Top 25 Starts Inject $10.4 Billion Into Southwest Economy
Modeling also aided with communication with project stakeholders. "Having the modeling tool, we could walk the BLM through step-by-step and show them graphically what the level of our impact would be, to give them a better understanding of the scope of the project," says Steve Cook, construction executive.
To connect other renewable energy facilities in the Ely area to the Las Vegas power grid, Henderson, Colo.-based Sturgeon Electric is installing 235 miles of power lines capable of transmitting 600 MW as part of the $510-million One Nevada Transmission line. Originally scheduled for completion by December, the project has been delayed by several months due to wind damage sustained to a portion of the 850 tower structures being erected, according to a project spokesman with NV Energy, Las Vegas.
Transportation Takes Off
The number of large freeway project starts grew in 2011. Phoenix-based Pulice Construction began a pair of projects on Loop 303 along the west side of the Phoenix valley worth a total of $262.6 million. A new traffic interchange to connect Loop 303 with Interstate 10 will be completed in May 2014, while crews work to the north on a new section of Loop 303 from Peoria Avenue to Mountain View Boulevard, which is expected to wrap up in October 2013.
Both projects are hampered by complex traffic management requirements. "Because Loop 303 is a key north-south route in the area, the project team has to manage traffic on the two-lane highway while moving 2.6 million cubic yards of dirt needed to create an expanded six-lane freeway," says Rob Samour, Arizona Dept. of Transportation's deputy state engineer. "We're building between two major residential areas, so there's a challenge with maintaining a dirt haul and local traffic."
Pulice is also constructing a $76.4-million project for ADOT in Tucson to improve vehicle capacity to I-10 between Prince and Ruthrauff roads. The project will flip the configuration of Prince Road and the freeway so that Prince, which formerly travelled underneath I-10, will now pass over it. "This is the first time we've built a project like this where we are reversing a major interstate traffic interchange while still maintaining the six lanes of interstate traffic for the duration of the project," says Todd Emery, ADOT district engineer. Another major hurdle has been the relocation of petroleum, natural gas, electric, sewer and telecommunications for 10 major utility providers at the site. In the new configuration, all the utilities will run along a designated utility corridor spanned with a new bridge for Prince Road.
ADOT is also reconstructing a rural interchange at I-17 and Cordes Junction north of Phoenix that sees around 13,000 vehicles a day on average. The joint venture partnership of Tempe, Ariz.-based Sundt Construction Heavy Civil Division and Chino Valley, Ariz.-based Vastco Inc. will excavate more than 878,000 cu yd of dirt and build seven bridges, including a 398-ft post-tensioned span built over live traffic on I-17 using falsework. "Traffic is one of our biggest challenges because we have nowhere to detour the traffic," says Hedy Bagherpour, Sundt area manager. Any shutdown of the critical north-south route would require a 100-mile detour.
Nevada's largest highway start was the $116.8-million Clark County Rte. 215 Bruce Woodbury Beltway, which will convert the existing interim road to a four-lane freeway between Tenaya Way and Decatur Boulevard in Las Vegas, including two full interchanges, in an area surrounded by existing homes. "We have to be aware of fugitive dust in excavating over 2 million cubic yards of material," says Ryan Mendenhall, division manager with local firm Las Vegas Paving.
Looking ahead, Mendenhall says that 2012 looks very strong, but "2013 is a little scary. The major unknown is the availability of public funds for new projects."