Tag Archive for 'Green'

ABC Forecast: Nonresidential Construction Rebounds During Slow Economic Recovery

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President Obama signs FAST Act, first long-term Transportation Bill in a decade

transportationgov-banner_originalFrom Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx:

On my first day at USDOT, it had been more than eight years since Congress had passed a long-term surface transportation bill, and my efforts to push hard for a long term bill began immediately.

The message I kept hearing was, “let’s do this later,” so I worked with my team to turn the corner from “impossible” to “inevitable.”

Today we finally broke through when President Obama signed the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act into law, marking the first long-term transportation bill passed by Congress in 10 years… To read all of Secretary Foxx’s comments click here


ARTBA Earth Day Message:
Transportation & Environment=“Greener and Cleaner”


Through the use of new technologies, innovative project design and construction techniques, cleaner-burning fuels, and intensive recycling of waste materials, the transportation sector has been a major driving force behind much of the dramatic improvement in the U.S. environment over the past 40 years.  That’s the key message the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) delivered on “Earth Day 2013.”

In “Transportation & the Environment: Greener & Cleaner,” ARTBA consolidates a variety of federal government data and private sector sources to spotlight the many improvements to environment.  Among them:

  • Since the 1970s, emissions from motor vehicles considered harmful to human health and the environment have declined dramatically: carbon dioxide emissions are down 38 percent, carbon monoxide emissions are down 62 percent, and particulate matter emissions are down 50 percent.  These achievements are even remarkable given a more than doubling of population and motor vehicles traveled and continued economic growth.
  • Wetlands mitigation at a rate of nearly three acres of wetlands restored for every one acre impacted.
  • The entire U.S. construction industry, which includes the transportation sector, accounts for a mere 1.7 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions.
  • The U.S. transportation construction industry annually recycles more than 100 million tons of asphalt, along with 15 million tons of fly-ash which would otherwise be stored in landfills.

With continued focus on innovation, new technologies, and more fuel efficient motor vehicles and heavy construction equipment, more future improvements to the environment are on the way, ARTBA says.
There is no question that America’s transportation network—particularly the road system—is extensive.  But the relative size of its environmental footprint usually surprises people when they hear it.  Far from “paving over America,” after two centuries of road building, the Federal Highway Administration reports public roads occupy less than one-half of one percent of the total U.S. land area.

To learn more, check out ARTBA’s “Transportation & the Environment: Greener & Cleaner.

New Haven Jacks Missing Sewer Link

M&P Pipe Jacking uses four 200-ton Rogers hydraulic jacks to push 36-inch Hanson RCP sewer on C.J. Fucci Construction’s $12-million sewer separation project in New Haven.

$12 million project completes separation of storm water from 1860s brick sewer serving downtown and Yale University

By Paul Fournier

The “Missing Link” of a combined sewer separation program spanning decades and involving four Connecticut communities is now under construction for the Greater New Haven Water Pollution Control Authority (GNHWPCA or the Authority).

C.J. Fucci Construction Inc. has a $12-million contract with the Authority to separate storm water from a 150-year-old brick combined sewer serving downtown New Haven and Yale University in conjunction with conveying previously separated storm water flows into a new 72-inch reinforced concrete pipe (RCP).

Fucci’s contract for Phase 1A of Trumbull Street Area Sewer Separation includes installing about 3,200 linear feet of 36-inch to 72-inch storm and sanitary sewers on Trumbull Street using the trenchless jacking method. This busy thoroughfare provides the main access from I-91/I-95 to downtown New Haven and Yale University.

C.J. Fucci crew employs a Volvo excavator to lower one of the precast manholes supplied by United Concrete Products.

In addition, the New Haven-based contractor is installing 2,500 linear feet of 15-inch to 24-inch RCP storm sewers by open cut excavation, setting in place precast storm and sanitary sewer manholes, catch basins and other special structures, and performing surface restoration.

