In the second-largest application ever of its kind, hundreds of truckloads of polystyrene block are helping expedite an expansion of Salt Lake City’s Transit Express (TRAX) light-rail system. The lightweight material, akin to styrofoam, is helping Utah Transit Authority save at least $20 million and eight months of time by avoiding soil settlement issues. Foam-filled foundations consist of polystyrene blocks used to prevent settlement along route of Utah light-rail system. The $370-million, four-station project extends the existing 19-mile, 28-station dual-line system five miles. A joint venture of Stacy and Witbeck Inc., Alameda, Calif., and Kiewit Western Co., Littleton, Colo., holds
The market is generally healthy and steadily growing, and margins are up for large specialty contractors. Further, advances in design tools and owner demand for collaboration are giving subcontractors a seat at the table early on in projects.