James Hubbard RLW photo
The Ralph L. Wadsworth Construction Company began Phase II of the Utah Department of Transportation’s (UDOT - $21.5 million) Logan 10th West/SR-252 Reconstruction Project on Sept. 15, 2012 and is looking to complete the work
The Ralph L. Wadsworth Construction Company (RLWCC) began Phase II of the Utah Department of Transportation’s (UDOT - $21.5 million) Logan 10th West/ SR-252 Reconstruction Project on Sept. 15, 2012 and is looking to complete the work this October.
The work is being done on the outskirts of Logan City at an altitude of 4,600 ft. (1,402 m) in the Logan Valley. The first phase covered 1000 West from U.S. 89/91 to 200 North (SR 30), and from 1000 West to U.S. 91 (Main Street) on 2500 North, while the second phase — a construction manager/general contractor (CMGC) project — covers the area from 200 North (SR 30) to 2500 North, and from 1000 West to 600 West on 2500 North.
Key aspects of Phase Two — 4 mi. (6.4 km) of road, includes: widening the road on 1000 West 200 North to 1400 North from two lanes to five lanes; widening 1400 North to 2500 North to three lanes with wide shoulders; intersection lane enhancements/turn lanes for 200 North, 1000 North, 1400 North, and 2500 North; new curbs, gutters and sidewalks for both sides of 200 North to 800 North and the west side of 800 North to 1400 North; widening 2500 North from 1000 West to 600 West to five lanes; a new sewer line on 1000 West from 200 North to 1700 North; a dry sewer line for future development from 1700 North to 2500 North; two new water lines for 200 North to 2500 North; and new manholes and stub outs from 1000 West to 600 West.
Utilities also are taking the opportunity to upgrade their infrastructure — Questar, Comcast, Century Link, and Logan Power. Thus far only utility work for 1000 West — 200 N to 1000 N east side — has been completed.
“The project consists of mostly complete rehabilitation of all sewer/water utilities, storm drains/irrigations systems and the complete reconstruction of the roadway to be replaced all in white paving (PCCP) at a 9" depth,” said RLWCC Project Manager Gaylen Stewart. “We’re replacing approximately 13,000 linear feet of sewer — 60 inch to 15 inch, and paving 45,000 cubic yards of PCCP (Portland Cement concrete paving).”
There have been some major challenges such as the construction a new sewer vault while maintaining active lines, which required bypass pumping for three weeks.
“Huge 24 inch pumps were set up — two each — pumping live sewer while constructing the new sewer vault/plugs were placed in the lines and pumps were put in place for about 3.5 weeks/24 hours per-day with a very high risk of failures/breakdowns,” said Stewart, who notes how important cooperation with municipal and DOT officials is in dealing with issue that will crop up. “We have a great working relationship — we are a team when it comes to issues and problems. We all work for a common goal — completing the project on budget.”
Cold winter temperatures also are having an impact.
“It has been especially brutal with very cold temperatures for the last two months — minus 25 F for weeks on-end,” said Stewart. “We had snow on the ground as of December and the frost had been driven deep, which added to the difficulty of working around live utilities.
“Working with utilities is very difficult and there are many unknowns,” he added. “We deal with issues on a daily basis and resolve them on a daily basis. There have been no major schedule delays so far with the utilities and the owners have been doing a great job in helping out.”
Extensive pre-planning was essential in anticipating weather-related problems and maintaining various utilities, which affected potential scheduling and equipment use and maintenance.
“We have a weekly scheduling meeting as we utilize a four-week look ahead for planning road closure and traffic delays for utility crossings,” said Stewart. “Staker Parsons, the general contractor for phase 1, is now a sub-contractor for phase 2 and this has helped with many aspects of the project.”
When completed, the project is expected to result in the excavation of 70,000 cu. yds. 53,519 cu m) of road and 30,000 cu. yds. (22,937 cu m) of granular barrow. Close to 10,000 ft. (3,048 m) of new fencing will be installed and 150,000 sq. ft. (13,935 sq m) of temporary paving. Material recovered from the existing road and underground infrastructure will be recycled as much as possible.
For this project, RLWCC is relying solely on its own equipment and when the work reaches its full peak, there should be a minimum of 10 track hoes and six loaders on site at all times. Currently, RWLCC has two track hoes and two loaders (Caterpillar) and Whitaker Construction has eight plus track hoes and six loaders (Volvo) on the job. The paving equipment, Gomaco, includes a 2800 4 track, while an Eriestrayer concrete batch plant is being used.
“We only own what can be utilized cost effectively,” said Stewart, who said that no new equipment was purchased for this project.
RLWCC purchases much of its equipment from dealers such as Cat, Komatsu, Grove, Gomaco, Manitowoc and H&E and has done much to develop good relationships with its equipment dealers.
“Many years of service and good relations with local dealers has been beneficial as the highway dollars have been in good standing for the last few years, keeping everyone working and sales strong,” said Stewart, “although it has slowed down as the market in Utah is slowing and [we’re] looking for work out-of-state. We sell and purchase equipment as needed to keep our fleets state-of-the-art and remain competitive.”
The company’s main shop is located in West Jordan, 90 mi. from its offices. Scott Gardner, RLWCC’s principal equipment manager, placed a great emphasis on preparation for the current project.
“We have very rigorous maintenance schedules that are implemented to keep our equipment running very well at all times, with a mechanic on duty 24 hours per day as needed,” he said.
Brandon Blanchard, the onsite project superintendent/construction manager, has been bearing the brunt of the weather, revising work schedules and short-term objectives on a daily basis to maintain the overall schedule and complete the project on time.
Onsite/shop Master Mechanic Jon Christiansen has one mechanic assisting him. Adverse weather conditions were anticipated, with repairs and scheduled maintenance being done on site and outside.
“We just did pre-maintenance prior to delivery to the site and maintain daily up-keep,” he said. “When it’s minus 20 F or more we would wait until later in the day to start work as 90 percent of the equipment would not run properly or in some cases equipment damage was not worth running at those temps. We can do repairs within hours in most cases. We use Wheeler, the Cat dealer, for close stuff as they have a shop on 1000 West which helps.”
Whitaker Construction, one of the subcontractors is looking after its own equipment at its own shop
“They have a mechanic to do their work and can sub out,” said Christiansen. “They own mostly Volvo tack units.”
Major subcontractors include Whitaker, which is responsible for the utility work and has 20 people on site and Parson/Staker which will have about 20 people, along with drivers — it is responsible for the earth work and removals.
Although RLWCC has encountered weather challenges in the past, Stewart stresses that good planning continues to keep the project on track.
“We’re are managing mostly subs at this time [Whitaker] until paving starts this spring or weather allows,” said Stewart. “Our crews are not doing anything new — just continuing what they have always done. We have four personnel on the project at this time managing the rest. We are always in training mode to help in all areas of the business.”