Thalle Construction Company began as a road contractor in 1947. Since then, it has expanded its pool of construction services to include dams, landfills, sitework, communication technology, utility work and roller compacted concrete for private and public entities. The company also owns and operates quarries, portable asphalt plants and crushers that supply materials directly to the sites.
“Our key value is that we can self-perform in different functions of disciplines on the same project,” says Anthony Hattey, director of global business development. “If a project includes excavation, limited road and building construction and utilities, Thalle Construction is able to perform all of those portions of the project.”
Thalle Construction gets involved in the construction process as early in the planning stages as possible. “Typically, we like to offer suggestions during the bidding process,” Hattey asserts. “The firm’s expertise in a wide range of disciplines allows us to come up with innovative methods to make a project safer, easier for the client and/or more cost-effective.”
The strategy of providing varied service offerings has paid off for the company. “We could have simply concentrated our efforts in North Carolina,” Hattey says. “We’re following the population growth from Central Virginia to mid-Georgia.” Thalle Construction has completed projects within the eastern corridor of the United States from New York to Florida. In an effort to follow a demographic trend, the company has pursued infrastructure projects including water distribution, dams and landfills to accommodate population growth in newly developed areas.
“We’ve managed to stay successful by making sure we take on work that’s well within our expertise,” Hattey claims. “We take on fewer projects, but in the areas we excel.” He adds that the firm doesn’t overextend itself to ensure a high level of quality is achieved
as well as on-time completion.
Thalle Construction has a knack for solving problems presented by complex projects.
The company is currently building an underground sewer line project consisting of 8-to-72-inch-diameter lines that are positioned between a major river and a railroad track. A sheetpile system utilizing a cantilever and a braced/tieback design was implemented, preventing voids from developing under and adjacent to the railroad tracks. This also maintained the stability of the tracks to keep the tracks operational and safe to prevent transportation impacts. “From an engineering standpoint, we tackle more complex projects,” Hattey asserts.
Thalle Construction is at work on a $57 million lock addition in Grand Rivers, Ky. The firm’s portion of the project entails the construction of nine concrete monoliths to partial height with the most upstream monolith built to the full 100-foot height. Additional work includes a downstage grouting program to seal the existing cofferdam and provide foundation stability for the new monoliths. Ultimately, the lock will consist of 61 concrete monoliths to complete the new 1,200-foot lock. It is designed to improve navigational traffic up and down the Tennessee River.
Under the supervision of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Thalle Construction was awarded the base contract plus five of the 10 options to bring four of the nine monoliths to full height. The remaining five options will be awarded to Thalle Construction when additional funding becomes available.
Thalle began construction in April 2010, and the project is in the excavation and grouting stages, says Ken Bowen, project manager. “We are in the process of removing about 800,000 cubic yards of rock and soil,” he says. Concurrently, crews will install 24 post-tension anchors on the existing lock walls for stabilization. A dewatering system to control groundwater inflow will also be installed.
For the current portion of the project, Thalle Construction will pour 124,000 cubic yards of concrete. “The project will have an on-site plant capable of producing 150 cubic yards of concrete per hour,” Bowen notes. “Plus, we will establish a 1,000 linear-foot concrete out-feed conveyor system.”
Although the concrete work is fairly standard, Bowen says, achieving the desired quality and integrity of the concrete for the different pours will be a big test to the firm’s expertise. “Being able to produce 150 cubic yards per hour, transport it to the lifts and maintain the desired consistency of the concrete from the beginning of the feed to the bottom of the pit will be a challenge in itself,” he describes.
The crews must work longer shifts to accommodate the USACE’s demanding schedule. “It’s a pretty tight area and the equipment is fairly large,” Bowen says. “We’ve had to prepare a tightly sequenced schedule to maintain consistent work between the excavation, grouting, anchor installation, drilling and blasting, and plant set-up operations.”
During the excavation phase, crews found rock earlier than expected. “We had to accelerate the drilling and blasting program to maintain the project schedule,” Bowen says.
Another issue Thalle teams must address is meeting the USACE’s very strict quality control standards. “The Corps has very stringent documentation requirements,” Bowen says. “The specifications require detailed reporting to document the progress of work and quality control procedures, which increases the contractor’s site overhead requirements.”
In addition, the USACE implements many checks and balances to ensure Thalle is meeting its quality requirements. “Before work activities, we have initial prep meetings to discuss quality control procedures and work plans,” Bowen says. “The Corps also conducts follow-up meetings to discuss any subsequent issues.” He believes these measures maintain a high quality of workmanship and promote more stringent control measures, which reduce rework for the contractor while providing the client with a better product.
Hattey believes that it is Thalle Construction’s wide range of services that will carry the firm to future success. “For a mid-sized company, we offer our clients a diverse amount of capabilities and expertise,” he declares.