New Jersey is well known for its family-owned and operated construction firms. D’Annunzio & Sons is one of those who has come a long way from when the original family firm got its start in the 1950’s as a pipe contractor.
However, 30 years ago the third generation families decided to go their separate ways and in 1981 Joseph Sr. and his four sons started anew under the name of D’Annunzioi & Sons Inc. Since that time the firm has grown and completed many complex and challenging projects, while developing the capability to successfully complete a wide variety of unique heavy highway construction projects in the NYC metropolitan area.
At its inception, the company started with railroad foundation work, utility installation and environmental cleanup contracts, while it also began to move into the highway and bridge sector in 1983. As more money flowed into that area of infrastructure, the frim continued to expand into larger projects for the NJDOT. D’Annunzio & Sons completed numerous road and bridge projects which included major work at Routes 70 and 88 in Brick Township, Parkway interchanges 131A and 109, reconstruction and a new interchange at Route 10 in Parsippany, reconstruction of Route 38 in southern New Jersey, reconstruction of a portion of Route 17 in Mahwah, reconstruction of Route 211 in Middleton, N.Y., and roadway widening and construction of bridges on approzimately 14 mi. (22.5 km) along Route 287 in Riverdale through Morristown.
The firm also spent nearly two straight decades continuously performing work at Newark Liberty International Airport for the PANYNJ. This work included runway expansions, electrical substation construction, road, bridge, utilities and maintenance work as well.
During the past five years, D’Annunzio & Sons has been especially active with work in New York City as well as New Jersey. Projects have included foundation and site work, utility installations, several unique park construction projects, major utility relocation and road decking on Second Avenue, extensive remediation of the Brookfield Avenue Landfill and reactivation of the Staten Island Railroad.
D’Annunzio’s unique park work included Pier 25 uplands utilities and park construction for the Hudson River Park Trust where the firm constructed the park on a recently renovated pier. This park serves the residents of the Battery Park City neighborhood and includes a skate board facility, mini golf course, volley ball court, water park, soccer field and other facilities. The firm also constructed two other parks along the Hudson River, one of which is the home of the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum. In addition, the conpany recently completed a major foundation project that included utilities and site work as a subcontractor to Skanska Building USA as part of the United Nations refurbishment project and constructed a deep foundation in the area for a Con Edison underground power transformer vault.
D’Annunzio & Sons is also currently involved in the construction of a part of the Second Avenue Subway. This work includes open excavation, extensive utility relocation and road decking on Second Avenue between 83rd and 87th Streets. The project has involved coordination of the relocation of underground Con Edison electric, gas mains up to 30 in. (76 cm) diameter, NYC DEP water and sewer lines up to 48 in. (122 cm) diameter and Empire City Subway/Verizon ducts and manholes, while maintaining active services. D’Annunzio’s contract also includes construction of two 30 ft. (9 m) deep pilot shafts and road decking for ongoing traffic. These shafts will be extended and used for the mucking activities for the 86 th St. station cavern project.
All of the work has been constructed in stages across the full width of 2nd Avenue, while hanging/supporting existing utilities from a temporary road framing structure and maintaining traffic.
D’Annunzio’s work at the Brookfield Avenue Landfill in Staten Island is a substantial joint venture contract with Barbella and Servidone/B.Anthony Construction. The work is for the New York City Department of Environmental Protection and consists of an overall site of about 220 acres of which 128 acres includes the final capping of the old municipal waste landfill. Major construction at the site includes a soil bentonite slurry and self-hardening barrier wall around the perimeter of the landfill, final cap system consisting of a gas venting layer, a barrier layer, drainage layer, protective cover layer and topsoil layer. Work also involves the installation of a leachate collection system, oil/water separators, gas collection and gas flare system as well as considerable earthwork, landscaping, wetland creation and installation of roads, trails and storm water management controls.
In recent years D’Annunzio & Sons has also completed several New Jersey Turnpike and NJDOT projects. The firm’s Route 139 Viaduct contract leading into the Holland Tunnel was especially challenging. This bridge work involved the rehabilitation of a complicated structural steel lattice substructure and a complete superstructure deck rehabilitation and replacement. To accommodate traffic, a new parallel structure with up to 140 ft. (42.6 m) deep caisson foundations was built to add a lane to facilitiate the reconstruction of the 70 year old structure in multiple stages, while not reducing the existing number of travel lanes.
This project was of major importance to the traffic flow to the Holland Tunnel and required coordination of work with numerous multi-state and NYC transportation agencies as well as multiple utility companies. The contract included specific milestones and completion liquidated damage penalities as well as substantial bonus provisions. D’Annunzio & Sons engineering group devised a better method of construction and through the value engineering provisions within the contract, redesigned the viaduct superstructure construction technique and staging to facilitate the completion of every milestone ahead of schedule and final completion 10 months early to capture the maximum bonus achievable.
The D’Annunzio firm also recently completed the construction of a major Interchange at Exit 12 in Carteret for the Turnpike Authority. The project area footprint was made up of over 60 percent wetlands, and it also involved the coordination and relocation of a multitude of utilities from 10 separate agencies. The project management teams at the Turnpike, D’Annunzio and Urban Engineering all participated in a Partnering fashion to work through numerous conflicts and delays to keep the project moving. The work included the total replacement and expansion of the existing Interchange 12 toll plaza from 7 to 17 stalls, a new administration building, the reconstruction of access ramps and widening of Rossevelt Avenue and Industrial Avenue in Carteret, extensive MSE walls and a 2000 1f bridge. This three year contract increased the capacity to handle traffic to the new warehouse development in the area.
D’Annunzio & Sons is also currently constructing two contracts on the New Jersey Turnpike’s widening project between Interchanges 6 and 9. The work includes widening the northbound outer roadway for 8 mi. between Interchanges 8A and 9, installation of drainage facilities, noise barrier and four bridges. This work is progressing on schedule.
The firm is positioned well and has been welcoming the next generation as Christopher D’Annunzio, a graduate Civil Engineer from M.I.T., has been working on the firm’s Second Avenue Project in NYC for the past two years and his cousin Jeffrey D’Annunzio recently joined the firm after graduating from Loyola with a business degree. Over the years the company has also attracted and hired sons of employees to join the ranks of the professionals wthin the D’Annunzio team.
This article was reprinted with permission from Utility and Transportation Contractor Magazine, August 2011 Issue.