannon align on core values of safety first and building with purpose and skill. Both teams are highly invested in the success of the I-86 & I-15 System Interchange and I-15 Fort Hall Interchange projects, knowing that when completed, these improvements will enhance the experiences of Idaho commuters for generations to come.
“It starts at the top in treating everyone as one team rather than two entities,” explained Matt Szpak, project manager on site at Fort Hall. “In our daily meetings with the crew, we focus on the plan as a whole, not in terms of what Sundt is doing versus what Cannon is doing.”
The supervisors provide milestones and goals for each discipline and provide context and transparency for each task. In addition to daily efforts on the jobsite, Szpak cited efforts to incorporate teambuilding activities like safety recognition barbecues and handing out swag with the SCJV logo and project name to encourage a sense of pride for the important work being done.
“I have been impressed with the attention to safety and the ability to be productive without sacrificing the safety of the personnel,” said Cannon’s CEO Curtis Cannon. “Sundt is very team- oriented, and I have appreciated how they have incorporated Cannon Builders into the work as if we are one team. Sundt has a solid culture that has been founded on our same principles.”
Partnering Makes Us Stronger, Better Builders
For Sundt, partnerships with other skilled contractors are invaluable. It gives us a chance to further our knowledge and offer our employee-owners hands-on learning experience in new construction techniques from other highly skilled contractors. In return, we share our skills and knowledge with our partners, leading to a more well-rounded and holistic team of builders with a diverse skillset. In addition to knowledge-sharing, we are able to pool our resources, which allows us to save owners time and money, while still delivering a top-quality project.
“Like Sundt, Cannon Builders has been in business for many years, and we’ve established longstanding relationships with owners, subcontractors and suppliers,” said Cannon. “These relationships and accomplishments have helped us build a solid reputation, an ability to secure competitive pricing for clients, and a deep understanding of the means and methods to be successful in the area. We love Idaho and are grateful for the opportunity to work with this JV team.”
The rapid population increase in Idaho is adding pressure on the state to expand and enhance their infrastructure at a quicker rate. And Sundt, in partnership with local businesses like Cannon, has the capabilities to manage and execute the large-scale projects needed to sustain this level of growth.
“I think the Idaho market can benefit from a professional, innovative, people-and-safety-forward contractor like Sundt,” Bennie said. “Hard bid is still the preferred delivery method in Idaho, so we’re working hard to show our Idaho clients the benefits of alternative project delivery methods (APDM). These partnerships are a great start in demonstrating the value of APDM and the team collaboration it provides the construction process.”