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Reed & Reed Enters Review Process for OSHA’s Coveted SHARP Award

Mon July 19, 2010 - Northeast Edition
Jay Adams

Reed & Reed has always had a reputation for being sharp. Now, once more, they verge on being SHARP.

The contractor based in Woolwich, Maine, is one of only three contractors ever to receive OSHA’s Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) Award and it is likely to again for its proposal to renovate the Veterans Memorial Bridge in South Portland, Maine.

“Reed is applying for SHARP status on the Veterans Memorial Bridge project. SHARP is a federal program for recognizing achievements by employers in workplace safety and health. It is the highest honor given by OSHA,” said Reed & Reed President and CEO Jackson Parker.

“Reed requested that OSHA consider the project for SHARP status. Reed is in the formal submission process, which will subject the project to audits by OSHA for SHARP compliance status,” added Project Manager Art Cavanaugh of Reed & Reed. “The OSHA and Maine Department of Labor will determine if the project meets SHARP status.”

Once awarded, SHARP status quarterly audits will be undertaken to ensure continued compliance. This is not new award territory for Reed & Reed, as Reed’s Woolwich yard and the Kibby project achieved SHARP status in the past.

In June 2009, Maine Governor John Baldacci recognized Reed & Reed for its efforts in providing a safe and healthy work environment for employees at Kibby Township, where the company is the prime contractor for the largest wind power project in New England. Reed & Reed erected 44 wind turbines, making it the first SHARP certified wind power project in the nation.

Excellent Reputation

Reed & Reed Inc. is one of northern New England’s largest and most versatile general contractors. Founded as a bridge building firm in 1928 by Captain Josiah W. Reed and his son Carlton Day Reed, the company has prospered under four generations of family leadership.

In the last decade, the company has emerged as a regional leader in wind power construction, having built the first industrial wind power project in Maine in 2006, followed by the construction of numerous other large scale projects throughout New England in the years since.

The Kibby project site under way now will be the largest wind power site in Maine producing 132 mw of clean, renewable power when it is finished.

It is quite likely that the Veterans Memorial Bridge project will garner similar SHARP honors. As an OSHA reviewer of the company’s safety plan commented, “I know ’Reed and Reed’ has an excellent reputation regarding both their work ethics and safety culture and this Site Specific Safety Plan reflects the level of excellence they demand. This is the best Safety Plan I’ve ever seen….something for all to strive for. ”

New Bridge

According to MaineDOT, the Veterans Memorial Bridge was built in 1954 to connect Portland’s West End to South Portland over the Fore River and Pan Am Railways. In the last 50 years, traffic has grown to the point where the bridge now carries more than 22,000 vehicles a day. It is quickly deteriorating and while it is still safe for use, MaineDOT has made it a priority to replace the Veterans Memorial Bridge in an affordable way.

The new bridge is being built in the vicinity of the existing bridge on the former U.S. 1 so as to keep disruption to traffic to a minimum. The design includes a bicycle/pedestrian pathway as well as green spaces. In addition, the idea of the bridge as a way to honor veterans will predominate with the placement of five memorial gathering areas: one for each branch of the military.

Construction began in June 2010, with completion of the new bridge slated for the summer of 2012, according to MaineDOT, with demolition of the old bridge to be completed by December 2012. During construction, the existing Veterans Memorial Bridge remains open to traffic.

Casting Begins in July

According to Cavanaugh, design is ongoing, with superstructure segment casting starting in July 2010 with the erection start scheduled for April 2011.

“The site is mobilized and work platforms are being installed. Preload instrumentation is being installed which will be followed by sheeting and wick drain installation for support and drainage of the preload fill for the South Portland approach work,” said Cavanaugh.

“Bridge substructure work: cofferdams, piles, seals, pile caps and piers will follow after the preload work. The new bridge will be open to traffic in the summer of 2012 allowing removal of the existing bridge.”  

Crews are mobilized on-site and installation of the work trestle is nearing completion. Permits for the new bridge alignment are in hand. The South Portland preload design proceeds, pending FAA approval for penetration of the wick drain mast into the 50:1 airport glide slope. Design with the new bridge substructure is commencing with installation of the cofferdam for the first pier planned for late July.

MaineDOT, cities of Portland, South Portland and the Design Build team have formulated a small working group through the Context Sensitive Solution process to finalize public input and complete design of the architectural elements of the project.

The overall cost of the project is $63 million.

Hundreds Working

According to Cavanaugh, “The feedback from MaineDOT is that our proposal exceeded their expectations.”

Hundreds of people have been involved in Reed & Reed’s success on the Veterans Memorial Bridge project. For the proposal submission, there were more than 40 people as part of the Design Build team, including subcontractors and vendors.

More than 100 people were involved in design, permitting and approvals and more than 75 people are involved in the on-site construction work.

Challenge number one involved the request for proposal (RFP) itself at MaineDOT.

“The RFP allowed confidential submissions and approvals for alternate technical concepts [ATC’s] of each proposer. Difficulties with the RFP bridge alignment necessitated closing the existing bridge for multiple months on the Portland end, removing and replacing the existing bridge in the same footprint over the active PANAM rail. This would be extremely disruptive and costly,” said Cavanaugh.

“The Reed Design Build Team submitted an ATC for an alternate bridge alignment which has the new bridge intersecting the Fore River parkway west of the existing PANAM rail bridge avoiding the existing intersection and eliminating 400 feet of new bridge structure,” he added. “The MaineDOT approved the ATC bridge alignment, which has now been permitted and is nearing design completion and has minimal traffic impacts during construction.”  

Another challenge involved the Design Build aspect.

“The design build process has been challenging for the public stakeholders who are used to multiple years of input and involvement through the design phase,” said Cavanaugh. “The contract schedule reduces the public involvement to a narrow window of time in order to meet design and contract obligations.”

There were other special circumstances as well.

“FAA approval has been received for equipment boom heights allowing installation of the South Portland preload,” said Cavanaugh. “FAA approval is pending on the bridge lighting design elements.”

Reed & Reed cited other companies who were essential in the process:

• T Y Lin International – Design partner

• GZA – Geotechnical Designer

• McNary Bergeron – Construction Engineer

• Barton & Gingold – Public Relations

• Unistress – Superstructure Precast Segment Fabricator

• AD Electric – Electrical Subcontractor

• RJ Grondin – Site Contractor.


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