CVC Wins Two Gold and One Silver Award

Date Published: Saturday, April 15, 2017

Cedar Valley is extremely proud to announce that we have continued our winning ways by garnering three 2015 American Concrete Pavement Association (ACPA) Excellence in Concrete Pavement awards.  This brings our total winning ACPA projects to thirty-one over the last twelve years. CVC is one of an elite number of concrete pavers in the nation who can boast of this sustained level of paving excellence.

The awards program encourages high-quality workmanship in concrete pavement projects, and serves as a way to share information about challenging and highly successful projects.  Judges representing various stakeholder groups throughout the transportation-construction community evaluate projects.  The program recognizes contractors, engineers, and project owners who completed outstanding projects.

This year’s 27 awards represent 18 categories of construction and preservation of concrete pavements used for highways, roadways, airports, and industrial pavement facilities.  Projects this year are located in nine affiliated chapter/State paving association areas.

Cedar Valley's winning projects were in the Divided Highway (Urban) category, where their project in Linn County on Highway 30 was a silver award winner, in the Divided Highways (Rural) category, where their I-280 project in Scott County, and our Sac County project on D59 near Wall Lake won gold awards in the Overlays (Streets and Roads) category. This is an incredible tribute to quality projects that Cedar Valley’s crews build every year.  Please congratulate all the Cedar Valley personnel who worked on these projects.  Following is the Executive Summary for each of the three awards and a list of the winning salaried crew members.  

US Highway 30- Linn County winner in the Divided Highways (Urban) category:

Cedar Valley Corp.’s (CVC) Iowa-Linn County-US 30 project paved 2 miles in both directions of a divided four lane highway on the southwestern edge of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Had CVC been the low bidder on this contract and able to prime the job, life would have been considerably easier. As it turned out, we were second on this $6,513,000 job by only $37,000. 

The low bidder, a removal and grading contractor, failed to properly evaluate their bid and realized after the letting that they had failed to meet the Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT) requirement that the prime self-perform at least 30% of the project.  They were forced with the choice of forfeiting the proposal guaranty of $500,000 or figuring out a way to 

do more of the work themselves.  They decided to pour the crossover detour paving in concrete themselves in order to meet the 30% threshold.  Cedar Valley Corp. received a subcontract for the remaining concrete paving.

Working as a subcontractor provided the most challenging aspect of this job.  The prime contractor ripped out the existing concrete and piled it on the outside shoulder during the excavation process.  The shoulder would eventually serve as our haul road as well.  Every rain that hit the job trapped water in the piled up concrete and the shoulder consequently became super saturated.  After the excavation was completed, the prime contractor crushed the concrete and placed it on the newly prepared subgrade - but basically did nothing to stabilize the shoulder.  CVC had our own blade operator work on the haul road as much as possible, but it never was restored to the condition that we would have preferred. 

CVC’s Highway 30 subcontract was assigned a very tight working day period.  The 2.00 mile stretches of both the eastbound and westbound lanes were each assigned 40 working days with liquidated damages in the amount of $3,300 per working day.  In a proactive effort to help the prime contractor meet the tight job schedule, CVC devised a plan that ultimately saved the contract at least ten working days.

The original design called for paving a 24 foot, 10.5 inch thick mainline slab.  Then six foot and ten foot, seven inch thick shoulders on the inside and out were to be added.  CVC proposed that an initial 30 foot full depth pour be made instead, which meant the inside shoulder would be poured integrally and be  10.5 inches thick rather than 7 inches.  This action eliminated the whole process of adding the inside shoulder – i.e. waiting for the slab to cure before placing a layer of special backfill material, pouring the new 7 inch shoulder, and again waiting for cure time before starting the earth shoulder operation. Cedar Valley repeated this timesaving measure by pouring the outside shoulder on each of the six ramp stubs integrally with the 16 foot wide ramp pavements.

The ingenuity of our engineering staff, along with active partnering with the IDOT, shortened the duration of the project. Resident Construction Engineer John Vu, P.E. stated in his letter of recommendation, “The Value Engineering (VE) Proposal was submitted by Cedar Valley Corp. to pave the mainline and inside shoulder together.  This VE proposal significantly improved the performance of the inside shoulder with a better mix design and a thicker shoulder; eliminated the cold joint; and certainly saved construction time for the project.”