Storms Overwhelm Sewer

Under Executive Director Sidney Holbrook, the Authority provides sewer service for some 200,000 people in New Haven, Hamden, East Haven, and Woodbridge through the operation and maintenance of 555 miles of sewer mains, 30 pump stations, and the East Shore Water Pollution Abatement Facility. Located near New Haven Harbor, the East Shore plant treats an average daily flow of 40 million gallons of raw sewage, making it the second largest wastewater treatment plant in Connecticut.

A Volvo excavator places 36-inch RCP pipe manufactured by Hanson Pipe and Precast into one of three jacking pits built for sewer separation project.

Wastewater collection for Trumbull Street is currently provided by a 60-inch brick sanitary sewer built in the 1860s. Unfortunately, the sewer also collects storm water from building roof leaders, runoff from streets and parking lots, and about 120 acres of previously separated storm water from upstream areas. And while the brick sewer is said to be in excellent condition – thanks to the craftsmanship of the original builders — it can’t accommodate today’s combined flows during heavy rain and snowfall.

“Combined flows can increase quickly from a rate of 35 million gallons per day to well over 100 million gallons during a major storm event, exceeding the capacity of the sewer and the treatment plant,” said Mario Ricozzi, P.E., Manager of Design for GNHWPCA.

Dividing The Task

Due to its complexity, the Authority divided the sewer separation work into two contracts — Phase 1A and Phase 1B.

Phase 1A consists of work on the Trumbull Street Area, the downstream section,  managed by Cardinal Engineering of Meriden,

A Grove TMS 250C hydraulic crane equipped with a vibratory hammer installs HP12x63 battered pile during construction of reaction wall framework at a jacking pit.

Conn., while Phase 1B comprises work on Prospect Street, the upstream section, managed by URS Corporation’s Rocky Hill, Conn., office.

Phase 1B, which runs right through the urban Yale campus, was commenced first and was completed in June 2011.

C.J. Fucci won both contracts in the public bidding process, and subcontracted the extensive pipe-jacking for both contracts to M & P Pipe Jacking Corporation of Newington, Conn. Luigi DiMonaco, the Authority’s Construction Administrator, is overseeing the project.

Utilities, Traffic And Trees

Design manager Ricozzi said there were many challenges to completing the missing link. For example, there are a number of municipal and Yale University construction projects under way in the sewer project area. There are numerous utilities, including underground gas lines, water mains and conduits, together with overhead wires, that all have to be relocated from the path of the new storm drain and sewer lines.

Owing to the strategic location of Trumbull Street as the main access road to downtown New Haven and Yale, an intricate traffic detour program had to be worked out by project engineers and several City of New Haven and State Department of Transportation Agencies.

Furthermore, the project team has to protect legacy trees lining the busy thoroughfare. Stately sycamores and other large old trees, some of them up to five-feet in diameter, are to be avoided by construction if at all possible. Roots can’t be cut for fear of destroying trees. To address this environmentally sensitive issue, the design team hired The Care of Trees, a division of the Davey Group, to lead a tree preservation effort. These specialists inventoried, inspected and rated each tree along the route, noted Ricozzi.

“The root systems were located using ground penetrating radar to establish the relative size, location, and depth of roots. After analyzing the data, the team decided to use pipe jacking and push the pipe below the roots to preserve the trees,” Ricozzi explained.

Tight Quarters, Shallow Cover

Basically, the current project will redirect all sewage from building sanitary sewer laterals into a new 36-inch RCP sewer. All storm water will be carried by the new 72-inch RCP storm sewer. The existing brick sewer will remain in place, but once this project is completed it will carry only sanitary sewage.

The success of this plan relies on having three parallel sewer pipes installed very close together down Trumbull Street. From curbside, left to right, they are a 36-inch RCP sanitary sewer, a 72-inch RCP storm water sewer, and the existing 60-inch brick sewer. M&P is jacking the 36-inch pipe and the 72-inch pipe side-by-side, with the smaller pipe slightly lower than the larger pipe and only 5 feet between their centerlines. The 72-inch RCP and 60-inch brick sewer are typically separated by between just one and two feet.

In one area near the intersection of Trumbull Street, Temple Street and Whitney Avenue, there was not enough space to install a single 72-inch pipe so instead twin 48-inch pipes were to be installed.

