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Wed July 28, 2021 - West Edition #16
Tarrant County, the third largest county in Texas and the 15th biggest in the country, has a population of more than 2 million and is split into four precincts. Considered one of the most urbanized regions in the state of Texas, Precinct 3 is the fastest growing precinct in the county and has a population of more than 500,000. It is located in the northeast corner of Tarrant County, which has a footprint of approximately 900 sq. mi. Precinct 3 includes Fort Worth, Bedford, Colleyville, Euless and North Richland Hills among its 16 municipalities.
As Precinct 3 continues to expand, so does the need for new and updated infrastructure. Similar to other precincts in Tarrant County, it partners with the cities on services, including road projects. Precinct 3 handles nearly all the work itself with a staff of 36 people, which includes equipment operators, mechanics and office staff. Helping oversee operations are Director of Field Operations Richard Schiller, Assistant Director of Field Operations Anthony Jaramillo and Equipment Maintenance Supervisor Ed Haidusek.
"We have agreements with the cities in the precinct to provide them with construction services," said Schiller. "That includes all the labor and equipment costs that come with it. By doing it ourselves and not contracting out, there is a significant cost savings, and our constituents get the best bang for their tax dollars."
Roadwork remains one of Precinct 3's largest undertakings, including full-depth reclamation (FDR) of city streets. It has approximately 26 lane mi. slated for FDR this year. The process involves pulverizing old pavement and mixing it with the existing subbase and a stabilizing agent, such as a cement/lime slurry.
"FDR is significantly less expensive and faster than traditional methods of removing the existing pavement layers and completely rebuilding subgrade with new materials," said Schiller. "Direct inject of the stabilizing agent into the reclaimed materials creates a much more uniform and homogenous mixture. We can typically stabilize and resurface — including 2-inch asphalt binder and 2-inch asphalt surface — about 7,500 square yards every two weeks, even with restricted hours of operation. It's usually done with one lane/one-way traffic control, and roadways are reopened to all traffic every afternoon."
Precinct 3 performs FDR with its recently added Wirtgen WR 200 XLi recycler/soil stabilizer. It has a maximum depth of 19.7 in. and a working width of 7 ft. 10 in. Drivers bring the stabilizing agent to the job site where the trailer is hooked up to the WR 200 XLi. It is mixed with the existing materials in the recycler/stabilizer's mixing chamber and the new product is put down as a subbase. Jaramillo said it has increased the amount of stabilization that can be done each day.
"The process not only saves time and expense, but it's much cleaner," Jaramillo added. "There is no pre-chewing of the roadway, and because it's direct injection, we don't have to build berms to contain the slurry. The equipment that comes behind it — typically a Komatsu motor grader and a HAMM roller — doesn't get dirty. We also like how quiet it is. When you are working in a neighborhood, that's really nice. You can walk beside it and have a conversation."
Schiller said the correct moisture content is critical to successful stabilization. After the stabilized subbase is put down, the crew hooks the precinct's water truck to the WR 200 XLi and injects water into it.
"Water application with a spray bar on a water truck is uncontrolled and leaves wet and dry areas, and it doesn't always make it to the bottom of the recycled material," explained Schiller. "The recycler/stabilizer gives us precise control and confidence that the moisture content is uniform and homogenous throughout the entire depth. It also washes out the pump end mixing chamber, which is a nice bonus."
Precinct 3's leaders collaborated with James McDonnell, governmental sales representative of Kirby-Smith Machinery Inc., on the acquisition of the WR 200 XLi. He set up a demonstration on a project in Colleyville. After the purchase, McDonnell assisted with training, along with personnel from the Wirtgen Group.
"Anything we have needed, James and Kirby-Smith are right there to help," said Haidusek. "James comes out on a consistent basis to make sure everything is running smoothly, and if there are any questions, he has or will find the answer quickly. We are very pleased with the equipment and the relationships we have with James and Kirby-Smith."
This story also appears on Aggregate Equipment Guide.