Every paving job has its own challenges, and when Pennsy Supply took on the job of grading and paving the Silver Spring Square Retail Center, they knew scheduling was going to their biggest obstacle. Not only was Silver Spring Square the biggest commercial paving project Mechanicsburg, PA, has seen in years, but the contractor who did the job was going to have to be at the beckon call of the general contractor, paving in whatever bits and pieces were available.
But that didn't phase Pennsy Supply a bit. And now, as the job nears completion more than 18 months after it was begun, Pennsy has met the challenge through experience, extensive planning, and effective utilization of equipment and crews.
"It was tough because we couldn't go in and pave the way we would normally pave," says Frank Smith, project manager. "Because of the nature of the project, with some areas opening before others and because we were working around so many other contractors, we had to pave as areas became available to us. So it was a challenge to maintain the quality throughout the project, but the crews did a great job and we passed all the quality control tests they did."
An Oldcastle company, Pennsy Supply covers central Pennsylvania with six asphalt plants and seven quarries, producing between 900,000 and 1 million tons of hot mix asphalt a year. Barry Harbonic, vice president of Pennsy Supply Construction Group, says Pennsy places 400,000 tons of mix on its own jobs, and sells 60% of the mix it produces to other contractors. He says 40% of Pennsy Supply's paving is roadwork for PennDot, with the bulk of that being large-scale milling and overlay jobs. Most of the paving work (60%) is on commercial projects, so the Silver Spring Square Retail Center fit nicely into its operation. Harbonic says Pennsy employs 500 people throughout its entire operation, 60 of whom work in the construction division, which operates five paving crews, three grading crews, a prep crew, and a production-milling crew.
"With five paving crews you can get an awful lot of work done if you have the material and have the schedule," Harbonic says. "You can lay a lot of material in a day."
Smith says Pennsy runs seven-person paving crews, including a working foreman who runs the leading edge of the screed, a regular screed operator, laborers, and roller operators. The company can select from either 8-ft. or 10-ft. pavers, matching the paver to both the production expected and which paver best suits the job. Each crew also has a 10-ton roller, and each foreman carries a 3-ton finishing roller on his truck.
Smith says the Silver Spring job was a challenge, partly because of the duration and partly because of the way it was put together. The Silver Spring job featured grading and paving of roadways and parking lots throughout a large shopping center with anchor tenants Wegman's, Best Buy, and Chili's. Harbonic says work was complicated because paving around the center's out-parcels had to be completed because those stores were opening - while the anchor stores still hadn't been built.
"As those buildings got ready they needed the paving done right away; so we were on call totally at the discretion of the project manager, who needed the paving done to turn the properties over to the client," Harbonic says. "So it wasn't uncommon for us to be placing a base course in some areas while finalizing other areas with a wearing surface."
It also wasn't uncommon to be paving in an unusual direction or in a tight area, so the paving superintendent always had to leave an area to work in and get out of.
"That was a big part of the planning on site, and experience helped a lot with that," Smith says. "Fortunately for us our field superintendents are all former paving foremen so they know how to pave."
Before Pennsy's crews went to work, excavators graded the dirt to plus-or-minus 2 in. Then Pennsy's grading crews did the fine grading before they added and compacted stone and the paving could begin. Once paving began heavy traffic areas received a 2 ½-in. thick base while the base in parking areas was 2 in. thick. The entire job was topped with a 1-in. wear surface.