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Vecellio & Grogan Preparing Tract for FedEx’s $300 Million Cargo Hub

Thu April 14, 2005 - Southeast Edition
Gwenyth Laird Pernie

A major construction project is under way in Greensboro, NC, to prepare for a new FedEx cargo hub beside Piedmont Triad International Airport.

Site development for the project began in January 2004.

According to Mickie Elmore, director of development of the airport authority, the building site should be ready for FedEx to begin building its $300 million mid-Atlantic hub by 2006.

Michael Baker provided all the design work for the site preparation for the hub.

“Along with providing the design work for the project, Michael Baker was hired by the airport authority to provide program management services for the entire project; overseeing the construction schedule, coordinating the many contractors and the budget and managing the complicated environmental issues associated with this job site,” said Kevin Baker, program manager of Baker and Associates, a division of Michael Baker Corporation, of Pittsburgh, PA.

General contractor of the first of multiple site development contracts is Vecellio & Grogan Inc. (V&G) of Beckley, WV. Rick Hertzer is chief engineer.

“The initial $20.5-million contract for site development of the 1-million-square-foot hub site includes grading the site and relocating about 2,000 feet of Old Oak Ridge Road around the FedEx site,” Hertzer said.

According to Hertzer, prior to V&G beginning site development, a couple of buildings were demolished along with some road demolition.

“V&G will handle all the excavation and grading for this project,” Hertzer said. There will be a total of 4 million cu. yds. excavated at the site.

All of the equipment is owned by V&G.

It “includes a fleet of Cat 631 scrapers, used for the excavation and short hauls of 1.5 million cu. yds. at the job site; a Cat 5110 excavator, used to excavate 2.5 million cu. yds. at the barrow sites about a mile away, and a Cat 777 end dump, used for hauling,” Hertzer said.

According to Hertzer, a very challenging part of this job has been the construction of the temporary bridge built across Bryan Boulevard.

According to Mike Anderson, project engineer for V&G, the temporary prefabricated bridge was manufactured by Mabey Bridge and Shore Company of Baltimore, MD.

“The bridge is 133 feet long, with two spans — one 71 feet and the other 61.5 feet long — and a wood mat deck with steel trusses,” Anderson said. “The bridge was built to handle a fully loaded truck weighing up to 150 tons.”

According to Hertzer, a second $44-million contract was awarded to V&G to realign 2.7 mi. of Bryan Boulevard, a four-lane roadway near the FedEx site, and build a new interchange where the realigned Old Oak Ridge Road and Bryan Boulevard will meet.

Excavation for this portion of the project totals 1.8 million cu. yds. of dirt.

“The new interchange will provide access to the airport and includes four bridges constructed of structural steel with concrete foundations and poured concrete deck,” Hertzer said. The job requires 170,000 tons of asphalt.

Equipment used at the site includes a Cat 375 excavator and Cat 735 articulated trucks for hauling dirt, and is all owned by V&G.

“The most challenging part of this job has been maintaining access to the airport to the general public while construction is going on,” Hertzer said.

According to Anderson, the most challenging part of this job has been working in such an environmentally sensitive area.

“There are a lot of wetlands that surround the site,” Anderson said. “The North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources conducted inspections and made recommendations concerning erosion control. These erosion control measures had to be in place before the job could be cleared.”

Elmore agreed that the most challenging part of the project has been addressing environmental concerns.

“We have had to work very closely with state agencies and the Army Corp of Engineers to obtain regulatory permits,” he said.

According to Elmore, in addition to the site preparation of the 175 acres (71 ha) that will be used to build the FedEx facility, there are three other major projects at the site: 2.5 mi. of Bryan Boulevard will be rerouted along with a new interchange into the airport; the addition of a 910,000-ft. parallel runway to the main runway; and the cross-field taxiway which will connect the two main runways.

In total, there will be eight major contracts and a host of smaller contracts let to complete preparation of the area for the FedEx Hub.

The major contracts include:

• Excavation and grading of the FedEx site. The project is approximately one-third complete and will be competed by the summer of 2006 ($20.5 million).

• Realignment of 2.7 mi. of Bryan Boulevard and build a new interchange where the realigned Old Oak Road is. Contractor has cleared the main line roadway area and is in the process of building the intra structure to accommodate that project ($42 million).

• Phase 1 of the new 9,000-ft. runway construction ($8 million).

• Phase 1 of cross-field taxiway bridge, recently contracted to W.C. English Inc. ($9 million).

• The final four contracts to be let out will be for phase 2 and 3 of the runway and phase 2 and 3 of the taxiway bridge.

The FedEx Cargo Hub and new runway is set to open in the middle of 2009. It will ultimately, after 10 years in operation, employ 1,500 full- and part-time employees.

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