Villager Construction Tackles Route 31 Challenges in NY

Fri November 22, 2002 - Northeast Edition
Mary Gelling Merritt

In Palmyra, NY, on Route 31 a project has been under way to reconstruct a 1.9-mi. (3.1 km) section of the town from the Macedon town line in the west to the bridge which spans the Erie Canal in the east.

The $7.5-million project includes installing a new water main as well as new storm and sewer lines. Villager Construction of nearby Fairport, NY, was awarded the project.

“Route 31 is a major state route,” explained Joe Venuti, project manager of Villager Construction. “The road sees a lot of truck traffic.”

Venuti said a large amount of road deterioration forced the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) to rebuild the entire road and replace the pipes beneath.

The project has a completion date of 2004, but Venuti said his company will try to have the job wrapped up early.

Villager’s fleet of excavators, including a Caterpillar 322, a Caterpillar 320, a Caterpillar 315, a Caterpillar 231, and a Caterpillar 120 have been on the job since April. His team is using a Case 580 backhoe with compactor attachment and Hy-Ram points for rock breaking. The water main has already been installed, according to Venuti. Soon approximately 200 water services will be connected.

Venuti said his crews will be working on replacing the storm and sewer systems this summer. He hopes to have Phase One paved using a Barber-Greene 260 Series asphalt paver before the snow flies.

One challenge along the way will be to rehabilitate an 85-year-old stone arch culvert. Venuti said it has hired a special contractor to shotcrete the structure.

The biggest challenge Venuti and his team face is the no vibratory compaction clause placed on the project.

“There are a number of buildings along the route which are on the National Historic Registry. So to avoid possibly damaging them, we cannot vibrate the ground to reach compaction density,” Venuti said.

Venuti said reaching the proper compaction density is a big concern. “Superpave is a performance based material. We don’t get paid unless we reach a compaction density of 96 to 98 percent.”

Venuti said if the Superpave fails, Villager Construction will pick up the cost of ripping it up and replacing it. To reach proper compaction density, Venuti said it plans to use an Ingersoll-Rand DD110 large steel drum roller and a Caterpillar rubber-tire roller. An independent agency will monitor the site for excess vibration.

Another concern for Villager Construction is making sure businesses and residents in the construction zone have easy access to and from their driveways.

“The biggest thing is to keep the lines of communication open with everyone involved,” said Venuti. We have a very good relationship with the mayor, the neighborhood and the local media.”