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McInnis Construction Leads Way on U.S. 84/SR 12 Project

Tue May 01, 2012 - Southeast Edition
Mary Reed

The Alabama Department of Transportation’s (ALDOT) project on U.S. 84 (SR 12) in Coffee County to widen and provide additional lanes continues to move forward.

U.S. 84 intersects with heavily traveled east-west routes in Alabama including U.S. 431, U.S. 231, U.S. 331 and I-65.

“ALDOT continues making improvements to US 84 to provide motorists with a safer travel route across Alabama from neighboring states,” said an ALDOT spokesperson.

The 300-day contract is 35 percent complete and will add additional lanes from west of Double Bridges Creek at New Brockton to the bypass at Enterprise, a town famous for its monument to the boll weevil, curse of cotton growers. The statue celebrates Enterprise’s economic recovery by switching to peanut farming after its cotton crop was devastated in the early 1900s. The statue, depicting a woman in classical garments holding a larger than life boll weevil over her head, is celebrated not only as a memorial of thriving as a result of overcoming adversity, but also as the sole world monument to an agricultural pest.

The route is signed and designated El Camino East/West Corridor, forming part of a highway stretching 1,729 mi. across five states from Brunswick, Ga., to El Paso, Tex. One of the early primary routes from the Atlantic to the present Texas-Mexico border, Spanish settlers called it El Camino Real or The King’s Highway. The Alabama stretch of this highway was designated El Camino by the state legislature in 2004.

Work is ongoing on the corridor. Georgia has now completed 91 percent of its portion, Louisiana 15 percent, and Texas 73 percent, while Mississippi has completed its segment. Alabama has completed 52 percent of its 234.70 mi. (377.71 km) of the El Camino Corridor.

Montgomery, Ala.-based McInnis Construction LLC, is prime contractor for the $11.4 million Coffee County project, which is funded by ALDOT. The contract was awarded in May 2011 and work began that summer, with a completion date of fall 2012. The job includes grading, widening, drainage and partial base and pave work in addition to construction of the extra lanes.

“We are self-performing all clearing and grubbing, removal of items, grading work, roadbed base work, select erosion control and storm drain installation,” said Timothy McInnis II, vice president of the company.

McInnis Construction, which on average has 12 employees and two superintendents working onsite, is fielding a large fleet of John Deere equipment for the job, including 9520 tractors pulling double John Deere pans. Other equipment from John Deere includes 6430 tractors; 200 and 270 excavators; 700J and 650 dozers and articulated dump trucks. In addition, the contractor is utilizing a Volvo 330 excavator and articulated dump trucks from the same manufacturer, as well as a Caterpillar 140M motorgrader and Bomag rollers.

Since 2010 McInnis Construction has been utilizing biodiesel manufactured by SouthernEco LLC, which produces 5,000 to 8,000 gallons a year and also is headquartered in Montgomery.

SouthernEco is owned by Clay McInnis, brother of Tim McInnis, and also a vice president of McInnis Construction. Clay McInnis described biodiesel as “a plug-and-play fuel, meaning there are no requirements to modifying the diesel engine running it. It is cheap to produce and very good to the environment. It is less toxic than table salt and more biodegradable than sugar.”

“I pick up used cooking oil from restaurants and convert the oil into biodiesel with machines I sell manufactured by Springboard Biodiesel,” he went on. “The used cooking oil is free so I can make a gallon of biodiesel for around $1.25. I simply blend biodiesel into our bulk diesel tanks at 10 percent mixture. We use it in off-road equipment and generators.”

Randy Hall, grading division manager, McInnis Construction, described the work the company is carrying out on the U.S. 84 project.

“Clearing and grubbing as well as removal of items is being performed with the 200 and 270 excavators. Grading work involves John Deere 9520 tractor and pan combos, the articulated dumps, John Deere 700 and 650 dozers, and the Cat 140M motorgrader,” he said. “Storm drain pipe is being performed with John Deere excavators and dozers, and erosion control items by their excavators, dozers and farm tractors.”

Together the Timothy McInnis family and Randy Hall have performed similar projects for ALDOT for more than 40 years, and while almost all new road construction projects are similar in scope and this project is no exception, a few problems have cropped up during the course of the job.

However, as Tim McInnis pointed out, “All projects encounter problems and/or changes weekly. We have resolved with the owner, ALDOT, all issue/changes to date and as quick as possible so as to not delay the project.”

McInnis Construction has engaged a number of subcontractors for the job, including H&L Construction of Troy, Ala., which is performing culvert construction and guardrail installation. Tipton Construction, based in Dothan, Ala., also is performing culvert construction, while Wiregrass Construction, Dothan, Ala., is carrying out all the asphalt work for the project. Geneva Grassing of Bellwood, Ala., is handling select erosion control items and Ozark Striping, based in Ozark, Ala., is providing all striping.

About the Companies

McInnis Construction LLC, is made up of grading, bridge and commercial divisions. While working mainly in southeastern United States, the company also has carried out projects in Florida, Mississippi, Georgia and Louisiana.

McInnis Construction practices environmental stewardship not only by using biodiesel fuel, but also by consulting LEED accredited professionals for its “green building” projects. Current jobs include bridge construction and demolition as part of the widening of SR 10 in Butler, Ala., and bridge raising and widening work on I-59 in Gadsden, Ala., both Alabama Department of Transportation projects. The company website is at

SouthernEco LLC, aims to support its local community, economy and quality of life while also contributing to energy source security for the southeastern United States by production of biofuel. The company also sells custom-designed equipment for client production of biofuel as well as the finished product itself. SouthernEco has sold biodiesel equipment to the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind (AIDB), Sara Lee Corporation, the city of Oneonta and many other clients. For further information consult SouthernEco’s website at

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