Four Fla. Projects Rely on Clearspan Slide Rail System

Tue June 25, 2013 - Southeast Edition
James McRay


Contractor MS Industrial cast-in-place a behemoth truck-unloading hopper, its crew safely shored within the largest ClearSpan slide rail system designed to date.
Contractor MS Industrial cast-in-place a behemoth truck-unloading hopper, its crew safely shored within the largest ClearSpan slide rail system designed to date.
Contractor MS Industrial cast-in-place a behemoth truck-unloading hopper, its crew safely shored within the largest ClearSpan slide rail system designed to date. ClearSpan slide rail was ideal for contractor Pepper Contracting Services as it set a precast manhole footer within the obstruction-free working space that is unique to the design and engineering of the Efficiency Production shoring system. Pepper uses Efficiency’s ClearSpan panel pushing device, which aids in the dig and push of the inside rail panels, which can be difficult to reach behind the inside waler I-beams by the excavator bucket. The no over-excavation advantage of slide rail was critical for contractor Brasfield & Gorrie, who installed a tandem of slide rail systems next to each other, shoehorned into one city block right in the middle of a residential neighborhood. From installation to removal, ClearSpan stays entirely free from obstructing cross-braces by utilizing waler I-beams on the outside of the system at the top and inside the system to prevent deflection. This was an advantage for contractor Westra Construct

Infrastructure, Infrastructure, Infrastructure. It is the backbone of our nation and its upkeep and expansion will no doubt be a huge part in the nation’s economic road to recovery. Much of America’s infrastructure is comprised of utilities buried underground such as water, sewer, electrical, gas and telecommunication just to name a few. Yet despite its vital importance to the country, upgrading underground utilities always starts with a very humble first step; by digging a hole.

However excavations for utility installation or upgrade rarely require the same size hole. Some are small, some are big, and some are really big. In Tampa, Fla. four recent underground construction projects — though all very different — shared one thing in common; they all needed to safely shore really big excavations. Make that two things in common, actually — they all chose Efficiency Production’s ClearSpan slide rail system to shore their big holes.

Extreme Sized Pour-in-Place

Structure Safely Shored With ClearSpan

“It’s a good system, safe. You feel safe when you’re in the bottom of it working,” said Ronnie Jones, foreman with Seneca, Ill., headquartered Mid-States (MS) Industrial, whose Tampa-based crew has been working in the largest configured ClearSpan slide rail system designed to date: a 44 ft. wide, 63 ft. long, and 24 ft. (13 by 19 by 7.3 m) deep configured system. The MS Industrial team is casting-in-place a behemoth 39 by 58 by 24 ft. (12 by 17 by 7.3 m) truck-unloading hopper at the Big Bend shipping terminal in Gibsonton, Fla., for project owner Mosaic Fertilizer.

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

“[My crew] was a little overwhelmed at the start, they didn’t quite know what to expect on how [the Slide Rail] would go together, but once we got the routine on how it went down, they were all right with it,” Jones said.

To assist with installation of the Slide Rail, manufacturer Efficiency Production sent out its senior Slide Rail Installer, Rod Austin, to work with the MS Industrial crew.

“That’s very typical of how it goes the first time contractors use our system,” said Austin, a shoring and shielding specialist in Efficiency Production’s special operations shoring division.

“The first day, they usually are intrigued on how and if it’s going to work; the second day, there is usually a bit of consternation as they have to overcome unexpected ground conditions and as they are trying to put the system in one piece at a time; but by the third day, they really get the hang of it, and they really start to figure out that this is a great system.”

“Rod was really the one who led the way through it,” Jones added. “He was very knowledgeable and answered any questions we had while showing us how the structure went together and the best way to install the system.”

ClearSpan Safely Shores

Jumbo-Sized Precast Manhole Installation

On the other side of Tampa in Wesley Chapel, Fla., Pepper Contracting Services’ Project Superintendent Jeff Sevengy had very similar praise for the ClearSpan System and its ease of installation.

“Everything went together very well, quicker than expected,” said Sevengy. “My guys liked it, understood it quickly, and did a great job putting it together.”

Pepper installed a monolith of a structure — this of the precast variety — when it set a 12 ft. (3.6 m) inside diameter, 32 ft. (9.7 m) tall round manhole into a 31 by 31 by 28 ft. (9.4 by 9.4 by 8.5 m) ClearSpan shored pit.

