Bell Road

Arizona DOT Keeps Tight Schedule on US 60 Interchange Project

The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) hopes to soon reopen a section of Bell Road in Surprise, Arizona, that has been closed since April. The road was closed as part of a project to construct a new Bell Road bridge over U.S. 60 (Grand Avenue) and the adjacent BSNF railroad tracks. With the aim of increasing safety and reducing congestion, the bridge is replacing the previous ground-level intersection and crossing.

The closure was planned in order to reduce overall construction impacts and speed the entire project. The work is being carried out in a busy commercial section of Surprise, a burgeoning community northwest of Phoenix, which Forbes magazine listed, along with two neighboring municipalities, as among the 10 fastest-growing suburbs in the United States.

Multi-Phase Project

The full closure of Bell Road between 134th Avenue and West Point Parkway began in April, timed to occur after the conclusion of the Cactus League season at Surprise Stadium. The goal of the project team was to reopen Bell Road to traffic in time for the holiday shopping season, and the current estimate is that it will be open by the end of the year. Although not all of the work will be completed at that time, reopening Bell Road will allow improved access to businesses in the area.

The project began in January, with contractor Coffman Specialties, Inc., focused on work along the center median of Grand Avenue near Bell Road. That construction along the Grand Avenue median prepared for the addition of the median on- and off-ramps connecting to the new Bell Road overpass. The work was done in stages, with the initial activity focused on the center median area and the ramp construction. Later in the schedule, traffic switched toward the median to allow construction of the Grand Avenue “through lanes” in the area.

MUD Interchange

Transportation officials see the new interchange as an important improvement. Laying out the alternatives, a Design Concept Report in January 2015, said building an interchange would provide a significant benefit by constructing a new grade-separated intersection that would eliminate the existing BNSF Railway at-grade crossing and allow traffic movements on U.S. 60, Bell Road, and between U.S. 60 and Bell Road to occur at the existing intersection location.

Steve Elliott, Assistant Communications Director for Public Information for Arizona DOT, explained that a number of factors went into deciding on the preferred alternative for the design of the interchange project.

“The MUD (medium urban diamond) design satisfies the traffic operational characteristics, provides the railroad grade separation, provides access between the two roadways and minimizes right-of-way and impacts to the neighboring commercial centers,” Elliott said. “Other interchange types would have required more land and more impacts to businesses.”

The MUD interchange design means that through traffic on Grand Avenue will no longer stop at Bell Road. Instead, the two roadways will be connected via new on- and off-ramps constructed within the Grand Avenue median.

Cost Savings with Design-Build

Elliott noted that public agencies involved in the development and evaluation process included ADOT, the Federal Highway Administration, the Maricopa Association of Governments, Maricopa County Department of Transportation and the City of Surprise.

The original cost estimate for the project was just over $66.5 million, with $14 million going to right of way acquisition. And, although over $52 million was programmed for design and construction, Elliott said, “The contractor bid came in roughly 20 percent less than programmed. This is a typical trend for a design-build project.”

Elliott said the design-build delivery process was used following the established federal regulations in Title 23 C.F.R. Part 636. Coffman Specialties, Inc., a San Diego, California firm specialized in large public and governmental projects, won the contract with a bid of $41.9 million. “This yields a $10 million savings in construction cost,” Elliott said.

One notable aspect of the project was the use of a mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) wall. Not uncommon, Elliott notes, and it did not require deploying any special machinery, but “still unique and requires use of an engineered fill.” The project also has several custom aesthetic treatments (Fence, Barrier finish, MSE panel finish). As in a growing number of projects, LED street lighting will be used.

Construction is continuing, but some estimates on quantities are:

    Structural Concrete: 7000 cubic yards
    Portland Cement Concrete Poured: 20,000 square yards
    Asphaltic Concrete: 25,000 Tons
    Borrow: 60,000 cubic yards
    Reclaimed asphalt and concrete have been used.
    The contractor crew size varies depending on activities of the day, Elliott said, “but we have had as many as 110 employees of the contractors and subcontractors personnel working in one day on various items.”

