Skanska USA Civil West – SR-58 Realignment Project

Skanska picSkanska 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.

Skanska USA began work on the project in June 2015 and anticipates completion in March 2017. The project is a joint venture between Skanska USA Civil’s west division and Teichert Construction, a Sacramento, Calif.-based civil contractor that is performing the concrete paving work on the project.

Heavy Loads

The new portion of SR-58 is being built adjacent to the existing two-lane road. When completed, the existing road will remain in place as a county road, while the new SR-58 will be built to freeway standards, Matich says.

The four-lane expressway includes a 78-foot-wide median, 12-foot-wide lanes and 10-foot-wide shoulders. The new road will also include two interchanges with bridges and 127 drainage structures. The bridges are now in place, and the project is 60 percent complete.Skanska box

Skanska USA’s work on the project required it to move 4.2 million cubic yards of earth. “There is a lot of work going into this project,” Matich says.

Of those 4.2 million-plus cubic yards, the company imported 2.7 million cubic yards of dirt and other earth fill material from off-site. “We needed to elevate the new road to facilitate drainage beneath it, so that’s why the new material was required,” he adds.

The project also includes excavating 1.5 million cubic yards of on site earth in addition to the 2.7 million that was imported. Other materials being used include 100,000 tons of asphalt, 84,000 yards of lean concrete base and 170,000 cubic yards of jointed plain concrete pavement, Matich notes.

Importing 2.7 million cubic yards of material to the site required developing a plan to haul in a relatively short time frame. “We needed to bring in 180,000 truckloads in about a six-month period,” he adds. “We identified the potential safety hazard of having a large amount of trucks on local roads that would impact traffic, and we wanted to minimize that risk.”

With the help of its two trucking partners, Skanska developed a traffic plan that allowed 175 trucks to carry 2,000 truckloads to the site on a daily basis. This included placing a temporary traffic signal on the existing SR-58 that would allow trucks to exit onto the new road. “Our truckers were a major piece of this project’s success,” Matich says. “Having two companies trucking 2,000 loads in for 10 hours a day, six days a week is a major accomplishment.”

Taking Care

Trucking material to the site was not the only challenge the company faced during the project. Before construction could begin, the company needed to fence off the entire area and sweep for tortoises. “This road is in prime tortoise habitat,” Matich says, noting the company found and relocated 17 tortoises. “Emptying and sweeping this large a site before starting work was a daunting challenge. We ensured that we were in compliance with federal and state Fish and Wildlife Commission standards. Penalties for mishandling tortoises are very high, and from a public relations standpoint would be unacceptable to the company.

“Our core values do not allow us to disregard the letter of the law when it comes to environmental regulations,” he adds.

Skanska’s safety policy also heavily influenced the company’s site preparation and ongoing construction activities. “Care for life is another of our core values, so safety is a No. 1 priority for us, above and beyond making money,” Matich says. “We want to ensure the safety of our employees as well as all those who travel through our jobsite.”

No recordable incidents or lost-time accidents have occurred during the SR-78 project. In addition to its work on the hauling plan, Skanska’s trucking partners also cooperated with the company on a site-specific safety plan that included adhering to speed limits and yielding to crews on site. “The guys we have on the ground directing traffic are wearing full reflective gear and lighted hard hats to maximize their visibility,” Senior Project Engineer Bill Hearn says.

‘One Skanska’

The project is one of several ongoing projects Skanska USA is building for CALTRANS nationwide. The company is one of the nation’s leading development and contracting firms. In addition to the civil division, Skanska operates business units specializing in building construction, public-private infrastructure projects and commercial development.

Although the company operates distinct units focusing on different aspects of construction, Matich says it believes in combining its strengths, which it calls being “One Skanska.”

“We’re seeing less division and more unity in our company, with more cooperation between business units and regions,” he adds. “There’s a greater unity in the Skanska organization overall, which gives us the ability to look at a broader, more diverse set of projects that can be bid across two or more units.” 

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