For the Union Pacific job Sikes divided the parking lot into four large sections. Each section required pavement repairs, cracksealing, sealcoating, and striping, but only one section required paving. Working with the client Sikes decided to shut down one section at a time, leaving the paving section for last. Then he established a staging area, which he does on every job.
The staging area, which Sikes relocated as the job progressed so crew and trucks didn't have to travel far to reach it, contained a 4,300-gal. bulk storage drop tank supplied by SealMaster, two 2007 Peterbilt 10-wheelers with Swaploader beds, a 1993 Peterbilt 3,000-gal. sealer tank truck, a 300-gal. squeegee/spray buggy, a 2002 Ford F-350 XLT with Switch-N-Go bed with a custom-made service body and a 500-gal. sealer tank, a custom-made 10-ft. squeegee/9 ½-ft. spray bar with hydraulic lift, a 2008 Bomag 814 Propaver, Ingersoll-Rand DD-15 and DD-24 rollers, Crafco's EZ Pour 200 melter/applicator, multiple debris boxes and equipment trailers, a 2006 Caterpillar 248B skid steer with grinder and sweeper attachments, a 2008 Ingersoll-Rand L-6 light tower, and a 40-ft. motor home that served as the on-site command center.
In addition the staging area contained all materials, cracksealing equipment, a water truck, tools, 100 spray tips, 300 ft. of squeegee rubber, Masonite shields to protect buildings and fences from overspray, and served as the on-site mechanic's shop. The site also was the location for Sikes Asphalt's Ford E-450 Superduty "mobile office" (formerly an ambulance) with flashers and strobe lights, a coffee pot (well used during the Pacific Union job), a PA loudspeaker system that can be heard over equipment, tablet computers customers can use to sign the contract on site using a stylus and the laptop screen, and mobile printers. Information from laptop computers in the field is synced to the server in the office giving everyone in the network access to the information - all of which enables Sikes to stay in the field, on the job, and also be aware of the office activities. Sikes can guide his crew, alert traffic of safety precautions, show a client a slide show of Sikes Asphalt services, create a bid, print an invoice, or take a lunch break.
"You can never plan enough in this business and you always have to have a backup plan because nothing ever goes the way you thought it was going to go," Sikes says. "We planned for a solid week before we went out to the job and that included cleaning the insides of the sealcoating tanks and making sure the pumps were rebuilt and ready to go. We basically planned it as if everything was going to go wrong. I was pretty amazed really at what we were able to accomplish. It went better than I ever thought it would."
Preparing the pavement
Before they could begin the sealcoating work, the focus of the job, Sikes Asphalt had to prepare the site. As Sikes says, "Prep is everything in this business, and that includes cleaning the pavement."
So he hired a subcontractor with a Tennant 800 sweeper to lead the cleaning. It was supported by two skid steers with broom attachments. Four debris boxes on trucks were staged throughout the area, and the skid steers and the Tennant filled them up. Once that was done Sikes Asphalt hooked Billy Goat blowers to the back of a van and drove at 10 mph back-and-forth across the pavement to clear it of fine particles.
Cracksealing was next, and the crew applied three pallets of cold patch material to spider web cracks and five pallets of hot pour material on larger cracks. The crew cleaned most cracks with a compressor and hand wand, adding a wheeled propane torch for those cracks containing vegetation. Initially Sikes' three-person cracksealing crew sealed in the traditional way using the EZ Pour 200 melter/applicator rented from Tri-American, Milpitas, CA. They pulled the melter/applicator on a trailer, but after only a little while watching it Sikes realized the cracksealing operation was moving too slowly. So he asked Tri-American to come out and watch the process and possibly make a suggestion.
"I try not to reinvent the wheel so I asked for Tri-American's input, and they had a great idea," Sikes says. "Instead of pulling the trailer behind a truck we put a hitch on a CAT 248 skid steer bucket and pulled it with that. That way the skid steer operator faced the crew and could move along with the crew at the appropriate pace without someone telling him it was time to move," Sikes says. "It helped keep things moving steadily and smoothly."