The contractor hasn’t encountered any major difficulties to date. Elliott said, “In this high commercial area, utilities were the biggest unknown. Though there were some surprises along way, no major delays resulted.”

Article by Peter Eisenhauer of Rocky Mountain Construction

Cajon Pass Project

Cajon Pass Pavement Repair Project Begins

Caltrans: Two years of work to yield 50 years of durability.

CAJON PASS • Commuters will drive around moveable work zones in the Cajon Pass area for the next two years, but the construction results are expected to last 50 years.

In the Interstate 15 Cajon Pass Rehabilitation Project, Caltrans will undertake resurfacing and restoring the roadway pavement while managing traffic flow for peak-travel-hour efficiency.

The affected area runs from about two miles south of Highway 395 in Hesperia to just south of the Kenwood Avenue exit in the Cajon Pass.

Contractors will use mobile K-rail moving equipment to shift the concrete lane barriers daily to manage traffic flow.

Coffman Specialties Inc. and Parsons Corp. joined efforts to design and build the $120 million project. All funding comes from the State Highway Operation and Protection Program, which pays for restoration projects on aging highways not otherwise funded.

The 10-year SHOPP plan estimates an average $2.3 billion in work to be delivered each year. Only the highest-priority statewide needs are targeted this year, according to Caltrans.

Caltrans says the Cajon Pass project will extend the interstate lanes’ service life with minimal expense. It consists of replacing two outer Portland cement concrete pavement lanes and asphalt concrete shoulders and patched areas; grinding and replacing slabs needing repair in interior lanes; rehabilitating ramp pavement; and upgrading and installing roadside safety features.

Future nighttime lane closures generally will take place from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m., depending on day and direction of travel affected, Caltrans spokeswoman Joy Sepulveda said.

The moveable-median concept for enhanced driver safety was pioneered during the recently completed Doyle Drive Bypass/Presidio Parkway construction in San Francisco, project managers said.

A brief, narrated video describing the process can be viewed at Cajon Pass Project Narrative.

Information about the project, including the managed traffic-flow animation, was made available to the public at two open houses hosted last week in Victorville and Phelan.

Work on the Cajon Pass Rehabilitation Project began recently with contractors strengthening the roadway shoulders. The project is slated to be completed by June 2016.

The project can be followed online at Cajon Pass Project and through related social media channels.

Gary Brodeur may be contacted at 760-951-6245 or Follow him on Twitter @DP_gbrodeur.

Women's Entrepreneurial Awards '06

Women’s Entrepreneurial Awards ’06: Diligence in Construction Field is Coffman’s Specialty

Steady gains are proof of skillful business acumen.

Colleen Coffman conveys a sanguine attitude of success.

When asked if being a woman in construction has affected business positively or negatively, the president and founder of Coffman Specialties Inc. replied frankly, “I have never seen it either way.”

As the behind-the-scenes organizer to with revenues of $88.25 million last year, Coffman said she just focuses on doing her job. Coffman Specialties ranks No. 1 on the San Diego Business Journal’s List Of Women-Owned Businesses in terms of gross 2005 revenues.

Like most successful businesses, Coffman Specialties did not develop overnight. In 1990, when her husband, Jim sold his construction company, Coffman’s 12-year employer, she mused that perhaps here was an opportunity for a new business venture of her own.

Based in a modest office in Pacific Beach, Coffman Specialties started off subcontracting for companies that just needed to made their goals to qualify for the federal Department of Transportations’ designation as a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise, or DBE.

Coffman capitalized on her construction experience, and although 1991 revenues showed only $320,000, she was on the road to success.

“Eventually the fact that we were a DBE was less of an issue compared to our performance,” said Coffman, 56. “We produced a very good product.”

During Coffman Specialties’ second year in business, company revenues grew to exceed $6.2 million. This marked the beginning of a steady upward trend for the contractors, whose revenues jumped to more than $30 million by 2000.

