S.E. Cline Construction Inc.

S.E. Cline Construction is about as versatile as a general contracting land development firm can be. Its crews will even go beyond the shorelines to develop land below the waterline. The Palm Coast, Fla.,-based company serves northeast Florida, “but we tend to look further as times get more interesting,” says Sam Cline, president, and have even ventured into South Florida and Alabama. Cline is on the board of directors of the Palm Coast chamber of commerce while Scott Sowers, vice president and director of land development, is president of the City of Bunnell chamber.

The company is involved in site development as well as marine construction and engineering projects. “Much of the company’s strength lies in our ability to offer both land and water development services,” Cline notes. Though the number of private projects has been reduced due to the economy, the company is beginning to see an upshot in government work. “With the government stimulus packages, we’re seeing more work through local and federal government contracts,” he declares. “In the past, about 10 percent of our work was in government-based – now it’s about 90 percent.”

Established in 1996, the firm’s land development arm can perform road construction, earthwork and demolition services as well as installing sanitary sewer systems, water systems and stormwater systems. The company even offers coquina rock and shell mining, which can be used for erosion control around rivers, lakes, canals and oceans. Marine services include seawall stabilization using various materials including composite, timber and concrete, as well as marina and bridge construction and dredging. Specialty services include marine demolition, dead-head logging and salvage operations.

Being in this industry has made Cline astute to ways that working on several projects at once can be mutually beneficial. As the company performs work on various projects, it can barter materials from one site to the next. “For instance, if we’re working on a residential site, we’ll likely have excess dirt, due to the retention ponds required in Florida, that must be hauled away,” he says. “A concurrent project may need additional dirt to fill in areas, so we try to use the dirt intelligently.”

Recycling is an important part of S.E. Cline’s operations, as well. “Anytime we can recycle, it’s beneficial” Cline asserts. “We’ll grind clearing debris into mulch for later use.” The company also works with other contractors to recycle concrete and grind it down for use as road base.

The company’s dredging operations also adhere to a recycling regimen. ”Once we dredge the material, we have to move it to scow barges, take the material to the shore, stack it to remove the water, load it on to trucks and haul it to the recycling pit,” says C.M. Cameron Jr., vice president, marine operations. There, the recycled sediment is mixed with soil or other materials and can be used as general fill. “It’s a very expensive process, but we feel it’s the responsible thing to do,” Cameron adds.

The company has a fleet of equipment that includes tractors, backhoes and trucks, but the company tries to remain lean. “We don’t have a lot of toys,” Cline says. “We try to be very frugal in our spending.”

Cline was awarded the contract to stabilize the Collier canal for the city of Sebastian, Fla. Completed in April, 2010, the project entailed dredging and disposing of 30,000 cubic yards of silt and renovating 11,100 linear feet of the canal bank. During the consultation process, the original plan proposed using stone rip rap to stabilize the bank. Cline eventually won the contract by suggesting vinyl sheet pile seawalls made by Everlast Synthetic Products LLC, Woodstock, Ga., as a value-engineering option.

The project required driving 940 earth anchors into the soil, which were ultimately connected to a reinforced concrete cap. Challenges included space limitations, soft soils, unexpected drainage pipes and culverts, which were easily accommodated using the vinyl sheet pile wall system.

Using the original stone rip rap would have necessitated dumping 1,000 trailer loads of rock; the vinyl sheet pile wall used only 10 flatbed trucks which alleviated the space constraints considerably. “In addition to a longer life span than rip rap, concrete or steel, the vinyl sheet pile wall looks better,” says the company.  Using the vinyl sheet pile wall system also saved the city $60,000 on the project.

Cline also completed a seaplane project for the city of Tavares, Fla. The company installed a seaplane ramp in the middle of a lake that allows small aircraft to taxi onto land. “The largest part of a project like this is making the transition from the land to the water,” Cameron attests. “We have to assemble the barge and place a 70,000-pound crane in it.” The work involved positioning the docks, installing timber and concrete pilings and dredging. “According to the city manager, the project has actually stimulated the economy of the city,” he says. “The seaplane park is a huge attraction in that city.”

Current projects include two sheet pile weirs for the city of Palm Coast, an 1,850-linear-foot seawall for Palm Club condos, a 2,800-linear-foot composite cut-off wall, and 12 miles of debris clean-up for several Flagler County waterways.

However, land development is still a large part of Cline’s work. The company recently completed a four-lane widening project in Palm Coast called Old King’s Road.  Sowers says his crews completed clearing, site work, excavation and pipe work. “It was a challenge because we had to relocate the water, sewer and reuse lines plus we had to dig several retention ponds during an extremely long period of bad weather,” Cline says.  The project was completed on time and within the original budget.

“We support our local charities and stay involved in many local committees supporting our community,” Cline says.

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