Skanska USA’s dedication to the environment and safety underpins its work on the realignment of California’s SR-58. By Jim Harris
Skanska USA is applying its core values and dedication to safety to a $115.8 million highway realignment project in California. The western branch of the construction leader’s civil division is leading an effort to widen and realign a portion of State Route 58 from a two-lane conventional highway to a four-lane expressway.
The nine-mile-long section, located in the unincorporated community of Hinkley in San Bernandino County, is the latest portion of Route 58 to receive an upgrade. The California Department of Transportation (CALTRANS) engineered, designed and is funding the project, supplemented with federal funds, in an effort to increase capacity on the highway and ensure motorist safety, Skanska USA Senior Project Manager John Matich says.
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Extensive work during pre-planning helps Olympic Builders perform at an exceptional level on every project it undertakes.
By Eric Slack
Founded in March 1979 by William Yahnke and Ray Erickson, Olympic Builders has built a reputation for high-quality construction, timely project completions and staying within budget. Since its earliest days, Olympic Builders has believed in doing whatever it takes to get a job done right. Initially with offices in a spare bedroom of Bill’s parents home, Bill’s father Harlan Yahnke also worked for more than 25 years for Olympic Builders until his upper 80s and still stops to check on things today at the age of 91.
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The East Rail Maintenance Facility will enhance GO Transit’s operations and be a feather in the cap for the Plenary Group, Bird Design Build and Kiewit Infrastructure.
By Eric Slack
Located in Whitby, Ontario, the development of the East Rail Maintenance Facility (ERMF) is a critical part of GO Transit’s planned service expansion. When complete, the new facility will provide maintenance, repair and additional storage for GO trains.
GO Transit is Ontario’s regional transit system. It is an operating division within Metrolinx, a Crown agency that manages and integrates public transportation in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA). An extensive network of train lines and bus routes, GO Transit carries more than 68 million passengers annually.
“Metrolinx has a mandate to manage mobility solutions in and around the area,” says Doug Rolfe, vice president of project delivery with the Plenary Group. “Currently, only a single maintenance facility services all of their trains. It is over capacity, and a new facility will assist with current and future maintenance needs.”
Also working with GO Transit on this project is Infrastructure Ontario (IO), as procurement lead and in a contract management role. The ERMF is a significant transit project for Plenary Infrastructure ERMF, a consortium that includes a number of partners. The developers are Plenary Group (Canada) Ltd., Kiewit Canada Development Corp. and Bird Capital Limited Partnership. Construction partners are Bird Design-Build Construction Inc. and Peter Kiewit Infrastructure Co. Designers are Stantec Consulting and Arup Canada Inc. Facilities management is provided by Honeywell Limited and Toronto Terminals Railway, with financing provided by TD Bank, Bank of Montreal and TD Securities.
Funded by the Province of Ontario and PPP Canada, a public-private partnership arm of the federal government, the project is being delivered using IO’s Alternative Financing and Procurement (AFP) model.
“Our AFP model is an innovative way to finance and procure large public infrastructure projects,” says Derrick Toigo, senior vice president of heavy rail at IO. “We transfer appropriate project risks to the private sector and negotiate a fixed-price contract. The end result is a publicly owned infrastructure project, built to a high standard and maintained properly to ensure longevity.”
The ERMF will add capacity and flexibility for GO Transit. Now, its Willowbrook Rail Maintenance Facility handles all maintenance, including refueling, daily inspections, washing and repairs. Developing the facility in Whitby will help GO Transit serve its growing rail fleet, allow it to increase ridership and revenue, and support expected population growth in the GTHA.
Additionally, the ERMF will reduce GO Transit’s operational risks. Right now, any operational issues at the Willowbrook facility or along the corridor that connects Willowbrook to other corridors would have a major impact on rail service. The ERMF will help GO Transit service new rolling stock while providing operational flexibility and redundancy, ensuring reliable transit service if any emergency situations arise.
Beyond that, the ERMF has been designed to comply with future electrification of GO Transit’s rail lines. The 500,000-square-foot facility will include cleaning and service shops, offices and parking for staff. It will have enough tracks for storage and daily maintenance of up to 22 12-car passenger trains, with 13 at substantial completion and capacity for an additional nine in the future.
“The main building will hold maintenance bays that are large enough to accommodate full-length GO trains,” Rolfe says. “The project includes a three-story facility along with ancillary buildings as well as track and yard space for storage and other activities such as fueling.”
A number of community, economic and green benefits will also be realized as a result of ERMF’s development. At construction’s peak, about 1,000 workers will be on-site, and most will come from the GTHA. It will also create permanent jobs in the area. Lastly, its design and construction elements will allow Metrolinx to pursue LEED Gold certification, as sustainability targets have been incorporated into the project.
“For example, rainwater collection from the main building and canopy roof will be reused to wash the trains,” Rolfe says. “Extensive use of glass will let in plenty of natural light.”
