Building a new $138.5 million South Lawrence Trafficway created opportunities for Emery Sapp & Sons in Columbia, Missouri, to excel on the Kansas Department of Transportation project, which is now open to traffic and appreciated by Lawrence and Kansas City drivers.
“It was a big, time-intensive project,” says Tyler Myers, Project Manager for Emery Sapp.
The 6-mile limited access road realigned the existing K-10 highway and created a southern bypasses loop around the southern end of Lawrence. It had been planned since the 1960s. Work began in 2013 and lasted three years. It was identified as a top priority for the state and is the single largest project in KDOT’s history. The project received funding from the 2009 T-WORKS transportation program and is expected to generate a regional economic benefit of $4 billion.
The project was let using a design-bid-build delivery method. HNTB, Kansas City, Missouri, was the design partner. Emery Sapp submitted five value-engineering proposals, accepted by KDOT, two that redesigned traffic patterns, which improved sequencing. The three other recommendations saved the state almost $100,000.
The project consisted of building the four-lane highway, with 21 bridges, 33 reinforced concrete box culverts, 102,000 square feet of noise wall, and 19,000 linear feet of storm sewer. The project also required work on several local streets.
Emery Sapp self-performed 70 percent of the work, with about 150 to 200 of its employees and 100 subcontractors onsite at any given time. Forty-five percent of the contracts were awarded to local and regional merit shop contractors. Crews moved nearly 4 million cubic yards of earth, stabilized more than 750,000 cubic yards of earth, placed 220,000 yards of geogrid to stabilize and help with drainage, drove more than 65,000 linear feet of steel H piling and paved more than 525,000 cubic yards of concrete.
Foley Equipment Co. of Kansas City, Missouri, sold Emery Sapp new and used equipment used on the project, including dozers, excavators, motor graders, rubber track loaders, mini excavators, wheel loaders, telehandlers, track loaders and articulated trucks. The construction company also rented shoring and trench safety equipment, using Trimble technology, from Foley. And its service department, both shop and field, helped Emery Sapp with this project.
“Our customers’ success is our highest priority, and we’re honored to have helped Emery Sapp with this award-winning project,” says Bill Jackson, Equipment Sales Manager at Foley Equipment.
The new road passed through 61 acres of wetland, requiring mitigation. Emery Sapp created 300 acres of wetlands, conservation areas, naturalist features and biking and walking trails.
Emery Sapp, founded in 1972 with one employee and one piece of equipment, is 100 percent employee owned, with more than 600 employee owners. The company provides a diverse range of services in the Midwest, including bridge construction, concrete and asphalt paving, excavation and underground utilities work.
Emery Sapp assigned three project managers to the project: Myers, Josh Doerhoff and Jesse Hinton. Each managed one of the three core elements: excavation and wetlands, bridge construction, and concrete paving. Chip Jones, DOT Branch Manager for Emery Sapp praised the teamwork that made the job a success.
They mapped out a master schedule and then met weekly with KDOT to coordinate and develop a two-week look-ahead schedule to outline what work would take place. The company sequenced the work to open some segments of the road early.
Eight of the bridges are reinforced concrete haunched slab bridges, three are prestressed concrete girder bridges and 10 are steel plate girder bridges. To avoid long-term settlement of the bridge foundations, Emery Sapp developed a two-step approach, starting with the construction of wick drains under the abutment fills on 17 of the bridges. Then crews installed an aggregate drainage layer and the road embankment.
“The installation of this intricate drainage system accelerated the anticipated settlement rates and decreased the total settlement period by several months,” says Hinton.
On the four remaining bridges, crews added densification using a vibro-compacted stone column system.
The company located batch plants on KDOT property, and it produced the different mixes used on the job. Emery Sapp met with local landowners to ensure they were not negatively affected by the construction, built entrances for farmers and a row of trees for two residents concerned about noise.
Emery Sapp used a computer-guided stringless paving method, which maximized production.
“The stringless paving equipment guided trimmers to ensure concrete thickness would be as specified, and that the accuracy of pavement location and surface elevation were within the correct range,” Myers says. “It also eliminated potential survey setup errors.”
Emery Sapp crews placed more than 1.5 million square yards of baserock, cement-treated base and concrete pavement weeks ahead of schedule. The smoothness of the concrete pavement is 13.1 inch per mile, compared to the 30 inch per mile in the specifications.
The road runs through wetlands in a low-lying flood plain. Emery Sapp crews took care to limit environmental impacts, especially a segment in the Baker Wetlands. They cleared and grubbed all vegetation by hand within this 55-acre section to minimize disturbances to the existing ground and then installed more than 230,000 cubic yards of aggregate stabilization. The equipment used could not exert more than five pounds per square inch on the surrounding soils. Crews used recycled timber mats when hailing to minimize surface issues.
Emery Sapp had to comply with inspections and reviews by state and federal agencies. The company hired a full-time environmental scientist to manage and document all pollution and stromwater control activities.
“Throughout the duration of the project, no violations were noted or documented on the 500-acre jobsite footprint or 120-acre off-site borrow areas, a true testament to the team's diligence,” Jones says.
Safety was emphasized on the job and resulted in no recordable accidents, no lost-time accidents and no restricted day cases. Labor hours exceeded 372,000 hours. Safety Director Jeff Stevens drafted a site-specific safety plan and remained on site monitoring safety.
“We integrated safety and risk management into our daily operations, ensuring that it becomes a natural part of our operation’s culture, enhancing management and worker cooperation, and providing long-term positive results,” Doerhoff says. “Each decision made and action taken was consistent with the achievement of a zero lost-time project, with the understanding that safety, quality, and productivity are not mutually exclusive, but that all three would be achieved simultaneously.”
Emery Sapp received many awards for its work on the South Lawrence Trafficway. The road now reduces travel time in the area.
Emery Sapp & Sons received awards for the South Lawrence Trafficway from:
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