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Virginia Contractor ’Wight’ on Target in Subdivision Project

Wed February 01, 2006 - Southeast Edition
Angela B. Hurni



RJ Smith Construction Inc. is currently performing complete site development services at Lawnes Point, a housing subdivision on James River, located in Isle of Wight, VA.

The $15-million contract includes site development, road construction, underground utilities and excavation for a sanitation facility. Work began the last week of September 2005 and has an accelerated completion schedule of nine months.

Construction of the Lawnes Point project, owned by VA Timberline LLC, includes improvements to a 1,200-acre (486 ha) parcel to be subdivided into 155 estate lots. The project includes 9 mi. (14.5 km) of road construction and underground utilities. A 300-acre (120 ha) sanitation facility will be built by Sheaffer International LLC of Illinois, with RJ Smith providing field supervision and excavation services for the facility.

As of Dec. 31, RJ Smith had finished clearing the site and completed approximately 3 mi. (4.8 km) of clearing and rough grading for the road. All of the rough grading should be completed by April 2006. The site has more than 500,000 cu. yds. (380,000 cu m) of dirt to be moved. Troy Samuel, senior project manager, said no fill dirt will be brought to the site.

“We have everything on site to develop the project,” Samuel said.

RJ Smith scheduled the beginning of utility installation in February. Besides the sanitation facility and asphalt paving, RJ Smith crews will perform all other aspects of the job.

RJ Smith has approximately 30 of its fleet of 300 machines at the Lawnes Point project. The fleet includes two John Deere 9520 scraper-ready tractors with double 18-yd. pull pans, two 330 and five 230 Hitachi excavators, plus two 700 and two 850 John Deere crawler dozers. The company also has five off-road trucks being used to move dirt around the site.

Lawnes Point is being developed in an environmentally sensitive area along the James River waterfront and alongside Lawnes Creek, meaning RJ Smith has to comply with all regulatory requirements that go along with a project under Virginia Department of Environmental Quality jurisdiction.

“You don’t want to be the cause of negative impact on the environment,” Samuel said.

He also stated that the site is being constructed in a manner to mitigate any risk of off-site drainage into James River and Lawnes Creek. RJ Smith will be installing approximately 2 mi. (3.2 km) of riprap along the waterway as well as taking additional erosion and sediment control measures beyond regulatory requirements.

“We pride ourselves in tackling and meeting the demands of the most difficult projects,” said Richard Smith, president and owner of RJ Smith.

Smith founded RJ Smith Construction Inc., based in Richmond, VA, in April 1995. Recognizing that his clients needed additional services beyond traditional site development, he created many additional corporations to complement the site operations, which he said has created cost savings for his clients. These services include site development, sanitary and storm sewer and water improvements, as well as commercial general contracting, demolition, containers and a concrete salvage yard. The company also offers crushing services, commercial brokerage, landfill construction and mining.

RJ Smith recently completed a project in its newest division, landfill construction. The company completed a cell for Republic Services Inc. of Virginia at its 623 C&D landfill located in Manakin Sabot, VA.

RJ Smith’s projects are located throughout Virginia, but it plans to expand into some other Mid-Atlantic states.

The family of RJ Smith corporations currently has more than 225 employees.

It currently has 42 projects under construction.

Regarding his company’s success and growth over the past 10 years, Smith said, “We do not make excuses, we create solutions.”

For more information, visit www.rjsmithcos.com. CEG