Contractors from across the state of Virginia are mandated to rehabilitate heavily travelled highways in need of repair at night when traffic flow is manageable, and trucks can deliver asphalt quickly. Northern Virginia is known as one of the top 10 "Commuter Hot Spots" in the nation by AAA (American Automobile Association), just outside of the Washington, DC area.
To the east, in the Hampton Roads Region of Norfolk and Virginia - increased military base operations (Norfolk Naval Base being the largest in the world), three major Port capital improvements, and a $2.2-billion new Craney Island Terminal, has increased traffic exponentially.
Truck traffic has increased with the growth of large distribution centers along the I-81 corridor at the western mountain region. This route enables a smooth passage from the Southwest (Mexico), of the United States to New York, New England, and Canada.
These immense gridlock and traffic problems have only reinforced Virginia's solution for better roads. In a safer and more manageable method, VDOT (Virginia Department of Transportation), along with city and county governments have mandated contractors to start milling or resurfacing after rush hour traffic at night. Paving is anywhere from 9 to 11 p.m. until 4 or 5 a.m. That's not much time to lay a lot of asphalt, especially when pressured by financial penalties imposed on the contractor if he is not off the road by at least 5 or 6 a.m. The dollar amount varies depending on location, $2,500 for the first 15 minutes, or up to $10,000 an hour as the common amount reported. Once that bewitching hour comes in the morning, safety becomes paramount, because the added traffic brings accidents, compounding the problem.
However, any penalty today hurts, especially when asphalt prices seem to be sky rocketing, and bidding is tighter, with fewer contracts to bid. Liquid asphalt, at the time of this writing, is over $800 per ton. So, it's imperative to utilize the best equipment on the market, with the most advantageous features, standard or otherwise, to help produce the best rideability and smoothness results. The incentive or bonus can offset any unforeseen penalty eating into a contractor's profits, and help the contractor achieve a profitable return on the project.
Equipment of choice
The Volvo Road Machinery 6000 series machines are doing their share to meet the challenge. By using the new Omni 318 10-foot electrically heated screed with the track or rubber-tired paver, and the hydraulic stationary new lighting system, paving is easier and better than before. There is also a computerized speed control, adjusted by the operator, to maintain a constant paving speed, which insures mat quality.
Five contractors among others throughout Virginia have come to that conclusion. Many of the current series 6000 Volvo paver owners are in similar generational situations. Charles Scott, founder and CEO of B & S Contracting of Staunton, has daughters, Leslie Ghidoni, and Sheila Cramer heavily involved with the company as vice-presidents. President Marlin Hewitt has his son, Luke, managing various aspects of the company.
The crew on their older PF-3200 paved the Rte 262 Staunton Bypass in Augusta County, where they were the only contractor awarded the Statewide Pavement Construction Award in 2006 from the Virginia Department of Transportation. The industrious team, along with the rest of the company, was also proud to be winners of the 2007 VTCA (Virginia Transportation Coalition Association) Safety Award.