Adding to the uniqueness of this project is the fact that in some places there is only 2-1/2 feet of cover available over the 72-inch pipe. A rare occurrence, according to Gene Zwicharowski, superintendent of C.J. Fucci’s Underground Utility Division:

“The old industry standard was ‘double the diameter of the pipe’ for earth cover,” said the longtime construction veteran.

Contractor’s Decisions

Zwicharowski said many complex tasks linked to the means and methods employed in construction were left up to the contractor. The contractor’s project engineer, Neil Velleca, P.E., had the prime responsibility for these tasks, which included maintaining sewer flows to existing buildings and monitoring the extremely close, parallel 60-inch brick sewer during construction and designing non ground bearing reaction walls for pipe jacking pits.

Before pipe jacking could begin, however, it was critical that continuous sewer services be provided to the many buildings on Trumbull Street.  All sewer laterals on the south side of the street had to be cut from the path of the jacked pipe and connected to a temporary bypass system. Baker Corp. provided the diesel and electric by-pass pumps for this essential operation.

Once the pipes have been jacked in place, sanitary laterals are to be connected to the 36-inch sewer pipe, while storm laterals are to be connected to the 72-inch storm water pipe.

The Jacking Process

In situations where there is poor bearing soil or the pit is too shallow to build a typical thrust wall, crews usually build reaction walls in pits to resist the thrust of jacking cylinders against the pipes. These reaction walls transfer horizontal loads to a structural framework. For this project, Fucci workers formed and cast concrete walls in place against a framework they previously fabricated

Some sections of 72-inch RCP storm water sewer, as shown in this photo, have to be jacked with only 2-1/2 feet of cover.

of steel HP12x63 vertical and battered piles and 8×28 walers.

The general contractor excavated and erected earth support systems for three jacking pits and three receiving pits.  M&P used four, 200-ton Rogers hydraulic jacks to push pipe through the soil. The jacks actually push against a steel ring-shaped shield designed to protect pipe and distribute forces evenly around its circumference. As part of this process, M&P workers enter the pipe to hand-shovel encapsulated soil into a wheeled cart which when full is pulled by cable back out of the pipe into the pit. A backhoe or crane then raises the cart to street level for disposal of the spoil.

According to Tim Tarini, construction coordinator for C.J. Fucci, M&P is jacking about 900 feet of 36-inch RCP sanitary sewer, 1250 feet of 72-inch RCP storm sewer, and 520 feet of twin, 48-inch RCP storm sewer. All RCP pipe is manufactured by Hanson Pipe and Precast, with Dean Logee serving as Hanson’s sales representative for the project. Pipe is being supplied through VIP Supply Inc. of Clinton, Conn.

Other Team Members

Other major construction items are two large precast concrete sanitary sewer doghouses designed to fit over the existing 60-inch brick sewer, plus two special storm water structures. United Concrete Products of Yalesville, Conn., is supplying the precast structures.

In addition to M&P Pipe Jacking, major subcontractors on the Phase 1A contract include: A&J Construction (paving); Glenn Terrace Landscaping (plantings); and KTM Electric (traffic signals and electrical work).

Tarini said he expects construction for the complex, high-profile sewer separation project to be essentially completed by mid-2013.

Environmental Benefits

When the entire project is operational, it will provide many environmental benefits for the Greater New Haven area. Not only will

Tree roots were located using ground penetrating radar, with the information leading to the decision to jack pipe below roots to protect the trees.

the long-awaited missing link for separated storm drainage be in place, but combined sewer overflows to the Mill River will be greatly reduced, rainwater flows to the treatment plant will be cut, local roadway drainage will be improved, and the sanitary sewer will have greater capacity.

This article appeared in the June 2012 issue so New England



The nation’s roads and highways are the backbone of the U.S. transportation system, allowing Americans to travel approximately 3 trillion miles annually. But conditions on the system are deteriorating, as the need for transportation improvements far outpaces the amount of funding available. As Michigan and the nation look to rebound from the current economic downturn, making needed improvements to roads, bridges and public transit could provide a significant boost to the state’s economy by creating jobs and stimulating long-term economic growth as a result of enhanced mobility and access.

