A massive building project is taking place at the old Joliet Arsenal in Elwood, IL. The arsenal is being converted into the Deer Run Industrial Park. Two buildings there house the national distribution facilities for a major department store, providing 3.4 million sq. ft. of warehouse space.
L&M Concrete, which is based in Elwood, served as the curb and gutter contractor on the project. It used a GOMACO GT-3600 to slipform 31,000 ft. of high-back curb and gutter.
Another contractor had been hired to pave approximately 20,000 ft. of dolly pad for the semi-truck trailers to sit on between loading and transporting. The contract fell through, leaving the development coordinators looking for a replacement. They turned to L&M to pave the 10-ft.-wide, 8-in.-thick pad.
"When the developers first approached me about the dolly pad, I told them I just couldn't do it," says Les Cheney, owner and president of L&M Concrete. "Later, I was telling my GOMACO distributor, Marty Ahrendt with Finkbiner Equipment Co., about the project and told him that I wished there was a little paver I could rent. Marty said I didn't need a paver - that my 2005 GT-3600 could pave 10 ft. wide."
Kit adapts paver to the task
Cheney started L&M Concrete in 1982, specializing in patios and driveways. His focus soon shifted to city sidewalks and smaller curb and gutter projects. Within a couple of years, the company was handforming approximately 200,000 ft. of curb and gutter per year.
In 1990, it was time to get a slipform curb and gutter paver. Cheney turned to GOMACO and the GT-3600. The company has been running its
GT-3600s ever since.
For this project, Ahrendt proposed equipping L&M's GT-3600 with a 10-ft.-wide centermount mold kit. Cheney, Finkbiner and GOMACO engineers worked together to customize the kit to fit the project requirements.
They determined early on that Cheney wanted to use the conveyor with a closed-front mold instead of dumping directly on the ground in front of the paver. The mold is equipped with extra vibration and an auger that moves the concrete across the width of the pad. The mold system connects to the GT-3600 with added framework sections that include extensions for the three tracks, enabling them to be properly placed for project requirements.
"GOMACO did some excellent engineering on this entire package," says Cheney. "The finished concrete pad came out the back as slick as could be."
On its best day, L&M Concrete was able to slipform 530 cu. yds. of concrete in seven hour's time. The GT-3600 was moving so fast that an extra concrete supplier had to be brought in. At times, the slipforming operation was moving along so well that 8-cu.-yd. ready-mix trucks were being unloaded in under four minutes.
"Most days, we would arrive at the jobsite at
7 a.m., slipform 1,000 ft. of the dolly pad - which was approximately 250 cu. yds. of concrete - and we would be done by noon," Cheney states. "When I say done at noon, I mean done. We were leaving the site with our tools and the machine cleaned up, and heading to our next project for the day."
The project had strict quality control and inspection requirements. "The project owner just couldn't understand how we could pour such stiff concrete, at a 1.5- to 2-in. slump, and cover as much territory as we did," says Cheney. "They didn't realize we had the auger and vibrators inside the mold."
The GT-3600 put such a nice finish on the final concrete pad that L&M's finishers had very little to do. They ran a bull-float over it and a light broom finish. Finishers spent most of their time putting in expansion joints every 30 ft.
"I just can't imagine how much manpower it would have taken to frame and pour just 1,000 or 2,000 ft. of dolly pad, then go back and strip it all down after the pour," Cheney comments. "The
GT-3600 really worked well for us on this project."
The mold kit has also enabled L&M Concrete to expand the scope of its business. "Because we have this new mold, we've picked up more jobs like this, so we have a lot more work lined up for next year," Cheney points out. "It's really going to have an impact on this little family business of mine."