"THE BEST VALUE FOR ALL YOUR SITE DEVELOPMENT AND PAVING NEEDS."

Wall-To-Wall Progress Lifts $105 Million SR-414 Project Toward Early Completion

Ranger Construction has made “wall-to-wall” progress on a 2.7-mile elevated extension of SR-414/Maitland Rd. in Orange County, Fla., part of the John Land Apopka Expressway project. Ranger provided reinforced earth (RE) wall construction along with its complete range of excavation, grading, pipe and paving services. Shown in this view are the Keene Rd. entrance/exit ramps and bridge. (Photo by Leo Nelson)

Ranger Construction has made “wall-to-wall” progress on a 2.7-mile elevated extension of SR-414/Maitland Rd. in Orange County, Fla., part of the John Land Apopka Expressway project. Ranger provided reinforced earth (RE) wall construction along with its complete range of excavation, grading, pipe and paving services. Shown in this view are the Keene Rd. entrance/exit ramps and bridge. (Photo by Leo Nelson)

Ranger’s SR-414 project included construction of 23 RE walls, some extending up to 60 feet high, such as this section along the entrance ramp from Hiawassee Road. (Photo by Leo Nelson)

Ranger’s SR-414 project included construction of 23 RE walls, some extending up to 60 feet high, such as this section along the entrance ramp from Hiawassee Road. (Photo by Leo Nelson)

The attractive finished look of the RE wall (also referred to as mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) wall on this project) is shown near the Gas Line Bridge on Ranger’s SR-414 project. (Photo by Leo Nelson)

The attractive finished look of the RE wall (also referred to as mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) wall on this project) is shown near the Gas Line Bridge on Ranger’s SR-414 project. (Photo by Leo Nelson)

A closer view of the SR-414 bridge over Keene Rd. shows a long stretch of retaining wall to the far side of the bridge. (Photo by Leo Nelson)

A closer view of the SR-414 bridge over Keene Rd. shows a long stretch of retaining wall to the far side of the bridge. (Photo by Leo Nelson)

Scott Fowler and Engineers Misty Bayer and Lisa Jones discuss progress on Ranger North’s SR-414 project in Orange County, Fla. (Photo by Carl Thiemann)

Scott Fowler and Engineers Misty Bayer and Lisa Jones discuss progress on Ranger North’s SR-414 project in Orange County, Fla. (Photo by Carl Thiemann)

Keeping road construction projects on schedule is a challenge in any location. But in Florida during the summer, when its “Sunshine State” motto packs up and heads out on vacation, daily downpours can wash away even the most conservative production estimates.

Ranger’s North Division took full advantage when dry weather and plenty of available equipment allowed huge production advances on a $105 million SR-414/ John Land Apopka Expressway project in Orange County. The 2.7-mile elevated roadway, with 23 sections of reinforced earth wall towering up to 60 ft. high, was scheduled for completion in mid-2009, but is now expected to be finished by year-end.

Clear Skies, Ready Fleet

Hoe Operator Louis Bryant loads an articulated haul truck driven by Nick Grice. Up to 60 off-road haul trucks — along with as many as 150 on-road dump trucks — were put into action during the peak days of production. (Photo by Carl Thiemann)

Hoe Operator Louis Bryant loads an articulated haul truck driven by Nick Grice. Up to 60 off-road haul trucks — along with as many as 150 on-road dump trucks — were put into action during the peak days of production. (Photo by Carl Thiemann)

For once, Mother Nature heard Florida’s collective summertime chant and made the “rain, rain, go away.” Months of unseasonably dry weather gave earthmoving crews a great opportunity to get well ahead of schedule. They excavated and placed as much as 35,000 cu. yds. a day to build up the elevated roadway and the many reinforced earth walls that support much of its length.

But to haul 3 million cu. yds. of material you’d need a vast fleet of trucks – far more than you might expect to round up in a busy market like Orlando, right?

In other years, that might be the case. But with other major projects in the area either winding down or not yet bid, there was an abundance of available haul trucks just waiting to hit pay dirt.

Ranger put up to 150 dump trucks a day to work – 10 times the number that might normally be available – to keep pace with its accelerated earthmoving schedule.

Grader Operator John Hughes shapes the dirt as it approaches one of the roadway’s many bridges. (Photo by Carl Thiemann)

Grader Operator John Hughes shapes the dirt as it approaches one of the roadway’s many bridges. (Photo by Carl Thiemann)

“Any other time during the past 10 years, if I had called and requested even 30 trucks, I’d be lucky to get half that amount,” said Project Manager Scott Fowler, who used Star Hauling to supply the vehicles.

Wells Keep Water Flowing

Even with cooperative weather and plenty of trucks, the road to production still faced a speed bump along the way — a big, dusty speed bump. Crews were able to move massive quantities of earth, but it was all bone-dry. Without at least some moisture, the material couldn’t be compacted enough to meet density requirements.

