The $18 million reconstruction of 1.36 mi. (2.2 km) of Jackson Boulevard (state Highway 44) in Rapid City, S.D., where the main phase of the work began in March, is comprised of two contracts — the department of transportation (SDDOT) and the city of Rapid City. This is a situation where tight coordination and timing is essential to meet the 170-day completion schedule.
Heavy Constructors Inc. (HC) was awarded the urban reconstruction project, with the DOT portion covering the urban road reconstruction, concrete paving, curbs and gutters and storm sewers and the city seeking the complete reconstruction of the water and sewer system.
“The specifications from the DOT are about 500 pages and the city’s are about 300 pages,” said Sean Hogard, HC’s project manager. “They have to mesh with each other. The DOT has at least eight separate sub-interim completion requirements and with all the side streets and the tie-ins, there also is a side-street where we have 15 days. We also have an intersection that we have to complete in 80 days.
“We’ve got shutdowns for limited days and we’re trying to work that with all the subcontractors,” he continued. “The DOT has been helpful and is trying to get ahead of this project by working with the utility companies to relocate their infrastructure prior to us getting in.”
Following many meetings with DOT and municipal officials, HC has identified conflict areas in advance and submitted resolutions for review in advance.
“We have a good solid line of communications,” said Hogard. “We will have to be able to ask questions and get answers quickly to keep things moving.”
The project also requires the various utilities to look after their infrastructure so that the project remains on schedule. Supporting HC are several subcontractors, including Muth Electric Inc., which is handling the new signals and lighting, Traffic Services Company for traffic control, Three Sons Landscaping Inc. for erosion control, J.H. Hilt Engineering Inc. for concrete barriers, and Arleth & Associates for the construction survey.
Hogard said that the “pavement is in extremely terrible condition. The whole area has grown so much that they are having trouble with their storm water run-off coming onto the road and spilling into the neighborhood.”
Work on the project began in February 2012 and thus far three lanes of new concrete pavement have been constructed on Sheridan Lake Road at the intersection Jackson; new concrete pavement ties into asphalt surfacing has been done on Sheridan Lake towards Storybook Island; June Court was reconstructed under the City Utility project with new sanitary sewer, water line and curb stops, asphalt surfacing, concrete curbs and gutters and sidewalks; and for the entrance to Creekside Professional Business complex off Sheridan, work completed under the City Utility project included new asphalt surfacing on the northern perimeter of the complex following the installation of a new sanitary sewer main.
Operations were put on hold for November and December, and in January work began on a large part of the sanitary and storm sewers, water pipes and traffic control switches. The January start had four utility crews on site, along with subcontractors. The March work has more subcontractors pitching in, including one grading crew and one paving crew.
The plan is to complete the project by mid-September “if the weather was perfect. It will depend on how many weather days we lose after March,” said Hogard. “The biggest challenge is scheduling the sequencing. We started planning this job eight months ago.”
This includes scheduling the delivery of building materials and piping. Meetings were held with Cretex to arrange for the design and manufacturing of the precast concrete sections.
The majority of the former road material will not be recycled as it was not economically feasible — it will be deposited in two quarries located within two miles of Jackson Blvd. However, 21,000 tons (19,051 t) of roadway material has been crushed and mixed into the base course.
Based in Rapid City, HC has an equipment depot and repair shop two miles from the project. When the project reaches its peak, the firm should be employing five Caterpillar excavators — two 320s, two 330s, and a 345; two Komatsu 220 excavators; six Bobcat loaders ranging from T190s to T320s; 12 to 14 dump trucks from Peterbuilt and Sterling; two Caterpillar blades; five various rollers — including Bomag equipment; a Gomaco paver and a curb machine; one trimmer; and three water trucks.
While maximizing its fleet, this project also will require rented equipment, which is being supplied by dealers in Rapid City, such as Jenner Equipment, DMI, Butler CAT, RDO Equipment, and some smaller suppliers.
“It’s very easy for us to contact our dealers and secure what we need on rapid basis,” said Dave Dailey, HC’s division manager of structures and paving. “We’ve been working with them for years and they understand our needs, be they immediate or long-term.”
Dailey is assisted in maintaining the fleet by Shop Foreman Joe Whitney, who has one mechanic on site full-time and another four that can be called upon.
“We do quite a bit of the maintenance on site,” said Dailey. “Our shop handles the bigger repair work. We take our priority from the project managers on what needs to be worked on. We’ve used the two-month suspension of work to pull in our vehicles and equipment and rebuilt them to be ready for the tight schedule.”
According to Whitney the cold weather had a minimal impact on repair and maintenance operations. A bulk fuel truck parked on site ensures ample fuel supplies for the many vehicles.
Due to municipal bylaws, most of the work is done during the day, which allows the mechanics to complete much of the scheduled maintenance during off-hours. While breakers cannot operate after 10 p.m., concrete removal and the hauling of material can be done at night and contingency night operations have been planned for in order to maintain the work schedule.
In addition to having sites to repair vehicles and equipment and for temporary offices, space is needed for the large amount of building materials that are being brought in. This includes 17,000 ft. (5,182 m) of watermain piping, 7,200 ft. (2,195 m) of sanitary sewer, 7,200 ft. storm water pipe, 20,000 ft. (6,096 m) of electrical conduit, 55,000 sq. yds. (45,987 sq m) of concrete pavement, and 17,000 ft. (5,182 m) of curb and gutter.
Because the two materials storage sites are located on a flood plain, they are reserved for piping.
This is an important project for Heavy Constructors because there is a good possibility that the DOT is looking to tender a minimum of three similar projects in the next three to four years.
“The way we approached this project in terms of pre-planning is different than any way we have attacked a project before,” said Hogard. “We had to look at maintenance, scheduling and coordination. This is setting us up to be more successful on this type of project than any other past projects of this type. We’re applying lessons learned to upcoming projects.”
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