This project also involved paving 6 ramp stubs. Current IDOT pavement design standards do not specify a centerline saw cut in sixteen foot wide ramp pavements. Three ramp stubs CVC poured at the end of the 2014 construction season cracked over the winter.  At the suggestion of CVC personnel, a cursory review of the entire ramp system in Cedar Rapids was performed and it was discovered that many others had experienced uncontrolled cracking.  This fact was brought to the attention of the IDOT Resident Construction Engineer and it was mutually decided by CVC and the IDOT to add a centerline saw cut to the remaining ramps paved in 2015.  Those ramps did not experience the random cracking and it is the hope of all parties involved that the current design will be changed for future projects.  John Vu appreciated our efforts:  “Cedar Valley Corp. was willing to work with us to evaluate and prove that our current jointing details should be modified to improve performance of our PCC pavement at ramp locations.”

Being at the mercy of a prime contractor’s schedule with such a short time frame and dealing with a substandard haul road negatively impacted CVC’s ability to meet the IDOT’s strict zero band smoothness specification in the manner in which we are accustomed. Despite these obstacles, CVC still attained a good ride on this project, while earning 53.88 % of the smoothness bonus, and the maximum thickness and mix bonus.

We are very proud of our safety record as we worked over 15,500 man-hours without a loss time injury or vehicular accident.

Project Manager                            Tom Bonner                                     Field Office Manager                      Eric Henry

Paving Superintendent                   Todd Burch                                      Concrete Foreman                         Doug Weber

Plant Superintendent                     Brian Ingram                                    Saw Seal Foreman                         Gilberto Sanguino

Plant Foreman                               Pete Schomaker                              Steel Foreman                               Alan Diaz

Grade Foreman                             Dan Zieser                                        Shop Superintendent                     Bryce Halupnick

Quality Control Supervisor             John Quandahl

I-280 in Scott County, winner in the Divided Highways (Rural) category:

Cedar Valley Corp’s Interstate I-280 project rebuilt 6.92 miles of the westbound lanes adjacent to the Davenport, Iowa, metro area. This six stage project was assigned 140 working days with a November 25, 2015 completion date.

The sheer size and magnitude of this job, coupled with the highly restrictive time frame, made this a challenging project from the start.  Additionally, Scott County is the most heavily controlled union area in the state, which often keeps many Iowa contractors from bidding there.  We agreed to hit that potential problem head on if we were the low bid.  During the bidding process intense focus was placed on various execution scenarios which would enable a head start if we landed the job. Despite all the pre-planning, we ran into numerous major issues in Scott County that we successfully overcame, but at a cost to our bottom line. 

To begin with, our union bridge contractor failed to meet our proposed schedule.  They were not able to move onto the project when it became ready and subsequently caused us weeks of delay.  Secondly, we were required by specifications to use a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise subcontractor on the project.  This contractor also failed to meet the completion dates they provided when we originally developed the job schedule. Finally, the contract included repairing the bridge notches and pouring new bridge approaches at three locations.  This extremely time consuming work was fraught with delays as additional work had to be complete to successfully rehabilitate the bridge notches. As a result, timelines were constantly being revised.

The project documents required a six day work week. To no one’s surprise, we ran out of working days in late October.  Still planning to make the November 25th completion date, we were stymied once again when an early 6 inch wet snow hit the area on November 20th.

Knowing we were under the gun timewise, Cedar Valley successfully combined stages 2 through 4 so our paving crew did not have to leave the project to complete the majority of the mainline paving. Furthermore, we broke the project into distinct areas and closely followed the critical completion path in each area.  This allowed our subcontractors to perform other operations such as subdrain installation, earth shouldering, sign placement, and seeding in conjunction with our paving operation.

CVC’s I- 280 project required that live traffic be maintained on three interchanges, which necessitated leaving five mainline gaps. Additionally, due to staging and access restrictions, CVC had to return to pour the gaps in the mainline and around a new bridge being built on the project.

