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Muschlitz Preps Camelback’s Winter Waterpark

A $160 million project aims to take the action indoors in the wintertime.

Tue November 05, 2013 - Northeast Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

Two Muschlitz excavators help announce Camelback’s future indoor waterpark and lodge.
Two Muschlitz excavators help announce Camelback’s future indoor waterpark and lodge.
Two Muschlitz excavators help announce Camelback’s future indoor waterpark and lodge. Muschlitz Excavating has to turn the pad over to the general contractor the day before Thanksgiving of this year. A Komatsu artic haul truck takes debris away from the site. Muschlitz Excavating will have moved approximately 350,000 cu. yds. (267,594 cu m) of earth by the time its portion of the Camelback indoor waterpark project is completed. Jack Muschlitz (L) of Muschlitz Excavating, Bath, Pa., and Barry Talley of Midlantic Machinery pose for a photo on the Camelback indoor waterpark job site. The clearing subcontractor, Paul Giroux Inc. from Wind Gap, Pa., is handling the clearing and grubbing for Muschlitz using a tub grinder. Muschlitz also is preparing the area for a contractor to build a water tower (in the distance). Water lines will be run from where the tank is going to be up on the hill and then down to the hotel and lodge.

Enjoy the twists and turns of the ski slopes but not a fan of the cold weather? Camelback Mountain, in the Pocono Mountains’ town of Tannersville, Pa., may have an ideal solution when a massive project -– featuring an indoor waterpark, hotel and lodge — wraps up in 2015. The project will cost Camelback approximately $160 million.

Muschlitz Excavating has a $9 million chunk of the project, handling the site preparation, excavation and remediation.

“There are about 350,000 cu. yds. of earth to move here,” said Jack Muschlitz of Muschlitz Excavating, based in Bath, Pa. “There are a lot of unsuitable soils here that we have to deal with. It is wet material that was placed there in the past, but it wasn’t compacted, so it needs to come out and be replaced with on-site structural fill or imported crushed aggregate. We have areas here with 40-foot cuts [and] 40-foot fills. We also have two-to-one slopes here right next to an ’exceptional quality’ stream, so soil erosion control is a big concern here to protect the stream from pollution. We have rock blasting. We anticipate about 75,000 yards of rock that will be blasted out of the ski-in and ski-out area of the building. The heavy fills are in the lodge area of the building and rear parking lot.

Muschlitz’s crew started on the job in September 2013 and though the project has an actual Dec. 13, 2013 deadline for Muschlitz to deliver the entire building pad, the company has a self-imposed deadline of Nov. 13. 2013.

“We are ahead of schedule right now, because we came in and attacked the project pretty hard from the start,” he said. “We’ve had very favorable weather the last few weeks. The guys are working hard and the guys are working long days. Everyone is putting forth a hell of an effort. They are doing a great job here.”

The crew, usually between 16 and 25 workers a day depending on the day’s tasks, operates both Komatsu and Caterpillar equipment, including Komatsu PC400 and PC300 loading trucks, 40 and 35 ton (36 and 31 t) off road trucks, Cat D6T and D8R dozers and Komatsu D51 dozers.

“We have to run about 10,000 feet of water mains; we are going to be building a water tower halfway up the mountain nearby. A 300,000-gallon water tank has to go up there and right now we are running the pipe down the mountain for that. We have two 8-inch and one 12-inch PVC water mains coming down the mountain at about a 40 percent slope,” Muschlitz said.

“All of our dozers have Trimble GPS systems. We do our compaction with Ingersoll Rand rollers. We have a Cat 973 working here grubbing root mat and loading out topsoil. We have a Cat 330D on the pipe runs. “

“We will have to have all of the earth-working utilities portion of the project done by Thanksgiving. The water piping will be done, but we are not going to do the water tower itself until next spring, so we don’t disrupt their ski season.”

“We have to be completely done with our portion of the project … curbed, paved, lined striped and landscaped by the end of October 2014. “

Despite being on schedule, the project hasn’t been without challenges.

“The biggest challenge is the unsuitable materials,” Muschlitz said. “They are not just in one spot. They are all over the place. You will be making a cut in nice material and then all of sudden you’ll hit into the wet, unsuitable materials and then you have to change your whole game plan around. There’s pockets of it all over the place.”

The unsuitable material did not come by surprise, however.

