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Improving Heavy Construction


CEMEX Assists McCarthy Improvement – Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport Project

The Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is the busiest airport in the world. Last summer, McCarthy Improvement started work on the reconstruction of the airport’s 9L-27R runway and corresponding taxiway as part of the airport’s US$6 billion expansion and makeover plan. World Cement wrote an article on the project and highlighted CEMEX’s ability to adhere to strict completion timelines, delivering cement 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from its plant in Clinchfield, Ga., to assist McCarthy Improvement in its efforts.

Click here to read the full article.

Cherokee County to replace Lower Dowda Mill bridge

The Cherokee County Board of Commissioners has awarded a $984,480 contract to McCarthy Improvement Co. to replace the bridge that carries Lower Dowda Mill Road over Sharp Mountain Creek in the northern part of the county. Read the full story from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

RDU Completes 2020 Work on Emergency Runway Preservation Project

The Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU) embarked on an emergency preservation project in 2019 that was one of the airport’s most important capital projects. With the help of McCarthy Improvement, RDU completed reconstruction on Runway 5L-23R.

To learn more about the project, read RDU’s press release here.

AGC Iowa Offers Scholarships

The Associated General Contractors of Iowa (AGC Iowa) is dedicated to improving the quality of construction through a broad range of member services. In addition, AGC Iowa also provides annual scholarships to high school students interested in Highway Construction and Diesel Technology.

The deadline to apply is April 12, 2020, and recipients will be announced on May 1, 2020.

Highway Construction Scholarship

Currently, the heavy highway industry is facing a shortage of qualified individuals. The AGC Iowa Foundation is offering scholarships to high school seniors interested in Heavy Equipment Operation, Engineering Technician, or general construction programs. Preference will be given to individuals who are interested in working in the heavy highway industry.

Download the scholarship application:

Diesel Technology Scholarship

Currently, the heavy highway industry is facing a shortage of diesel technicians/mechanics. The AGC Iowa Foundation is offering scholarships to high school seniors entering diesel technician or diesel engine diploma programs at community colleges across the state.  Applicants must demonstrate a strong desire to work on diesel engines.

Download the scholarship application:

Maureen Roe Named to ACPA 2020 Board of Directors

The American Concrete Pavement Association (ACPA) is the world’s largest trade association that exclusively represents the interests of those involved with the design, construction, and preservation of concrete pavements. Membership includes concrete paving companies, cement companies, and other industry professionals.

McCarthy Improvement has been a member of ACPA since 1986 and supports the association’s expansive efforts to help the concrete paving industry grow. Maureen Roe, McCarthy Improvement Estimator, is actively involved in the organization.

Fueling Growth

Maureen’s involvement began in 2010 and has steadily increased, from attending annual meetings to being nominated for the inaugural Emerging Leaders Group in 2016. While in line to be the next chair of the Group, Maureen is also a member of ACPA regional organizations. In 2018, Maureen was voted on to the Board of Directors of the Southeast ACPA, and in 2019 became the chairman of ACPA Georgia.

Maureen’s latest accomplishment has been being named to the ACPA’s 2020 Board of Directors, and she is well equipped for that position. As a fifth-generation family member, Maureen combines her own construction experiences with industry lessons learned from her father and grandfather.

“I am extremely proud to represent McCarthy Improvement as a board member of our premier industry organization. I am looking forward to helping shape and grow the industry with other leaders and members of the ACPA in order to build a bright future for concrete paving.”

ACPA is an excellent organization that works hard to promote and enhance the concrete paving industry. McCarthy’s involvement will remain strong and steadfast.

ACPA Membership Benefits

The ACPA offers a broad range of educational opportunities and helps fund research to develop best practices and promote technological advances in concrete paving. Also, the ACPA:

  • Offers tools for members to help promote best practices.
  • Includes a legislative group, and members help lobby to congress for transportation funding.
  • Awards and showcases members’ high-profile projects.
  • And acts as an industry advocate and technical resource.

To learn more about the ACPA, click here.