The first piece Pepper set was a large 14 by 16 ft. (4.2 by 4.8 m) precast concrete footer pad. Efficiency’s system was ideal for the task because ClearSpan’s design is unique to the industry in that it shores a large excavation without any need for cross-braces. The system stays entirely open by utilizing waler I-beams on the outside of the system at the top and inside the system to prevent deflection. The walers integrate into the slide rail system with the use of custom brackets with rollers that slide along the posts.

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. The advantage of slide rail over other shoring systems like trench shields is that there is absolutely no over-excavation, which means that pressure against the surrounding soil is maintained throughout the entire installation and removal of the system.

Additionally, Efficiency’s system comes with its ClearSpan panel pushing device that aids in the dig and push of the lower panels, which can be difficult to reach behind the inside waler beams by the excavator bucket. With the pushing device, the inside panels are pushed down from above the excavation using a large pushing pad connected to the inside panel on a free-moving rod within a floating guide bracket secured to the top outside panel.

“It’s a great tool and it would be much harder to install the lower inside panels without it,” added Sevengy.

Sevengy chose the Efficiency Production system for a simple reason, “Because of the depth we needed to go, Professional Shoring [now Efficiency Shoring and Supply] had the equipment to get us to the bottom, and they were able to get it to the job site quickly,” Sevengy said.

Efficiency Shoring and Supply is an official Efficiency Production factory-direct sales and rental company. Efficiency Shoring’s Paul Strazzula provided factory support on the Pepper project.

“From the time the steel was delivered, installed, removed, and hauled away, it was a total of eight days; much quicker than anyone had expected,” said Sevengy.

Tandem Slide Rail Systems

Fit Tightly in Tampa Neighborhood

for Cast-in-Place Structures

For St. Petersburg-based contractor Brasfield & Gorrie, the no over-excavation advantage of slide rail was absolutely critical as the contractor recently installed not one, but two slide rail systems next to each other, shoehorned into one city block right in the middle of a residential neighborhood. Both slide rail systems were shoring pour-in-place structures on the city of Tampa’s UCAPP storm water pump station project. The work site was very tight with little more than the width of the track excavator separating the two pits. The north system was a three-bay multi-bay slide rail system, dimensions 29 by 46 by 14 ft. (8.8 by 14 by 4.2 m). The south system was a ClearSpan System with dimensions 38 by 44 by 20 ft. (11.5 by 13.4 by 6 m) deep.

One other city of Tampa project, very near the Brasfield & Gorrie job site, was the Duck Pond Outfall Phase 2 Project, which again utilized an Efficiency ClearSpan system to shore a pour-in-place structure for the outfall chamber into Duck Pond. For this project, Westra Construction — headquarted in Palmetto, Fla. — installed the 40 by 50 by 28 ft. (12 by 15 by 8.5 m) system in addition to installing the concrete structure.

Westra Construction is a private company categorized under Pipe Laying Construction. It was established in 1965 and incorporated in Florida. Its phone number is 941/723-1611.

Brasfield & Gorrie is one of the nation’s largest privately held construction firms, providing general contracting, design-build, and construction management services for a wide variety of markets, including healthcare, commercial, institutional, federal, municipal, industrial, and wastewater treatment.

For more information, visit www.brasfieldgorrie.com.

With more than 85 experienced construction personnel, Pepper Contracting Services Inc. (PCSI) specializes in earthwork, pipe, specialty concrete, and grading. Established in 1993, Pepper is licensed as a General and Underground Utility Contractor with the state of Florida and is pre-qualified with FDOT and local municipalities.

For more information, visit www.peppercontracting.com.

Mid-States (MS) Industrial provided industrial maintenance, repair, and design of above and below ground storage tanks, pressure vessels, piping systems, structural walkways, and related equipment.

For more information, visit www.midstatesindustrial.com.

Efficiency Production Inc., “America’s Trench Box Builder,” provides a wide selection of standard and custom trench shielding and shoring systems. Efficiency’s products are designed specifically for safe and cost effective installation of utility systems and infrastructure improvements. All products are P.E. certified to meet OSHA and MIOSHA requirements.

For more information, visit www.efficiencyproduction.com.

James McRay is the Director of Marketing & Media for Efficiency Production Inc. He can be reached at 800/552-8800; jmcray@efficiencyproduction.com