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Guerrera Construction to Help Bring Conn.’s Fairfield Metro Center to Life

Thu May 19, 2011 - Northeast Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

A baseball infield is approximately 8,000 square feet.

A football field is approximately 57,000 square feet.

The new transit oriented mixed-use development Fairfield Metro Center will be 1 million square feet.

Situated on 35 acres in the town of Fairfield, Conn., the Fairfield Metro Center is a public/private initiative.

The state built the actual train station as a separate DOT construction project. Guerrera Construction is building the access road and parking lot, which will serve the station. The access road also will enable the construction of several buildings by a private developer in future phases. The first phase will begin in June 2011 with the construction of the “Concourse Building.”

Located less than .25 mi. from Exit 24 on Interstate 95 in Connecticut, this project is transforming a long vacant and declining industrial site into a thriving office park. It will create more than 2,700 permanent jobs and generate more than $1.1 billion dollars in total federal, state and local revenues over the next 20 years, according to representatives.

The center will consist of seven buildings consisting of five mid-rise office buildings with more than 800,000 sq. ft. of office space, 32,000 sq. ft. of retail space, a 180-room Hilton hotel and an 82-unit residential condominium when completed. A Metro North ticket office and commuter waiting area will be integrated into the concourse building.

The property also will include a 1,500-car parking area for commuters using the train station; a 2,200 ft. (670 m) roadway and ramp crossing over the railroad tracks to the train station for traffic connecting the shopping/parking area to the train station; commuter tunnels; a pedestrian walkway and underground utilities for the commercial properties. Eight acres of wetlands that also will be used for recreation is being constructed complete with boardwalks, walking trails, a pond and pavilions.

Preparing the Site

This multi-faceted project involves significant amounts of remediation, which has been ongoing since the 1980s on the former Bullards steel casting foundry site.

Approximately 250,000 cu. yds. of contaminated material in the form of spent casting sands were placed on the property over the life of the foundry. These soils will be capped in place with a geo-membrane liner.

PCB impacted soils have been remediated dating back to the 1980s. A small quantity of remaining PCB impacted soils are being remediated as part of this project.

The operations of the steel foundry over the years contaminated nearly the entire site, including the banks of a creek that runs through it.

Since Guerrera Construction has started on the project 3,000 to 4,000 cu. yds. (2,293 to 3,058 cu m) of PCB contaminated dirt has been identified and exported off site to an approved disposal facility.

Large sections of the job site contain low-level contaminated dirt, which is being contained much like a landfill. A geo-membrane liner is being laid over contaminated areas of the job site, like a landfill cap, and 2 ft. (.6 m) or more of extremely clean, very specific types of soils are being layered over the membrane.

Contaminated materials that have made it to a creek running through the property are being remediated.

Loureiro Engineering Associates (LEA ) is providing environmental engineering services for this project on behalf of the town of Fairfield. Whenever excavating is occurring on the site representatives of the DEC are present to check each area of excavation for the potential of contamination. If contaminated soils are dug into that entire area has to be remediated. If PCB contaminated soils are discovered they are stockpiled, tested and disposed of off-site.

Rock-Hard Problems

If dealing with contaminated soils is not enough, the area also contains extremely hard rock — more than 100,000 yds. of rock needed to be cut and removed.

Main Drilling and Blasting was used for the blast areas.

To process the thousands of yards of rock that has been blasted a crushing spread has been set up with a primary crusher that was purchased from Thompson Equipment in Maine and a Pegson portable tracked cone crusher purchased from Powerscreen of Connecticut. All of the rock being processed on the site is being used as a base material elsewhere on the site.

More than 2,500 ft. (762 m) of retaining walls have been constructed on the site.

Ash Creek

Along Ash Creek 400 ft. (122 m) of sheet piles had to be driven and water pumped out from the shoreline in order to construct a site retaining wall and remediate the contaminated soils that had made it to the banks of the creek. These soils had to be completely dewatered and removed. The water then had to be treated before being discharged into a sanitary sewer.

Eight-hundred ft. (244 m) of 24-in. (61 cm) concrete sewer pipe and 1,200 ft. (365 m) of 36-in. (91 cm) sewer pipe had to be placed across the length of the site. All of the underground utilities were in great disrepair and had to be replaced across the site before remediation and capping of the contaminated soils could begin.

The sanitary sewer and storm drainage were relocated to accommodate the construction of the new site features, such as the wetland, the new road, the building foundation walls, parking lot, etc. New electric, telephone, cable, water and gas utilities were brought into the site to service the train station, parking lot and future buildings.

Once the new utilities were in place, it was a significant project to bypass the sewage from the existing sewage system over to the new system. These lines had to be switched over simultaneously and they handled millions of gallons of sewage each day.

In the Home Stretch

This $20.5 million project, which started in mid-July of 2010, is scheduled for completion in November of 2011. According to Joseph Guerrera, president of Guerrera Construction, the project is ahead of schedule.

For the total project, 200,000 yds . of earth had to be excavated and cut to fill; for the tunnel, which connects one parking garage to another parking area, an 800-ft. (244 m) box culvert needed to be constructed through 40 ft. (12 m) of cut rock.

The tunnel and box culvert were two important but unrelated aspects of the work.

Guerrera Construction

Guerrera Construction was founded by Joseph Guerrera more than 30 years ago. Joseph’s father, Joseph Guerrera Sr., was a developer who did site development and residential home construction. Growing up Joseph Jr. did odd jobs for his father after school; at age 16 he started his own business providing jobs such as landscaping, tree cutting and small construction projects.

In the mid 1970s Joseph won his first bid, a $22,000 parking lane for the city of Stamford. Shortly thereafter he won a $16,000 drainage project for the city of Norwalk.

Today, Guerrera Construction is involved in site construction, civil construction, heavy highway work, concrete projects and even dredging. It has tackled projects as diverse as airport work, dredging of the Connecticut River, wetlands creation and school construction.

Guerrera Construction has a fleet of more than 50 earthmoving machines and employs approximately 60 workers. The company recently has purchased some Komatsu equipment from East PBE in Newington, Conn., including a Komatsu PC450 excavator equipped with GPS and two Komatsu PC400 excavators with a carrier weight of 100,000 lbs. (45,359 kg). In 2006 it purchased a Komatsu HM300 30-ton (27 t) articulated truck.

John Puglio, the equipment manager of Guerrera Construction, said that the company has been very pleased with the reliability of the Komatsu machines that it has purchased thus far and the reliable product support that it has received from East Pine Bush Equipment. CEG

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