Normally on Florida projects, “fill” dirt dug from retention ponds or other “borrow” areas has plenty of moisture in it – sometimes too much, especially during the rainy season, requiring pumps to extract the excess prior to excavation. But dry earth must be watered as it is placed, so it can be compacted enough to support eventual traffic loads.

Loader Trainee Margarita Quirno spreads road base material. (Photo by Carl Thiemann)

Loader Trainee Margarita Quirno spreads road base material. (Photo by Carl Thiemann)

And while Ranger had permitted and drilled an onsite well to provide water, it didn’t yield enough for the increased production rates. Fortunately, Ranger’s well of good luck was still flowing. In yet another favorable turn in the road, project engineers discovered two additional wells within the project boundaries – dug years earlier for agricultural irrigation – and put them into service, as well.

Combined, the wells kept enough supply on tap so Ranger could operate up to five water trucks a day during its peak of production, allowing compaction of the roadway material and keeping haul road dust to a minimum.

By the time the job is finished, Ranger’s Quality Control team will have conducted more than 12,000 density tests to ensure compaction of the road base, subgrade, utilities backfill, embankments and nearly two dozen sections of reinforced earth wall supporting the roadway.

Ranger North’s Quality Control team, including John Jones, will perform more than 12,000 density tests on the project. (Photo by Carl Thiemann)

Ranger North’s Quality Control team, including John Jones, will perform more than 12,000 density tests on the project. (Photo by Carl Thiemann)

Great Teamwork

The SR-414/John Land Apopka Expressway job presented some very favorable job site conditions and the entire project team worked hard to make the most of them, Fowler noted, turning Ranger’s largest project to date into one of its most successful, as well.

That same sense of teamwork also enabled Ranger North to get well ahead of schedule on another sizable project, widening a section of US-27 in Clermont, Fla. Valued at more than $25 million, that contract was completed near the end of 2007, more than 100 days early.

Ray Rueda pressure cleans one of 23 mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) walls on Ranger’s SR-414 project prior to painting, as George Ignatius works the lift controls. (Photo by Carl Thiemann)

Ray Rueda pressure cleans one of 23 mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) walls on Ranger’s SR-414 project prior to painting, as George Ignatius works the lift controls. (Photo by Carl Thiemann)

SR-414 Engineer Misty Bayer reviews production quantities with Superin­tendent Charlie Geiger, Area Manager Pete Scholer, Superintendent Walt Pierce and Area Manager Mark Webber. (Photo by Carl Thiemann)

SR-414 Engineer Misty Bayer reviews production quantities with Superin­tendent Charlie Geiger, Area Manager Pete Scholer, Superintendent Walt Pierce and Area Manager Mark Webber. (Photo by Carl Thiemann)

Roller Operator Mike Richards compacts the dirt to eliminate excessive voids, or tiny air pockets, ensuring that the road base has the stability and strength needed to support traffic. (Photo by Carl Thiemann)

Roller Operator Mike Richards compacts the dirt to eliminate excessive voids, or tiny air pockets, ensuring that the road base has the stability and strength needed to support traffic. (Photo by Carl Thiemann)

Margarita Quirno guides a truck bearing road rock into dumping position.

Margarita Quirno guides a truck bearing road rock into dumping position.

Haul truck driver Nick Grice and Dozer Operator Gerald Hines repeat the cycle of dumping and spreading to build the roadway up to its proper height, a process involving more than 3 million cu. yds. of material throughout the entire project, including embankments. (Photo by Carl Thiemann)

Haul truck driver Nick Grice and Dozer Operator Gerald Hines repeat the cycle of dumping and spreading to build the roadway up to its proper height, a process involving more than 3 million cu. yds. of material throughout the entire project, including embankments. (Photo by Carl Thiemann)

Hoe Operator Brad Driggers readies another bucket of material while excavating a retention pond. Though the dirt contains moisture initially, in dry weather it must be sprayed with water during grading to achieve proper compaction. (Photo by Carl Thiemann)

Hoe Operator Brad Driggers readies another bucket of material while excavating a retention pond. Though the dirt contains moisture initially, in dry weather it must be sprayed with water during grading to achieve proper compaction. (Photo by Carl Thiemann)

To keep pace with the project’s accelerated schedule, Ranger built half of the walls itself, a first for the company, utilizing equipment from its recent Medley, Fla., acquisition. Sub­contractor Dane Construc­tion performed the balance of the wall work. (Photo by Carl Thiemann)

To keep pace with the project’s accelerated schedule, Ranger built half of the walls itself, a first for the company, utilizing equipment from its recent Medley, Fla., acquisition. Sub­contractor Dane Construc­tion performed the balance of the wall work. (Photo by Carl Thiemann)