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Shamrock Welcomes Job Site Challenges

Wed November 15, 2000 - Southeast Edition
Carmen Shirkey

Cross over the Georgia state line into South Carolina, and the first thing that greets you is the Welcome Center in Hardeeville, SC. Situated just over the border on Interstate 95, the Welcome Center is a place where you can stop, get a soda, rest, and attend to Nature’s call. Should you want to know more about the Palmetto State, the Welcome Center staff is happy to share their literature, and even make a hotel reservation for you.

Because the Welcome Center is such an important first impression for travelers from the south, it’s important to make it a good impression. That’s why Louisville, KY-based Shamrock International, was hired to replace the concrete pavement and increase the amount of parking for both cars and trucks that were stopping by.

With 90 percent of the funding from the Department of Transportation, the $2.8-million project got underway in July, the Department of Transportation has given Shamrock until next October to finish the three stages of work.

“Which certainly won’t be a problem,” said Jude Kolb, manager for the project. “We’re even ahead of schedule. So far, we haven’t had many problems. The weather’s been treating us pretty good. We did have two hurricanes come by, but we didn’t get the worst of them.”

The first phase of the project was to enlarge the Welcome Center’s auto parking lot. The Department of Transportation closed the larger of the two auto parking lots so that Shamrock’s crew of 13 could expedite their work. Shamrock is in charge of all of the non-specialty work, such as laying the pipes and the earthwork, as well as laying 35,000 sq. yds. (29,264 sq m) of 9-in. (22.9 cm) deep Portland Cement Concrete Pavement. Shamrock used two local concrete suppliers, Coastal Concrete in Bluffton, SC and Lowcountry Concrete in Ridgeland, SC.

Now the Welcome Center is closed to trucks for 90 days, so that phase two can be completed; re-paving the truck parking lot. Then the Department of Transportation will close the Welcome Center to bus parking, and then the third phase will see the re-paving of the second, smaller auto lot.

In order to re-vamp the Welcome Center parking lots, Kolb and his crew had to move about 30,000 cu. yds. (25,083.8 cu. m.) of dirt with two bulldozers — a D4C Caterpillar and a John Deere 850. To help them lay the reinforced concrete pipe, the crew used a Kobelco 225 excavator. Shamrock also is using a Terramite roller screed, a New Holland 555 rubber-tired backhoe loader, a Curbmaster form-riding paver and a Fiat Allis 65C grader.

“Most of our equipment is rented,” Kolb explained. “We rented from Prime Hertz and United in Charleston, SC, and Savannah, GA. The grader and the D4, however, do belong to Shamrock.”

So what’s a contractor from Kentucky doing paving down in South Carolina?

“The market in South Carolina just seemed really appealing,” Kolb laughed. “There didn’t seem like a lot of competition in this area. We just used the Internet to help us realize this new market, and our contacts came through the cement suppliers that we’ve used over the years.”

Shamrock liked the looks of the market in South Carolina so much, the company is currently working on two other paving projects there.

The first is the Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) in Buford, SC. With J.A. Jones of the Carolinas serving as the general contractor for the project and Shamrock as the subcontractor, the job of laying 33,000 sq. yds. (27,592.2 sq. m) of Portland Cement Paving began in May of this year. With that now completed Shamrock is beginning to rehabilitate an old aircraft apron with that work being completed sometime in December at a cost of $1.2 million.

“The challenge to that project,” said Kolb, also the project manager for the MCAS Buford job, “is the coordination with the general contractor and the subcontractors. We’re trying to work on our communication.”

The second project also involved MCAS Buford, where Shamrock was again a subcontractor. The job involved doing the concrete and concrete rehabilitation work for a 5,000-sq.-yd. (4,180 sq m) military parking area. The $200,000 project began in January and ran for six months.

Both projects for MCAS Buford were funded by the Department of the Navy, and Shamrock used the same paving machines as it used for the Welcome Center paving.

Shamrock is interested in more jobs in South Carolina, and Kolb thinks that this work will lead to other opportunities.

“What can I say?” Kolb laughed. “Concrete is our business.”

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