Perhaps building a quality pavement is like cultivating a fine wine; perhaps one should build no road before it's time. That's one of the significant decisions Milestone Contractors of Indianapolis made when planning reconstruction and expansion of an intersection, and it was one of the factors that lead to the success of the job, which was recognized with a 2005 Quality in Construction Award from the National Asphalt Pavement Association.
The complicated job centered on reconstruction and widening of more than two lane miles of asphalt pavement at the intersection of Main Street and Graham Road in Greenwood, an Indianapolis, IN, suburb. Lynn Shireman, Milestone general superintendent, says that as with most intersection work, the roads could not be shut down so the work had to be done in stages.
"This intersection serves an industrial park and that park had to remain open for business," Shireman says. "So we had to work around their schedule."
But even while working around the industrial park's operations, and even with the challenges that are inherent in most intersection work, Milestone constructed a top-quality pavement that more than passed inspection, was finished well ahead of the deadline, and still looks great more than a year after completion.
"We scheduled it the way it needs to be built, and you can't always do it that way," Shireman says. "But that's one of the things we try to do and one of the things we learned on this job: If you can schedule the job the way the job ideally should be done, you're going to end up with a quality finished pavement - and there's a good chance you'll end up finishing the job before the deadline."
And possibly long before the deadline. Milestone started the job in March 2003, and though the project was scheduled for completion in November 2003, Milestone finished by the end of August.
"We wouldn't have made the Nov. 15 deadline and it wouldn't have looked as good if we'd have had to do it piecemeal, the way many projects like this are done" Shireman says.
14 HMA plants,1,200 employees
Part of the Indianapolis-based Heritage Group, Milestone Contractors is a highway, heavy construction, and site development contractor that employs 1,200 people during peak season. The company has offices throughout Indiana in Indianapolis, Lafayette, Columbus, and Richmond and operates 14 hot mix asphalt plants throughout the state. Most of the mix it produces is used on Milestone jobs, but about 30% is sold to area paving contractors. Five asphalt plants in the Indianapolis area supply eight Milestone paving crews (11 during peak season) with mix for about 10 months of the year.
Shireman says Milestone has the advantage of being a large contractor that offers a broad variety of construction services, so all parts of the company can act as a general contractor for other parts of the company.
"It often depends on which part of the job is the largest," he says. "On this intersection job in Greenwood the paving was the largest part so the paving part of the company acted as the general contractor for the earthmoving and other operations. We can plan, schedule, and control the work so we weren't relying on someone else to get something done."
Shireman says this particular paving job was done by "one of the better crews in the Indianapolis area." Milestone's standard eight-person crew (seven if a material transfer vehicle is not used) is directed by supervisor Terry Riker and includes Dennis Kingery, lead man on screed; Roger Pageant, paver operator; Kris Hilt, roller/screed operator; Kevin Pullins, shuttle buggy operator; Jason Werner, roller operator; Larry Hersch, water truck /fuel truck/laborer; and Ronald Chapman, laborer.