“Concrete paving has always been the meat of our existence,” she said. “We owe early and current success to concrete, and it can be a tough area in construction. You have to have a good eye for projects that may not have a lot of bidders.”

Coffman credits her husband for having this good eye, a knack that he now brings to the company that he now brings to the company since joining Coffman Specialties as project coordinator nine years ago.

Currently employing 249 people between the San Diego and Phoenix offices, Coffman knows that trusted employees are the key to this business.

“You work a lot, you give up a lot,” Coffman said. “But of course, you gain a great deal. You only dream of vacation days because there’s way too much work, and when the work lets up, you have to go find more. Only in the last few years have we allowed ourselves some days off, and that is due to find great people that we trust to leave in charge, combined with great training programs.

The concrete business, more so that any other subcontracting field, heavily depends on public projects such as the Maricopa County Flood Control District project that Coffman is spearheading. Despite the most talented and experienced of teams, concrete subs can suffer when public funding tightens.

For this reason, Coffman Specialties expanded it business into general contracting five years ago.

Confident in her ability to grow and adapt, Coffman has taken prudent steps towards diversifying the company’s market in the past year.

“We used Caltrans (California Department of Transportation) in the past, and now there are changes that have created some problems for us,” Coffman said. “Some districts are more difficult. We are branching out, exploring other markets such as irrigation districts to avoid too narrow a niche. Same path, more owners.

The diversification also has invited some new struggles, according to Coffman. Moving from sub to general contracting has created natural competition among other general contractors with whom Coffman has worked for years.

Having gotten her start with the help of many of these contractors, a big concern of Coffman’s has been maintaining good company ties following the changes.

“It was tricky because we still do some subcontracting work and didn’t want to burn bridges,” she said. “Fortunately, the relationships we’ve built over the years were strong enough to work out areas where each of us could bid for jobs.”

According to Coffman, the booming Phoenix market invites a lot of job opportunity, so her current focus includes expansion in the Arizona market.

Coffman hopes to continue producing more of the same.

“I wanted to keep focusing on what we’ve been doing. I have a team that I trust, I’ve found good people and feel good about the work that we do,” Coffman said.

Copyright San Diego Business Journal Aug 07, 2006

Top 10 Roads and Bridges Award

Top 10 Roads & Bridges Award

I-15 Express Lanes – San Diego

The San Diego Express is hitting the problems caused by congestion like a freight train. They have been reduced to nothing, thanks to the accelerated evolution of 21st century transportation management. When complete in 2012, the project will stretch 20 miles and carry such features as express and reversible lanes, direct-access ramps and electronic tolling. Sensors will monitor the flow of traffic to determine rates for congestion pricing, and a moveable barrier will allow for the contraction or expansion of northbound and southbound lanes.

Cost: $1.3 billion
Length: 20 miles
Designer: Caltrans
Contractors: Flatiron, Coffman Specialties, Transcore
Owner: Caltrans

Gomaco World All American Canal

All American Canal

The All-American Canal in southern California delivers approximately 3.1 million acre-feet (382,379 ha m) of the Colorado River to nine cities and 500,000 acres (202,343 ha) of agricultural land. The 82 mile (132 km) long canal was originally constructed in the 1930s and 1940s. It begins at the Imperial Dam on the Colorado River, about 20 miles (32 km) northeast of Yuma, Arizona, and extends south and west, following the Mexican/ American border.

The canal is currently unlined and substantial amounts of water are lost due to seepage, according to the Imperial Irrigation District, who operate and maintain the All-American Canal. They want to rebuild a section of the canal, with the new canal constructed parallel to the existing canal. The new concrete-lined canal will help minimize water lost because of seepage. Coffman Specialties, based out of San Diego, California, won the initial project bid to complete a portion of the new canal.