Since the majority of the existing interchange ramps were left in place, short stubs were paved to reconnect five ramps. All the acceleration and deceleration tapers were also replaced.

We chose to purchase our concrete from a local ready-mix supplier’s central mix plant which was located near the jobsite, but moved in our own batch hauling units.  This presented another unforeseen issue, however, because we did not factor in their lack of aggregate stockpile area. Due to the large daily volume of concrete used on this project, the ready-mix supplier was constantly replenishing their small stockpiles.  Consequently, the varying moisture in the aggregates caused slump issues which had a negative impact on our final smoothness results.   

The tight timeline, unseasonable weather and subcontractor delays made it impossible to meet the deadlines on this job.  In addition, mainline gaps, short ramp stubs, six bridge approaches, and use of a local ready-mix supplier made it extremely difficult to achieve maximum smoothness incentives based on Iowa’s zero band smoothness specification.  Despite the setbacks and complexity of the job, we built a quality project that beat out seven other projects nominated by the IDOT in the Interstate category at Iowa Concrete Paving Association’s recognition of the “best” projects built in 2015.

Resident Construction Engineer Mark Brandl provided this statement in his letter of recommendation: “As you’re probably aware, the paving portion of this contract (project #IMX-280-8(144)2—02-82) was tied to a bridge replacement project and a traffic signing project. This contract had a very tight schedule for replacement of 6.92 miles of WB I-280, requiring Cedar Valley to work 6 days per week and complete all critical work by Thanksgiving in one construction season. On top of the tight schedule, the bridge replacement project created a unique challenge with the logistics of the contract. Additionally, the project site included working through 3 interchanges that remained open for nearly the whole project.

Despite the challenges, Cedar Valley did a remarkable job with the work and keeping it all on schedule. Although the schedule wasn’t quite met, this had little repercussions on the quality of the work.”

CVC earned the maximum thickness and mix bonus and 46.22% of the smoothness bonus.  We are very proud of our safety record as we worked 33,590 man-hours without a loss time injury or vehicular accident.

As a final note, the potential problems with the labor unions in Scott County never materialized.   CVC took the proactive step to hire a labor attorney to meet with both our salaried staff and our hourly staff shortly after getting the job.  Our salaried staff was educated on the correct ways to handle union representatives if they showed up on our worksite and what we could and could not say to our hourly staff. Our hourly staff was educated on what it would cost them to join the local unions.  Since this was a Davis-Bacon project and Cedar Valley Corp. offers an excellent health benefit program the unions had very little to offer.  IDOT Resident Construction Engineer, Mark Brandl, was surprised and pleased that he received neither inquisitions nor complaints during the work – which he added was very unusual!

Project Manager                        Tom Bonner                                                Truck Superintendent                 Brian Ingram

Steel Foreman                           Alan Diaz                                                    Shop Superintendent                 Bryce Halupnick

Paving Superintendent               Todd Burch                                                 Paving Superintendent               Cory Chew

Truck Foreman                          Pete Schomaker                                          Truck Foreman                          Richard Lee

Grade Foreman                         Dan Zieser                                                   Grade Foreman                         Glenn McConnell

Quality Control Supervisor         John Quandahl                                            Project Superintendent             Craig Silver

Field Office Manager                 Eric Henry                                                   Field Office Manager                 Jim Glaspie

Concrete Foreman                    Doug Weber                                                 Concrete Foreman                     Kenny Hoenig

Saw Seal Foreman                     Gilberto Sanguino                                        Saw Seal Foreman                     Barry Beeh

D59 in Sac County winner in the Overlays (Streets and Roads) category:

Cedar Valley Corp.’s Sac County, D 59, Wall Lake project was a 11.84 mile long unbonded concrete overlay project that included nine full depth sections.  The agricultural state of Iowa requires high quality Farm to Market roads to get its products safely and efficiently to market. As Zac Andersen, P.E., the Sac County Engineer stated, “The goal of Sac County was to have the project completed by the fall of 2014 and Cedar Valley Corp. was able to successfully complete the project by mid-November.  Their schedule was realistic yet aggressive to ensure the project being complete on time. Cedar Valley Corp. was challenged in their scheduling to coordinate with a bridge replacement project that was going at the same time in the middle of the project road.  They were able to schedule activities in a manner that allowed both projects to be completed on time and with very little conflict from each project.’

