Rental and Costello

Sept. 26, 2003

While central Georgia commuters sleep each night, a crew of construction workers is making nearly 40 miles of Georgia I-75 safer and smoother.

While central Georgia commuters sleep each night, a crew of construction workers is making nearly 40 miles of Georgia I-75 safer and smoother.

The award-winning APAC-Georgia Inc. Ballenger Paving Division and its subcontractor, Costello Industries, Newington, Conn., are working up to 14 hours a day, seven days a week, on two concrete rehabilitation and replacement projects that stretch across four counties. The largest of the two jobs (14 miles) spans Bibb, Crawford and Peach counties, while the other (10 miles) is located in Monroe County. The crews started in July 2002 and were expecting to finish by March 31, 2003. The weather and various other challenges may push the completion date into 2004.

Costello Industries is renting the majority of their equipment--nearly 75%--from the Rental Service Corp. (RSC) store in Byron. Renting the equipment helps the crew eliminate down time, said Rick Brockman, area manager for Costello Southeast.

Costello chose to rent most of its machinery for the I-75 resurfacing project because, due to the strict deadline and time frame agreements of the job, the crew has a zero tolerance for down equipment. Renting equipment saved them from worrying about maintenance by trusting that RSC would swap out any equipment at any hour of the day or night.

Costello has a total of 64 items on rent, including: 12 light towers, three Conex 40-ft containers, two walk-behind rollers, six loaders, two water trucks, two backhoes and a variety of other equipment--from crushers and sweepers to excavators.

"Anything that involves heavy-duty concrete removal we rent," said Brockman. "We're nomads. We have our crew travel to every job. It's just not worth it taking the heavier equipment and mechanics to go service an excavator when you have a rental dealer that's usually within 25 miles from the jobsite."

Each night, from 8 p.m. to 10 a.m., Costello Industries and their subcontractor ABC Concrete Cutting of Atlanta uses the loaders, water trucks, graders, skid steers and rollers to saw, remove 10-in. concrete slabs and then get the base ready on a 20-mile stretch of I-75 just south of Macon. APAC-Georgia pours concrete behind them, a technique many DOT personnel thought could only be performed by the asphalt industry. They have been astonished to learn that Costello and APAC also can replace everything they remove each night.

Even though the production varies each night, the concrete pavement is open to the public every morning for rush hour. The crew is required to have the center lane cleared by 6 a.m. and all three lanes open for traffic by 10 a.m., otherwise they must pay the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) $5,000.

Besides the strict deadlines, the coordination between various sites and functions of the two jobs also is a challenge, Brockman said.

While some of the crew is working on lane removal, others are sawing joints. While one group works full time at a nearby crushing operation, another crew works on concrete rehabilitation.

According to Brockman, all lane removal and replacements have been completed. Joint sealing, concrete rehab and shoulder work is still in progress.

Between the two projects, they employ eight different kinds of concrete pavement rehabilitation practices in all:

* Saw and seal joints in new concrete pavement (Dow silicone sealants); 

* Clean and reseal joints in existing concrete pavement (Dow silicone sealants);

* Full-depth patching of jointed or continuously reinforced concrete pavement; 

* Partial-depth patching of concrete pavement; 

 * Concrete removal and demolition;

* Asphalt joint and crack sealing. Saw and seal new joints in asphalt pavements;

* Bridge joint installation and deck repair, specifically elastomeric concrete bridge joint systems; and 

* Partial-depth patching of concrete bridge deck pavement.

The weather, however, hasn't been cooperating. After three or four dry years, Georgia has felt the effects of El Nino--rain and colder temperatures. Brockman said since last July crews have lost 209 work days due to wet or cold conditions.

"Under Georgia traffic restrictions if your pavement is wet you can't set up a closure," he said.

Another situation surfaced on the Monroe County job. Crews discovered the existing road surface was built on top of a two-lane road which was constructed without bond breakers. Correcting the problem has demanded more time.

After slabs have been identified by the Georgia DOT, core samples are pulled to see if bonding did take place. If the slabs are bonded then the contractor must deep saw 18 in. and pull out everything, pour back the bottom lift, insert a bond breaker and then pour a top lift.

If the section isn't bonded crews cut it to 9 in. and remove it. If it removes clean then they do normal rehab work. If it doesn't remove clean it's treated as if it was orginally bonded.

"We have to go back and cut it to 18 in.," explained Brockman. "It has definitely affected us. We had orginally planned to do the job with wheel loaders.

We had to go in there with excavators with slab-crab buckets and backhoes with hydraulic hammers. We used the hydraulic hammers to come in at the side, punch a hole at the joint between the two lifts and get the slab-crab buckets in there and rip it up."

In it for the pavement

Costello Industries was founded originally as a road building company more than half a century ago. It began diversifying its activities into pavement maintenance long before many in the industry had even heard of the concept.

In the early 1970s, Frank Costello saw the need for pavement rehabilitation techniques and became one of the first New England firms to apply slurry seal to prolong the life of existing asphalt pavements. He also pioneered the use of milling machines, now a common sight on pavement projects.

Other innovations spearheaded by Costello include repairing joints in roads and bridges, installing bridge deck waterproof membranes, applying microsurfacing, sawing and sealing pavement overlays, pavement management techniques and applying various geotextiles that prevent cracks in substrate from reflecting up through asphalt overlays.

In the summer of 2001, Frank Costello hired Brockman to run the Southern Division and they opened their College Park, Ga., office that fall. Today Costello Industries employs more than 100 people between its two offices and is a pre-qualified contractor in 36 states.

In addition to the equipment Costello Industries is renting for the road resurfacing projects, the company also is renting equipment from the local RSC store to move old concrete to their nearby crushing operation, where another set of workers recycles concrete from the broken-down interstate into graded aggregate base to use in the asphalt shoulders. After milling out the old shoulders, the Atlanta Division of APAC-Georgia Inc. will be spreading the GAB stone from Costello's crushing operation to bring the subgrade of the interstate's shoulders to the proper thickness. Then APAC will place asphalt on the shoulders.

About The Author: Goodwin is a technical writer with the Two Rivers Marketing Group, Des Moines, Iowa.

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