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Riverbend Project

Fri January 08, 2010 - Northeast Edition
Mary Reed

A former brownfield located in Harrison, N.J., is in the process of rebirth as a mixed-use urban development, intended to serve one of the most thickly populated areas in the northeastern corridor.

Advance Realty, headquartered in Bedminster, N.J., is the owner/developer of the 80-acre Riverbend District, which will feature approximately 2,000 for sale or rental residential units, two hotels with a total of 550 rooms, 800,000 sq. ft. of retail, which will include large format retailers, cinema, arts, and entertainment tenants, and a wellness center and health club, as well as multiple restaurants and cafes. In addition, the project will include 1.5 million sq. ft. of corporate and boutique office space.

The Riverbend District is enhanced by the proximity of Red Bull Arena, currently under construction as the new home of the Red Bull soccer team, as well as nearby New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) and sports and entertainment venue Prudential Center, both located across the river in Newark.

Situated in a prime riverside location, Riverbend District is only 15 minutes by rail from New York City. The District is accessible via NJ Transit, Amtrak, and PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson Authority) as well as major highways in the area.

Originally occupied by factories, remediation of the Riverbend District involved the removal of 48,000 cu. yds. (36,699 cu m) of contaminated soil, a task completed in November 2008.

Site preparation work is under way as transformation of the former brownfield takes place.

Carson & Roberts Site Construction & Engineering Inc., based in Lafayette, N.J., is site development contractor for the project. The company provides a full range of horizontal directional drilling and boring services. Recent jobs using this technology include the installation of 2,254 linear ft. (687 m) of 30-in. (76.2 cm) gas main under the Red River in Texas and 700 linear ft. (213,4 m) of 24-in. (61 cm) water main under a creek in southern New Jersey.

More recently the company carried out a large utility contract for Skanska USA Building at the New Meadowlands Stadium, were subcontracted by the Whiting-Turner Contracting Company to perform all site improvements associated with Target, Best Buy, and Whole Foods in Union, N.J., and are in the process of completing a site project in Piscataway, N.J., for the Holder Construction Company, general contractor for the construction of a 300,000-sq.-ft. data center for Dupont Fabros. Completed projects include Lowes in East Rutherford and East Brunswick, The Shoppes at Old Bridge, and Paramus’ Garden State Plaza, all in New Jersey.

Carson & Roberts began work on the site on April 15, 2009, and are on schedule for an estimated time of completion in the fourth quarter of 2009, having completed (late July) site demolition, clearing, sanitary sewer, storm, sewer and water main installation, and electric and telephone duct bank installation. Work currently being carried out includes earthwork, paving, curbs, sidewalks, landscaping and site lighting.

“We have approximately 40 employees working on this job,” John J. Roberts, partner of Carson & Roberts, said. “Our equipment fleet includes Caterpillar 345, 330, 325 and 314 excavators; 303 mini-excavator; and 416 rubber-tire backhoes, as well as Caterpillar IT-28 and IT-38 loaders and D8, D6 and D5 bulldozers.”

“We’re also fielding International water and site dump trucks, Wacker trench compactors, and a Caterpillar AP 1055 paver and 543 roller in addition to a groundwater treatment system and holding tanks,” he added.

Carson & Roberts’s subcontractors include Edison, N.J.’s Assuncao Brothers Inc., which is responsible for curbs and sidewalks, and the Kemsco Construction & Equipment Company Inc., of Newark, N.J., who are handling electric and telephone work. Rockborn Trucking & Excavation Inc., headquartered in Wharton, N.J., is carrying out the paving run.

A critical component of the project is the installation of the reinforced concrete box culvert, which comprises approximately 60 percent of the storm sewer piping. Carson & Roberts recently employed Piscataway, N.J, based Foley Inc. to perform a certified rebuild on a Caterpillar 345 BL excavator, the critical machine for this culvert installation.

Eric Cliff, customer support representative of Foley Inc. has been working with Carson & Roberts for about four years. As part of his service he carries out timely repairs to their equipment, but for this project his role was somewhat different.

“I rebuilt Carson & Roberts’s 345 Caterpillar excavator enough to bring it up to speed for this job, as they need its size and production for the work,” he said. “It’s not a complete rebuild but involved replacing certain components. The job took about 150 hours of labor.

“The machine’s response was extremely slow because of weak hydraulics,” he added. “The repairs brought the machine back up to Caterpillar’s specifications, giving it like-new cycle times and breakout force.”

After the repair was completed, the excavator could excavate and set the box culvert, which weighed 10 tons (9 t) per 10 ft. (3 m) section, and was installed 12 ft. (3.6 m) below grade.

“Both Carson & Roberts and Foley Inc. worked together to make sure the machine was working at its best and that the job can be completed successfully. It was key to have the machine rebuilt and we are satisfied with the outcome,” Roberts stated.

Several difficulties had to be overcome by Carson & Roberts when carrying out its work.

“The new utilities are being installed at significant depths, and the site’s close proximity to the Passaic River and the high water table results in a significant amount of groundwater encountered during trench excavations,” Roberts explained. “As a result, we needed to utilize several large pumps to effectively dewater the trenches. In addition, we found that the groundwater fluctuates in accordance with the tides. Knowing when low tide is and scheduling work accordingly reduces the challenges associated with ground water and trench excavations.

“In addition, prior to starting this construction we took added precautions to identify and locate all the existing buried utilities. In many instances, the existing utilities were in direct conflict with the new infrastructure to be installed,” he added. “We worked together with the owner and design team to quickly resolve the conflicts and eliminate any potential damage to the existing utilities.

“Also, this project must be done in conjunction with the completion of the Reds Bulls Soccer Stadium. To meet the project’s aggressive completion date we prepared a detailed construction schedule that allows for the logical progression of the work and helps our project managers and foremen ensure the project is always ahead of schedule,” Roberts added.

Carson & Roberts’s portion of the overall project carries an approximately $12 million price tag, funded by the New Jersey Environmental Trust (EIT), the Harrison Redevelopment Agency (HRA), and private sources. Vertical construction at the Riverbend Project is slated to begin in 2011.

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