CVC did meet Sac County’s goal but getting there was no easy task. Sac County assigned 60 working days to this project with a specified late start date of June 23, 2014. 

However, by a mutual benefit change order, the actual start date was delayed to September 20, 2014.  Why did this happen?  The project plans required coordination with a separate bridge rehabilitation project.  Through the Bid Express questions, a process set-up by the IDOT, CVC was able to ascertain that the bridge project had been let in January and had a late start date of 04-01-2014 and 60 working days.

We contacted the bridge contractor and were assured that their work would be completed by mid-May. However, the bridge contractor was badly delayed when it was determined that the existing bridge was in much worse condition than originally believed. 

Since we had bid and planned to start the project in mid-May we proactively approached the county about alternate ways to build the project without having to cross the bridge.  We proposed using a series of county rock roads to haul our concrete batch around the bridge site.  However, the county chose not to pay the additional cost of the plan so we finally mutually agreed to move our start date.

During the final negotiations, we explained to Sac County that the later start meant we would have to interrupt paving on the project for about a week to move our batch hauling units to another job in order to meet the schedule of another CVC project.

Finally, on September 20, 2014, the paving started.  We paved for three straight days and then the batch trucks were moved to a different job for a week.  Even though Sac County continued to charge working days during this time, CVC still finished the job in only 44.5 working days.  Considering it was harvest time by then and the days were growing shorter, this was some feat.

Obtaining pavement smoothness on county overlay projects is challenging.  This particular project included nine full depth areas, places where it was necessary to meet existing paved county roads, a new bridge and approaches, and a railroad track. Smoothly transitioning from a thin overlay section to full depth sections is difficult to say the least and CVC encountered this in nine different places on the job. Additionally, rather than provide an asphalt overlay as a bond breaker, Sac County chose to use a pavement interlayer geotextile so the concrete overlay would not bond to an existing 2500 lineal foot concrete section.  The fabric had to be placed directly in front of the paver which impacted our production and smoothness.

Secondly, county road systems in Iowa do not meet the same stringent design standards applied to the primary or interstate system.  Sac County was no exception to this fact. This 11.48 mile project contained 248 vertical curves that closely followed a meandering, existing profile.  Cross slopes of the existing slab varied from 1.5% to 4.0% on areas of the existing roadway. Finally, the varying depth of this non-profiled overlay certainly impacted smoothness as a consistent head of concrete at the paver was difficult to maintain.

Nonetheless, CVC achieved amazing pavement smoothness results despite having to transition in and out of nine on-grade sections.  We paved 11.84 miles with an average smoothness of only 2.00 inches per mile. 

Specifications called for a unique sawing pattern.  Three centerlines and crosscuts on five and one-half foot centers were specified. This pattern required 2.87 lineal feet of sawing per square yard.  Consequently our daily production was limited by the terrific amount of sawing. On a typical day almost 42,000 lineal feet of sawing was required.  The entire project required a whopping 425,000 lineal feet of sawing.

With exceptional planning and execution we sawed the entire project without a random crack.  We accomplished this feat by having a minimum of four employees sawing crosscuts on a full time basis. We also cross-trained members of our fine grade crew how to saw to bolster our sawing crew needs.

CVC is very proud that our Sac County overlay project won the Iowa Concrete Paving Association’s top prize for county road overlays among the ten projects nominated in Iowa.

Project Manager                        Tom Bonner                                          Paving Superintendent                   Todd Burch

Plant Superintendent                 Brian Ingram                                         Plant Foreman                              Pete Schomaker

Grade Foreman                          Dan Zieser                                            Quality Control Supervisor            John Quandahl

Field Office Manager                  Eric Henry                                            Concrete Foreman                        Doug Weber

Saw Seal Foreman                      Gilberto Sanguino                                 Steel Foreman                              Alan Diaz

Shop Superintendent                  Bryce Halupnick                                   Project Superintendent                 Craig Silver