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CKC Construction Tackles ADOT Design/Build Project

Thu August 25, 2011 - West Edition
Jennifer Rupp

As the design/build method grows in popularity around the country, many state departments of transportation (like ADOT) are turning to this process for roadway projects. The Safford ADOT District in Southern Arizona decided to try it out on 4 mi. (6.4 km) of the U.S. 191 Corridor Project. This section, known as Segment 5, is part of a larger scope of work to create a 35-mi. (56.3 km) corridor along US 191.

The highway is a major thoroughfare for motorists with destinations like Tucson, Ariz., and New Mexico. It is also widely used for the Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold (FCX) mines in Safford and Morenci.

U.S. 191 has an ADT of 2,500. In order to ensure safety and improve traffic flow, the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) concluded that the best course of action was to build a divided highway from I-10 to U.S. 191 — Artesia Road intersection.

The first part of the design-build process required that interested firms submit a SOQ (Statement of Qualifications) to ADOT. In general terms, this document explained the firm’s qualifications, understanding and approach to the project, and the firm’s resources available to perform the work.

“When the project was advertised by ADOT, sixteen companies applied,” explained Brian Cluff, vice president of CKC Construction of Safford. “Out of those three, twelve [including ourselves] were short-listed to submit a technical and price proposal.”

As part of the final selection process, the firms were allowed the opportunity to discuss five ATCs (alternative technical concepts) with ADOT before the final proposals were turned in.

These alternative concepts were ideas that each firm came up with to either save ADOT money, improve quality or safety on the project, or a combination of the three.

One of the ATCs that CKC proposed was straightening and combining some of the pipe and box culverts on the project. This would help reduce siltation thereby reducing the amount of cleaning and maintenance ADOT would need to perform in the future on the drainage structures.

Cluff said that CKC was very happy to have scored the best overall and to have been selected as the prime contractor of the job.

“This is CKC’s and Safford ADOT District’s first design build project, so it’s been a learning process for both of us on how to best manage and implement this system.”

CKC had previously worked on Segment 4 as the prime contractor, which was a traditional bid project.

The 4-mi. long segment began in February 2011, with the geotechnical survey for design. Environment reports revealed cliff swallows were using the concrete box culverts for nesting grounds. Because the swallows make their annual migration from Central America to Arizona in the spring, measures needed to be taken to close off the area before their arrival. Crews used netting on the inlets and outlets of the boxes to prevent the birds from building their nests there during construction.

CKC also gave special attention to native cacti along the construction route, situated in the foothills of Mount Graham. The prime contractor hired a landscape specialist to move the cacti —including barrel cacti, yucca, cholla, and prickly pear — to an on-site temporary nursery. When the project is complete, the cacti will be returned to the area to complement the new landscaping.

Segment 5 takes place in Graham County on U.S. 191 at milepost 100.6 to milepost 104.2, approximately 15 mi. (24 km) south of Safford. This segment will cost $9.53 million, with CKC coming in well below the original $12 million budget.

EPS Group Inc. of Mesa assisted CKC with the project design. Though the design, submittal and review process took slightly longer than anticipated, Cluff said that the project is on track to be complete in the summer of 2012.

The project includes the construction of two new northbound lanes east of the existing roadway with asphaltic concrete and asphaltic rubber friction course; construction of turnouts and reconfiguring the “T” intersection with SR 266; extending five reinforced concrete box culverts, and extending 13 existing pipe culverts.

Crews also will construct 14 new pipe culverts; construct 23 new lateral storm drains and catch basins; overlay the existing pavement with asphaltic concrete and asphaltic rubber friction course, and manage erosion control, seeding, signing and pavement markings.

Over a 20-year period, U.S. 191 will morph from a small, two-lane highway into a four-lane thoroughfare separated by an 85-ft. (25.9 m) dirt median and flanked by widened shoulders. ADOT projects that the ADT in this area will rise over 250 percent during the next 25 years.

The new lanes are being constructed without impacting traffic, as motorists will continue to use the existing lanes while the two new northbound lanes are being constructed.

Traffic will then shift to the new northbound lanes while CKC crews are installing new drainage improvements and 2.5 in. (6.4 cm) of new asphalt paving on the existing roadway.

In addition to being the prime contractor, CKC Construction is providing the concrete, asphalt and pipe bedding out of its commercial materials pit in Safford. CKC has hired subcontractors for some of the specialty work. Straightline Utilities of Phoenix was contracted for pipe extensions and installation. Picacho Concrete Structures, based in Eloy, received a $191,000 contract to pour the new box culverts. Total Maintenance Erosion Control was contracted for seeding, and Roadway Markings Inc. for striping — both companies are headquartered in Phoenix.

Reinforced steel for cast-in-place culverts will be supplied by Paradise Rebar of Phoenix.

Finally, Hunter Guardrail & Fence of Glendale is installing 36,000 ft. (10,972.8 m) of barbed wire fencing to keep grazing animals from entering the roadway.

CKC added some new equipment to its fleet with the U.S. 191 project in mind.

“We purchased a Cat 305 mini excavator for the removal of the cacti, and a Volvo paver for our paving operation,” said Cluff.

Additionally, CKC rented a Cat D5 dozer with a 5-way tilt blade for clearing and grubbing from Empire CAT’s Safford location.

Segment 5 of the new corridor will require 2,500 cu. yds. (1,191.5 cu m) of concrete, 26,000 cu. yds. (19,879.6 cu m) of aggregate base course, 6,500 linear ft. (1,981.2 linear m) of drainage pipe, and 41,000 tons (37,194.6 t) of end-product asphalt. The 243,000 cu. yds. (185,798 cu m) of earthwork will be balanced on site.

When asked his thoughts on the design/build process, Cluff replied, “I prefer to do it this way because it allows the company to be graded on more than their price. They [ADOT] take into account the quality of work, design ideas and the company’s past performance, among other factors. In the end, I feel that it generates a better finished product and saves money in the long run.”

CKC Construction and Materials is a family owned and operated business, founded in 1971 by Brian Cluff’s grandfather Doyle Cluff. Brian Cluff currently serves as vice president of CKC Construction & Materials and manages the company with his brothers Justin and Spencer Cluff. Brian’s father, David, continues to serve as president of the company and plays an active role in the companies operations.

“We’re excited to be able to perform the first design-build project for the ADOT Safford District. We have enjoyed a close working relationship with the Safford District over the last 40 years and look forward to working as a partner with ADOT on many future projects in this area,” said Cluff.

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