Simultaneous Construction Facilitates Texas’ $1.1B Bayport Terminal Complex

Mon July 09, 2007 - West Edition
David S. Chartock



Simultaneous construction of several phases of the Port of Houston Authority’s $1.1 billon Bayport Terminal Complex is underway in LaPorte, Texas.

One of the phases, a $15.3 million reconstruction of Bayport Road began Dec. 20, 2005, and was completed Jan. 12, 2007, according to Don Barrett, project director of the project’s general contractor, McCarthy Building Companies Inc., Texas Division of Addison, Texas.

Project plans called for 3.5 mi. (5.6 m) of two-lane concrete-paved road consisting of a recycled cement-treated concrete base, Barrett explained. Another contract was the Bayport Phase 1 Terminal Gate. Barrett said this contract began Dec. 20, 2005, and though operational, punch list and change order work is not expected to be completed until July 2007.

Work for this contract consisted of site preparation, grading, concrete paving, and striping of 30 acres, he noted.

It also includes construction of five 1,800-sq. ft. (167 sq m) metal buildings for use as canopies, a 1,600-sq.-ft. (149 sq m), pre-engineered metal-paneled warehouse structure featuring a concrete foundation; an 840-sq. ft. (78 sq m) Secondary Lane Boss Building that Barrett said is a metal trailer on concrete blocks; and a 600-sq. ft. (55.7 sq m) Gate Services Building featuring a brick exterior and a standing seam metal roof.

In addition, this contract called for construction of a gate power substation and all underground utilities, including water, storm water and sanitary sewers as well as power and communications lines to service 16 small building locations. Plans also included the construction of three one story brick wall and metal roof structures, six inspection booths, three guard booths and two camera/sign bridges.

The building and gate service areas are connected with a grid of communications conduits. The contract, he noted, also called for installation of a high-mast lighting system, fire hydrants, perimeter fencing and minor landscaping.

The biggest challenge on this contract was the underground work “due to the quantity and complexity of it,” Barrett said.

Elaborating, he explained that the underground work called for the installation of 250,000 linear ft. (76,200 m) of duct work to run a 15kv power line, a 480 volt power system, and a 110/220 volt power system.

He said “this work was complex because it was confined to within a three-acre area.

The solution to this challenge, Barrett said, was pre-planning and planning to meet project objectives. This included, but was not limited to, doing the layout of the duct work on paper first, looking for any obstructions.

Another challenge was the contract’s 12-month schedule. The solution was a six-day work week and nights and weekend work shifts on an as-needed basis, he pointed out.

McCarthy’s project team also is working on the $50.9 million Bayport Terminal Complex Phase 1 Container Yard, Stage 1 contract.

This contract began Dec. 4, 2006 and is scheduled to be completed June 25, 2008, Barrett explained. This contract, he added, calls for construction of three acres of conventional reinforced concrete and 47 acres of roller compacted concrete. Roller compacted concrete is a zero slump, unreinforced concrete and its use is the first time ever in Houston, Barrett noted.

He added that the roller compacted concrete is being used because the Port of Houston Authority estimated its use would save $4 million alone just on this first phase.

This contract also calls for construction of container and storage facilities that includes a $10 million electrical package and a $14 million roller compacted concrete package. It also calls for installation of sanitary and storm water drainage systems – all of which will be built adjacent to the gate facility, Barrett pointed out.

Barrett added that all pavements are being designed with a 30-year service life and to enable flexible container operations during successive phases of the project.

He also said that “a Bomag lime/cement mixer performed mixing fast, thus speeding up these pavements and increasing productivity. A Topcon GPS survey package was purchased to help expedite the work. It was equipped with a motorgrader and a bulldozer with hydraulic control systems and it worked very well.”

Other contract features will consist of a 1,600 linear ft. (488 m) storm water collection system, 6,000 ft. (1,829 m) of waterlines, 1,300 ft. (395 m) of sanitary sewer mains, 32,000 ft. (9,754 m) of electrical conductors, two electrical substations, high-mast lighting and security cameras, he added.

Barrett said this contract also faces a 12-month time constraint, and as a result, will require the same type of pre-planning and planning as the terminal gate project.

A similar solution will be used along with working Saturdays and Sundays on an as-needed basis, he noted.

Generally speaking, McCarthy’s crew, which totaled as many as 90-plus at times, simultaneously worked on dirt, lime, cement, concrete, electrical and building operations.

Overall, McCarthy’s labor force has been working six days a week. Many of the concrete pours, he said, were performed 4 a.m., 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. to beat the heat of the day and avoid the concrete from getting too hot.

Furthermore, he said, “this project is dependent on a lack of rain. Rain will force a work stoppage and require working 24 hours a day, seven days a week to catch up.”

All of McCarthy’s contracts include provisions for liquidated damages if a schedule is not met, he said. The road reconstruction was completed two week ahead of schedule. The gate complex contract had liquidated damages of $20,000 per day had the schedule not been met, he added.

In order to keep on schedule, weekly meetings were and continue to be held on the project site to discuss project progress and challenges that arise and are in need of immediate solutions.

Texas-based project team members for all three of McCarthy’s projects included McCarthy Building Companies, Inc., Texas Division of Addison, general contractor; Great Bear Construction of Houston, excavation and embankment contractor; LA Utilities of Stafford, water, sanitary sewer and storm water systems contractor; and the Port of Houston Authority, owner. Foster Electric of San Leone is the electrical contractor for the terminal gate and terminal complex and container yard contracts.

Key heavy construction equipment owned by McCarthy and used on these contracts include: a Caterpillar 140h blade; a John Deere 644G loader; a Kubota KX121 track hoe; a John Deere 722 BH blade; a Link Belt 8050 crane; a Volvo 190 loader; a Caterpillar SS250 mixer; and a Gomaco paver.

McCarthy also rented the following equipment: a Caterpillar 416D backhoe from Mustang Rental Equipment; a John Deere 450H bulldozer, a Case 580 with hammer, a Komatsu PC210 excavator, a John Deere D65 bulldozer, a Bomag 84-in. (213 cm) padfoot, and a Bomag 84-in. sheepfoot from Barrier Equipment; a Link Belt 240 excavator from R.B. Everett; an Ingersoll Rand pneumatic roller from Romco; and an Ingersoll Rand smooth drum compactor from Summit Rental.

According to Barrett, other projects now underway under the $1.1 billion, 15-year plan to provide docks to load and unload containers from ships and warehouse the containers as needed, include a $30 million, 60,000 sq. ft. cruise ship terminal, a $25 million cruise ship terminal dock, and a $13 million contract to provide infrastructure for the cruise ship terminal.

Future contracts are expected to include Phase 2 and Phase 3 of the gate expansion. Barrett said both phases are in the planning stage and that Phase 2 is expected to be a $3.5 million to $4 million contract to expand Phase 1.

Phase 3 is expected to be a $50 million to $60 million expansion of the first two phases. CEG