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Contractor Installs Manhole in South Beach Intersection

Any excavation project in a busy urban area poses many challenges for contractors, not the least of which is keeping workers safe.

Tue September 30, 2014 - Southeast Edition
James McRay

South Beach Florida is all about “sexy.” However, one recent underground infrastructure project could hardly be called that, yet was extremely important in keeping Miami’s most popular beach area up to grade below the ground. Metro Express Inc., headquarted in Medly, Fla., was recently tapped by the city of Miami to upgrade and install new drainage and water main connections, as part of the city’s Neigborhood #9 — city center road way improvements project.

Any excavation project in a busy urban area poses many challenges for contractors, not the least of which is keeping workers safe when they are working in a pit or trench. That normally requires a contractor to use a trench protection system such as sloping, trench shielding or shoring. However, when digging in a tight congested space like South Beach, it may not be possible to use traditional trench protection techniques and practices. The many surrounding buildings, structures and other underground crossing utilities make it impossible to open — cut a trench for either sloping or using a trench shield.

Metro faced this dilemma when installing a new manhole and sewer tie — in at the corner of Liberty and 20th Avenues. The trench needed to be dug mere feet from an adjacent business’ patio. Therefore it was critical the structure not be undermined or compromised by the excavation in any way. In other words, trench boxes or sloping were not going to work.

Non-traditional Shoring

System Required

The first thing Metro’s project manager did to find a solution to this challenge was call a local shoring equipment rental company for assistance; in this case, Efficiency Shoring & Supply’s Miami Branch Office. This turned out to be a good decision as Efficiency Shoring & Supply is an official factory direct distributor of manufacturer Efficiency Production Inc. who had the resources and expertise to find a solution to Metro’s challenges.

Working directly with Metro Express, the shoring specialists in Efficiency Production’s special operations shoring division were able to design a 4 ft. (1.2 m) wide, 38 ft. (11.6 m) long and 6 ft. (1.8 m) deep slid rail system that would work to tightly shore — a mere 3 ft. (.9 m) in this case — the trench next to the patio and not undermine the adjacent structure in any manner.

Efficiency’s universal slide rail is a component shoring system comprised of steel panels (similar to trench shield sidewalls) and vertical steel posts. The highly versatile system can be used in a variety of configurations. Efficiency’s Slide Rail System can be configured into small four-sided pits; an obstruction-free ClearSpan configuration; or in a Multi-Bay configuration to install large tanks and structures or lengths of pipe more than 40 ft. (12 m).

Rental Company Efficiency Shoring & Supply Provides On-site Assistance

The Slide Rail equipment was rented from Efficiency Shoring & Supply’s Miami Branch, who’s Shielding & Shoring Specialists were regularly on-site specifically to provide equipment support.

“One of the biggest advantages of Efficiency’s Slide Rail System is the fact it can be installed with very limited access to the worksite,” said Brian Campbell, Efficiency Shoring & Supply’s Miami branch manager. “And the system can usually be installed with a standard sized excavator that many excavation contractors already have in their fleet; another advantage to the system.”

Slide Rail is considered “positive shoring.” It is installed by sliding the panels into integrated rails on the posts, and then pushing the panels and posts incrementally down to grade as the pit is dug; a process commonly referred to as a “dig and push” shoring system.

“That’s another advantage of our Slide Rail; there’s no over-excavation,” said Campbell. “The system keeps that pressure against the surrounding dirt, which was critical for Metro digging so close to that business’ patio.”

Efficiency Production’s Special Operations Shoring Division Offers Installation Assistance

To help install the system, Efficiency Production sent its Senior Slide Rail Installer, Rod Austin, to assist Metro with the installation.

“The Metro Express guys were great to work with; super hard working,” said Austin. “It really was a tough spot to work but the Metro guys were flexible and took direction well when on-the-spot changes were needed.”

Metro Express had a fleet of heavy equipment at its disposal; including excavators, mini-excavators, loaders, and skid steers. The $600,000 city improvement project was completed in August 2013. Chen Moore and Associates was the engineering firm for the project.

Metro Express Inc. was founded in 1996 when its President, Delio Trasobares, decided to start his own business after a long partnership with another company owned by his family. Metro is one of South Florida’s leading engineering and General Contractor; specializing in underground utilities, drainage, pipelines, hard scape and paving, according to the company.

For more information on Efficiency Shoring & Supply, call 800/220-8707 or visit

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