CVC Hits ACPA Double

Date Published: Thursday, February 1, 2018

Cedar Valley is extremely proud to announce that we have continued our winning ways by garnering two 2017 American Concrete Pavement Association (ACPA) Excellence in Concrete Pavement awards.  This brings our total winning ACPA projects to thirty-three over the last thirteen 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 success regarding 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.

ACPA presents both a gold and a silver award.  However, at the direction of members, ACPA keeps these award levels secret until their formal awards banquet which will be held on the evening of November 30th in San Diego, California. Past ACPA chairman, Steve Jackson, along with Willie Calderwood, Craig Hughes, Tom Bonner, Jason Hankins, and Bob Leon, will all be cheering for Cedar Valley as the award winners are announced.

Our winning projects were in the County Roads category, where our Dickinson County, M-56 - Orleans project was a winner, and in the Overlays (Streets and Roads) category, where our Allamakee County, B-38 -  Postville project is also a finalist.

This is an incredible tribute to the 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 two awards and a list of the winning salaried crew members.

Dickinson County, M-56 - Orleans winner in the County Roads category:

The summer population of Dickinson County routinely swells to 100,000 people each year as vacationers and anglers flock to the Iowa Great Lakes region.  Many of the Iowa and Minnesota tourists access the Lakes area from US Highway 9.  County Road M-56 is a heavily traveled north-south artery that intersects east-west US Highway 9 and runs along the northeast side of Spirit Lake meeting up to the Minnesota state line.                    

Dickinson County Engineer Daniel Eckert, P.E. included the following in his letter of recommendation: The road was the only access to a new Industrial Park on the East side of Spirit Lake.  It also serves as a major collector to the East side of Big Spirit Lake, which is a popular tourism attraction to the area, and several vacation resorts and numerous summer residential dwellings.

The new roadway was designed to be paved 30 foot wide with 2 foot earth shoulders. Since no shoulder access was available, CVC chose to place the concrete directly in front of the paving operation by trimming and placing the concrete with one machine. We used an altered CMI dual lane trimmer configured with a dumping belt placed over the machine (aka an Iowa Special). This placement method allowed our crew space to set and place contraction dowel baskets on the freshly trimmed grade immediately prior to the concrete placement directly in front of the paver. Due to the 30 foot wide paving, CVC’s trimmer/ placer operator electronically manipulated a swinging dump chute to spread out the concrete in front of the paver and over the recently placed baskets.  This also enabled us to maintain a consistent head of concrete at our paver.

The CD baskets, along with cure totes and centerline steel, were all hauled out to the project prior to paving and staggered behind the stringline.  The CD baskets were pulled onto the grade between the dual lane and the paver using CVC’s hook technique, and nailed down just prior to concrete placement. This paving process was further complicated because the county specified that contraction dowel bar units be placed on fifteen foot spacing.  Paving without the luxury of shoulder access can make achieving pavement smoothness all the more challenging.

Although the actual project was closed to through traffic, local access had to be maintained.  For one, a large landlocked FedEx ground facility was located in the middle of the job.  Dickinson County tried to help solve this access concern by specifying a temporary 2325 foot long rock access road. However, five inches of rock placed on a virgin field required a lot of tender care, and the rains that followed didn’t help.  Almost daily rains saturated the entire area.  On the other hand, the new proposed roadway was covered with a recycled asphalt base and remained passable.  To help the situation considerably, we allowed FedEx trucks to use this superior access, in lieu of the designated rock access road, continually until our paving operation reached their driveway.  They were grateful to say the least.

The north end of project contained a landlocked subdivision.  Twelve property owners were impacted.  Cedar Valley and our grading subcontractor came up with a highly successful solution to this problem.  By a stroke of luck it so happened that our grading subcontractor owned land just east of this subdivision.  We successfully negotiated an extra work order with Dickinson County to construct a second rock detour which allowed alternate access for those twelve households.

In order to reach acceptable opening strength in the shortest amount of time, Cedar Valley chose to use the maturity concept as a nondestructive method to determine concrete strength. Every night, after the paving operation ceased, access was reestablished to all affected property owners where opening strength had been reached. 

Excellent communication with property owners and use of the maturity concept allowed us to work through the difficulty of maintaining local access and eliminated premature access and damage to the new pavement.  Public relations received a 5 star rating as well.

The only real delay we encountered on this project was a doozy, due to Mother Nature. The day after we erected our portable plant it started raining. It rained eight out of the next twelve days, dropping over six inches of rain. Our plant site was so saturated that we were forced to abandon our material drive-over.  Instead we overcame the wet conditions by the using a combination of a hopper conveyor belt, a D-6 dozer and a 140G motor grader.  The hopper conveyor belt was used to transfer paving aggregates from higher ground to be closer to the plant, while the D-6 dozer and 140G motor grader aided the haul trucks in and out of plant site.

CVC’s paving crew accomplished outstanding smoothness on the project as we garnered 86.36 percent of the maximum smoothness incentive bonus. Additionally, CVC crews overcame a saturated plant site and also earned almost $14,000 in thickness bonus.  In most cases the greatest public relations measure a firm can make on a roadway project is to get in, build the job, and get out as quickly as possible. Following that theme, we are extremely proud and the owner extremely pleased that we built this weather challenged project in only 35.5 working days, 14.5 days less than the 50 specified.  Of equal importance, our crews worked over 5,400 man hours with zero recordable accidents or injuries.  The all-important public was pleased as well.