Iowa Recognition of Construction Safety Excellence

The Associated General Contractors of Iowa established the annual “Recognition of Safety Excellence Awards” (ROSE) to recognize contractor member companies who develop and implement excellent safety and loss prevention programs.

In order to be acknowledged as a top safety contractor, the following requirements must be met:

  • Nominations should highlight outstanding achievements in the area of safety.
  • Activities can include training, program development, innovative techniques or procedures or other activities, which promote or enhance safety awareness and/or achievement.
  • Significant reduction in incidents, lowering the member’s Total Case Incident Rate (TCIR) and/or Days Away from work Restricted or job Transfer (DART) rates.
  • The creation of incentives, awards and recognition programs or other noteworthy actions taken to enhance the member’s safety program.

McCarthy Improvement received a second-place ROSE Award in the Portland Cement Paving Division for contractors in the 100,000 – 400,000 work hours category.

“McCarthy Improvement considers our employees to be our most valuable assets; as such, we are dedicated to their protection,” stated Donna Said, Safety Manager of McCarthy Improvement. “The only way to achieve this is by ensuring that all employees, regardless of their position, are fully engaged in maintaining our proactive safety culture throughout the company. In addition, we have also developed a rigorous set of policies and procedures to prevent worksite incidents. We’re proud our safety program has been recognized by the IGC.”

The Associated General Contractors of Iowa is Iowa’s oldest and largest association of heavy/highway and municipal/utility contractors. AGC of Iowa represents hundreds of firms, including Iowa’s leading contractors and their service providers and suppliers. AGC of Iowa members are the “Public’s Partner in Building & Maintaining Iowa’s Highway, Bridge, And Municipal/Utility Infrastructure”. Visit the AGC of Iowa at

Fast Forward In North Carolina

The American Concrete Pavement Association (ACPA) produces a quarterly publication called the Concrete Paving Progress to share industry news, project snapshots, best practices and networking events with its members. A project McCarthy Improvement was heavily involved in – NC I-85 Unbonded Overlay – was recently featured in the magazine, and ACPA graciously permitted us to share the following story on our website.

Accelerated Overlay Project Meets Demands From Increased Traffic

A $137 million rehabilitation of I-85 between Henderson, N.C., and the Virginia state line has greatly improved the ride for this heavily trafficked, 21.6-mile highway section.

The recently placed unbonded concrete pavement overlay has an expected design life of 30-plus years and is designed to meet the needs associated with higher traffic counts, including an increasingly high volume of truck traffic.

Originally paved in 1960, the 55-year-old roadway underwent a rehabilitation project in 2007 that focused on spall repair, slab replacement with asphalt, polymer patching of cracks and an overlay that kept traffic moving, albeit on a less than ideal pavement.

“The original pavement exceeded its expected life, but we were seeing slab failures, and we also needed to bring the entire corridor up to current design standards and create a pavement that can handle increasing truck traffic,” says E. Boyd Tharrington, P.E., Division Construction Engineer for Division 5 of the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

ACPA Project Snapshot of NC I-85 Unbonded Overlay

Over the last decade, truck traffic has increased steadily. This section of I-85 currently carries nearly 40,000 vehicles per day (VPD), with 23% of all traffic consisting of trucks. According to FHWA’s office of Freight Management and Operations, freight truck traffic is expected to increase by another 40% in the next 30 years, which will mean that I-85’s average truck traffic will be over 12,800 trucks per day.

The 10-in. unbonded concrete overlay is placed on top of an asphalt interlayer, says Adam Bruner, Carolinas Regional Manager for McCarthy Improvement, an ACPA member. “We paved over 80 lane miles—just over 21 miles of two northbound lanes and two southbound lanes,” he explains. Almost 662,200 SY of concrete was used, making it one of the largest unbonded concrete overlay projects in the southeast.

When this section of I-85 was first paved, standard design specifications called for 30-ft joint spacings with no dowel bars to transfer loads between slabs. “Now, the joint spacing is at 15-ft and dowel baskets were placed,” explains Bruner. The current design produces a pavement that can handle the expected volume and type of traffic expected in the future, he adds.