Continue reading “All American Canal”

Water & Wastewater

Water & Wastewater Top Projects Winner

Winner: All American Canal Lining Project

The All American Canal Lining Project (AACLP) is a congressionally authorized key element of the 2003 Quantification Settlement Agreement (QSA). Its goals are to reduce canal seepage losses and aid the state of California in meeting its QSA Colorado River water use limitations.

The lining project consists of constructing a concrete-lined canal parallel to and replacing a 23-mile section of the 82-mile earthen canal, which conveys Colorado River water to the Imperial and Coachella Valley. The project will conserve 67,700 acre-ft of water per year. Conserved water will be transferred to the San Diego County Water Authority and the San Luis Rey settlement parties.

The AACLP was constructed in three segments separated by three existing hydroelectric facilities along the canal. Successful bidders for the work included Kiewit Pacific and a joint venture of Ames and Coffman. Construction required more than 20 million cu yd of excavation and 2 million sq yd of concrete. Environmental mitigation included: 44 acres of new wetlands; 1,025 acres of flat-tailed horned lizard habitat; a 50-acre warm water game fish pond; and a 30-acre dune restoration

Implementing the AACLP included organizational, legal, environmental and construction challenges. Legal challenges included a nine-month work stoppage due to an injunction. Environmental constraints included significant compliance mitigation, a demanding physical desert environment and adjacency to high-use public sand dune areas and the Mexican border. The most significant construction challenge was the requirement that the flow of water through the canal could not be interrupted. The project was started in June 2007, and finish date will be in March 2010.

  • Owner: U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Operated by the Imperial Irrigation District)
  • Designer: Bookman-Edmonston, a div. of GEI Consultants
  • Contractors: Parsons Water & Infrastructure, Inc., Kiewit Pacific Co., Ames/Coffman
  • Cost: $300 million
  • Size: 23 miles/sq ft
National Partnership for Highway Quality

Highway Award Cites California Project as Gold Level Winner

The National Partnership for Highway Quality (NPHQ) announced today that California has been named a 2007 National Achievement Award Gold Level Winner for its I-15 Rapid Rehab at Devore project. Project partners include the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) District 8 and contractor Coffman Specialties, Inc.

The announcement was made in San Diego, California, a partnership among federal, state, and roadway industry leaders and officials that promotes highway quality, safety, and service to the highway user.

For Caltrans, the prospect of rehabilitating the 3.4-mile segment of I-15 in San Bernardino County presented several unique constraints.

The roadway segment is located just south of a steep mountain grade, the Cajon Pass, and is part of the only freeway serving a large number of desert commuters and truckers traveling between Nevada and California. Moreover, the only alternate route available would add 22 miles and 45 minutes to a person’s daily commute, making total closure of the roadway virtually impossible.

Originally, the project was to take place over eight weeks with extended 72-hour weekday closures from Monday through Thursday. However, during community meetings, Caltrans learned that local communities felt the agency was catering to weekend travelers at the expense of high-desert commuters.

Caltrans worked with the contractor to develop a more customer-friendly Rapid Rehab schedule that utilized extended single-roadbed closures for just four weeks. As a result, a project that would have taken 10 months utilizing traditional night-time closures was completed in just 4 weeks, saving $6 million in construction costs.

“NPHQ is committed to building our highways more quickly and efficiently, and this project is a shining example of what can be done when we listen to our constituents,” NPHQ Executive Director Bob Templeton said. “The benefits of a project such as this will be with us for years to come.”

The NPHQ National Achievement Awards recognize overall project quality; the partnership between state departments of transportation and private contractors; technical and materials innovations; the effectiveness and creativity of public involvement; the teams’ effectiveness in meeting or exceeding expected deadlines, costs, and deliverables; responsiveness to environmental needs and opportunities; and adherence to other principles of quality management.

NPHQ is the only nationally-formed organization dedicated to achieving total commitment to highway quality and customer satisfaction in every state. Its partners include the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI), the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET), the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), the American Concrete Pipe Association (ACPA), Delcan Corporation, Granite Construction Company, Kiewit Corporation, RedVector, URS Corporation, and Williams Brothers Construction Co., Inc.