Allamakee County - B38, Postville in the Overlays (Streets and Roads) category:

Cedar Valley Corp. (CVC)’s Allamakee County, Iowa job was a 5.46 mile long unbonded concrete overlay project.  The agricultural state of Iowa requires high quality Farm to Market roads to get its products safely and efficiently to market.

Cedar Valley’s Allamakee County project is located in far northeast Iowa.  Unlike the rest of Iowa, which is fairly flat and laid out in square mile grids, this area is known for its elevation changes and striking vistas.

The Driftless Area Scenic Byway is a 100-mile route that twists and meanders through the most northeast corner of Iowa in the heart of a region known as the Driftless Area.  The term “Driftless” was developed to describe this distinct area that was by-passed by the last continental glacier, centuries ago.

The byway stretches out across bluffs, hills, rivers, and valleys.  The streams and river valleys have carved down into the land encompassing this byway, affording travelers the opportunity to view some of the most esthetically appealing high relief landscape found anywhere within the state of Iowa.

Obtaining pavement smoothness on county overlay paving projects is always challenging since the county road system in Iowa was not built nor ever required to meet the same high design standards that are applied to primary and interstate projects. Relaxed design on shoulder width and vertical and horizontal curves builds roughness into county road projects in the design phase.

Cedar Valley’s Allamakee County project was proof of this fact. This 5.46 mile project contained seventeen horizontal curves and twenty-three vertical curves that closely followed a meandering, existing profile.  Seven of the vertical curves were over three percent with one approaching six percent. The phrase, Crooked as a dog’s hind leg, readily comes to mind. 

Allamakee County Engineer, Brian Ridenour P.E., wrote this statement in his letter of recommendation: Taking into consideration all of the horizontal and vertical curves, a profilometer was run for smoothness and showed no bumps or dips on the entire route, making this a truly smooth long lasting pavement. 

Surprisingly, the county chose not to apply the Iowa Department of Transportation smoothness specification to this project - perhaps thinking it too difficult a feat.  However, CVC crews paid their usual utmost attention to quality and smoothness, and the effort paid off.

Despite the lack of a smoothness specification, Cedar Valley took it upon ourselves to run the profilometer.  The end result is that we achieved amazing pavement smoothness despite the extremely challenging geometrics on this project.  We paved the entire 5.26 mile project with an average smoothness of only 2.39 inches per mile, and would have earned almost 62 per cent of the smoothness bonus had it applied.

Cedar Valley faced two additional huge obstacles while building this award winning project.  The first was the weather. The entire state of Iowa had been hit by rain after rain in May and June, with most locations receiving at least twice the normal rainfall. Allamakee County did not escape the statewide wet weather as 7.5 inches hit the area during June.  The wet weather only took a turn for the worse in the months that followed.  Since the average rainfall in Allamakee County for the period of July through September is 12.53 inches and instead a total of 26.71 inches fell during this period, it is no wonder the area was declared not only a state disaster area but designated a federal disaster area as well.

The second major obstacle was providing access to the many local property owners. The traffic control plan for the job specified that all adjacent property owners be able to traverse through the project at all times. The most difficult traffic challenge was to keep the various property owners informed as to when their driveways would be impacted, as the only access property owners had in this hilly terrain was by the county road CVC was paving. 

Additionally, since Allamakee County is a rural farming area, Cedar Valley crews dealt with very wide farm equipment and numerous grain trucks as the fall harvest was well underway during the construction of this project.

Before construction commenced, a public meeting was held at the county office to further explain the construction process and discuss access issues.  Each resident living on the project was individually contacted and invited to this important meeting.

At the meeting, CVC personnel detailed the entire construction process. CVC personnel further explained that maturity testing would be used to determine opening pavement strength, in order to reach acceptable opening strength in the shortest amount of time.  We explained that the maturity concept is a nondestructive and efficient method to determine concrete strength.

 As the job progressed, each resident also received an update from CVC’s project manager that informed them of our paving schedule.  During the paving operation CVC personnel worked with property owners on a daily basis so they would know when their access would be affected.

Consequently, every night, after the paving operation ceased, access was reestablished to all affected property owners where opening strength had been reached. The stringline was removed and the existing driveways were opened to local access. Prior to paving, CVC had wisely stockpiled material at each individual property to further expedite the opening time.

The property owners were very appreciative that maturity testing enabled their access to be restored as quickly as possible. Cedar Valley’s excellent communication with property owners allowed us to work through the difficulty of maintaining local access and eliminated premature access and damage to the new pavement.

So despite the weather, the curves, the hills and the grades, CVC managed to build an award winning project that pleased the property owners and Allamakee County personnel as well.

Finally, it is very important to Cedar Valley that we provide a safe work environment for all our employees.  CVC’s safety consciousness has allowed us to win nine straight safety awards from the Associated General Contractors of Iowa.  We are very proud of the fact that despite all the traffic interaction, we worked almost 7,000 man hours with zero recordable accidents or injuries.