“We dug test pits out here during the bid process,” he said. “and there was an extensive geotechnical report done on the project. We had a pretty good idea that there would be a lot of unsuitables to deal with here.”

The unsuitable materials are being shipped to several locations, including a few of the ski slopes that are being re-graded, which will make it easier for them to groom their slopes when they are making snow, according to Muschlitz.

The majority of the suitable material, however, is remaining on site to fill other areas, including a huge pocket of concrete loaded with rebar.

“Our rock excavation is coming up in our next phase here. We’ll be blasting for that. We encountered a huge pocket of concrete that someone buried here years ago. We dug it all out and hauled it to one of the existing stone parking lots here on the property. That material, along with all of the rock material that we blast out, won’t go to waste. We’ll bring in one of our crushers and crush that material into aggregate and use it for our sub base material under pavements here on site.

“There was some concrete visible on the surface, but it was pretty deep down in here. We chose to remove it in order to ensure stability of the fills in this steep slope area. With 2:1 slopes in a forty foot fill right next to a stream, we didn’t want to take any chances.”

Still to come is the stormwater piping around the building, including a rip-rap swale that goes all the way around the bottom of the project to capture any potential run off and divert it into the sediment pond.

Muschlitz also is preparing the area for a contractor to build a water tower. Water lines will be run from where the tank is going to be up on the hill and then down to the hotel and lodge.

“There are four existing wells on the property and we have to run feeder lines from each of those wells,” he said. “The water comes out of the wells and gets fed into the treatment area inside the new hotel. The water gets treated and sent up the mountain and stored in the water tank. There is an eight-inch line going up to the tank to feed it, then coming back from the tank is an eight inch line for domestic use and a 12-inch line for fire.”

In addition, Muschlitz also is doing some PennDOT improvements on Camelback Drive and installing a new 8 in. sanitary forcemain to the existing treatment plant on the property.

“We have seven segmented retaining walls that will go in here. Some of the walls have to be done by Thanksgiving. Four of the walls have to be done in order for us to get the grades up to turn the pad over by Thanksgiving.

Also on the Job

The clearing subcontractor, Paul Giroux Inc. from Wind Gap, Pa., is handling the clearing and grubbing for Muschlitz using a tub grinder.

Giroux is making mulch and hauling it off.

Horizon Construction from Wisconsin is general contractor on the job and will be doing the waterpark construction, the hotel and the lodge.

Muschlitz Excavating

The business was founded in 1990 and is run by Vice President Jack Muschlitz, his brother, David, who serves as secretary/treasurer and his father, Ronald, who is the president of the company.

The Bath, Pa., company has between 100 and 110 employees and performs a wide variety of site development packages.

“We are pretty diverse,” Jack Muschlitz said. “We’ll do projects like warehouses; commercial projects; public work such as schools and roadwork. We are doing a nice-sized project right now at Lehigh Valley International Airport. We’ve also worked at Queen City Airport and Mt. Pocono Airport in the past. We paved the runways at Queen City and Mt. Pocono Airport. Right now at Lehigh Valley Airport we are doing earthwork and utility project with a large retaining wall. A lot of cuts and fills over there. That is in preparation for another phase of some work the airport wants to do.

“Right now we are in the middle of Northampton Middle School, which is a nice project for us. It’s about a $7 million project for us, which consists of the complete site package, site prep for the new school. We have utility work, paving, earthwork and soil exchange over there. We had to export a large quantity of soil and build a pad with imported crushed aggregate.”

The company also is working on residential projects with complete infrastructure improvements, including utilities, curbing and paving.

Midlantic Machinery

Muschlitz bought its first machine, a WA250 rubber-tire loader from Midlantic Machinery in the early 1990s, when the company was known as Furnival.

“I give a lot of credit to our salesman, Barry Talley, he does a great job for us,” said Muschlitz. “He really goes to bat for us on things, when we need something in a jam, he is right there. Midlantic — they do go the extra mile for us. We probably have 80 or 90 pieces of heavy equipment plus all of our trucks. Of those, about 40 of them are Komatsu equipment. If there is an issue with something, I pick up the phone and call Barry, and he is right on top of it and he takes care of it. They do what they say they are going to do. They give you a number and that’s the number. You don’t have to play games. We have good luck with their equipment. It runs day in and day out. It’s working for us. We are happy with the Komatsu product.

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