Construction on the ERMF facility began in the spring of 2015. It is scheduled to be complete by December 2017.
“It is located on a 76-acre site, with a 500,000-square-foot combined building footprint and about 16 kilometers of track,” says Scott Reitsma, project director with Bird Construction. “At this stage, we are approaching one year of onsite construction and are about 40 per cent complete.”
As the project moves into construction of the rail yard, the team must closely monitor the work that will be taking place near the existing rail lines. The size of the future facility and the aggressive construction schedule are also challenging since it is a fast track design/build project and construction is proceeding before the design is finalized. Coordination with development work taking place around the project is another important undertaking.
“An existing road and bridge run through the site and we need to work around them,” Reitsma says. “Additionally, the equipment in the building is highly specialized and we need to coordinate all of this from a mechanical, electrical and structural installation perspective.”
Fortunately, most of the staff developing this project are located on the work site in Whitby. There is an onsite office for personnel with the Bird Kiewit joint venture team, as well as an office for Metrolinx and IO project staff. This arrangement helps to manage the project and allows for regular coordination and communication with all subtrades to maintain an aggressive schedule.
In the end, this is a unique project and developing something like the ERMF doesn’t happen very often. It will fundamentally improve the future of GO Transit’s operations and become a part of the legacy for all of the stakeholders involved.
“The Metrolinx ERMF project delivery team is thrilled to be involved in a flagship project that will define GO Transit for decades to come. It will play a key role in the single largest expansion of public transit in history of the GTHA”, says Daryl Barnett, vice president of network infrastructure for Metrolinx’s capital projects group.
“Our focus has been on making this facility as efficient as possible, so its layout is integrated in a way that accounts for its future operational flow. This will ensure efficient equipment sequencing during scheduled maintenance,” Barnett continues. “Other initiatives set it apart from other rail maintenance facilities, and it will set a new standard as far as GO rail facilities. It will accommodate our future electrified fleet and will include an automated track and signals system. Lastly, it will include a full-service paint shop, which will allow us to re-paint our rolling stock in-house.”
Barnett also expressed Metrolinx’s commitment to sustainable design. “We are aiming high with our plans to obtain LEED Gold certification and that has been our aim on the organizational level. One of the elements that will play a role in making this facility sustainable will be cogeneration systems that will provide partial electrical power and heat for the buildings.”
“The East Rail Maintenance Facility will provide enough capacity to maintain GO Transit’s fleet for the present and the future,” adds Rolfe. “This is an exciting and challenging project. Transportation infrastructure is an important market and our goal is to help our client realize their vision.”
On even the most visible projects, it’s not common that the owner invites the public to drop by the construction site. But the reconstruction of Seattle’s protective Elliot Bay Seawall is a once-in-a-generation project. Which is why the city has set up outreach initiatives and tours to help its citizens learn about the $410 million undertaking. “It’s part of Seattle’s history, not to be shied away from but to embrace it,” says Jessica Murphy, project manager for the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT).
The project will replace the existing seawall that support’s much of the city’s downtown infrastructure, including roads, freight routes, local and regional utilities, high-pressure gas mains, electrical and telecommunications wires and sewers. The seawall also abuts the Seattle Ferry Terminal, an important transportation point used by 8.5 million people each year.
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The Jimmie Creek run-of-river hydroelectric expansion project is taking place in a remote location about 100 miles north of Vancouver, which presents unique challenges for Alterra Power Corp., the renewable energy company overseeing the work. “It’s a remote project,” says Jay Sutton, vice president of hydropower.
Alterra is accustomed to working in the region, having built plants there in recent years. “This is an expansion of two other plants that we have,” Sutton says. Specifically, the plant will be an expansion of the 234 MW Toba-Montrose facilities that became operational in 2010. “The Jimmie Creek plant will use the Toba-Montrose transmission line to carry its electricity to the grid,” he says.
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Construction manager EllisDon Kinetic – A Joint Venture oversees the final phase of construction on the FMF Cape Breton Shop Consolidation Project.
By Janice Hoppe
In its fifth and final phase of construction, Fleet Maintenance Facility (FMF) Cape Breton is beginning to resemble the 20-year-old artist rendering from when the project first got underway. FMF is known as the “Corner Garage” among Royal Canadian Navy sailors because they berth at a jetty alongside the FMF shop facilities when their vessels need maintenance.
Located at the Navy’s Dockyard near Victoria, British Columbia, the FMF shops repair and overhaul the RCN’s ships and auxiliary vessels. “The engineering company that did the initial concept put a massive jigsaw puzzle together on paper, and to see it now largely completed in the flesh is really quite rewarding,” says Clive H. Orford, project director for naval infrastructure requirements for the Department of National Defence (DND).
