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Eby Sets Sights on Early Completion

Wed September 06, 2000 - Southeast Edition
Sheila Irvine

Martin K. Eby Construction Co. may do the unheard of — finish a Florida highway project five months ahead of schedule and as much as $900,000 ahead of the game.

The Wichita, KS-based company was awarded the $17.2-million State Road 436 contract Aug. 25, 1999 and work started Nov. 1, according to the Florida DOT.

“The contractor expects to complete the project by late next year and to collect up to a $900,000 bonus for early completion,” according to Steve Homan, a DOT spokesman.

“We accelerated our schedule, added a number of crews, coordinated our work with the utilities and are continually analyzing and finding out where we can improve,” said Dave Moyar, project engineer.

This early completion will come despite having to use compaction equipment that is slower than what Moyar is used to, to keep 200-plus nearby business owners happy.

“We’re using a rented Sakai America R2H smooth drum static compactor that does not vibrate,” Moyar said. “We normally would use our Bomag single drum which is vibratory. The Sakai is slower but it does not vibrate.”

Eby is six-laning 2.3 mi. (3.7 km) of State Road 436 from Pearl Lake Causeway to Douglas Road. The road is heavily traveled and is congested, carrying more than 60,000 vehicles daily in Seminole County.

A network of underground utilities along the northside of the road is about complete.

The work involves replacing open drainage ditches with 5- to 6- ft. (1.5 to 1.8 m) wide pipes for stormwater runoff, as well as phone cables, water and sewage and gas lines that must be placed underground at the same time.

The road will include bike lanes, sidewalks and lighting, also, on both sides of the road.

Work also is under way on the six-laning of State Road 436 in Orange County, another 2.3-mi. (3.7 km) project. That contract went to Cone and Graham Inc. of Tampa. The $19.8-million project started Feb. 14 and is scheduled for completion in early 2002.

A third segment of a six-laned 436, previously completed, connects the two work areas.

“This is an urban, retail area,” said Nathaniel Winthrop, project engineer for Cone and Graham.

The existing highway was four lanes with a grass median and no curbs or gutters and will replaced by a six-lane roadway with curbs and gutters, Winthrop said, as well as an overpass on the west end of the project where 436 meets U. S. 441.

“We’ve spent the last six months doing utility relocations [gas, sewer, and water lines] and will probably spend another two months on that,” Winthrop said.

“What’s unique on this project,” he said, “is that the DOT was unable to acquire enough land to build drainage ponds, so we have to build a French drain system on both sides of the road for drainage.”

The French drains and the utility lines along the sides of the roadway make for a “tight fit,” Winthrop said.

“We’re putting them in wherever we can find room.”

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