SAFETEA-LU (the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, and Efficient Transportation Equity Act – A Legacy for Users), the current long-range federal surface transportation program, was originally set to expire on September 30, 2009. Following a series of short term continuing resolutions, the current program now expires June 30, 2012. The level of funding and the provisions of a future federal surface transportation program will have a significant impact on future highway and bridge conditions and safety as well as the level of transit service in Michigan, which, in turn, will affect the state’s ability to improve its residents’ quality of life and enhance economic development opportunities. 

Federal Funding for Our Nation’s Surface Transportation System Generates Jobs.

Making Needed Highway Improvements Assures Economic Recovery and Growth

  • Our nation’s highways, transit systems, railroads, airports, ports and inland waterways drive our economy, enabling industry to achieve the growth and productivity that have made America strong and prosperous.
  • A Federal Highway Administration study concludes that for each $1 billion of federal spending on highway construction nationwide nearly 28,000 jobs are generated annually, including approximately 9,500 in the construction sector, approximately 4,300 jobs in industries supporting the construction sector, and approximately 14,000 other jobs induced in non-construction related sectors of the economy.
  • The Federal Highway Administration estimates that each dollar spent on road, highway and bridge improvements results in an average benefit of $5.20 in the form of reduced vehicle maintenance costs, reduced delays, reduced fuel consumption, improved safety, reduced road and bridge maintenance costs and reduced emissions as a result of improved traffic flow.
  • Seventy-four percent of the $409 billion worth of commodities delivered annually from sites in Michigan is transported by trucks on the state’s highways. An additional nine percent is delivered by a combination of trucks and trail, and seven percent is delivered by parcel, U.S. Postal Service or courier, which use multiple modes, including highways.

Current Road and Bridge Conditions, Travel Trends and Traffic Congestion

  • Thirty-five percent of Michigan’s major roads are in poor or mediocre condition. Driving on roads in need of repair costs Michigan motorists $2.5 billion a year in extra vehicle repairs and operating costs – $357 per motorist.
  • Twenty-four percent of Michigan’s bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.
  • Thirty-nine percent of Michigan’s major urban highways are congested. Traffic congestion costs American motorists $101 billion a year in wasted time and fuel costs. The average U.S. commuter loses 34 hours each year due to traffic congestion.
  • Americans rely almost exclusively on motor vehicles for mobility. Travel in private vehicles accounts for 88 percent of all person miles of travel. Air travel accounts for eight percent of all person miles of travel, while transit (including buses and trains) accounts for one percent.
  • Vehicle travel on Michigan’s highways increased by 20 percent from 1990 to 2010. Michigan’s population grew by seven percent between 1990 and 2010.
  • Vehicle travel on America’s highways increased by 39 percent from 1990 to 2009, while new road mileage increased by only four percent. The nation’s population grew by 25 percent from 1990 to 2010.

Roadway Improvements Can Save Lives and Reduce Traffic Crashes

  • Roadway conditions are a significant factor in approximately one-third of traffic fatalities. There were 942 traffic fatalities in 2010 in Michigan. A total of 4,966 people died on Michigan’s highways from 2006 through 2010.
  • Michigan’s traffic fatality rate of 0.97 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel is lower than the national average of 1.11.
  • Motor vehicle crashes cost Michigan $8.1 billion per year, $812 for each resident, in medical costs, lost productivity, travel delays, workplace costs, insurance costs and legal costs.
  • Where appropriate, highway improvements such as removing or shielding obstacles, adding or improving medians, widening lanes and shoulders, upgrading roads from two lanes to four lanes, and improving road markings and traffic signals can reduce traffic fatalities and accidents and improve traffic flow to help relieve congestion.
  • According to a study conducted by the Federal Highway Administration, $100 million spent on highway safety improvements will save 145 lives over a 10-year period.

Data from the U.S Census, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Federal Highway Administration, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Texas Transportation Institute was compiled and analyzed by TRIP, a nonprofit transportation research group based in Washington, D.C. Information is the latest available.

This article appeared in the June 2012 issue of Michigan Contractor & Builder