FMF features some 38 shops that specialize in various manufacturing, overhaul and repair capabilities and techniques, ranging from electroplating to powder coating, fixing sensitive electronic equipment and repairing major naval weapons systems. Over the past two decades, FMF Cape Breton has undergone a large consolidation project to improve its efficiency. The DND manages the project, which will cost about $500 million when complete and spans over five phases.
When completed in fall 2018, FMF Cape Breton’s 38 maintenance shops will be consolidated into a single area at the dockyard, basically putting this organization under one roof. “It’s been a long journey,” Orford notes. “We are keeping pace and the work is progressing more or less on schedule now. The project’s financial outlay is what we had hoped to achieve because the contractors are keeping to schedule.”
Steady As She Goes
EllisDon Kinetic (EDK) – A Joint Venture is the construction manager on site that has been responsible for procuring all necessary subcontractors that will build each of the seven different construction work packages in sequence and roughly over a five-year period. Defence Construction Canada (DCC) is overseeing EDK’s work as the site manager.
“This [Phase V] work contract has been underway for about three years,” DCC Major Project Leader Brian Fraser says. “We got off to a slow start the first year, but we have improved and are on track. We’ve handed over three work packages to the DND for use, and our next major milestone is the turnover of the abrasive blast and paint booth work package in May 2017.”
The $20 million abrasive blast and paint booth package includes large equipment that the RCN will use to paint and refinish ship components, and will be housed within a new extension to a building that was constructed about 10 years ago under an earlier phase of the project. Overall, the project’s journey involves adding several new sections of industrial shop building onto two large buildings that were built about 25 years ago, as well as renovating several areas within those older buildings.
“I’ve just finished procurement on the last work package, which is a major milestone,” EllisDon Kinetic Lead Project Manager Mark Liudzius says. “We have all the trades lined up through to the completion of the job, and this means that we can turn estimated budgets into more firm budgets. That helps give the owner a better idea of the final costs.”
One of the biggest challenges EDK has faced is the security policy on site. “We are on a military base, so everyone who comes on to do work has to have security screening from the federal government,” Liudzius says. “That takes time and sometimes months for an individual to get clearance, so replacing workers is not a simple task. There have been issues with keeping staff levels and subcontractors because of the logistics involved with security.”
Fraser says EDK continues to perform well despite early staffing challenges. “Security clearances have become a greater issue and the Canadian and American government security processes don’t quite align,” he adds. “There was some special admittance granted to Blast-One, based in Columbus, Ohio, so they could come onto the site for the abrasive blast and paint booth package.”
Surprises happen on site and EDK has done its best to stay on schedule and come up with solutions when they do. For example, a piece of equipment needs to be moved to complete one of the shops, but after the move it is determined that it needs to be reconfigured by the original manufacturer, which did not have security clearance. “We are supposed to move that shop by the end of August. If we can’t move the piece of equipment, that shop won’t move, then we can’t demolish the old building and we can’t start building the new building area,” Liudzius adds. “These are the types of issues we are having.”
The Last Dance
During the first three $85 million renovation packages of Phase V, EDK and DCC were in the existing buildings working around the FMF Cape Breton workforce who needed to still do their job. Orford described the working environment as a juggling act or dance between the contractor and its workforce and the DND workforce. “It was pretty well managed and a generally happy worksite,” he adds.
“That was a challenge,” Fraser adds. “It was no small task, but now that challenge has passed and we are starting on new construction, which should be far easier.”
Moving forward, EDK and DCC will be focused on the remaining four work packages at FMF Cape Breton. Once the project is completed in two years, FMF Cape Breton’s industrial processes will be more efficient and it will operate within a smaller and tighter footprint.
Exceptional performance on projects like the American Greetings headquarters allows Walsh Group to create strong ties to clients, vendors and communities.
By Eric Slack
Headquartered in Chicago, Walsh Group is a client focused fourth generation family-owned business. Evolving from humble origins in Matthew Myles Walsh’s basement to a revitalization initiated by the Walsh children, the company now has 18 regional offices located strategically across the country. Since 1898, Walsh Group has provided general contracting, construction management and design-build services to a variety of clients nationwide.
Today, the company’s revenues are in excess of $5 billion. Ranked the 14th-largest U.S. national contractor in the Engineering News-Record Top 400 List, Walsh Group is an industry leader with the experience and resources to provide the clients with services specific to their needs at the best value.
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Ridgemont’s reputation for customer satisfaction and relationship building led it to a major milestone.
By Jim Harris
For Ridgemont Commercial Construction, building strong ties with subcontractors, clients and staff members is just as important as successfully completing its projects. “There are a lot of general contractors out there that are good at their jobs and can build buildings,” says Jason Lillard, president of the Irving, Texas-based company. “We believe we are only as good as our subcontractors and spend a lot of time nurturing our relationships with them, because without those, we can’t be as effective as we need to be.
“We are also committed to providing 100 percent customer satisfaction,” he adds. “Our brand promise is complete client confidence.”
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