Although the concrete contractor was able to work on two-lane sections throughout the project, with traffic diverted to one lane each way on the other side of I-85, space in the work zone was tight. “Stringless paving was a lifesaver for us on this project,” says Bruner. “There were a number of operations in the work zone at one time, so there was no room for a stringline.”

“This was the first time stringless paving has been used in a project I’ve handled,” says Tharrington. “It provided a great advantage in access through work areas, getting material to the paver, and improving overall safety on the site.”

Although a constricted work zone is a challenge, the greatest challenge faced was the acceleration of the project schedule two years into construction. “One of our department initiatives is to identify major projects that can be accelerated when we have the funding to do so,” explains Tharrington. Because traffic could be diverted onto the opposite side of the interstate to keep it moving, the project lent itself to an accelerated schedule, he explains. “The original plan called for five-mile closures at a time, but the accelerated schedule allowed the entire 21-mile section of the southbound lanes to be closed—moving all traffic to a two-lane, two-way pattern in the northbound lane.”

Along with the extended work zone, the accelerated schedule also meant off-season paving, which required some adjustments for the cold weather, says Bruner. “In addition to using hot water for the mix, we also covered the pavement at the end of each day,” he explains. “This required an additional crew to blanket the concrete and we worked seven days a week.” During summer months, work continued at night, but during winter months, the temperature determined how late in the day crews could work, he adds.

Extending the work zone closure allowed for a more efficient paving operation and working throughout most of the winter months meant opening all lanes to traffic one year earlier than originally planned.

NCDOT specifications call for diamond grinding of concrete pavements to produce a better ride quality and reduce noise, but Tharrington points out that the combination of stringless technology and the ability to extend the length of work zones to allow continuous paving contributed to a high-quality product. He says, “The ride quality of this pavement is outstanding.”

The original article can be found here.

2019 Excellence In Concrete Pavements Award Winner

The American Concrete Pavement Association (ACPA) announced winners of its annual “Excellence in Concrete Pavements” awards. McCarthy Improvement received gold in the Industrial Paving category for the CSX Intermodal Terminals project located in Winterhaven, Florida.

Within three years of its initial construction, the Central Florida Intermodal Logistics Facility had outgrown its originally design capacity of 300,000 containers per year. As a result, an expansion project was required and included:

  • construction of additional gantry cranes
  • high mast lighting
  • more than 13 acres of additional tractor trailer parking, loading and unloading areas

McCarthy Improvement was contracted to perform the concrete paving, which totaled 67,000 SY of concrete. The project specifications required a mix capable of attaining a compressive strength of 4,000 psi at 28 days. McCarthy Improvement developed a mixture that met the required strength in less than seven days, which helped expedite cure of adjacent paving lanes. The mix design included Type II portland cement, natural sand and granite coarse aggregates. Even though the granite was not locally available, McCarthy Improvement chose to “rail-in” granite aggregates from eastern Georgia and use them to improve early strength.

McCarthy Improvement completed the paving in 23 days of the 74 calendar days allowed from mobilization to the plant site. The owner previously had issues with roller compacted concrete and asphalt, so the finished project now stands as an excellent example of the versatility and durability of concrete pavements.

The article originally appeared on the ACPA website here.

Greenwood Airport Upgrade

The Greenwood County Airport is in line for a multi-million dollar upgrade, and it will only cost local leaders pennies on the dollar to see the work done.

The Federal Aviation Administration offers annual grants for local airports, and Greenwood usually gets about $150,000, used to fund projects identified within a County Council-approved capital improvement plan.

County Engineer Rob Russian said this year’s application was for the rehabilitation of the airport’s taxiways – a $2.3 million venture, about $700,000 more than initial estimates. That’s because dual bids were advertised, one for asphalt and another for the pricier concrete option.

Russian said work could begin by the end of this year, and Atlanta-based contractor McCarthy Improvement will take on the project.

Click here to read the full article.

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